A-Rod, Braun Among Names Linked to Drug Clinic
Baseball could be on the verge of another major drug scandal. A new report from ESPN says Major League Baseball is preparing to suspend about 20 players for use of performance-enhancing drugs, after MLB investigators gained the cooperation of the players' alleged supplier. The suspected players have all been linked to a Miami-area "wellness" clinic owned by Tony Bosch, who has reportedly agreed to turn over information on which players were involved and what they did. The biggest names on the list are Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez and Brewers star Ryan Braun. The list also includes Astros minor league outfielder Fernando Martinez, who played part of last season with the team and opened this season in the majors before being sent to AAA last month.
Matt Thomas, who covers the Astros for KTRH and Sportstalk 790, doesn't expect most fans to get too excited about this latest scandal. "It's nothing startling, because the presumption among baseball fans for the past 20 years is (the players) are all doing it, and now Major League Baseball is trying to run behind and catch them," he says. Thomas also doesn't think this will hurt baseball at the box office. "Not whatsoever...winning and losing makes all the difference in the world, and keeping tickets affordable...not who's using PEDs." Nevertheless, he still predicts this will be a long and ugly process. "Just because they lay the suspensions down doesn't mean it's gonna happen right away," says Thomas. "Because if I'm the players association, I'm saying wait a minute, you guys got in cahoots with (Bosch)and he gave up a lot of information because he was afraid you were gonna go after him."
The MLB Players Association released a statement Wednesday saying it has "every interest in both defending the rights of players and in defending the integrity of our (drug) program." MLB is not commenting on the reports or the investigation, and the Astros also declined comment about the report to KTRH. Thomas says this is just the latest in a series of events that has made sports fans more cynical. "Because of Lance Armstrong, athletes are not considered innocent until proven guilty anymore...in fact it's probably just the opposite."