Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to discuss MLB’s groundbreaking Ryan Braun suspension.
The Brewers outfielder was suspended Monday for the remainder of the season for violations of the league’s drug program and labor contract after he was linked to the controversial Biogenesis clinic in Miami and anti-aging doctor Anthony Bosch. According to Verducci, this was a big step in the cooperative effort between MLB and the players’ association in penalizing players who continue to use performance-enhancing drugs.
“It was a good day,” Verducci said. “It was certainly a historic day, and I’ll tell you why. You look at that statement from Michael Weiner, the executive director of the players’ association, applauding a suspension without an appeal by Ryan Braun. Guys, this is the first time a player has been suspended without a positive drug test — because that one in 2011 did not go down in the books as a positive drug test — for more than 50 games. For him to accept the suspension without any kind of appeal or a fight, I think now it tells you that the union is primarily interested in protecting the clean players and not the dirty ones. I’m not sure this would have happened 10 years ago, certainly not 20 years ago, maybe even one year ago. I think it’s that much of a chance from the players’ association’s perspective.”
Added Verducci: “I think the union is responding to the rank and file and their position on this, certainly responding to the level of evidence that MLB presented to Ryan Braun on June 29th. You have to start from there, because if they don’t have anything, they’re obviously not agreeing to this.”
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is the next big name expected to fall.
“I do believe, from what I’ve heard anyway, the evidence is much stronger against Alex Rodriguez, if you go just by the [Biogenesis] notebooks,” Verducci said. “Ryan Braun was in those notebooks just barely a couple of times, and in both cases it was about money owed to Tony Bosch. In A-Rod’s case, he’s been tied to at least 19 different substances, and drug regimens that literally were prescribed to be taken morning, noon and night in various forms — I’m talking about injections, lozenges, creams. It’s ‘War and Peace’ as far as drug regimens go.
“But beyond that, I’m sure there’s other evidence. There must have been with Ryan Braun, in terms of tangible evidence — receipts, canceled checks, whatever you want to have.”
Added Verducci: “Braun was treated as more than just a first-time offender, and I think that will be true of Alex as well. Whether that goes back to his treatment with Dr. Anthony Galea in 2009, whether it goes back to trying to purchase documents from Tony Bosch to try to basically subvert the investigation, whether it goes to any type of mentoring, so to speak, that he did with young players who have cooperated with MLB baseball — there’s lots of things besides just scribblings in a notebook that they can connect to Alex Rodriguez. There’s a lot more. I think he could be looking at anything up to a lifetime suspension.”
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