Biogenesis scandal again a hot topic as All-Star Game approaches
Commissioner Bud Selig believes MLB is “cleaner than it ever has been” in its history despite the burgeoning Biogenesis scandal.
During an interview with Politico reporter Mike Allen on Tuesday, Selig said MLB developed “the toughest drug-testing program in America,” in the aftermath of Congressional hearings about the sport’s drug crisis.
MLB’s drug policy forbids usage of street drugs, steroids and stimulants. Players who fail their drug tests will not be paid and face tiered suspensions.
It is believed that MLB is planning on making an example out of the players linked to Biogenesis, which include Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. A report in Sunday’s New York Daily News suggested Rodriguez was contemplating accepting a 150-game suspension after the slugger met with MLB executives in Florida. Rodriguez was in Tampa rehabbing from offseason hip surgery.
“I don’t care what happens, we’re going to have an investigation; we’re going to learn everything we can possibly learn. It’s in the best interests of baseball,” Selig told Allen.
Still, it seems likely the MLB Players’ Association will challenge the validity of any suspensions, as MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner told reporters in an interview with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America hours before the All-Star Game.
“We’re going to have a discussion with [MLB],” Weiner said. “That discussion will include whether or not names of suspended players will be announced publicly. When all the interviews are done, we will meet with the commissioner’s office and we’ll try to work something out. Our players that deserve the suspensions, we’ll try to cope with their suspensions. Our players that don’t deserve suspensions, we will argue that they don’t deserve a suspension. And I hope we have success. We may not have success on every single player, but I hope we have a fair amount of success.
“In theory, they could be suspended for five games or 500 games. We could then choose to challenge or not, but the commissioner’s office is not bound by the 50-100-life scale. They’ve got to prove all those cases. I like [MLB Senior Vice President] Dan Halem a lot, but he’s going to be running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off. If that’s the circumstance, we’ll just have to schedule them and get them done as quickly as we reasonably can. And if we have the number that you suggest, it’s going to take a while.”
MLB notes …
» The 2013 MLB All-Star Game set a record as 39 players made their first appearance in the Midsummer Classic. The previous record was 35 in 2011.
» The St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers had the most representatives at the All-Star Game with six players apiece.
» Mets legend and Hall of Famer Tom Seaver was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
» New York City has hosted nine All-Star Games, the most of any city. The New York venues that have hosted the Mid-Summer Classic are Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field. …
» The umpires for the All-Star Game were crew chief John Hirschbeck, who was behind the plate, Wally Bell (first base), Larry Vanover (second base), Paul Emmel (third base), Rob Drake (left field) and Chad Fairchild (right field).
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.