SAN FRANCISCO – Anthony Bosch, proprietor of a Miami-area wellness boutique that served the kind of high-end clientele that might pop up on your All-Star ballot, has turned.
Once he sold the fountain of youth. Now he's a fountain of information.
Reported by ESPN and confirmed by Yahoo! Sports, Bosch – founder of the Biogenesis clinic and alleged supplier of performance-enhancing drugs to Major League Baseball players – is cooperating with MLB's investigation into the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera and at least a dozen others.
MLB's job just became easier. The kingpin – the man MLB believes served those clients, prescribed their drugs, in some cases administered their drugs and kept records – has traded his silence for a somewhat softer punitive landing.
Presumably, Bosch's former clients are not surprised. Hire a pseudo-doctor in a strip mall so as to obtain illicit drugs, and now your reputation, your career, even your life is in the hands of a pseudo-doctor from a strip mall who sells illicit drugs.
Those guys flip, because the first rule of self-preservation isn't more synthetic testosterone, despite what the company brochure might have read. The first rule is bury the other guy. Save yourself. When the heat comes, it's every artificially enhanced man for himself.
On the bright side for the players ensnared in the scandal, MLB investigators' best witness against those players just might be the sleaziest part of this whole deal. As an attorney in this case, you could do worse than to oppose Tony Bosch.
According to ESPN's report, MLB will target at least 20 players and will seek 100-game suspensions for some. It may eventually be so, but the players' union might resist, leading some to believe the threat of 100 games would more likely result in 50. Either way, MLB is too early into its conversations with Bosch to know exactly where this will lead.
What MLB does know is it is better off with Bosch in one of its conference rooms than Bosch standing behind one of his lawyers. And that tremor you felt was a number of ballplayers shuddering at the same time. Maybe it's just a few. Maybe it's dozens. Maybe the names you know or not. But what we do know is that this isn't a witch hunt, because, for one, there are no such things as witches, and there are such things as sporting cheats.
The boos emanating from McCovey Cove on Tuesday night were for Melky Cabrera, whose career as a San Francisco Giant lasted 113 games. They loved him here. They chanted his name. They dressed up as milkmen. Melky was their guy.
Then he was caught with synthetic testosterone in his bloodstream last summer, suspended for 50 games, and cast off. The Giants won the World Series anyway, in spite of losing a middle-of-the-order hitter, an All-Star who might have won the batting title.
There is the incongruity of lauding Barry Bonds while vilifying Melky, perhaps because one was not only better at being a ballplayer, but also at covering his tracks. At least Bonds' website was real. So, Cabrera, allegedly linked by documents to Bosch and Biogenesis, and guilty of bailing out on the Giants mid-summer, heard about it each time he came to the plate.
We continue to sort the cheaters from the falsely accused. It's a big job that won't ever be finished. The rewards of cheating are too great. Cabrera, whose offensive statistics spiked around the time his name reportedly started showing up in Biogenesis notebooks, might have lost his big payday, but he's still working on a two-year, $16-million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
He got his World Series ring. In every sense, it is hollow. Before Tuesday night's game, he sat in the visitor's dugout and insisted he'd not relive the past. He'd done what he'd done. He'd apologized. He'd served his time.
"They are good teammates, good people here," Cabrera said. "It was real hard what happened last year. I regret what happened last year."
His lips tightened and his eyes darkened.
"It was tough telling my family what happened," he said. "Especially my family."
On the streets outside the team hotel here, Cabrera had walked the streets. He said people recognized him, welcomed him back. They were the ones who made eye contact. At the ballpark, they booed.
"I'm telling the fans," he said, "I'm sorry for the situation."
They live with who they are. The decisions they've made. The outcomes in them. What that says about them.
They live with the company they keep and what that says about them. Worse, at the moment, what that company might say about them to MLB investigators. And if they happened to walk into a pseudo-doctor's office in a strip mall, where they sought the fountain of youth, then they couldn't have expected this to turn out any different.
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Biogenesis scandal could have greater impact than BALCO
• Ryan Braun's name listed in Biogenesis records
• MLB sues Biogenesis clinic
• Gio Gonzalez passed post-Biogenesis drug test
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- Melky Cabrera