Meet Tony Bosch, the con man behind Alex Rodriguez's con

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Meet Tony Bosch, the con man behind Alex Rodriguez's con
Meet Tony Bosch, the con man behind Alex Rodriguez's con

In a bathroom on the 29th floor of a Park Avenue high-rise, during the height of his testimony against Alex Rodriguez, Tony Bosch was cleaning up, gathering himself for more. This had been hard on him, presumably because he'd spent so much of his adult life on the other side, trying to dodge situations just like these. People – his kind of people, the kind who skulk in shadows, invisible to lawyers and hearings and "procedures" – wouldn't like a snitch.

In walked Rodriguez.

Once, they were friends. Or, at least, associates. Bosch was the con man behind the con. Rodriguez's career was the con. Together, they'd fooled enough people for long enough. Bosch had made his money. Rodriguez had worked the system. Once, they had been perfect for each other. But, stuff happens, goes sideways, doesn't take much, and then it's every man for himself, which is how the con man and his former client wound up on opposite sides of the table that day.

They had Bosch's records. They had his emails and text messages. Now they had his testimony. Maybe he was being honest and maybe he was saving his own ass, but maybe both, and that was fine by MLB. When the league's lawyers and Rodriguez's lawyers were done shouting at each other, Fredric Horowitz would decide what Bosch was and who he was and whether he – and the stories he brokered – could be believed. Whether it was enough to bring down Alex Rodriguez.

During a break, Bosch went to the men's room. The door opened a few minutes later. Bosch looked up. It was Rodriguez. They were alone.

"Every dog has his day," Rodriguez muttered.

He repeated it, this time high-pitched and sing-song-y.

"Every dog has his day, every dog has his day, every dog has his day…"

Bosch dried his hands and, without a word, left the room.

Major League Baseball's drug program is a decade old. That's thousands of players and tens of thousands of urine and blood samples. The testing has been made, while not perfect, more competitive. The discipline – and so, presumably, the deterrent to cheat – is more daunting. And yet, for all the system's advancements, at least some of its success should be credited to those endeavoring to skirt the system. Science is somewhat reliable. Humans, not as much. As such, the baseball public was introduced to Kirk Radomski, Victor Conte, Brian McNamee, Tony Bosch and others. They were the dealers, the chemists, the runners, the enablers, the mules, the con men, whatever. They lived in the clubhouses and strip malls, and in the consciences (and bat phones) of men with more money and self-doubt than common sense.

Bosch isn't special. He isn't different. He's just the latest. Baseball isn't so naïve to think there isn't a Bosch in New York, in Chicago, in L.A., everywhere there's a need and a supply of lab coats. Like some of the others, he came clean when the alternative was worse, and when the money was drying up anyway.

Rodriguez (or his mouthpieces) has cast Bosch as a "criminal," a "felon" and a "liar," all qualities he admired in Bosch up until a year ago. Here's another quality of Bosch: This is the man Rodriguez put his career into the hands of. So did Ryan Braun, by the way, along with Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Jesus Montero, Everth Cabrera and plenty of others.

By Sunday night, they all had the privilege of watching their supplier appear on "60 Minutes," and willingly. In a sport coat, all cleaned up, he was not at all the man we met last January, whose photo showed him unshaven and with a faraway look in his eyes, a man on the run. Or about to be. That's the guy Horowitz believed, incidentally, and that's how far Rodriguez has come.

Fortunately for most of them, this was entirely about Rodriguez, and his $12,000-a-month habit of, Bosch said, steroids, testosterone, insulin and other goodies that apparently failed to register in any of MLB's periodic drug tests of Rodriguez. Which either makes Bosch a genius or MLB's testing eminently beatable.

"Alex cared," Bosch told "60 Minutes." "Alex wanted to know. He would study the product. He would study the substances. He would study the dosages, because he wanted to achieve all his human performance or, in this case, sports performance objectives."

Then, Bosch said, he'd stick a needle into him.

At this point, you choose to believe who you may. That is, the guy with everything to lose or the guy with more to lose. It is ugly. After he'd jumped to MLB, Bosch said he believed some harm would come to him, and that one of Rodriguez's people might be the one to inflict it. Between hearings, when he walked the streets of New York or passed through his hotel lobby, he recognized – or believed he recognized – associates of Rodriguez. He was frightened.

You grow up, you choose your line of work, you make your choices, you live with the consequences. For Bosch, these were the consequences of those choices. Also, of making enemies. Of getting caught. The end of the con.

"So," he said, "I did what was the right thing to do."

That's debatable, of course, both in the motivation and the timing. Bosch had juiced what amounted to two-thirds of a major-league roster, at least, for years. He'd done the same for countless soccer moms and, allegedly, more than a few high-school athletes. He was not licensed. He was not honest. He was a guy who could talk the talk, and who learned the game on the street, only to find the streets weren't safe for him either.

"I had no idea what I was going to do next," he told "60 Minutes."

So he found someone else who'd believe him, and who could protect his family.

Bosch has told friends he's done with that life. Even when it was good, it wasn't all that good to him or anyone else. He'll try to create something new, something constructive. There's still a federal investigation out there, and a grand jury, and that call could come any day. Meantime, he wonders what next. He tells friends he carries regrets, but he wants to help rather than hurt, that he wants to move on. A few years ago, Rodriguez asked "America" to judge him from that day forward, and this is what it got. Bosch, presumably, asks the same. It's a long way back.

Rodriguez has promised to take his case to federal court. If so, we'll see Bosch again, or hear of him, soon enough. And the words – taunting – will chase him still.

"Every dog has his day, every dog has his day …"

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