Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My night at the Baseball Assistance Team dinner

I had the honor of getting to attend Tuesday's Baseball Assistance Team (BAT) 25th annual dinner, held at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan. Many thanks to MLB for getting me into the event. BAT helps former players and front office personnel in need.

While Tuesday's snowstorm kept some of the event's honorees, like Bud Selig and Jimmy Rollins, from being able to attend in person, there were over 75 current and retired MLB players, as well as many hundreds of other attendees, at the dinner. There was also a nice tribute to Michael Weiner, the late had of the players' union, at the event. And the Yankees, as well as the Dodgers, were honored for having the best support to the organization in 2013.

It was a cool event to go to. I showed up in the afternoon to pick up my media credentials, and then get a cup of coffee at the hotel's Starbucks, and I saw Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar getting a coffee of his own!

That is just one of many of the big names I saw at the dinner. I saw David Cone chatting with a friend at the pre-dinner reception; was going to say something but I was tongue-tied for once in my life! I also saw Tommy Lasorda, Steve Garvey, Rollie Fingers, Orlando Cepeda, Phil Linz, Dr. Bobby Brown, Dmitri Young, and many other former MLBers walking around. Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles was also there as one of the current MLB players at the event.

I got the chance to talk to Harold Reynolds -- he is just as engaging and charismatic as he is on TV -- at the pre-dinner social hour. At the dinner itself, there is supposed to be a former MLB player at each table. My table had Greg Colbrunn, who played for the Arizona Diamondbacks on their 2001 team. So I was asking him questions about that series, and what it was like. Also noticed his World Series ring. Interestingly enough, Colbrunn was a coach for a number of years in the Yankee farm system, and finally got his chance to coach in the big leagues last year as -- drumroll please -- the Boston Red Sox's hitting coach! So now he will have two rings!

Tike Redman, a former MLB player who received financial assistance from BAT after his daughter was diagnosed with cancer, gave a touching speech about how the help meant to him and his family. It really brought the point home as to how valuable the organization is.

Anyhow, if you ever get the chance to attend the BAT dinner, I wholeheartedly recommend it. Great night for a great cause!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Here are some unanswered questions about A-Rod, Tony Bosch, and that "60 Minutes" report

If you had Alex Rodriguez in your office pool, as I did, as getting a 50-game suspension, you lost. And of course A-Rod lost, too, in not being able to play for the entire 2014 season. But gee, the Yankees should now have some money to sign Tanaka. What a weird coincidence!

I think it is in everybody's interest (except A-Rod, of course) to make him the face of PED use. Bud Selig has A-Rod's scalp, the Yankees have freed up some money, and even the players' union benefits in a way, because Alex is taking all the flak for being a juicer, instead of there being widespread outrage about multiple players using PEDs.

Anyhow, that was one of the problems I had with last night's "60 Minutes" report -- no other names were mentioned as far as last year's  Biogenesis suspensions. You also would never know that Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon and Ryan Braun previously tested positive thanks to Biogenesis' products, something which flies in the face of Tony Bosch's assertion that doing these PEDs are nearly a "cakewalk," as he bragged last night.

Anyhow, here are the questions I would have like to have heard answered last night:

* Bosch asserts that A-Rod came to him in the summer of 2010 and asked him to do for him what Bosch did for Manny Ramirez in 2008 and 2009. Does that include failing a PED test, as Ramirez did in 2009? Either A-Rod really is dumb, or Bosch was telling a lie.

* Bosch claimed a Rodriguez "associate" threatened his life, something Rob Manfred of MLB also claimed. Was a police report filed? Did they ever go to the cops over this? What evidence do they have, other than some text message to Bosch's girlfriend? And if this allegation is credible, why wasn't it brought up months ago, and why was it only in the second half of the report?

As my friend Jesse Spector writes in the Sporting News:
If A-Rod was behind what Manfred called a "known associate" threatening Bosch's life, that's more than impeding a baseball investigation, that's worthy of a criminal investigation. But "60 Minutes" presented no evidence of that threat other than Bosch's and Manfred's words late in the report. If there was real evidence to tie it together, the "60 Minutes" story is leading with "Disgraced baseball player threatens to kill drug dealer," not the salacious and remarkably unverifiable claim by Bosch of going into a stall with A-Rod in a public bathroom in Miami and shooting him up.

* According to Bosch, A-Rod passed 12 drug tests in that time frame. But MLB only has players take two PED tests a year -- once in spring training, and once in the regular season. Why did A-Rod have to take 12 in 2 1/2 years?

* "60 Minutes" went into great detail to show a multiple home run game against Florida that Bosch claims to have helped A-Rod with. But 2010 through 2012 were also the worst years of A-Rod's career up until that point. Why not show, for example, how little Bosch's stuff helped Alex in the playoffs?

* What about the other players named? Why didn't MLB send dozens of their minions after Ryan Braun or any of the other people named?

* Why does Bosch need $800,000 a year in security? How do those costs compare to celebrities' security? How is this money being funneled?

* Why didn't the report ever explain why A-Rod should get a higher penalty than other players did?

Anyhow, what unanswered questions do you have about the report? Tell us about it!

Search This Blog