There were two major stories dominating the baseball world on Tuesday, but neither were the kind that make fans remember why they love this game.
On the national level, a Miami News Times bombshell article outlined how Biogenesis, a now-closed Miami based anti-aging clinic has been operating as a major supplier of performance enhancing drugs for Major League Baseball players. The list of clients is reportedly lengthy, but names that have leaked so far include Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz, and more.
From the New Times:
The names are all included in an extraordinary batch of records from Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic tucked into a two-story office building just a hard line drive's distance from the UM campus. They were given to New Times by an employee who worked at Biogenesis before it closed last month and its owner abruptly disappeared. The records are clear in describing the firm's real business: selling performance-enhancing drugs, from human growth hormone (HGH) to testosterone to anabolic steroids.
In response, Major League Baseball issued a statement this morning, saying the following:
"We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances. [...] We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information."
Rodriguez and Gonzalez have also both released statements refuting the New Times' claims and denying taking any banned substances.
While MLB is trumpeting this discovery as some kind of victory for the leagues drug enforcement policy, it is clear that no matter how diligently the league works to keep illegal substances out of the game, there will always be a greater desire for players to get any slight edge they can over their competition. The users are consistently two to three steps ahead of the testers and to say that baseball is clean today is ignorant and naive. As for what consequences will stem from this report, we will have to wait and see, but it is very realistic to expect MLB to issue suspensions despite positive drug tests if they find the claims made by the New Times are legitimate.
Thankfully, no Rays were implicated in the Biogenesis report, but the day was not without news for our local team. Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg, along with his executives, continued their stadium support tour by meeting with the Pinellas County commissioners, Tuesday.
Similar to last weeks meeting with the Hillsborough County commissioners, Sternberg reiterated that he is focused and dedicated to making baseball in the Tampa Bay area work but that patience within Major League Baseball may be wearing thin.
Sternberg told the commissioners that only 300 season ticket accounts are from St. Petersburg, a startlingly low number that accounts for less than 1,000 ticket holders. He also pointed to a lack of business and corporate support in St. Petersburg, calling the downtown area Tampa Bay's fourth-biggest business area. The commissioners were shown a proposal for potential revenue from rezoning and redeveloping the land Tropicana Field currently sits. The team brass refused to debate the merits of the Carillon proposal that was presented late last year, maintaining their stance that they would only consider potential sites in a search that includes all available sites, on both sides of the bay.
The Pinellas County representatives, to their credit, seemed willing to engage with the Rays, some apologizing for the stranglehold that St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster has forced upon the conversations. One commissioner called the way the Rays have been treated, "embarrassing." Another agreed that a region-wide solution was the only way forward. However, the stalemate felt no more likely to break after the meeting than before it. Foster sent a message to the meeting, saying that he would be available to speak with Sternberg this Thursday morning, to which Sternberg quipped he'd, "have to check his calendar."
Better settle in folks, this obviously isn't going to get resolved any time soon.
- MLB.com unveiled their list of top 100 prospects, and five Rays made the list: Wil Myers at #4, Taylor Guerrieri at #44, Jake Odorizzi at #45, Chris Archer at #46 and Hak-Ju Lee at #56.
- Former Ray Kelly Shoppach agreed to terms with the Seattle Mariners.
- Former Ray Dirk Hayhurst released a new, 200-page ebook called Wild Pitches, a collection of extras from his book Out of My League. Hayhurst is also working on a third book about his time with the Rays and posted a second, rough-draft excerpt detailing a meeting he had in Joe Maddon's office.