Ryan Braun AP

The State of Florida is now investigating Biogenesis, but it probably won’t matter for baseball

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Yesterday’s quite amusing editorial in which the Miami New Times stated its refusal to hand over its documents to Major League Baseball was notable for more than its fuzzy reasoning. It was notable because it revealed for the first time that the Florida Department of Health has opened up an investigation into the lab and its operator, Dr. Anthony Bosch.

Since that came out a number of heavy hitters including Buster Olney, Jeff Passan and others have noted that this could be the game-changer Major League Baseball needed. The argument: the government has subpoena power where MLB does not and that if there is to be a real investigation into what Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and everyone else implicated did, subpoena power is what’s needed.

Which is true. But I think it would be a bad idea for anyone to hold their breath until the perp walks get going, the hearings convene and the bombshells get dropped.

The Florida Department of Health is the agency in question. No one at the Florida Department of Health is going to get a promotion for getting Ryan Braun suspended. More to the point, no one at the Florida Department of Health is going to be able to get its budget increased to accommodate the sort of nasty litigation and administrative fights it would have on its hands if it tried to bring in a parade of baseball players in some sort of proxy investigation for the benefit of Major League Baseball.  Even if some gunslinger at the Florida Department of Health was inclined to turn this into a baseball investigation, said gunslinger need only look at how poorly that all worked out for the grandstanding federal investigators and lawyers who went after baseball players in the past. Both in the p.r. department and the career advancement department, using government resources to do Major League Baseball’s job for it have been pretty ugly for them.

If you’re sitting in the Florida Department of Health, you’re sitting in a state where so-called anti-aging clinics like Biogenesis are on practically every corner and are patronized by a lot of older folks who vote.  Even if you want to do the noble thing and get rid of apparent shysters like Anthony Bosch, you don’t want to set precedents in which the public will come to expect you to subpoena patients and, ultimately, make it so they are disciplined at their places of work. Oh, and some local officials and others who care about tax revenus may want to have a word about you getting super zealous about closing down money making businesses unique to the state.

I spent most of my time in private practice, but I did spend most of a year in state government, counseling agencies like the Florida Department of Health and learning from lawyers who did that for far longer than I did. While it’s possible that they do things differently in Florida than Ohio, the smart money is on the Florida Department of Health investigating with a primary aim of permanently shuttering Biogenesis, punishing Anthony Bosch for administrative and, potentially, criminal violations and making sure Bosch is ridden out of the state on a rail.  If, in the meeting planning the investigation, someone said “when do we subpoena the patients and share the product of our investigation with their employer,” that person would probably be politely sent out for coffee and then marginalized going forward.

I understand the enthusiasm on the part of Major League Baseball and, it seems, on the part of some baseball writers to see the Florida Department of Health go after Ryan Bruan, A-Rod and everyone else, but really dudes, that’s not its job. And if it thought it was its job, any citizen of Florida should ask its government why in the hell believes such a thing.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.