Who is Anthony Bosch?

40 Comments

In the wake of ESPN’s Tuesday night report about Major League Baseball’s investigation and potential suspension of as many as two dozen players linked to the Biogenesis clinic in Miami, the spotlight has shone on one man more than any other: Anthony Bosch, the owner of the Biogenesis of America clinic and now the man who is reportedly prepared to turn over everything he knows about his famous clients to Major League Baseball.

But who is Anthony Bosch? What do we know about him?

Not much. We know he was born in Miami and grew up in comfortable circumstances. His father, Pedro Bosch, has been a successful physician for nearly 40 years. He has had multiple marriages and multiple failed businesses, with Biogenesis being the last.

Biogenesis was an “anti-aging” clinic that, superficially anyway, was like many in Florida. It was just across U.S. 1 from the University of Miami, housed in what was once a motel. Like other anti-aging clinics, it was a quasi-medical establishment which offered its mostly wealthy clients assistance in weight loss, physical fitness, and in some cases psychological services. Better living through therapy and chemistry. Such clinics are not licensed or regulated by the State of Florida.

The “quasi” part of that comes from the fact that Bosch is not a physician. His only known degree was obtained in 2009 from the Central America Health Sciences University in Belize, which he claimed to be a medical degree and displayed it on his office wall. According to the Miami New Times he wore a lab coat with “Dr. Tony Bosch” on it and gave the impression to many that he was, in fact, a doctor.

He did something else only doctors are allowed to do: as the New York Times reported in February, Bosch would obtain prescription drugs for his patients, including human growth hormone. His methods of doing so is unknown and are subject to an investigation by the Florida Department of Health and referrals to the Miami State Attorney’s office and the Florida Attorney General’s office. The New York Times report on Biogenesis in February described Bosch’s clinic as disheveled and disorganized. A former business partner of Bosch’s was surprised that Bosch was alleged to have worked with high-profile athletes, saying “I don’t know how the guy can tie his shoes, let alone have A-Rod as a client.”

But his business records, obtained by the Miami New Times suggest that he did indeed supply performance enhancing drugs to many ballplayers, A-Rod included. Most of the drug distributions were reported to have been made through intermediaries rather than to the ballplayers themselves. One of the alleged intermediaries was an employee of player agents the Levinson brothers. In the case of Alex Rodriguez, however, Bosch is alleged to have actually injected the player personally, doing so at Rodriguez’s home. All involved have denied the allegations.

Bosch himself denied any allegation that he supplied performance enhancing drugs to players, telling ESPN in April that such allegations are lies:

“I have been accused, tried and convicted in the media. And so I think have been falsely accused throughout the media … I am a nutritionist. I don’t know anything about performance-enhancing drugs.”

But that has all changed now. Major League Baseball sued Bosch in March, alleging that he tortiously interfered with baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement, damaging the game. On Thursday morning it was reported that, some time after that suit was filed, Bosch approached Alex Rodriguez in an effort to obtain his financial assistance in the face of the lawsuit and other investigations into his activities. Rodriguez is reported to have denied any assistance to Bosch.

Now, Bosch and Major League Baseball are reported to have come to an agreement in which the lawsuit will be dismissed against him, he will provide testimony and documents to Major League Baseball in furtherance of its investigation into Biogenesis-connected ballplayers and will indemnify him for any legal repercussions occasioned by his cooperation. While the baseball officials have not yet spoken to Bosch, it is reasonable to assume that the league’s cooperation with Bosch is based on him providing information which would implicate ballplayers in the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Major League Baseball considering expansion, radical realignment

Don Ryan/Associated Press
1 Comment

Tracy Ringolsby of Baseball America wrote yesterday about a “growing consensus” within baseball that expansion and realignment are inevitable. The likely expansion cities: Portland and Montreal. The 32-team league would then undergo a radical realignment that would also involve reducing the season from 162 to 156 games while expanding the playoffs to 12 teams.

To be clear, Ringolsby’s actual reporting here is limited to that “growing consensus” about expansion, and the most likely cities involved, not regarding the specific realignment or game reduction plan. That I take to be speculative — he refers to it as “one proposal” — though it seems like reasonable and informed speculation. The general idea is that, if you expand, you have to realign, and if you realign you have to change the playoff structure lest too many teams in any one division become also-rans. That, combined with the near impossibility of changing the early-April-to-late-October footprint of the season and the desire of players to have less arduous travel schedules and some extra time off, leads to the shorter season.

The details of the plan:

  • The American and National Leagues would be disposed of, with MLB putting all 32 teams into four, eight-team, regionally-based divisions: East, North, Midwest, West. This is designed to (a) maintain regional and traditional rivalries while (b) cutting way back on cross-time zone travel. Both New York teams and Boston are in the “North,” both Chicago teams and St. Louis are in the “Midwest,” etc. Texas and Houston are in the “Midwest” too, but we’ll let the Texans get mad about that later.
  • The playoffs would feature a LOT of play-in games. Specifically, Ringolsby would have the four division winners go to the Division Series, where they would play the winner of four different Wild Card games, the participants in which would come from the eight non-division winners with the best records, regardless of which division they came from.
  • The schedule would go back to 156 games, giving every team an off-day every week. Between that and the more compact, almost all single-time-zone divisions, the travel schedules would be far less taxing, with shorter flights and more flights which could leave the day after a night game as opposed to directly after a night game, causing teams to arrive in the next city in the wee hours of the morning.

Thoughts:

  • Obviously this would piss off the purists.  The elimination of the traditional leagues, the shorter season, a (slightly) altered standard for records and milestones, and a doubling of one-and-done playoff series would make a lot of fans dizzy. On the one hand, I could argue that baseball has NEVER been as pure and unchanging as people like to pretend it is so maybe people shouldn’t get too bent out of shape over this, but it’s simply unavoidable that this would rattle a lot of baseball fans, and not just the ones hopelessly stuck in the past. Baseball should not be slavishly devoted to its history, but it needs to recognize that its history is a selling point and an important touchstone for many, many fans.
  • Ringolsby’s specific realignment idea is kind of fun, but will inevitably lead to some winners and losers. For example, many traditional rivalries or regional rivalries would be maintained — Chicago and St. Louis and Boston and New York would remain division rivals — but other, less-sexy but very real rivalries would be disposed of. The Mets, for example, would have no old NL rivals in their division. There will also be some teams which get screwed logistically. Here, all of Minnesota’s division rivals would be Eastern Time Zone teams, so all of its road games would be played in a different time zone. You could fix that somehow, but someone else would likely be inconvenienced. There isn’t a perfect way to do it. As such, implementation could be pretty messy, with some owners opposing it, possibly vehemently.
  • The playoff idea would make for a lot of drama with four play-in games, but I don’t think it’s a sustainable model. Yes, division winners would all be guaranteed a five-game playoff series, but having two-thirds of all of the playoff teams subjected to a random one-and-done game as opposed to the current four of ten would inevitably lead to calls for longer Wild Card series. And it would likely, over time, diminish the cachet of the Wild Card itself. Now most people think of Wild Card teams as having made the playoffs, With this plan, I suspect fewer people will think of it that way as opposed to some sort of weird, non-quite-the-playoffs limbo, thus hurting late season interest among fans of non-division winners.
  • A 156-game season wouldn’t be the end of the world. We had a 154-game season for a little over half a century total and a 162 game season for 56 seasons so far. Changing it might cause people to get grumpy about records and milestones, but other changes in the game, be it pitcher usage patterns or juiced baseballs or integration or night games or any number of other things have already changed the context in such a way that such standards were never as set-in-stone as people tend to believe. At the same time, extra off days might very well improve the caliber of play as players are more rested and therefore sharper.

In the end, it’s important to recognize that Ringolsby’s article is, in all likelihood, a trial balloon leaked by Major League Baseball, so don’t take any one aspect of it too seriously, even if we should all take the idea of some radical shift involving expansion and realignment in the not-too-distant future seriously.

Why? Money mostly. There are huge financial incentives for baseball to do this. Part of this involves the cost-savings which would result from better scheduling and less travel that Ringolsby mentions. A much greater incentive would come from the franchise fees the owners of the two new teams would pay the 30 current owners in order to be allowed into the MLB fraternity.  In the last round of expansion, the Diamondbacks and Devil Rays owners paid $150 million each for their teams. Given that franchises have gone up in value by a factor of ten twenty, it’s not inconceivable that new owners in Montreal and Portland would have to fork over well north of a billion dollars each to enter the league. That’s a check for $66 million written to each owner in exchange for simply voting “yes” at some meeting in Scottsdale on some fine December afternoon.

So, while there may be no uncertainly on the “how” of it all, the very fact of expansion and subsequent realignment seems inevitable. Now is a good time for us to start thinking about how the details of it all would work.