With the baseball world still reeling from the news of Ryan Braun’s suspension for his connection to Biogenesis, many are naturally wondering what is in store for Alex Rodriguez. Well, if what ESPN’s T.J. Quinn is hearing is accurate, it doesn’t bode well for him.
Quinn also writes that “MLB confronted Braun with volumes of evidence provided by Tony Bosch, including texts.” What evidence MLB has against Rodriguez isn’t exactly clear, but that there was enough there for Braun to make a deal is not promising. It also could hurt the possibility of a successful appeal, as Braun’s actions today give Bosch credibility, which is something that has been in question since the Biogenesis investigation began. For what it’s worth, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported earlier today that MLB received “receipts, checks, the whole nine yards” during their investigation, though it’s not known whether any of those apply to Rodriguez.
Interestingly, Quinn writes that the case against Rodriguez includes the possibility that he interfered with the investigation, so MLB is expected to go after him harder than they did Braun. Bill Madden and Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News reported last weekend that lawyers for Rodriguez were internally discussing the possibility of a plea agreement with MLB — possibly settling on a 150-game suspension — though he and his representatives have denied the story.
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”