Alex Rodriguez reportedly bought legal supplements in 2012 from BALCO founder Victor Conte

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This story from investigative reporters Teri Thompson and Michael O’Keefe of the New York Daily News adds a funny little wrinkle — but probably nothing more — to the ongoing Alex Rodriguez PED saga.

A-Rod apparently went on a desperate hunt for performance-enhancers of any kind in early 2012, enlisting the help of former NFL linebacker and admitted steroid user Bill Romanowski to set up a meet-and-greet with BALCO founder Victor Conte.

Conte, who spent four months in prison in 2005 on BALCO-related charges, could not provide A-Rod with any illegal performance-enhancing drugs. But Conte did get A-Rod some legal supplements and has now relayed his entire experience with the veteran slugger to the Daily News. Here’s an excerpt:

[Conte] described how Rodriguez showed up uninvited on his doorstep in May 2012 with admitted BALCO steroid casualty Bill Romanowski, the former NFL linebacker, to discuss legal products that could give Rodriguez an edge.

Conte said Rodriguez had been trying to set up a sitdown through Romanowski for two months before they finally met, the day before the Yankees kicked off a three-game series with the Oakland A’s.

Romanowski had tried to convince Conte to fly to New York or Los Angeles to meet with Rodriguez, but Conte said he declined the offer.

“I flushed it out with Romo before they ever showed up at the office,” Conte said. “I clearly told Romo it (anything he could do for Rodriguez) was about legal performance enhancement.”

Conte’s daughter Veronica hand-delivered a package of over-the-counter supplements to A-Rod’s hotel room when the Yankees were playing in Oakland on May 25, 2012 and two packages of the same legal stuff were eventually shipped to Rodriguez at addresses in Miami Beach and Greenwich Village. Victor Conte told the Daily News that he spoke to Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch twice over the phone because A-Rod had referred to Bosch as his “nutrition guy” and Conte didn’t want to overlap certain supplement regimens.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.