60 Minutes reporting that A-Rod’s camp leaked Ryan Braun and other Biogenesis players’ names to Yahoo!

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Alex Rodriguez has, like, 47 people on the planet in his corner. It’s me, a few other like-minded PED apologists, his kids, some friends, his lawyer and a handful of ballplayers, I figure.  If this report from 60 Minutes is accurate, he’s doing a great job now of alienating even those left in his corner:

“60 Minutes” has learned that members of New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez’s inner circle in February obtained and leaked documents that implicated Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun as well as his own Yankees teammate, catcher Francisco Cervelli, in the doping scandal that has enveloped Major League Baseball.

The leak came just days after the weekly newspaper Miami New Times published documents in January detailing Rodriguez’s pervasive use of performance enhancing drugs.

The documents in question are Tony Bosch’s handwritten notes which, unlike those which sourced the Miami New Times report, were unredacted. The report is that A-Rod got his hands on them and released them to Yahoo! The possible implication being that he wanted more people’s names out there. The more serious implication: that A-Rod, in doing so, violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement’s confidentiality clause and also interfered with Major League Baseball’s investigation.

I see a confidentiality clause violation as a real problem. It could serve as a basis for Major League Baseball arguing for greater discipline and defending its 211-game ban. I’m less impressed with an argument that it interfered with their investigation. If true, it actually undercuts the idea that A-Rod was trying to destroy evidence. He was preserving it, actually, even if it wasn’t for pure motives. And if reports at the time were to be believed, Major League Baseball didn’t, as of yet, have access to any of these documents or the names contained therein, so Braun and others’ names being thrown out there actually would have allowed them to expand their investigation, wouldn’t it? It would have served as a lead? That doesn’t excuse A-Rod, of course, but I do think that it’s less than 100% clear that even him leaking things, if true, necessarily impeded MLB’s investigation.

But, if true, this is a potential additional violation of the CBA and it’s certainly an optics problem, as it appears as though A-Rod is throwing players under the p.r. bus. That he was trying to throw the focus off of him for a while. Which was successful, if one remembers how the story so quickly shifted to Braun in the week or so after Biogenesis came to light last winter.

UPDATE: A-Rod denies that he leaked the information to Yahoo!

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.