Team A-Rod is portraying Tony Bosch as a cocaine user

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New York Magazine reports that Team A-Rod has gone after Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch as a habitual cocaine user. And they have a photo that appears to be Bosch with two small bags of cocaine.

The basis for the claim is a friend of Bosch’s — who himself has a spotty past — who says that Bosch used cocaine regularly in Miami. A-Rod’s lawyers cross examined Bosch about his cocaine use in the arbitration. They were met with objections about the line of questioning from Major League Baseball’s attorneys. When Bosch answered he said “I’ll take the Fifth.”

Now, clearly, Tony Bosch’s credibility as a witness is essential here, as the case comes down to his accusations against Alex Rodriguez and his authentication and explanation of Biogenesis documents which purport to show A-Rod’s PED use. At the same time, courts rarely give much weight to — and often don’t allow — evidence relating to the past bad acts or the bad overall character of a witness as a means of challenging his credibility. Rather, you have to establish that the dirt you have on the witness directly speaks to his credibility, not just his character, habits, addictions or what have you.

I would say this is of little overall consequence in the arbitration. If A-Rod’s lawyers could make more of it maybe it would matter. Say, they could establish that Bosch was in trouble with drug lords and needed money and, well, you can tell any number of tales that could get you from drugs to lying to help Major League Baseball.  But if that came out, the same source leaking the testimony to New York Magazine here would have mentioned it right? And either way, it’s pretty far-fetched.

This is all a part of A-Rod’s throw-everything-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks defense. It may work in the court of public opinion. It may raise secondary or tertiary questions about Anthony Bosch. But without anything more, drug use is not, in and of itself, likely to affect his overall credibility in the mind of the arbitrator.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.