Yankees' Rodriguez strikes out against the Orioles during Game 4 of their MLB ALDS baseball playoff series in New York

Alex Rodriguez, Anthony Bosch, and disliking everyone in the “60 Minutes” report

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The trouble with liars, as the old line goes, is that they don’t have the decency to lie all the time. Somewhere in his parade of nonsense, paranoia and self-aggrandizement, it seems evident that Anthony Bosch told some truths about Alex Rodriguez and performance enhancing drugs. It just doesn’t seem practical for him to have made it all up. But to get to those truths, wherever they begin and end, you have to traverse a latrine of drivel, stupidity, delusion and a soul-crushing assault on the game of baseball.

The 60 Minutes report (Part I and Part II), in case you have not seen it yet, will make you dislike everyone more. Everyone. No matter how much you may dislike Alex Rodriguez, Tony Bosch, Bud Selig or Rob Manfred, it is guaranteed that by the end of this thing your opinions of them will have dropped substantially. You will like your dog less after seeing this thing.

Is it worth the trip?

Baseball decided: Yes. Absolutely it’s worth it. Why? Well, for an answer to that, you have to wait all the way to the end of the 60 Minutes report.

* * *

The report begins with host Scott Pelley asking Tony Bosch what banned substances Alex Rodriguez used. Bosch was the founder and program director of Biogenesis, the Miami clinic that was listed as a weight-loss and rejuvenation center but was in fact selling performance-enhancing drugs to athletes. One of these athletes, it seems, was Alex Rodriguez.

Bosch responded that Rodriguez was using testosterone, insulin growth factor, human growth hormone and various other illegal drugs. An impressive list. Bosch, after explaining that Rodriguez was scared of needles, said he personally injected Rodriguez on more than one occasion. This reminded of Roger Clemens fear of needles — these guys really should be less squeamish.

Our story begins. Bosch said that on July 30, 2010 — five days before he hit his 600th home run — Rodriguez met with him to ask for drugs. Lots of drugs. According to Bosch, Rodriguez wanted the good stuff, the stuff Manny Ramirez used in 2008 when his home runs went up from 20 to 37 (or as Pelley says, Ramirez met with Bosch and, “the next season he nearly doubled his home runs!”).

This will be a constant theme in the piece, by the way: This theme that drugs are magic and can turn hitters into superhumans. If 60 Minutes was doing a commercial for PEDs, they could have hardly done better. In fact, they would not be ALLOWED to run that as a commercial because they did not list off the side effects. I’m constantly reminded of Buck O’Neil’s lament: If baseball leaders want kids to not use these drugs, why do they keep going on and on about HOW WELL THEY WORK? As you will see, 60 Minutes goes to bizarre extremes to make Bosch sound like the world’s greatest scientist and his drugs into enchanted candy that can make all your dreams comes true.

Back to Bosch: He says that Rodriguez was pointed toward becoming the first and only member of the 800 home run club. We see papers that Bosch says are elaborate drug schedules for Rodriguez, schedules timed to the minute. Bosch talks about once giving Rodriguez a blood test at 8 p.m. in the bathroom stall of a night club — the story never made clear exactly why he needed do to that.

“What were you thinking at that time?” Pelley asked.

“I’m not getting paid enough,” Bosch replied, an answer that could not more perfectly fit the man who gave it. Bosch admitted to being paid $12,000 a month.

Then we were introduced to testosterone troches, which Bosch charmingly called “Gummies.” These were testosterone pills, tiny ones, that you could put in your mouth before a game and would give you what Bosch called “more energy, more strength, more focus.” But somehow these also would be undetectable after the game.

Here, Pelley and 60 Minutes point out that on one date that according to text messages Rodriguez took these Gummies. The date was April 6, 2012. Opening Day. Pelley says that Rodriguez had a “great game.” He went two-for-three with two walks, two runs scored and a “412 foot double.” The stuff works! “

The combination,” Bosch said, “makes playing playing the game of baseball a lot easier.”

Yeah, well: The report doesn’t really mention that Rodriguez went one for his next 16, hit one home run in his first 13 games and hit just .272 with 18 home runs the whole season, probably the worst of his career up to that point.

In fact, the report doesn’t mention that since working with Bosch — based on Bosch’s own recollection — Rodriguez has hit .269/.356/.441 with 41 home runs in three seasons. His body has fallen apart. He has played in three playoff series and in those hit .111 and .125 and .111 again.

“I’m good at what I do,” Bosch said when asked why Rodriguez trusted him.

One other odd part of the report: Pelley for some reason thought Bosch should be feeling regret over what he did, as if he was talking to somebody who had dedicated his life to the honor and integrity of baseball. That was really strange. He seemed on the surface to understand he was talking to a lying drunken drug dealer, but then he asks Bosch how he could do this to the game of baseball. How could you, Tony? You knew it was wrong. You knew it was hurting the game. How, Tony?

“I felt I had a responsibility to do it,” Bosch said. He said, yes, absolutely, if he had not been caught he would still be doing it.

Then, after saying Bosch had no criminal record other than parking tickets and a citation for practicing without a license (with apparently no concern for the countless crimes he was copping to on the show), 60 Minutes clear the decks to let Anthony Bosch offer a little soliloquy about the game. “I love the game of baseball,” he says. “Unfortunately this is part of baseball. It’s always been part of the game.” Yes, he said “Unfortunately.”

“But this cuts to the heart of fair play,” Pelley said, still appealing to, well, I’m not sure what.

“Fair play?” Bosch said. “If everybody’s on it, isn’t that fair play?”

Thus endeth Part I of the report.

* * *

Part II of the report was, if possible, even more depressing than Part I. Now, we get Tony Bosch talking about how Rodriguez’s associates — they were called associates throughout the piece — offered to send Bosch to Colombia to hide away for a while, threatened to kill him and also sent him $50,000 in bribes. The Colombia thing was of particular note. “They said ‘I think you should leave town, we’ll get you a plane ticket to Colombia, you stay there until this blows over,’” Bosch said. “They offered me, I forget the number $25,000, $20,000 a month, and said ‘I’ll give you another $150,000.”

Then, Scott Pelley adds this rather unbelievable line:

“Bosch said he was suspicious and turned down the offer.”

Um … what? Suspicious of what? Suspicious of their motives? Suspicious that he wouldn’t pay the full amount? Suspicious of what kind of home he could get in Colombia? What? The obvious takeaway, I guess, is that e was suspicious that they would have him taken care of down in Colombia. Tony Bosch obviously thinks he’s living in the second half of “Goodfellas,” with danger lurking around every corner.

Is it true? Was Alex Rodriguez hanging out with Miami gangsters who would solve his problems by offing the guy he paid $12,000 a month to give him drugs that were not helping his performance? Or is Tony Bosch a delusional nutjob who somewhere along the way lost his grip of reality and started seeing threats in his the words spelled out by his Alpha Bits cereal? Or both?

Fortunately, Major League Baseball’s Rob Manfred brought some integrity to the proceedings. He said that he ordered that baseball pay $125,000 for Biogenesis documents from someone that identified himself as “Bobby.” But, if you fear that there might be some questions about documents from someone named “Bobby,” Manfred made it very clear that extraordinary efforts were made to authenticate these documents. A lot more effort, you would assume, than spent finding Bobby’s last name.

Then, they sued Bosch and his brother in order to pressure him into participating in the MLB investigation. That too worked — well, the combination of pressure and then paying for Bosch to have bodyguards protect him from “associates” and to pay for his defense against any criminal investigation worked.

“There were the drug things on one side,” Commissioner Bud Selig said of Rodriguez, “and then all the things that he did to impede our investigation.” Yes, when you have an investigation that is so principled and above-board, you certainly cannot have anyone trying to impede it.

Pelley had questions. How could they know Bosch was telling the truth when MLB was paying so much to get him to testify? Manfred had two answers for this. For one thing, Bosch brought along lot of corroborating evidence, which is a reasonable answer.

But listen to the other one:

“Mr. Bosch’s credibility on this issue, whatever his motivations, whatever we did for him, was established by his willingness to come in, raise his right hand and testify,” Manfred said. Yes. He actually said that. Tony Bosch’s credibility — already set by 60 Minutes at whatever level you put lying, drunken drug dealers — is established because he raised his right hand.

But wait. There’s more.

“The credibility of any witness,” Manfred continues, “is determined by … looking the individual in the eye, listening to the story he tells and lining it up with other evidence.”

Oh. They looked into his eyes.

The report at some point shows A-Rod in his pitiful and wretched, “Did you do anything wrong? … No,” question-and-answer lie-fest on WFAN, and maybe people got a chance to look into his eyes during that pathetic session but at this point there was only turning away.

Baseball is a great game. It was a great game when we are little and we try to hit giant whiffle balls with plastic bats. It is a great game when we played ball with other kids in the neighborhood. It is a great game when we put on a real uniform for the first time — with those great baseball stirrup socks and spikes and gloves that still smell like new leather– and when we swing a bat and connect so well that the hands don’t even feel vibration.

And it’s a great game when we are watching the best in the world play, when watching Miguel Cabrera unleash on a pitch, when watching Clayton Kershaw hit the corner with a fastball, when watching Andrelton Simmons go into the hole and backhand a ground ball or watching Mike Trout run in the outfield. It’s always been a great game, even if there has always been ugliness surrounding it.

At the end of the 60 Minutes report, all is ugliness. A-Rod is guilty and lying, surely, Anthony Bosch seems a first-class lowlife, Rob Manfred comes across as Old Man Potter from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and the only winner in the whole mess — THE ONLY WINNER — seems to be the drugs themselves, which apparently work miracles and, if used right, are undetectable.

So what point of all this again?

Scott Pelley ends the report like so: “And Bud Selig has announced his retirement from the game. Part of his legacy is the establishment of the toughest anti-doping rules in all of American pro sports.”

There it is. Bud Selig, who has been commissioner over the worst drug scandal to ever hit American sports, who presided over a game that ten years ago DID NOT TEST for drugs, got 60 Minutes to put that line at the end. Part of his legacy is this glorious chapter of buying papers from Bobby, threatening and paying off Boesch and nailing Alex Rodriguez.

Then report ended and only then, if you watch the Internet videos, do you get the biggest lesson of all. You get to see who sponsored the report.

Viagra.

Marlins still searching for starting pitching depth

Aaron Harang
AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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The Marlins would like to add “another pitcher or two” before pitchers and catchers report to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro writes. Among starting pitchers available, Kyle Lohse, Aaron Harang, and Alfredo Simon are candidates for the Marlins, but they may hold out for the possibility of inking a major league contract. Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee are other potential candidates, per Frisaro.

This offseason, the Marlins signed Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal and Edwin Jackson for the major league minimum. The back of the rotation, though, is still a question mark as Jarred Cosart, Adam Conley, and Justin Nicolino will compete with Jackson for two spots. David Phelps is dealing with an elbow injury and may or not be ready by Opening Day, but he could function in a swingman capacity as well.

Shocker: Bruce Bochy tabs Madison Bumgarner to start Opening Day

Madison Bumgarner
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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You might want to sit down for this news. Giants manager Bruce Bochy has tabbed ace Madison Bumgarner to start on Opening Day in Milwaukee against the Brewers, CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic reports. Shocking, I know.

The Giants had a busy offseason, adding Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to the starting rotation, but neither had a shot at getting the Opening Day nod considering what Bumgarner has done for the Giants over the last five seasons.

Since the start of the 2011 season, the 26-year-old lefty compiled a 3.05 ERA with 1,034 strikeouts and 239 walks across 1,050 innings. Among starters who logged at least 800 innings in that span of time, only Clayton Kershaw, Cueto, Zack Greinke, David Price, and Felix Hernandez have posted lower ERAs.  And Bumgarner is the only one among them with a championship ring. In fact, he has three.

Tony Clark is not happy so many players remain unsigned

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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We’re almost halfway through February. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training soon. And yet, there are more than a handful of solid free agents that remain unsigned. Among them: Yovani Gallardo, Ian Desmond, and Dexter Fowler. All three have draft pick compensation tied to them, as each rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from his respective former team. That, undoubtedly, is a reason why they haven’t inked a contract yet.

MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark is unhappy about this reality and expects to discuss potential changes when the next collective bargaining agreement is negotiated. The current CBA expires after the 2016 season. Per the Associated Press, Clark said last week, “I think it’s disappointing when there are as many talented players still without a home. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to be in a world where very talented players are at home for whatever reason they are there. It will likely be a part of the conversation in bargaining.”

Clark also mentioned, among other things, the possibility of a draft lottery, which would take away the incentive for teams to “tank”, or lose on purpose. The Astros and Phillies have notably done this in recent years, finishing with baseball’s worst record and thus netting the #1 overall draft pick.

These are, however, simply two items of many that will be discussed during the upcoming offseason. It will be interesting to see what solutions are eventually put in place.

Michael Pineda hopes to reach 200-inning mark for first time

New York Yankees' Michael Pineda delivers a pitch during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger
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It was reported on Friday that Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka isn’t sure if he’ll be ready for Opening Day as he makes his way back from arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. His health will be crucial to the Yankees’ chances this season, but the same goes for rotation-mate Michael Pineda, who hopes that this is the year he’ll be able to take on the workload of a frontline starter.

Pineda was on pace for a career-high in innings last season, but he landed on the disabled list in late July with a right flexor forearm muscle strain and missed a month. He struggled upon his return and ended up with 160 2/3 innings, so he fell short of his career-high of 171 innings as a rookie with the Mariners way back in 2011. Now going into his age-27 season, Pineda told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that his goal for 2016 is to reach 200 innings for the first time in his career.

“For me, this year, I’m coming here early to be strong and working hard to pitch 200 innings this year,” Pineda said at the club’s Minor League complex. “I want to throw 200 innings this year. This is my goal, and help my team.”

Pineda had a mediocre 4.37 ERA (90 ERA+) last season despite impressive peripherals with 8.7 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9. Among pitchers with at least 160 innings pitched, only Bartolo Colon of the Mets had a lower walk percentage. Pineda managed to increase his ground ball rate to 48.2 percent and also saw an uptick in velocity from 2014, so there’s reason to believe in improvement if he can stay healthy.