Just a reminder, as the info from the Miami New Times report sinks in, what Alex Rodriguez had to say at his 2009 press conference after he was revealed to have tested positive for PEDs during baseball’s pilot testing program:
“Going back to 2001, my cousin started telling me about a substance that you could purchased over the counter in the DR [Dominican Republic]. In the streets, it’s known as ‘boli’ or ‘bole.’ It was his understanding that it would give me a dramatic energy boost and [was] otherwise harmless. My cousin and I, one more ignorant than the other, decided it was a good idea to start taking it … I stopped taking it in ’03 and haven’t taken it since.”
The entire transcript of that press conference can be read here.
When we talk about Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, we’re talking about players who allegedly (but far from conclusively) lied about their PED use which, based on the best evidence available, took place prior to MLBs institution of testing and enforcement for banned substances.
With A-Rod, we have a player who, unless the records in this new report were fabricated, clearly lied about his drug use and continued to take banned drugs long after MLB’s testing and real enforcement of its drug policies began. To the extent judgments are to be passed on these respective players’ acts now and in the future, I think this distinction is pretty significant.
Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.
Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.
Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.
As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.