Sources tell ESPN that Anthony Bosch personally injected A-Rod

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Some new details emerging from the Biogenesis story. ESPN’s T.J. Quinn and Mike Fish spoke to a source who claims that Alex Rodriguez got special treatment from the Biogenesis clinic. Owner Anthony Bosch, Quinn and Fish’s source says, would personally go to A-Rod’s Miami home and inject him with HGH.

Bosch and A-Rod have denied everything related to the reports of these past few days, of course. It’s also worth noting that Quinn and Fish’s source tells of a time last year when A-Rod allegedly got mad at Bosch after Bosch “had trouble locating a vein,” despite the fact that HGH injections are not intravenous (Quinn and Fish note this disconnect).

Also of note, no one down in Miami can confirm that the DEA has opened an investigation at all and there is no evidence of an ongoing investigation.  It’s possible that the DEA is just playing it cool and operating with unusual stealthiness.  It’s also possible that, while this is a big story for baseball, the DEA in Miami (or all places) has bigger fish to fry than a now-closed anti-aging clinic.

That part is of some significance. For only the government has subpoena power here. Bud Selig does not.  And if the government is not involved in this, or is not moving particularly quickly, Major League Baseball is unlikely to have more at its disposal than (a) a newspaper report; (b) copies of uncorroborated medical records; and (c) the denials of all the players involved.

If so, could they even suspend these guys on a “just cause” basis pursuant to the Joint Drug Agreement?

Minor League Baseball teams sold over $70 million in merchandise in 2017

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Every so often here, we discuss the criminally low pay of Minor League Baseball players. Most of them make less than $7,500 a year, which includes the regular season as well as spring training, playoffs, and offseason training. The abysmal pay forces minor leaguers to eat unhealthy food, live in cramped quarters, and forego consistent, quality sleep, among other things.

What makes this situation worse is that Minor League Baseball is a huge money-maker for their parent teams in Major League Baseball. Josh Norris of Baseball America reported yesterday that Minor League Baseball teams sold $70.8 million in merchandise in 2017. That represented a 3.6 percent increase over the previous record set in 2016. This is just merchandise. Now think about concession and ticket sales.

Minor League Baseball COO Brian Earle said, “Minor League Baseball team names and logos continue to be among the most popular in all of professional sports, and our teams have made promoting their brand a priority for their respective organizations. The teams have done a tremendous job of using their team marks and logos to build an identity that is appealing to fans not just locally, but in some cases, globally as well.”

You may recall that Major League Baseball had been lobbying Congress to pass legislation exempting minor league players from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Doing so classified baseball players as seasonal workers, which means they are not entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay. That legislation passed earlier this year. Minor League Baseball generates profits hand over fist and it is now legally protected from having to share that with the labor that produced it.

Many points of divergence led us to this point, but the question is how do we change it? Minor leaguers are routinely taken advantage of because they don’t have a union. Compare the minors in baseball to the minors in hockey, where minor leaguers have a union. As SB Nation’s Marc Normandin pointed out last month, the minimum salary for American Hockey League players is $45,000 and the average salary is $118,000. They receive a playoff share of around $20,000, and receive health insurance that covers themselves as well as their families. Furthermore, the minor league hockey players’ per diem is $74, about three times as much as minor league baseball players’ per diem of $25.

Major League Baseball and its 30 teams have shown no inclination towards treating minor league players simply out of moral obligation or good will, so the minor leaguers need union coverage to force their conditions to improve. This could be as simple as the MLBPA expanding its coverage to the minor leagues because, after all, some minor leaguers do become major leaguers, right? Or the minor leaguers could themselves create a union. It’s easy to say, but tougher to do, which is why they still don’t have a union.

At any rate, every fan of baseball should be enraged when they read that Minor League Baseball keeps setting records year after year when it comes to selling hats and t-shirts, then refuses to share any of that wealth with the labor responsible for it. It’s morally reprehensible.