Get ready for the resurrection of Anthony Bosch’s character

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When the Biogenesis story hit back in January, one of the primary narratives that emerged from it among the baseball commentariat was that A-Rod, Ryan Braun and others were awful for, among many other reasons, getting in bed with a shady weasel like Anthony Bosch of Biogenesis. And words were not spared on just how sleazy Bosch was supposed to be. Here are some phrases describing him from Mike Lupica’s February 6 column:

  • “a two-bit South Florida scammer and drug pusher named Anthony Bosch”
  • “a guy you now imagine is a couple of steps away from working out of his garage”
  • “a lawyer with an 800 number he sees in a late-night television commercial”
  • “a ‘medical’ consultant”
  • “a known drug dealer like Anthony Bosch”
  • “a small-time ‘biochemist’ named Anthony Bosch”
  • “Bosch the ‘biochemist'”
  • “a PED pusher like Anthony Bosch”

Note the scare quotes and the utter disdain for Bosch dripping off of every word. The guy is clearly a slime in Lupica’s eyes. But then note this passage toward the end:

There is only one way for Major League Baseball and for the rest of us to get the answers we need on Bosch the “biochemist” and Braun and A-Rod and all the other misunderstood ballplayers who have made the PED version of the Dean’s List, known as Bosch’s List: Get everybody in front of a grand jury and make them tell their stories under oath, not to their PR men. Make them all explain why they were associating with a PED pusher like Anthony Bosch in the first place.

But now, today, Lupica is far less dismissive of Bosch’s word and, apparently, no longer thinks that the “only way” for Major League Baseball to learn about Biogenesis is to hear from the players in a law enforcement setting. To the contrary, he sees Bosch’s own words — as spilled to Major League Baseball in a decidedly non-legal setting — as potentially sufficient basis for suspending A-Rod for 100 games, voiding his contract and ending his career (a prospect Lupica is positively giddy about):

If Anthony Bosch, the anti-aging king of South Florida and alleged distributor of baseball drugs, really is about to flip and really is about to cooperate fully with Major League Baseball, then Bosch becomes the worst nightmare for all of the players whose names appeared in his books. It means all those named in the original Miami New Times article about Bosch and all his baseball friends. There have been other guys who flipped in the past in stories like these. Never the guy dealing the drugs. Never the kingpin.

Now he’s not some sleazy, two-bit hustler working out of his garage. He’s a kingpin! The center of a vast drug empire whose cooperation would be invaluable and unprecedented.* Yes, Lupica does still have a poor opinion of Bosch — he calls him a “two-bit scammer” and says Bosch “looks more like some loser on Collins Ave. trying to give you a tip on the third race at Hialeah” — but he nonetheless identifies him as the man whose word — and his word alone — can and should form the basis of unprecedented and maximal discipline against scores of major leaguers.

And more importantly, nowhere does Lupica acknowledge that maybe — just maybe — said discipline should not rest on just the words of Anthony Bosch. He is not a bit skeptical of a case built on that foundation. Not a bit skeptical of Major League Baseball’s motives here. He does not acknowledge that Major League Baseball is not law enforcement and cannot be presumed to have law enforcement’s fact-finding, justice-doing motives. Indeed, in using Bosch to build its case against A-Rod and Braun MLB is far closer to Ryan Braun’s alleged legal consultations with Bosch than it is to cops talking to an informant. And Lupica considered the notion of Braun consulting with Bosch to be preposterous. It’s not so preposterous now, apparently. It’s the first step on the march to justice and comeuppance for some players Lupica hates.

Watch that pattern unfold all over the place in the coming days. The rehabilitation of Anthony Bosch. The guy who everyone and his brother considered a sleazeball back in January, but who now is the man whose word and his word alone is supposed to form the basis of a righteous case against the ballplayers. Watch as very few are critical of Major League Baseball’s case against those ballplayers because, it seems, Anthony Bosch is to be trusted for some reason.

*Note: it would not be unprecedented, as PED dealers Kirk Radomski and Brian McNamee previously cooperated with MLB

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?