Florida judge denies motion to throw out MLB’s lawsuit against Biogenesis

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There was plenty of skepticism when MLB filed a lawsuit against Biogenesis and Anthony Bosch earlier this year, but they scored an important victory earlier today. Julie K. Brown of the Miami Herald has the story:

After pondering such thorny issues as stale cookies and a Major League baseball player who used the alias “Al Capone” to buy performance enhancing drugs, a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge denied a motion to toss out the sport’s civil lawsuit against Biogenesis, the South Florida doping pipeline to baseball players and other professional athletes — as well as collegiate and high school players.

Monday’s decision, by Judge Ronald Dresnick, means that Major League Baseball can use the legal system to force witnesses to give depositions that may substantiate Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch’s story that his clinic supplied banned substances to high-profile major leaguers for many years.

MLB sued Biogenesis, Anthony Bosch, and other associates back in March, alleging that they interfered with players’ contracts by giving them performance-enhancing drugs. Bosch has since agreed to cooperate with MLB’s investigation. In return, he’ll be dropped from the lawsuit and receive help with his legal fees.

Those subpoenaed by MLB include former University of Miami pitching coach Lazaro Collazo, who is accused of acting as a middleman for the clinic. While he isn’t a part of MLB’s lawsuit against Biogenesis, he was among those arguing for its dismissal today. However, Dresnick’s ruling means that he could now be forced to talk under oath about what he knows. Alex Rodriguez’s cousin, Yuri Sucart, was also issued a subpoena by MLB.

Mike Piazza presided over the destruction of a 100-year-old soccer team

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Mike Piazza was elected to the Hall of Fame in January of 2016 and inducted in July of 2016. In between those dates he purchased an Italian soccer team, A.C. Reggiana 1919, a member of Italy’s third division. In June of that year he was greeted as a savior in Reggio Emilia, the small Italian town in which the team played. He was the big American sports star who was going to restore the venerable club to its past and rightful place of glory.

There were suggestions by last March that things weren’t going well, but know we know that in less than two years it all fell apart. Piazza and his wife Alicia presided over a hot mess of a business, losing millions of dollars and, this past June, they abruptly liquidated the club. It is now defunct — one year short of its centennial — and a semipro team is playing in its place, trying to acquire the naming rights from Piazza as it wends its way though bankruptcy.

Today at The Athletic, Robert Andrew Powell has a fascinating — no, make that outrageously entertaining — story of how that all went down from the perspective of the Piazzas. Mostly Alicia Piazza who ran the team in its second year when Mike realized he was in over his head. She is . . . something. Her quotes alone are worth the price of admission. For example:

Alicia, who refers to Mike’s ownership dream as “his midlife crisis,” offered up a counter argument.

“Who the f**k ever heard of Reggio Emilia?” she asked. “It’s not Venice. It’s not Rome. My girlfriend said, and you can quote this—and this really depressed me. She said, ‘Honey, you bought into Pittsburgh.’ Like, it wasn’t the New York Yankees. It wasn’t the Mets. It wasn’t the Dodgers. You bought Pittsburgh!”

In their Miami living room, Mike tried to interject but she stopped him.

“And imagine what that feels like, after spending 10 million euros. You bought Pittsburgh!”

At this point it may be worth remembering that Piazza is from Pennsylvania. Eastern Pennsylvania to be sure, but still.

Shockingly, it didn’t end all that well for the Piazzas in Reggio Emilia:

One week later, the Piazzas returned to Reggio Emilia, and were spotted at the team offices. More than a hundred ultras marched into the office parking lot, chanting and demanding answers. Carabinieri—national police aligned with the military—showed up for the Piazzas’ safety. The police advised the Americans to avoid the front door of the complex and exit through the back. Mike assured them it wouldn’t be necessary—he had always enjoyed a good relationship with the fans.

The carabinieri informed him that the relationship had changed. The Piazzas slipped out the back door, under police escort.

The must-read of the week. Maybe the month. Hell, maybe the year. The only thing I can imagine topping it is if someone can tell this story from the perspective of the people in Reggio Emilia. I’m guessing their take is a bit different than the Piazzas.