More than a year after the MLB suspended over a dozen players for being involved in what would become de facto shorthand for cheating in baseball, the feds are actually charging seven separate people linked with the now-defunct Biogenesis “wellness” clinic, alleging that they provided athletes of all stripes, sports, and ages with steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. While it would be easy to make a joke about the glacial pace of the federal justice system, the five-year saga of the PED saga that effectively ended former shortstop and current third baseman Alex Rodriguez’s lock on the Hall of Fame is taking on a new shape. For anyone that needs a refresher, ESPN has compiled a helpful timeline of the Biogenesis scandal and the scandalous sojourn of the company’s founder, Anthony Bosch.
Bosch, who has been cooperating with the federal investigation since June 2013 and will be a credible witness in the case, was among the seven people charged, along with “Bosch associate Carlos Acevedo; Juan Carlos Nunez, a go-between with the players; Jorge ‘Oggi’ Velazquez, a Bosch supplier; and Lazaro ‘Laser’ Collazo, a former University of Miami pitching coach,” according to the Miami Herald. One of A-Rod’s cousins, Yuri Sucart, rounds out the list, although their relationship seems to be largely incidental, as there’s no evidence of any contact between the two family members. The Biogenesis head allegedly purchased steroids on the black market and then found doctors willing to write prescriptions while he operated under the guise of several different businesses, per the Miami newspaper.
Via ESPN’s timeline, we now know that the Drug Enforcement Administration called this case “Operation Strikeout,” which is hilarious. It’s also important to note that the agency is operating outside the sphere of the MLB’s own investigation into the Biogenesis debacle, which has been highlighted in the league’s tumultuous efforts to stick it as hard as humanly possible to Alex Rodriguez, culminating in a 211-game suspension issued last August, which was dropped to 162 games in January. A-Rod is currently serving the suspension as a member of the New York Yankees, and his absence happened to coincide with Derek Jeter’s final season.
The investigation, set in motion by a disgruntled Biogenesis employee who was upset that Bosch had not repaid a loan in a timely fashion, marked the MLB’s most expensive effort to catch steroid users in the league’s history, per USA Today, an effort which saw its arguable over-zealousness peak with the purchase of stolen clinic documents in an effort to extricate Rodriguez from the league. The lawsuit over the suspension, which concluded in February, when Rodriguez accepted his suspension, was equally contentious and dire in tone.
“When baseball learns of possible PED violations, Commissioner (Bud) Selig made clear we have no choice but respond aggressively,” the MLB’s vice president of labor, Rob Manfred, told USAToday. “I believe that over the long haul, the Biogenesis case will cause players to avoid PED use.” As for the DEA’s case, it is charging Bosch with “conspiring to distribute controlled substances,” according to the Miami Herald, and every one of the Biogenesis defendants are expected in Miami court this afternoon.