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Stark: Biogenesis scandal set to boil over

Commentary

We could be on the verge of the biggest drug bust in sports history

Originally Published: June 4, 2013

By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

Since the day in January that the name, Biogenesis, first appeared in the vocabulary of baseball, weve been waiting for this news, this story, this headline:

BASEBALL SEEKS TO SUSPEND (FILL IN THE NAME)

Well, now we can fill in those blanks. Cant we? With the names of Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, just for starters. But thats not all. The only reason to stop at those two names is that the rest wont fit in a single headline.

What T.J. Quinn, Mike Fish and Pedro Gomez are reporting is that the list of players who face possible suspensions is actually much longer than the dynamic duo of Braun and A-Rod.

[+] EnlargeRyan Braun

Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY SportsBraun is once again in the midst of another PED scandal.

Longer than a lineup card. Longer than two lineup cards. Possibly even longer than that.

And if you believe the rumor mill, Braun and A-Rod might not even be the biggest names on that list. But were getting way ahead of ourselves on that front.

Where this goes from here all depends on baseballs new best friend, Tony Bosch. Hes the human smoking gun in this case, the kind of source that rarely comes along when PED rumors sweep this beautiful land we live in.

Twenty-five years after the Bash Brothers, 15 years after Roger Maris record fell, we know all too well that PEDs have forever altered the landscape of baseball. But what we know about most of that period is fuzzier than wed like to believe, just because weve had so few facts to work with.

In the beginning, there were no failed tests, no announced suspensions, no proof, practically no rules for that matter. Just a giant guessing game played by amateur detectives by coast to coast.

And, of course, by that best-selling author, Jose Canseco.

But now, along comes Tony Bosch, a man who took notes, wrote down names and may suddenly be on the verge of actually naming those names. If the price is right. If theres enough in it for him.

Our understanding is that baseballs intrepid investigative team doesnt officially have a deal with him yet. But if indeed they finalize that arrangement and Bosch really does agree to tell all about Biogenesis and its world-famous customers, this could make BALCO look like a teenage pot-party bust.

A 100-game suspension for Alex Rodriguez? If baseball were to go that route and then survive the inevitable appeal, it would be, essentially, a career-ending sentence for a man who once appeared to be the heir to Barry Bonds throne.

A 100-game suspension for Ryan Braun? If that were to happen, the damage to Brauns reputation and, more significantly, to the entire franchise of the Milwaukee Brewers would be almost incalculable.

Remember, it was just a year-and-a-half ago that they waved goodbye to

Elsa/Getty ImagesWho knows when we will see A-Rod on the field again.

Beyond those two, theres no use in even speculating about who else might show up in Tony Boschs Notebook of Doom. Youve seen the names that have already been reported. There could be more where they came from. Many more.

If baseball obtains all those names, and Bosch supplies proof that he sold those players the types of substances his notebooks suggest he did, this then becomes the Biggest Drug Bust in the History of Sports. Period.

Its possible that only a handful of those names will be players who have ever tested positive. For anything. But remember, thats not a factor in a case of this sort. Not anymore.

These days, the commissioners office is empowered by the Joint Drug Agreement to suspend players without a positive test. All it needs is proof that they used a banned PED, or possessed one, or did business with someone like Tony Bosch and then lied about it when confronted.

So if baseball does make a deal with this guy, it had better hope he kept a few receipts. Proof, after all is a fundamental concept of truth, justice and the American way. Which means it is not to be taken lightly.

And that, friends, is why the headline says baseball will seek to suspend these players — not that it is going to announce those suspensions in the next 15 minutes.

Now if you think this is the kind of blockbuster that will clean up sports forever, youre dreaming.

“Unfortunately,” said an executive of one team Tuesday night, “there are still going to be guys who think they can get away with it.”

But the bigger they are, the harder they fall, and the greater the impact on everyone who contemplates whether or not to dare to cross that line.

Well, if Tony Bosch sings the song that baseball firmly believes hes about to sing, some of the biggest names in this sport could pay a monstrous price. And the aftershocks will be rattling baseballs Richter Scale for generations to come.

Jayson Stark |
ESPN.com

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