The exercise in TV toggling began at 8 p.m. on Sunday with remote clicks between a Golden Globes telecast feting fine thespians you'd see starring on brilliant shows such as Breaking Bad to a 60 Minutes program featuring a bad actor you'd find being chased by Crockett and Tubbs on reruns of Miami Vice.
Anthony Bosch had a cheesy '80s look about him -- slicked-back hair, a Miami tan and a pink, open-collared shirt under his suit -- when he sat down with CBS newsman Scott Pelley. In the interview, Bosch described his unseemly role in juicing Alex Rodriguez for more than two seasons as the owner of an anti-aging clinic that supplied PEDs and detailed the crude threats and bribes he allegedly received from A-Rod's circle after the ruse blew up in a Miami New Times story last year.
This was cop-show stuff: Bosch said he injected Rodriguez personally, whenever and wherever, and once drew A-Rod's blood in the bathroom stall of a chic South Beach hotspot in the thick of an oblivious crowd. He also claimed his girlfriend received a sinister text from an A-Rod associate, which said, in Spanish, that Bosch "would not see the end of the year" after he refused to sign an affidavit swearing he'd never administered PEDs to the Yankees third baseman. "I was in a dark place," Bosch told Pelley, explaining his decision to cooperate with MLB.
So why believe a hard-drinking con man? Why believe a hustler whose medical credentials are all but written on a cocktail napkin? (He has been cited for practicing without a license.) Why believe a fraudulent soul who says he made $12,000 a month off A-Rod but had the gall to tell Pelley that he was administering PEDs to ensure athletes took dope safely? Why should arbitrator Fredric Horowitz -- who upheld 162 games of the 211-game ban MLB sought for Rodriguez -- have put any stock in a rat's tale?
Think Leo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp. They had a dapper glow at the Golden Globes as two diverse talents known for their history of great work, with both cutting their teeth in conman flicks and mob tales where the bad guys become the moles, where betrayal is part of the game. Informants spill secrets; and the cops lap it up. The drama is in the flip.
In many ways, Bosch's most important role hasn't been simply catching Rodriguez, but providing MLB with the template of a doping scheme. Granted, the whole episode has creepy shadows to it, with MLB buying records and protection for Bosch, but drug investigations seldom unfold without deals for dirt involving nefarious characters. Pushers and users don't wear halos. MLB didn't just have Bosch's word (which meant little); it had documented proof through hundreds of text messages and corroborating witnesses (which meant everything). As MLB's drug enforcer and chief operating officer Rob Manfred told 60 Minutes -- in a move to counter Rodriguez's lawyer on the show, angering the players union -- "There was no witness that ever came in the case and said, 'Tony Bosch isn't telling the truth.'" Thirteen other players took their medicine without appeal. Not Rodriguez, clinging to a smear campaign.
As Switzerland in the middle of the bad blood, Horowitz heard and parsed all the evidence, and delivered a judgment that will be challenged by Rodriguez in federal court, but very unlikely upheld. A-Rod is out. At the end of the 60 Minutes segment, in a punctuating sentence, Pelley said, "Part of [Bud Selig's] legacy is the establishment of the toughest anti-doping rules in all of American pro sports."
Somewhere, Selig levitated on a cloud and A-Rod shouted, "See, it's all about Bud's legacy." Whatever the reflex, the most important result is an end to an assault on the record books by a superstar fueled by steroids and aided by chemists, by a player who took from the game but did not give back. If the season-long suspension marks the end of A-Rod in a major league uniform, at least Willie Mays and Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth won't be lapped by yet another flaxseed phony. Barry Bonds did enough damage, didn't he?
How did Bonds pull off the record heist? What did he have that A-Rod doesn't? Greg Anderson. He was the personal trainer who went to prison for Bonds rather than tattle on the codes and calendar details after being nabbed in the BALCO case. Anderson zipped it. Bosch coughed it up, and in the process, divulged the blueprint of a doping scheme that likely plays out in clubhouses around the league. With a text-message code word for testosterone lozenges -- "gummies," instantly stealing the innocence from Gummy Bears -- Bosch gave A-Rod a protocol for taking PEDs before a game. "They're so small that you could literally, while sitting in the dugout, take it, put it in your mouth," said Bosch, "and people could think it's a sunflower seed or a piece of candy or a piece of gum, for that matter." Together, with a cocktail that included human growth hormone, Rodriguez could benefit from the hit of testosterone but have the magic potion vanish from his system before any post-game urine sample was taken. Test tip from Bosch: catch the urine in mid-stream. Works every time.
Did it pay off? Often PEDs don't get eye-popping results in the end, but they do help stall career collapse. So, it's difficult to know what Bosch accomplished for A-Rod. The timing of the Rodriguez-Bosch partnership is interesting, though. They met at the end of July 2010, two months after a Canadian doctor Rodriguez had been seeing, Anthony Galea, was charged with ferrying human growth hormone across the U.S. border, and in the middle of a summer when A-Rod's average was slumping at .270. He was stuck at home run No. 599. Rodriguez wanted to know what Bosch had given slugger Manny Ramirez to add pop to his bat during 2008 and 2009. "Rodriguez cared. Rodriguez wanted to know," said Bosch, adding, "He would study the dosages because he wanted to achieve all his human performance or, in this case, sports performance objectives. And the more important one was the 800 Home Run Club. … Which was only going to have one member: Alex Rodriguez."
Some records are made to be broken. Others demand protection from a break-in. Although there are lawsuits and stunts to come by Rodriguez and his legal team and Bosch faces the possibility of criminal charges pending a grand jury proceeding, a bit of channel surfing on Sunday night proved that bad actors don't get rewards. With Rodriguez and Bosch -- twins in deception, couples in a con -- they get what they deserve: a booby prize.