Anthony Bosch Says Baseball’s Anti-Doping Efforts Are Still In The Dark Ages

The mastermind behind the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal that rocked Major League Baseball almost a decade ago and resulted in former Yankee Alex Rodriguez’s season-long suspension, says that the sport’s current lockout and the halt in drug testing of players is not all bad news .

“You have a window of opportunity if you want to look at it like that,” says Anthony Bosch. “But this is where the deficiency lies. I was hoping that (MLB) learned something about this whole thing with Biogenesis, but apparently they didn’t. This is not about just pressing restart and having the same Joint Drug Agreement in place. They should look at this as an opportunity to revamp the (JDA). Because the old one doesn’t work.”

An Associated Press report last week said that in addition to MLB owners locking out players starting on December 2, 2021 — after the latest collective bargaining agreement expired — players are also no longer being subjected to drug testing since the JDA expired that same day. The JDA, negotiated by the league and the Players Association, was first implemented with penalties for violators in 2004.

AP NEWSExclusive: MLB, players stop drug testing during lockout

Bosch, 58, says baseball’s drug-testing program is beyond antiquated, however, and that Biogenesis — and before that, the BALCO federal steroids-trafficking case which ensnared home run king Barry Bonds and other professional athletes — should have been wakeup calls that the sport’s anti-doping efforts need to be revamped to keep up with the ever-evolving science of PEDs.

“They don’t care about the issue enough,” says Bosch, referring to MLB. “They dealt with Biogenesis, they dealt with BALCO because they had to. If not, it’s egg on their face. If BALCO and Biogenesis didn’t happen? Business as usual — ‘We’ll keep on testing, see what happens. Oh, only five people got caught, (the drug-testing program) is working.’

“No it’s not working,” adds Bosch.

Last week, when the MLB owners met in Orlando amid the continuing labor stoppage, commissioner Rob Manfred — who works for the 30 MLB owners — was asked if the AP report about no drug testing was accurate.

“It is. It’s accurate. Our legal authority to conduct drug tests expired with the expired agreement,” Manfred told reporters. “It’s a topic of concern. Labor disputes make topics of concern. It’s another one caused by the dispute.”

According to Bosch, there is good reason for concern when it comes to doping in sports, especially baseball.

“These guys never stopped taking performance-enhancing substances. It’s always been there, even after BALCO, after Biogenesis,” says Bosch. “There’s always somebody to pick up the pieces, people managing the performance-enhancing substances for these players. They’re not going to stop doing what they were doing before.”

And one reason why athletes are still drawn to performance-enhancers, Bosch says, is that doping continues to become more and more sophisticated, and cheaters can outwit the testing protocols and policies.

“They thought I was sophisticated? You should see it now,” says Bosch, who ended up serving more than a year behind bars after he was indicted by a federal grand jury vote from a separate Drug Enforcement Adminstration investigation of the Coral Gables (Fla.) Biogenesis anti-aging clinic . “The things we can do with stem cells, with other drugs that are out there, they’re off-labeling more and more. It’s the evolution of functional medicine, which is what I did.”

Bosch says that if you’re a player who still gets caught using old-school, hardcore steroids — like Stanozolol, which New York Mets player Robinson Cano reportedly tested positive for, triggering his 2021 season-long suspension — “you’re an idiot .”

“You’re going to do these crazy-a— steroids, like Winstrol (the brand name for Stanozolol)? There are so many other new things that are better, safer and more effective, and under the radar,” says Bosch, while emphasizing that he is long removed from the PED-supplier business.

“There are so many substances, so many compounds, that MLB, or whoever is policing this, they have no clue about,” adds Bosch. “They have no clue. They don’t have an understanding of how it’s done, they don’t have an understanding on when it’s done, and who’s doing it.”

The Players Association declined comment. The Minor League drug-testing program is still in effect during the current lockout.

Before Rodriguez accepted his season-long suspension in 2014 as a result of being implicated in the Biogenesis scandal, he made one last-ditch effort to fight his MLB-administered discipline, filing a lawsuit in federal court in January 2014 that named the league, the players’ union and then commissioner Bud Selig as defendants.

Attached to that lawsuit was the entire ruling by independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who presided over Rodriguez’s arbitration hearing the previous fall. The ruling included detailed descriptions of Rodriguez’s doping calendar and regimen as designed by Bosch, including Bosch supplying the then Yankee slugger with testosterone “troches,” or oral tablets that can placed under the tongue and which dissolve quickly.

But if those types of banned substances seem sophisticated now, in 2022, Bosch says that the landscape has changed dramatically.

“People get caught because you’re still in the “Steroid Era.” Or you’re testing like it was the “Steroid Era.” You’re not testing for coenzymes, you’re not testing for peptides. You’re not testing for other compounds,” says Bosch. “It’s become the bio-hacking era.”

And he says it’s also naive to think that the PED issue in sports is on the decline. Look no further than the Olympics doping controversy involving Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva.

Bosch says that he doesn’t “have anything against Manfred personally,” and that Bosch is still in touch with the commissioner on occasion. Bosch served as a key witness for baseball during Rodriguez’s 2013 arbitration hearing.

Now, nearly a decade later, however, Bosch thinks that MLB and Manfred haven’t evolved with the times when it comes to trying to eradicate the PED culture from the sport.

“They don’t have boots on the ground. All those guys are lawyers. None of them are doing performance-enhancing substances. None are doing functional medicine,” says Bosch. “How can you police something that you can’t smell, touch, that you’re not in the business of? You don’t know what’s going on. You’ve got to have foot soldiers. They’re just covering their a—. That’s the way I see it.

“It’s just another black eye for MLB at the end of the day, and for Manfred as commissioner,” says Bosch.

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