“Baseball Cop:” A Scorching Rebuke Of MLB Commish Manfred And His “Investigations”

If you think Major League Baseball’s investigations, conclusions and punishments regarding the sign-stealing scandal were done completely, without bias, or used every available asset to do more than “just enough to appease the public…” think again.

The book, “Baseball Cop” is written by Eddie Dominguez (with Christian Red and Teri Thompson). Dominguez is a former Boston Police Department detective who was hired to join Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations. The unit was created as a result of the Mitchell Report and, according to Dominguez, not welcomed by the commissioner’s office. Dominguez paints a very ugly picture of what the commissioner’s office is really interested in –the appearance of being in control– as opposed to what it should be interested in –truth and justice, regardless of the public’s opinion.

Dominguez’ accounts of the department’s investigations implicate the people at Major League Baseball’s highest levels because they created parallel, meddling investigations into the PED scandal dating back more than a decade. Those same people, with the knowledge of the commissioner’s office, subverted federal agencies and avoided bringing people to justice, according to the author. Dominguez says those actions allowed baseball’s executive vice president for economics and league affairs at the time, Rob Manfred, to appear as though MLB had saved the day.

Manfred gets skewered in this book, and if what Dominguez claims is true, rightfully so.

“Manfred and his Labor Relations Department would put up walls almost every step of the way –everything from preventing us from interviewing players under investigation or, as was the case in the Biogenesis investigation, hiring an outside contractor and retired law enforcement to shadow us and undermine our work.” –“Baseball Cop”

One example is the case of Manny Ramirez. The former Red Sox slugger was with the Dodgers when he was busted for using female fertility drugs to mask PEDs. Dominguez’ DOI unit tried to interview Ramirez in 2009 but the author says Manfred and Labor Relations stonewalled him and refused to allow it, although the DOI was supposed to be independent from MLB’s reach. Four years later, Ramirez’ doctor, Dr. Pedro Bosch and his son Anthony would be exposed in the Biogenesis scandal. There were other cases of interference, Dominguez alleges, including the scuttling of DOI investigations of Yasmani Grandal, Melky Cabrera and eventually Alex Rodriguez.

The author says Manfred, Labor Relations, and the commissioner at the time, who was referred to as “Al from Milwaukee” (Bud Selig) during telephone conference calls intentionally upended the DEA’s investigation into the same person Labor Relations was investigating: Rodriguez. MLB’s interference also impeded the DEA’s abiity to identify and investigate drug traffickers.

“The DEA soon found out that it didn’t have a friend in MLB’s Labor Relations Department when baseball filed a lawsuit against Anthony Bosch and several of his associates, including Carlos Acevedo, the intended targets of the DEA’s wiretap investigation.” –“Baseball Cop”

That’s right, the intended targets of a wiretap. If true, the DEA was close to identifying a whole lot more than the fact A-Rod was actually A-Roid. But baseball’s labor relations unit, led by Manfred, got to Bosch first, turned him for evidence and then claimed credit as the entity that unmasked Rodriguez for the fraud he was.

As far as reads go, the book isn’t perfect. Of course, even “For Whom The Bell Tolls” had its slow spots. The book starts with a prologue of hurt feelings, way too many names and details that probably should have been saved for later. It’s easy to get lost.

Fortunately, things improve from there, but it takes awhile to get to the juicy part… no pun intended. And, I have to say, I was shocked by what I read once we finally get there.

There was an unexpected, interesting part of the book as well: the author’s return to the country of his birth. Dominguez steps back and tells us what it was like as a child in Cuba, trapped there as a non-communist and then finally being allowed to leave in 1966. The book describes his return three decades later as an MLB employee who would become friends with the son of Cuba’s long-entrenched former dictator, Fidel Castro.

The conflict Dominguez has about those interactions butting up against the voice of his mother in his head makes him human and gives the reader the empathy required to believe the blistering accounts of Manfred and others that follow. There is also an interesting sojourn into the area of human trafficking, which includes all kinds of unsavory characters who get players from Cuba to the United States. Dominguez asserts that MLB has had no interest in doing anything about the corruption in that arena.

If true, the book’s overall message is a sad one. Egos and less-than-pure intentions may have led to the exposure and punishment of Alex Rodriguez. But if not for those actions, much more could have been discovered that might have helped keep PEDs out of college and high school locker rooms. As more allegations come out about sign-stealing operations with other players and other teams, including the White Sox under Tony LaRussa, the stories in this offering are more than enough to give fans reason to doubt just how far Manfred and his legion went during their investigation.

Sure, the book is a little difficult to track at times, but it’s definitely worth the read.

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