In the last 24 hours Al Jazeera, seeking publicity for a program it will air later today, has reported that a pharmacist it investigated acknowledged sending HGH to various professional athletes, including Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman. There's already been loud, public denials from one of the implicated athletes.
By now none of us are surprised when a story like this breaks. I have no opinion on the truthfulness of the report and frankly, I have a hard time caring one way or the other. What I will find interesting is how MLB will respond. I don't have much more regard for Rob Manfred's integrity than I have for that of various current presidential candidates, and I continue to believe that the Biogenesis investigation violated both state and federal law, not to mention a basic sense of morality and ethical reserve. As an ex-prosecutor I understand the instinct for aggression when you're chasing bad guys, but I'm convinced that Manfred crossed the line. What's more, I think he crossed the line for little in the way of actual gain for the institutions he was charged with protecting. His motivations for that, as a man whose boss was soon to retire and whose position was about to open up for the for first time in a generation, are as obvious as they are troubling.
I'm sure there will be more details forthcoming. I've got no intention of watching the report myself, because, as noted above, I don't really care if Howard and Zimmerman used HGH 4 years ago (before testing, but after HGH was banned as a PED by MLB). I do care and will watch to see how MLB responds. Al Jazeera isn't any more or less reputable than the weekly paper that broke the Biogenesis story, and if the pharmacist in question has the records he implies that he has and MLB can obtain them (hopefully without violating any laws), they'll have as much evidence as they had to hang ARod and Braun and others. If they aren't as aggressive as they were then, that will suggest some interesting things about Mr. Manfred, and will let us know whether MLB's league offices believes they've engaged in sufficient self-flagellation to put the memories of its complicity in the Bonds and Mcgwire era where they belong. If not, well, it may not be a red letter moment for the principles articulated in the due process clause.