But she also sees damage. She spooled out the now-familiar story as to its causes. His father left the family when Alex was 10; he lived with his mother and lost touch with his father. The absence of a father made him the man of the house, big pressure for a teenager. “I was in a full sprint to make sure my mother never worked again,” he said.
Rodriguez’s success added to the emotional distortion. “Everything was about growing him as a baseball player,” Cynthia said. “He wasn’t learning anything but how to hit the fastball.
“What happens to everything else? It’s stunted, completely.” Without an authority figure, he listened willy-nilly to the advice of whoever was with him at the time.
“I used to say to Alex, ‘Don’t you just know what to do? Don’t you just have that voice in your head that tells you?’ He said, ‘No. I don’t.’ I think, looking back, he was probably uncomfortable with his place in the world.”
Later, when their marriage was crumbling, Cynthia thought a lot about Rodriguez’s issues. One day, she ran into Cal Ripken, one of his baseball heroes and a friend.
“What is it about Alex that I’m not seeing?” she asked Ripken. “What is it that I don’t get?”
“Cynthia, let me tell you the problem,” he said, and told her a story. “I might be wearing a suit, and Alex will see me and say, ‘Cal, I love your suit. Where did you get that suit?’ Then somebody else might walk in the locker room, and they have a completely different kind of suit on. And Alex might say, ‘Hey, I love your suit.’
“Cynthia, he tries to please everyone. That’s the problem.”
Rodriguez would often be charged with insincerity, but Cynthia didn’t see it that way. “He’s trying to say the right thing, trying to fit in. I would say immature, not insincere.”
At the end of May, Team A-Rod got what seemed to be a crucial break. O’Connell’s people got a cryptic call. A man on the phone said Bosch wanted to meet. A rendezvous was set up at a restaurant in the lobby of the Fortune House, a condominium development.
At the appointed time, Bosch appeared. He looked a little bedraggled. He’d been staying at a hotel under an assumed name. O’Connell, a lean, shaven-headed former federal prosecutor, came armed with an affidavit asserting that Bosch hadn’t administered PEDs to Rodriguez, as he’d seemed to indicate in his carefully worded public statement issued through his lawyer five months earlier. O’Connell handed it across the table.
Bosch examined the document. He’d always wanted to be seen as a stand-up guy, not a rat. Earlier, Rodriguez had given him $25,000 to retain a lawyer, which looked suspicious to MLB, but Bosch was grateful. He felt he and A-Rod were in this together.
Now, however, Bosch was noncommittal. To O’Connell, he seemed to be feeling out the situation, pondering the amount a signature on the document might cost. “I lost a $5 million business,” Bosch said, “and I don’t have $125 million like a ballplayer.”
O’Connell told Bosch he wasn’t authorized to pay him anything but said he would take a request back to the lawyers. He pressed. “What do you want?”
Bosch was cagey and vague. “I got it, I figured it out. I’ll get back to you,” was all he said, and he left.
Now it was MLB’s turn, and Rob Manfred, a gap-toothed, intense, Harvard-trained lawyer, had come up with an ingenious stratagem to exert leverage. MLB sued Bosch (and several others) for “tortious interference.” By delivering performance-enhancing drugs to Major League players, the suit charges, Bosch had somehow interfered with MLB’s joint drug agreement. It was far-fetched, to say the least, but a brilliant tactical move.
Bosch had gotten the message from MLB, and it struck hard. He didn’t have the funds to contest a lawsuit. “You can’t fight Major League Baseball,” said a person close to him. “You have to deal.” And then, cunningly, MLB had sued Bosch’s brother as well, who had a lot to lose. A phone call was placed to MLB: Bosch wanted to come in from the cold.
Of course, his lawyer asked for money. Manfred told him he couldn’t pay for testimony. He could, though, offer other compensation. MLB dropped both Bosch and his brother from the lawsuit. Bosch also had concerns about his safety, and Manfred said MLB would pay for a security detail for a year, a commitment of over $800,000. MLB also agreed to pay his legal fees. Bosch had three lawyers, who earned more than $1 million from June to October, plus a PR person. For MLB, the price was worth it. They had their prize.