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Chasing A-Rod

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Meanwhile, more documents were floating around the tanning salons of South Florida, and Gary Jones was still working to monetize them. The last time he’d met Mullin at the Cosmos Diner, the investigator had mentioned that original documents would be worth a lot more than copies on a flash drive. Maybe ten times as much. Jones did the calculation: “A million dollars.”

One Sunday, Fischer was on his way to Ocala, where he’d stored originals of patient records and other documents taken from Bosch. He planned to turn them over to the state health department, which he’d persuaded to investigate Bosch.

Jones kept in touch with his hapless friend. To him, shoveling valuable documents to the health department was one more example of Fischer’s stupidity. That morning, when Jones checked in, Fischer mentioned his Ocala errand.

Jones knew just what buttons to push. He had a new spray-on tanning solution. “Hey, you need to try this new solution of mine. Great color,” Jones said.

On his way home, Fischer met Jones at a Boca tanning salon, where he tried the new solution. A half-hour or so later, Fischer came outside to find the trunk of his car pried open. Four boxes of documents had disappeared, along with a laptop and a handgun.

About a week later, the ever-resourceful Jones ended up with the haul from Fischer’s car, though he wouldn’t say how. He called Mullin, who flew down. On April 16, Mullin slid another envelope across the table at the Cosmos Diner, this one containing $25,000 in cash. MLB again claimed not to know the documents were stolen, but the Boca police report of the break-in says that an investigator working for MLB had called about the incident before the payment.

Major League Baseball had no illusions about Tony Bosch. To start with, there was the fact that Dr. Tony Bosch was a liar. After all, he wasn’t a doctor—though it said he was on the white coat he wore to attend to patients. Bosch had spent a couple of years at a medical school in the Dominican Republic and finished at a medical school in Belize. He returned to Miami and, always in a hurry, jumped into the booming anti-aging business. Why worry about a license? “Tony always believed he was the smartest guy around,” said Tiki Rodriguez. In medicine, he believed he had “a gift,” she said. He told people he could look at their lab tests and into their eyes and know just what they needed. His confidence, along with results like Fischer’s, earned him a steady stream of clients.

And yet Bosch seemed to be constantly broke. “Live like a king, party like a rock star” was a personal motto, according to friends. “It’s Miami,” he liked to say. “My vice.” There were allegations of cocaine use—later, on the advice of counsel, he took the Fifth when asked about them. And then he was generous, one more thing he couldn’t control. There were, for instance, young girlfriends to be spoiled—he always had two, he told people. So money was always his paramount concern.

Once Bosch made his deal, MLB got more than testimony. Bosch turned over the BlackBerry with which he communicated with Rodriguez. Experts extracted the messages. Rodriguez’s team pointed out that the records were fraught with errors—there were three versions from different experts, and some had messages that didn’t appear on others and thus were unreliable.

The exchanges, though, were provocative. In 2012, Rodriguez and Bosch talked about “food.” Rodriguez said he needed pinks or blues or gummies. Bosch met him in Detroit, Tampa, and other places. “Hurry,” Rodriguez wrote at one point. Bosch promised to meet him for Opening Day and during a playoff series in which Rodriguez was underperforming.

The exchanges are tinged with anxiety. Rodriguez seems dependent on the food, viewing it almost as magic. On April 3, he feels “explosive.” “Awesome,” Bosch wrote back a few seconds later. “Go with the same protocol.” Rodriguez didn’t have a great year in 2012—he hit only eighteen home runs during the regular season (a portion of which he missed because of injury) and sometimes joked with friends, “If I was doing them, I should get a refund.” But that changed nothing for MLB. Bosch said that food was code for testosterone and HGH. Rodriguez insisted that food meant food—the kind of nutritional edge he pursued across the planet.

For MLB, two key exchanges refute that explanation.

On April 2, 2012, Bosch uses the term meds in a message to Rodriguez. “Not meds dude. food,” comes the reply a few minutes later. There are many ways to interpret those four words. In the view of MLB’s investigators, Rodriguez was reminding Bosch of their ruse. And for MLB, the clincher was an exchange the day before, on April 1, 2012. That morning, Bosch asked, “Do u think they are going to test?” “Maybe” is A-Rod’s response later that afternoon. But if they tested, Bosch had it covered. A-Rod texted to ask when he should use the “food”: 10:45 for a 1 p.m. game? “10:30,” replied Bosch, as if it is a science of minutes. Rodriguez claimed the close attention to timing was only because he wanted maximum effectiveness from the food at game time; Bosch said it was an effort to avoid detection.


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