How fed up is Scott Boras, one of baseball’s most powerful agents, with the accessibility of performance-enhancing drugs in South Florida?
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So fed up that Boras intends to open a private multi-million dollar sports fitness center for his clients who train in South Florida by next year.
Boras won’t say it explicitly, but his goal is to protect his clients from people like Anthony Bosch and places like the Biogenesis wellness clinic.
Biogenesis, founded by Bosch, allegedly sold PEDs to Alex Rodriguez and a number of major leaguers, according to a report by the Miami New Times last week.
“There has been recently an unusual frequency of Latin players who have been subjected to rogue information and to individuals portraying themselves to be medically trained when they’re not,” Boras said.
“We want to make sure we’re making every effort to advance the credibility and understanding of what major league players must abide by and also to protect them from the influences of many of these supposed medical practitioners who are availing themselves to the players.”
Some may interpret Boras’ actions and comments as too little, too late – Boras has represented several players who are either alleged or confirmed to have used PEDs, including Rodriguez, Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez.
Baseball suspended Ramirez in May 2009 for using a banned substance that, according to ESPN.com, he received from Bosch’s father Pedro, with Anthony Bosch serving as a contact between the two. Boras was Ramirez’s agent at that time, and also when Ramirez suddenly retired in April 2011 due to a drug issue.
Boras, who earned a doctorate in industrial pharmacology at the University of the Pacific, said he had no knowledge of any of his clients using PEDs, and began advising players in the late 1990s that the drugs “dramatically” affect joints, tendons and ligaments, effectively shortening careers.
“My answer to this is that we’re only as good as the information that we have,” Boras said. “These processes (at the training centers) are designed to further the communication, the understanding and our knowledge so we can do our best to promote the integrity of the game, advance the careers of players and also allow the teams that employ them to have a greater sense of trust and understanding about players.
“My belief is that all of us are accountable. We all — and I’m talking about myself, union officials, owners, club personnel — we all could have done a better job. But I always say the best thing we can do is learn from the situation and then take aggressive steps to ensure that we’re doing everything possible to advance the integrity of the game.”
Boras said he began planning to open the South Florida version of the Boras Sports Training Institute in Sept. 2012. He does not charge clients to use such centers, which feature a variety of training facilities and are staffed by trainers and sports psychologists.
The South Florida institute, Boras said, will be run by one of his newest employees — Miami resident and former major league outfielder Alex Ochoa, who spent last season as the first-base coach for the Boston Red Sox.
Boras’ original center opened at Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, Calif., in 2003. Steve Odgers, a former Chicago White Sox strength and conditioning coach, heads Boras’ sports fitness program. Don Carman, a former major league pitcher who later became a sports psychologist, heads the mental-development program.
Boras said the idea is to “bring about a certain level of assurance that the players we represent are certainly given the best information and best professional training. We intend to certainly work with the team trainers and the clubs in sharing and advancing information about what the players are doing. We feel we can best avoid all of the outside resources that are attacking these young men and providing them with false information and less than licensed professional medical assistance.”
Boras is adamant: He wants the game cleaned up.
“I think players are well-intended,” Boras said. “They want to follow the integrity of the game to the closest scrutiny. But the reality is, a lot of them in the ‘90s didn’t know. They didn’t know the impact … they didn’t know what the rules were because there is a sub-culture that operates.
“Now we want to eliminate that. We want to be very clear. I know my clients are vehement about wanting to make sure that our game is viewed with the proper integrity and their performances are viewed appropriately so that this is eradicated from the game.”