By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
"That's the first moment I thought, Oh, shit. I'm in the drug trade," Fischer says.
It's also the moment he began planning his exit strategy. The problem was, Bosch quickly abandoned his weekly payment plan. Pressed about the matter, Bosch claimed the clinic's income had fallen recently by $30,000 per month "because of Cabrera." (Bosch did eventually make two $600 payments to Fischer.)
Fischer went home and researched the name. Then-Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera had been suspended 50 games beginning in August for failing a drug test. It was then that Fischer learned of Bosch's alleged links to slugger Manny Ramirez's case.
"That's when I started documenting shit," Fischer says. "I [thought], Look, if this motherfucker doesn't pay me, there's going to be collateral damage."
Fischer began discreetly taking Biogenesis records home. (He claims the clinic's manager, Ricky Martinez, had actually requested that he store them somewhere.) Bosch wasn't around much, perhaps because he was distracted by money woes — including thousands in unpaid child support to two ex-wives.
One day, Fischer grabbed four composition notebooks from Bosch's desk. The Biogenesis owner's name was written on the front, and they were packed with hand-scrawled notes about clients, drug formulas, and payments.
Finally, he confronted Bosch, who had returned from a trip to Detroit. (According to Fischer, the trip took place during last year's Yankees-Tigers playoff series, when A-Rod was benched for his ineffectual hitting. Bosch had been called to the slugger's side, Fischer claims, to help him right his swing.)
"I said, 'Hey, how was the trip? Where's my money?' " Fischer recalls. "Bosch looked me straight in the face and said, 'I don't have it. You're not going to get it. I'm Tony Bosch. What the hell are you going to do about it?' "
Fischer suddenly was a small boy again, being pushed around for no good reason. "That's when the switch went off," he says.
The way Fischer tells it, the frantic phone call came January 26, the Saturday before New Times' story about Biogenesis was scheduled to land. Fischer had told only a few people he'd been speaking to a reporter, including a friend whom Fischer requested New Times not identify. Rumors were running wild. After New Times had called every player named in the records for comment that Friday, someone leaked details of the coming bombshell to the New York Daily News and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
The friend sounded panicked.
Here's how Fischer remembers the call: "Porter!" he hollered. "I need to come over to your place now!"
Fischer was rattled. He checked his .32 Beretta and armed the alarm on his front door. Then he gave his friend his home address. That would be the first of several mistakes he made in the manic months that followed New Times' story on Biogenesis. Fischer would soon find himself burned by his friends, by Major League Baseball, and finally by state investigators.
The first betrayal came from that friend, who showed up around midnight, panting nervously with a simple message: "[One of Bosch's associates] will kill both of us..." he claimed, unless the story was softened.
Fischer began to panic. "What can I do?" he asked. "I just want this to blow over now."
"Let me see the notebooks," the friend allegedly said.
Fischer thought for a minute. Then he went to the closet, grabbed the four handwritten notebooks in which Tony Bosch had kept daily records of his patients, and handed them over. His friend quickly announced he could get them back to Bosch, Fischer says, no questions asked.
As far as Fischer was concerned, that was fine — he had copies of everything and knew New Times' story would come out soon. "The whole situation was crazy, and I was panicking," Fischer says. "I figured, I already did the damage. What did I need the originals for anymore?"
On Sunday, two days before the story went online, Fischer visited his friend at his business. The friend handed over an envelope with $4,000 in hundreds, Fischer says. "See, I got you your money back from Tony," he said, smiling.
"So you gave him the notebooks back, huh?" Fischer said.
"Oh, no, I told him they were destroyed," the friend said.
Fischer's stomach dropped. "So what did you actually do with them?"
"I gave 'em to A-Rod's people," his friend said, chuckling.
On April 12, the New York Times reported that MLB officials believed Rodriguez had "arranged an intermediary" to buy documents from the clinic. An A-Rod spokesman denied that report.
On Tuesday, New Times' story went viral, and Fischer says the friend who'd taken the notebooks called him in a panic. "This is the worst it could possibly be!" he yelled. "[New Times] has everything! I'm leaving town — now."
Fischer also packed a bag and went to a relative's house near Orlando. The story soon landed on the front page of the New York Times and led every newscast from ESPN to CNN. Fischer's records had threatened the careers of some of the biggest, wealthiest names in the sport.
"I started to feel my safety was in serious jeopardy," Fischer says. "If you've been playing ball for 15 years and suddenly you don't get in the Hall of Fame, you might just want to blame that on whoever was responsible. Or maybe Jose, his third cousin removed who lives in Hialeah and doesn't get a check in the mail anymore, is a little bent out of shape about the whole thing."