By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
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By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
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As far as Fischer was concerned, that was fine—he had copies of everything. "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, 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, Fischer's story went viral. He says the friend who'd taken the notebooks called him in a panic. "This is the worst it could possibly be!" he yelled. The friend announced he was leaving town.
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," he 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."
MLB soon dispatched a team of investigators to South Florida. They were led by Dan Mullin, a tough former New York Police Department deputy chief who'd been appointed to head baseball's new Department of Investigations.
Meanwhile, two senior vice presidents—Pat Courtney and Rob Manfred—visited the New Times office. Their request was simple: Share the documents. (New Times declined.)
By February, Fischer had returned to Miami and moved into his mother's home. It was surrounded by fences and tall hedges so he could spot anyone coming.
Reporters had been driving by for weeks. An MLB investigator one day left a business card that later found its way into an ESPN report: "We know time is $," he had scrawled on the back. "Please call."
Fischer didn't respond. A surreal incident on February 19 convinced him that keeping a low profile was a wise move. He was driving home from the gym when he noticed a beige Honda turn onto his block. Warily, he drove past his house and parked nearby. After waiting a few minutes, he pulled out—but the Honda was parked outside the lot.
Fischer sped out with the Honda in pursuit. Sweating, he called a friend named Pete Carbone. "What the hell do I do?" he yelled.
Carbone convinced Fischer to meet him at a nearby Winn-Dixie. They quickly traded cars. The Honda tailed Carbone in Fischer's car. A few minutes later, Carbone was boxed in between two other cars. He called the cops.
A report filed by police sheds little light on why the men were chasing Fischer. The three other drivers—Lewis Perry, Ernesto Sam, and Julio Moreiras—all worked for Precise Protective Research, a private eye firm. They told police they were "working an investigation" when Carbone began threatening them. (Carbone claimed one man flashed a gun at him, according to the police report.) No charges were filed, and Carbone declined to be interviewed for this story.
"They were either working for Major League Baseball or A-Rod or another ballplayer involved," Fischer claims today, though he has no proof.
On February 25, Fischer finally decided to meet with two MLB investigators, both ex-NYPD cops.
They started with the carrots: They'd pay Fischer just to talk. If things worked out, maybe they could even move him to a gated community. And there would be justice for the cheaters.
Fischer replied, "I don't give a shit about you or your ballplayers. This is about self-preservation to me."
So the ex-cops switched tactics: If someone were to sue you, they warned, it could be expensive. MLB could indemnify him from damages.
"I'm not worried about court," Fischer countered. "I'm worried about a bullet in my head."
A deal was hatched: If 10 days went by and no newspaper or TV station reported Fischer's name, he'd meet them again. The MLB representatives agreed, on the condition that Fischer would send them a few pages of Bosch's files.
When there was no word in the media, they agreed to meet in a parking lot. Fischer arrived to find the pair in a Chevy Tahoe with tinted windows. They rolled down the window and hailed him into the backseat. He slid in next to one agent, while another turned around with a grin and wordlessly handed Fischer an envelope. Inside was $5,000 cash.