Corben: We Call It 'Screwball' For A Reason

Billy Corben's new documentary tells the absurd behind-the-scenes story of the Biogenesis scandal that rocked Major League Baseball

Ferrall On The Bench
April 05, 2019 - 9:36 am
Alex Rodriguez Jor Girardi New York Yankees

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Director Billy Corben dropped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss his new documentary, Screwball, which investigates the Biogenesis scandal that rocked Major League Baseball in 2013. While the film centers on Anthony Bosch and Porter Fischer, it also tells the story of Alex Rodriguez.

“I do think he is a very complicated and interesting character,” Corben said of A-Rod on Ferrall on the Bench. “But ultimately, the story we tell is not about A-Rod; he’s sort of collateral damage in this crazy story of the Biogenesis steroid scandal. It was really this crazy, only-in-Miami-Florida story. Basically, the career of the highest-paid baseball player in history effectively ended over a $4,000 debt between a cocaine-addicted fake doctor and his fake-tan addicted (client). A-Rod plays a big role in it because he is the most famous professional baseball client that Tony Bosch – the fake doctor, unlicensed physician – had.”

Rodriguez, of course, was suspended for the 2014 season.

“You’ll recall Alex was the only one of the players ensnared in this scandal who appealed this suspension,” Corben said. “I guess why not? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. He got the longest suspension in the history of the game, so I guess he figured, ‘What the hell? I’ll appeal it.’ By appealing it, of course, it led to a whole other layer of chicanery and just hijinks and possible illegality in this whole situation and basically prolonged the story. It made Alex more a part of it than he otherwise would have been if he just took his lumps, went away and took his suspension. So he becomes much more a part of the story as it goes on.”

Corben said the behind-the-scenes story of this scandal is almost impossible to believe. 

“We call it Screwball for a reason,” he said. “It’s a screwball comedy. Its a farce. We really embrace the absurdity of the whole situation. It’s preposterous. If you were a novelist or a screenwriter and you sent a draft of this script – verbatim from our documentary – to your editor or your producer, you would get fired on page 15. You would never make it to a second draft because it doesn’t make any sense. The motivations of the characters, the decision-making – it’s totally illogical. A lot of it is contrary to their own self-interest. People would read this and go, ‘No human being would act this way. You’re fired. You can’t write for crap. Your characters make no sense. Go away.’ But this is all real. It’s all true.”

Click below to listen to Corben’s interview in its entirety.