A Baltimore County man who has been implicated by the Web site The Smoking Gun as a key informant in baseball's steroid scandal has denied any association with the federal government's investigation into illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
In an exclusive interview with The Baltimore Sun yesterday, Andrew Michael "Mike" Bogdan admitted to helping the FBI in a real-estate fraud case as part of a plea agreement. But he said he did not use his close friendship with former Orioles outfielder Larry Bigbie to assist the FBI in nabbing one of baseball's primary steroid distributors.
"It sounds like Mike Bogdan single-handedly was bringing down Major League Baseball," said Bogdan, while sitting in his rowhome in the Eastwood area of Dundalk. "I just had the pleasure of being friends with Larry Bigbie."
Bogdan, 43, an unemployed property manager, said he never used or ordered steroids for himself or anyone else and that the Internet report on his involvement in the case was "totally absurd."
The Smoking Gun reported Wednesday that Bogdan participated in a federal sting that led the FBI to Kirk Radomski, the former New York Mets clubhouse attendant who admitted to supplying anabolic steroids and human growth hormone to players throughout the major leagues.
The story suggests Bogdan used his friendship with Bigbie, whom he met in 2003 at a Canton bar, to contact Radomski. The report alleges Bogdan wore federal wiretaps when meeting with Radomski and ordered steroid packages at the behest of the FBI - presumably to lessen his pending federal sentence after pleading guilty in 2001 to charges of wire fraud and making false statements in a real-estate scam.
"I don't want this to go so far out of line where more innocent people are affected by this," Bogdan said. "I want to clarify that the stuff on the Web site is absurd. It's disturbing because it is so absurd and false."
Smoking Gun editor Bill Bastone stood by his story and said it was "no surprise" that Bogdan disavowed much of the information since he was reluctant to confirm most of the details during their multiple telephone conversations.
"He attempted to distance himself from active cooperation on ballplayers," Bastone said. "I think it's very clear and obvious that he did what we reported he did."
The New York Times in yesterday's editions cited two anonymous sources confirming Bogdan's involvement as an FBI informant. Also, as part of an unsealed federal affidavit in the Radomski case, the unnamed source is listed as a former FBI subject who had pleaded to real-estate fraud charges.
Furthermore, the affidavit reveals a face-to-face meeting between the source and Radomski in New York City on Sept. 30, 2005 - a meeting that Radomski mentions in his new book, Bases Loaded, as being between himself and a "friend of a friend" who he later realized was an informant.
Bogdan confirmed yesterday that he met Radomski for the first and last time that day, when the two went to lunch and a Mets game as guests of Bigbie, then with the Colorado Rockies.
But Bogdan stresses that other details about that day, included in Radomski's book and the Smoking Gun article, were inaccurate. He said he didn't wear a wire to record his conversations with Radomski and that he never spoke to Radomski again.
Radomski alleges in his book - backed by the federal affidavit - that he later sent steroid shipments to the informant at an address in San Jose, Calif., which proved to be part of the federal sting.
"I've never even been to California," Bogdan said.
A lifelong Baltimore-area resident, Bogdan said he and Bigbie quickly became buddies after their initial meeting.
They remain friends and talked by phone Wednesday about the Internet report, Bogdan said. Bigbie, who played with the Orioles from 2001 to 2005, was named in the Mitchell Report in December 2007 and hasn't played in the big leagues since. Bogdan said Bigbie will be starting his second season in Japan this spring.
During Bigbie's Orioles career, however, Bogdan became a fixture at Camden Yards - often wearing a Bigbie jersey and accompanying the outfielder's girlfriend in the players' family section - and at times gained passage into the clubhouse after games.
Although many Orioles were friendly with Bogdan, some weren't sure what to think of him.
"I remember seeing him outside our bus at like 2 a.m. picking up [Bigbie's] suitcases after a trip. And I thought that was bizarre," ex-Oriole David Segui said.
Bogdan is in the middle of serving five years of probation for his involvement in the real-estate scheme. He could have served up to five years in prison, but he said he received leniency partially because he has a serious heart condition. His cooperation in the real-estate case also helped, he said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Childs Walker contributed to this article.