I know I'm just a rock DJ, but I do have a sports opinion or two. And after what's been a depressing hellish Brewer season, I kinda hit the "last straw" point with the story that won't die last night. Here’s a little something that irks the heck out of me. Just to set the stage:
If the leaks from MLB are to be believed, Major League Baseball is pursuing Ryan Braun for a 100 game suspension rather than 50 for a 1st offense, because: “Sources said the commissioner's office was considering 100-game bans for Braun and Rodriguez, the punishment for a second offense, even though neither player was previously suspended for violating MLB's drug policy. The argument, one source said, would be that they — and possibly other players — committed multiple offenses by receiving performance-enhancing drugs from Bosch and by lying about it.” OK Mr. Commissioner, so lying becomes the reason for it’s a “second offense”? Just so we’re all on the same page. Lying is as bad a crime as doing the PED’s? Very well then, and keeping that standard in mind, I give you last nights Late Show with David Lettermann on which the commissioner was a guest… (FFWD to the 3:37 point for what I'm upset about...)
REALLY? So prior to July of 1998, despite being the commissioner of the sport, and prior to that the owner of a team, NOBODY ever said anything to you about PED’s Mr. Selig? You NEVER suspected a thing? Power number go through the roof, players are getting bigger that what seems humanly possible (including HAT sizes are going up), athletes in almost EVERY other sport are embroiled in doping scandals all over the globe… and you didn’t suspect a thing? REALLY BUD? I guess he never read “Ball Four” HERE (Isn’t that all very interesting….)
OK folks, I put it to the people, because really there are only 2 options here: STUPID OR LIAR?
Does this former used car salesman, who now wants to stand upon the moral high ground and issue unprecedented suspensions for lying to baseball really that obtuse to the world around him, or is he now lying to baseball fans everywhere? Does he really think we’re all that stupid or is/was he? I just find the timing to be interesting that Bud would go on national television, say something like this, and then try to penalize someone for telling a lie.
(BTW… speaking of lies… Bud on Green and Goldberg this morning...: “Black cloud, why? Because we're enforcing the toughest drug-testing program in America? And our fans know we're serious? I have to seriously disagree with that, really disagree with that.”
Ummm Bud? I just watched NBA and NHL finals series which both ranked in the greatest of all time. The question of PED’s never came up in relation to these events. The NFL season is starting shortly. PED stories are few and far between and BURIED when they do come up (CRIMINAL conduct stories on the other hand… another problem for another day however). I watch a SICK amount of auto racing… never comes up. MMA, Boxing, Golf, you name it. The “doping” stories are few and far between. Now does that mean these sports are clean? Not a chance in hell, however since they haven’t gone on a holy crusade to go after guys, it’s not a story. Meanwhile here’s baseball, a week off Tim Lincecum’s no hitter, at the mid-summer classic, chock full of great stories, and whats EVERYONE talking about? Carlos Gomez goes from “talented goofball who played his way off 2 different teams because he drove everybody nuts with his squandering of his potential because he just can’t seem to concentrate” to “all star center fielder, legit shot at hitting .300, legit shot at a 30/30 year, legit shot at Milwaukee’s first gold glove in forever”… a great story. And what’s Go-go get asked about during the All-star media availability? “Braun’s teammate, Carlos Gomez, said he doesn’t discuss the case with Braun, but feels MLB’s probe is “a fair thing. If some people use stuff like they’re not supposed to, I agree (officials) have to follow this and try to find who did it, who (didn’t). If you’re not (guilty), you have to clear your name. If you are (guilty), suspend them.” -- NY Daily news Ummm… yeah. Bud? That’s the DEFINATION of a black cloud.)
Now does this all mitigate the conduct of the players in question? No. If they broke the rules and are caught doing so, they should be punished. However, there is a process. There are the rules, and there are well established penalties for breaking said rules. That’s how a civilized society functions. However, apparently MLB doesn’t fall into that category.
Major League Baseball has painted a target on Ryan Brauns back because he exposed a flaw in the process, and rightly got his suspension overturned. Whether his first test was legitimately positive or not, once the tester acted as oddly as he did (bringing someone else’s urine home and keeping it in your basement fridge, rather than taking it to the Fed-Ex like you’re supposed to… maybe I’m crazy here, but that’s VERY odd behavior to me!) and broke the chain of evidence, you can no longer take that test at face value as evidence. Hence why the arbitrator overturned the suspension. A technicality I grant, but a legitimate technicality. And MLB has egg on it’s face because someone in that office foolishly leaked the story without being sure their ducks were in a row first.
And now we come to where we are today. MLB has gone whole hog, and left no stone unturned to get their man. America’s pastime has employed some decidedly un-American tactics in pursuit of “justice”. Paying off witnesses, building a case on the word of a drowning rat of a man (Tony Bosch… read this... wonderful human being that...) and letting the old fart “guardians of the game” reporters and the “worldwide leader” play the roles of chief propagandist.
(BTW, I’m still waiting for this conversation with one of said guardians:
Guardian of the game: “PED’S ARE BAD!!! ALL PED USERS MUST BE SENT TO HELL! BAHHHH!”
Me: “Hey what about the “greats” of the 50’s/60’s/70’s who were popping greenies like aspirins? I mean Mickey Mantle legendarily drank his way through a liver, but still showed up to the ball park playing at a fairly high level, and you’re saying he did it all with coffee and Tylenol?”
Guardian of the game: “Yeah but… BARRY BOND’S IS THE ANTI-CHRIST!!!”
Me: “Oh that’s right… I forgot, when you were coming up as a reporter, Mick was nice to you, so he never did anything wrong. Bonds was a dick to pretty much everyone he ever came across, so he gets the flogging. Same idiotic logic that you used to keep Jim Rice out of the hall of fame for forever… So can we have instant replay now? Ya know, like every other sport?”
Guardian of the game: “BAH (Pop/Splat)”
Me: “…That’s what I thought”
Also as an aside: why am I so hard on ESPN? Same reason I take shots at any biased media outlet. How do I prove said bias?
Example: HEADLINE: “Ryan Braun didn't answer questions” ESPN
Sounds REALLY damming, except…
the initial report singled out Braun as not cooperating with the investigation,
it quickly came out that none of the players interviewed cooperated, which
probably was the union strategy from the outset.” -- JS Online
OH so it wasn’t just him? And you didn’t correct the story as published why? Oh you get how much from MLB to carry the games each year? So you folks in Bristol carrying water for one of your cash cows has nothing to do with you unquestioningly towing the “company line”? And there’s a dozen more examples of similar conduct I could point out. The bias is there plain and simple, but no serious journalist puts them under a microscope because “it’s just sports” and none of the sports reporters will take them on because you don’t want to bite the hand that feeds or turn “Eye of Sauron” towards yourself and anger the giant who could make your job VERY VERY hard in the future. Just don’t ask me to ignore it myself.)
So where’s that leave us? Hell if I know. What I do know is the following:
#1. I’m on the same page with Scott Boras. (And it feels like a HORRIBLE place to be, but if he’s right, he’s right)
"What we have is a failure to follow a collective bargaining agreement. Whenever these things happen, whoever is doing it, is not serving the game well. The witnesses that we know have -- at best -- behavior in their life that would suggest they are not credible. This is why we have due process. For baseball to be focusing on this and for us to be sitting here at Wrigley Field talking about this -- that's the problem." -- ESPN Chicago
“Everybody wants enforcement of the joint drug agreement. We agreed to it. The joint drug agreement — I think the perception was it was analytical. You take a test, it’s positive, it’s negative, it’s done,” said Boras. “What we’ve got going on now is all these players in question, obviously have tested negative. Now we’re into the second tier of the non-analytical — circumstantial evidence dynamics, witnesses. So now we’ve got a new system in place. They’re talking about testing, yes, but the question is, we have to have due process that allows a quick remedy.” -- NY Daily News
#2. I’m still waiting to see what the actual evidence against Ryan Braun is. If he broke the rules, he should be suspended. However, there’d better be actual evidence, and more than just the word of a drowning man… HERE and HERE …who saw the opportunity to get paid for helping MLB achieve it’s vendetta against a guy who made them look foolish and get himself off the hook at the same time. You know there’s not another actual failed test, as that would have been leaked along with everything else, so there’d best be something pretty iron clad before he’s forced to miss a game.
#3. Said penalties best reflect the agreed upon penalties for breaking said rules. 50 games I can live with. 100 games and one step from a lifetime ban for the rest of his career? That’s not right. I’m sure the Los Angeles County DA would have loved to send OJ Simpson to prison for 50 years for jaywalking after he was acquitted, but the system doesn’t work that way. That’s what this feels like to me.
#4. Ryan Braun should probably just see if he can cut the deal to get this over with this season. The Brewers are going NOWHERE. Even if he wins this time around (and I love how they keep saying “The players will all have the opportunity to make their case before an independent arbitrator...” yeah? How independent ya think he’s going to be with what happened to the last guy? HERE) MLB’s not going to stop. They’re Ferris Buehler, and he’s Cameron. Right or wrong, they’re not going to quit. Cut a deal. Take the rest of this AWFUL season off, talk to Andy Pettitte, and lets just get this all behind us. (If he’s truly innocent, it really sucks that it’s come to this, but MLB won’t go away, this is probably the only way to get back something of a normal life/career).
#5. I can’t walk past Bud Selig’s statue anymore on the way into Brewer games. I realize all he did for the city of Milwaukee, and there wouldn’t be a Miller Park to go to, or even a Brewer game to go to without him. But at this point? Look, as the saying goes: “Mussolini made the trains run on time”. Now I have no hope of the ideal solution…
ever being undertaken with Bud, HOWEVER is it too much to ask someone put a sheet over it? Or maybe just hang a “sic semper tyrannis” sign from it’s neck? Something... anything to show that the people of Milwaukee are really REALLY not OK with his conduct, at least until this is all said and done? Because really, I’m sick of looking like one of those old world European ladies spitting on the ground in front of a statue whenever I want to see some baseball.
Thanks for reading. Feels good to get that all on paper, or a screen or whatever. And I guess just keep remembering “This too shall pass” and
HAVE A GOOD ONE.