Friday, February 24, 2012

A Guilty Man Walks Free

     A guilty athlete walks into a courtroom, and everyone thinks, no, everyone KNOWS, he's guilty, yet he walks free. Sounds familiar, right? And the most surprising of all, this athlete isn't OJ Simpson. He's Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. He tore through the 2011 season, hitting over 30 home runs and stealing over 30 bases, eventually winning the MVP over the Dodger's Matt Kemp, whom I think was the more deserving candidate (Kemp had more hits, home runs, stolen bases, runs batted in, and walks, so pretty much every category that mattered). However, after a drug test, Braun was found to have a 20:1 testosterone ratio, a clear sign that he was doping throughout the season, and to top it all of, the testosterone was synthetic, so it was impossible for him to claim it was natural or even caused by medicine, as no prescription can exponentially increase testosterone levels as astronomically high as his were. He was sentenced to serve a 50 game suspension by Major League Baseball, and he said he would fight the suspension in court.
     The Brewers were fully expecting to go the aforementioned first 50 games of the season, and were prepared to do so, but Braun kept promising he'd get the suspension lifted. Nobody questioned the validity of the results, only the way they were retrieved. In the trial to get the suspension lifted, Ryan Braun never, ever, said he wasn't guilty. He even agreed that the urine had sky-high testosterone levels.

     He went to trial, and instead of arguing that there was a reasonable explanation for having more testosterone than normal, such as a side effect of prescription drugs or tainted food, he argued that the sample wasn't shipped on time. Instead of being shipped immediately after testing due to the fact the local FedEx was closed, it was stored in a refrigerator and then shipped a day later. Testing by the World Anti-Doping Association has shown that the brief time in the fridge has no effect whatsoever on increasing testosterone or even tainting the results of a urine sample test at all, so Braun's entire argument was built on a technicality. Still, the technicality was an exception, and Ryan Braun was reinstated and the penalty was removed. The MLB has released a statement claiming it "Vehemently disagrees," with the findings, but it is now out of their hands. Braun found a loophole. It doesn't matter though, his name will always be sullied as the one that got away, the OJ Simpson of baseball doping, and most importantly, the guilty man who walks away free.

Image From:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Never the Same

     LeBron James has been permanently labeled as THE villain of not just the NBA, but the entire American sports universe...except in Miami. He is the only member of "Most Disliked Athletes in America" list to be completely scandal-free or not an ex-husband of Kim Kardashian, ranking right up there with Tiger Woods and Michael Vick, showing just how much people love to hate LeBron. It started off like a storybook, the highly touted phenom goes to play in his hometown, wins a bunch of games and gets to the championship series, albeit they lost both times they got there. During his stay in Cleveland, which is definitely not the most interesting place in world, trust me on this, I've been there, he won the MVP twice. He was the toast of the town, singlehandedly turning the moribund Cavs into perennial contenders. The key word, of course, is singlehandedly, as James never actually found a decent Scottie Pippen to play to his Jordan. This is when the story starts getting rocky, as Cavs owner Dan Gilbert tried to bring in premeir talent to appease him, knowing that if he couldn't get a suitable sidekick, James would leave. Gilbert, owner of Fathead, tried bringing in Hall of Famers, like center Shaquille O'Neal, and former stars, such as point guard Baron Davis and forward Antwan Jamison, but nothing worked.

     James was suddenly in high demand, and celebrities like rap mogul Jay-Z were courting him with their fame, most notably in the song Empire State of Mind. Ohio governors event went on to write a cover of Michael Jackson's We are the World titled Please Stay LeBron. The tension was obvious as the final season of his contract drawing to a close, and James was going to report is contract on a TV special known as "The Decision." Rumors swirled that Cleveland was the frontrunner and the Cavs even fired their coach in an effort to sign James, then New York, then New Jersey, even Dallas, but he eventually said the line that will live forever in infamy..."I'm taking my talents to South Beach." Riots ensued, James jerseys went up in flames, and the price of a LeBron James Fathead was set at $17.41, representing the year Revolutionary War turncoat Benedict Arnold was born. A book titled The Whore of Akron was written about him. For me, it didn't matter as much that he left, I mean, we all saw it coming, but how he actually did it. It was like a slap in the face for fans around the world. James and the Heat only made things worse when they set the bar for failure at winning fewer than seven championships. They came close to ring number one last season, but they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in six games.

     However, James' deal expires in potentially two years and at most four, and he has recently stated how interested he is in returning to Cleveland. However, it wouldn't be the magic cure-all he will need to save his legacy of the hometown hero. He hopes that if he returns the fans will welcome him, and even if they do, he will always be the guy who screwed his hometown over and tried to come back, kind of like that friend who goes to hangout with someone cooler, then comes back after a while and tries to be your friend again, long after you have moved on. No matter how many championships LeBron James would win if he returned to Cleveland, it would never be the same or have the same value compared to if he had never left. His legacy is forever scarred with the indelible stigma only a traitor, and to top it all of, a golddigger, can have.

Images from: and

Monday, February 13, 2012

Just Do It

     Almost 4 years ago, right handed pitcher A.J. Burnett signed with the New York Yankees for 5 years and $82.5 million dollars. At the time it was signed, Burnett was coming off a season in which he won 18 games and struck out 231 batters, best in the American League, and the signing was deemed a very good one, albeit and an expensive one for such an injury-prone starter. In the first year of his contract, Burnett was good, not great, winning only 13 games. The following years were a nightmare for him and Yankees fans everywhere. His earned run average skyrocketed to over 5 runs a game and he hit batters and threw wild pitches at an unparalleled pace, leading the lead with 19 of the former in 2010, and 25 of the latter last year. The only thing Burnett has achieved during his stay is becoming the highest paid 5th starter the league has ever seen. The only reason I can think of for Burnett's catastrophic fall is his environment, New York City and Yankee Stadium. He has pitched in the AL East for 5 years now, first with the Blue Jays, and now the Yankees, but thrived with the Jays, so division isn't a factor. Nor is the stadium, as his ERA+, or adjusted ERA to match the stadium, was below the league average by at least 13% in the last two years. The only reasons could be a change in mechanics or just a bad environment.

      Javier Vazquez was in a similar situation. When he pitched for the Marlins, he was amazing, but after going to the Big Apple, he floundered, on one occasion hitting 3 batters IN A ROW, tying the dubious major league record. It seems that he and Burnett just can't handle pitching for the most popular, scrutinized, and iconic organization in all of professional sports.

     Luckily for everyone, Burnett is being dangled in a trade. The Pittsburgh Pirates, always the bottom dwellers, reportedly are interested if and only if the Yankees eat most of his remaining salary, reportedly worth $33 million. Burnett could possibly veto the trade due to his moderated no-trade clause in his contract, in which he has chosen 10 teams he would never, ever, EVER, want to go to. It is very likely that Pittsburgh is one of those teams, due to their overall, for lack of a better word, suckishness. However, it may be in his best interest to go to the National League and pitch where expectations are low. The only team in his new division, the NL Central, that could potentially harm him would be the Cincinnati Reds.

Image Retrieved From :

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Year in Review

Before I begin, I would like to address my posting, or lack thereof. In all honety, I am losing the motivation to continue on. I am coming to the realization that the blog is dying,as viewership and interest has remained essentially static, robbing me of the motivation necessary to proceed. But do not worry! I will continue on! I have more free time now, so I will be able to post more frequently, quite possibly every day.
Many months ago, the football world was in turmoil. The prospects of a season-long NFL lockout haunted fans across the nation. Owners fought with their players, pitting billionaires against their millionaire employees. Luckily, NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith and commissioner Roger Goodell made a deal creating labor peace for a decade. Teams either hit the ground running or were left gasping for breath, many using player-organized workouts as a way to keep in shape and build a rapport. The Green Bay Packers, were not one of these teams. They went 15-1, and took the lead by storm. However, perennial bottom-dwellers like the 49ers, Lions, and Bengals, were arguably bigger stories, all making the playoffs. The traditionally strong Colts stumbled to the first overall draft choice. The playoffs themselves were VERY exciting, the Denver Tebows beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on the first play in overtime. The potential of a Harbaugh Bowl, as both of the Harbaugh brothers coached teams in conference championships.
When the dust settled all came down to the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, who were playing for the deceased Myra Kraft, wife of owner Robert Kraft. The Giants forced Brady to intentionally ground the ball in the endzone, resulting in a safety. But the Pats came back and marched down the field before halftime to score. It got interesting in the 4th quarter, where gluehanded receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch dropped game-changing passes that may have given the Giants the win. In the end, the Giants triumphed 21-17 in breathtaking fashion, a fitting end to a truly remarkable season.