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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

MLB has it backwards. As usual. 

"Former National League MVP Ryan Braun was suspended without pay for the rest of the season and the post-season Monday in the first penalty following Major League Baseball’s investigation of the Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.
Braun accepted the penalty."

Why wouldn't he accept the penalty? It's a pretty fricken good deal for him. Admitted cheater and liar, now multi-millionaire, he got a slap on the wrist for the equivalent of massive fraud in which the prosecution had irrefutable proof. I'd take that deal too. 

 “I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions,” he (Braun)said in a statement.

I believe he has it backwards. Yes, you might argue that he was young and made mistakes in taking the drugs. But there is no mistake about it. He knew he took the drugs and lied outright and proclaimed his innocence all the way up to last week, when he had no choice to fess up. That isn't a mistake. That is deception and lying. 

While Braun is flawed, Alex Rodriguez is in another stratosphere. He is the holy grail of cheater who profits handsomely from his crimes. He is the Bernie Madoff of baseball.

"Braun, injured Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and more than a dozen players were targeted by MLB following a report by Miami New Times in January that they had been connected with Biogenesis of America, a now-closed anti-aging clinic." 

Word came yesterday that Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) is likely to get a lifetime ban for his repeated steroid cheating and the lying about it. Once again, it appears he got caught in the latest round of cheaters who took seemingly undetectable hormones and drugs from a scumbag (Biogenesis) in Florida who is now ratting everyone out that he can to save his own skin.
Just the day before, Braun, another cheating, lying scumbag if there was ever one, finally "came clean" and hoped to absolve himself by confessing to what he previously said he didn't do and now cops to because he can't refute the evidence that they have against him.
Braun gets 65 games, while A-Rod gets a lifetime ban?
Does this seem right to you? It doesn't to me.
A-Rod is 38 and at the end of his career. At best, he would be able to ride out the rest of his contract and not get another one. The Yankees have been looking for months for a way to ditch him. No luck on that. Everyone is on to A-Rod now-and without the roids-he is really a run of the mill player who is clearly over the hill on top of that. Giving him a lifetime ban is like catching the fox after it ate the chickens and telling it to go to its room. A room that is a penthouse laced with gold and frills.

"The suspension of the former NL Most Valuable Player amounts to approximately $3.4 million. But don’t cry for Braun. By quickly accepting the terms of the suspension and admitting his guilt, two years after taking advantage of a technicality in beating a previous attempt to suspend him in 2011, Braun has protected dollar values on the next seven years of his guaranteed contract, a total of $122 million through 2020, with a $15 million mutual option in 2021."

Ryan Braun, on the other hand, is 29 years old. Seemingly, in the prime of his career. He has a big contract on the books, and he will be a multi-millionaire when all is said and done. Giving him the lifetime suspension would cost Braun hundreds of millions of dollars. He is the correct player to give the lifetime ban. If the point is to send a message to the rest of the cheaters. Of course, that isn't the point to MLB. They are all about saving face.

"Just last year, the 2011 NL MVP dodged a 50-game penalty when an arbitrator overturned his positive test for elevated testosterone because the urine sample had been improperly handled.
Then he (Braun)held a news conference at spring training in Phoenix and read a defiant statement, insisting he was innocent and “the truth” was on his side."

Why should Braun get a lifetime ban, if one is to be given out?
First, because he deserves it. He is an admitted cheater and liar. Secondly, because it would send a very clear message to the rest of the players who will think about cheating, are still cheating and who have previously cheated, that the shop is closed. It isn't worth it.
That is really what this is all about. Or, should be about . The message needs to be that it is not worth risking. The message MLB is sending now is that it is worth it. 
Braun will serve his sentence, then go back and finish his career, end up a multi millionaire, while Rodridguez will end up that and then some and the rest of the players on the way up will realize that when it comes to Major League Baseball, crime pays. Handsomely.
As usual, MLB has it backwards. They punished the wrong guy at the wrong time. They might as well have done nothing, for all they just did wrong.
If they want to really do the right thing, they should give lifetime bans to both Braun and A-Rod, and anyone else who has cheated and lied about it. But then, that would never happen. Because many of the top players are the stars that put people in the seats. At the end of the day, it is all about money. Character, honesty, hard work, loyalty and talent are what team sports are supposed to be about.
Not in MLB though. Those traits went out the door long ago. This latest episode only confirms that crime and cheating are here to stay in MLB, and for a very long time. Maybe even a lifetime.

“We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions,” said Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive vice-president for economics and league affairs. “We all agree that it is in the best interests of the game to resolve this matter. When Ryan returns, we look forward to him making positive contributions to Major League Baseball, both on and off the field.”

I don't know who "we" are, but it certainly isn't most of the fans, who actually pay the bills, and many of the players, who are sick of the lax standards that seem to be the norm for pro baseball these days.

"They felt sick, angry, cheated, deceived.
Not only did Ryan Braun let down scores of baseball fans Monday, he riled up players all around the majors.
 The guys who used to be in his corner. The guys who make up the union membership.
 “Watching him talk right now makes me sick,” Skip Schumaker of the Los Angeles Dodgers said. “I have an autographed Braun jersey in my baseball room that I’ll be taking down. I don’t want my son identifying what I’ve worked so hard to get to and work so hard to have — I don’t want him comparing Braun to me.”

Schumaker went on to state what he thought was the appropriate penalty.

“In my opinion, he should be suspended — lifetime ban. One strike, you’re out. It’s enough. It’s ridiculous,” Schumaker said. “He lied to a lot of people. I was convinced, after that MVP, that he didn’t do it.”

Even the players, who used to side with their union buddies no matter what are fed up. What is it going to take for MLB to see that?

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