Smell that?

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That is the smell of contentment. Not because I’m almost done with school. No no my dear friends. That is because I am this much closer to enjoying my favorite summer past time–baseball. Let’s catch up with the headlines that have caught my attention this week (and I hope to investigate further next). Brian Wilson might be out for the season? What!? Aside for my Brewer’s pitching and maybe Tim Lincecum he was the only pitcher that striked my interest this year..sorry guys I’m more of a catcher fan if you catch my drift. Matt Kemp is having a great start. Well ya, we knew this was coming, though I have to say I am happy for the guy. He was pretty, whats the word Ozzie, mature? about the Ryan Braun thing so I wish him the best this season and hope he does well. Blah blah blah don’t care about Jeter or A-Rod. The Boston Red Sox drama has also caught my eye and I hope that Bobby V takes a lesson from Sean Peyton’s punishment clause and just says ‘no’ to press junkets. Speaking of football, no contact with the team or anyone else in the NFL? Really Goodell?! What’s the guy suppose to do? Might as well hook him up with Lindsay Lohan I’m sure she has an extra ankle bracelet. Ah well, I feel for the guy. I really do. NHL players get fined $2500 for a hit that could potentially put you out the rest of your life and a coach not only gets a year suspension without pay but now has a gag order? I give up. Where’s NASCAR when you need it..or golf, anyone seen the clip of Kevin Na cutting down a tree !? I’m impressed given the tight pants of the PGA. ( Yes I realize it’s old news but new news to me).

Enjoy this sports week my friends and beware of next. I will be school free and eager to hunt down the next big fashion blunder the Miami Marlin’s have to offer and the new town my beloved Lamar Odom has landed (with Khloe of course).

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The “Might” of Braun

ChrisSkepticism crossed my mind quickly after a shout of joy rang from my lungs when Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun was exonerated from his 50 game suspension from a previously positive drug test.

Keep that paragraph in your mind as we will return to that idea shortly.

Ryan Braun has been a star since the first day he arrived to his big league club.  There wasn’t anything that anyone thought he couldn’t do (except for possibly play 3rd base).  Now several seasons later, Braun has led his once hapless team to the post-season twice, with an NLCS appearance to boot.  He is nothing short, along with his talented teammates, a savior to the Brew City, and their rabid fan base.

But then the darker side of sports reared its ugly head.  All of the talk surrounding would be hall-of-fame super stars and “Juicing” made most of us baseball purist types sick to our stomachs.  The Mitchell Report did nothing to calm our fears that the PED’s were worse in our beloved game than we had originally suspected — Braun was now in that lump.  In that lump he shall stay.

It’s unfortunate that if Ryan Braun is truly innocent, that he will never be believed by most of the baseball writing community, and certainly not by opposing fans.  His teammates, coaches, and hometown backers will cheer him loudly as they dream of another pennant to hang at Miller Park.  Outside of their bubble, however, there will be an acid rain like event that Braun and the rest of his team will not be able to avoid, but simply have to deal with as the scorching dog days of summer pass this upcoming season.

Now back to my earlier statement.  I do have skepticism.  I think back to Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and the like going before the United States congress and basically telling blatant lies that they had not been “Juicing”, or flat-out refusing to say anything at all.  I think back to Alex Rodriguez, THE star among all the stars, admitted in a round-about sense that he had taken something that he shouldn’t have.  A-Rod’s former teammate, Andy Pettitte, admitted the same.  We see that it is happening, and we are all not dumb enough to think that it won’t continue, even with testing in place.

So, all of this begs the question: If Braun did “Juice”, even though he got off on a technicality, shouldn’t he just say that he did it?  No one seems to bring up Pettitte or A-Rod anymore, but they sure as hell keep Clemens and Barry Bonds stuck in our craw.

Certainly false positive tests are known to happen in many medical lab situations, why should this and all other PED tests before or after the fact be looked at any different?  Braun’s test was 3 times more positive than ANY one player had ever been.  In my own medical background brain I think this one deserves another look.  The truth about whether it’s possible for a specific test to be falsely positive may not be answered, but it does warrant a raised eyebrow or two.

I’ll go ahead and do what most Brewers fans do, I’ll assume that he is innocent.  I want to believe that not only because he plays for my team, but as a true all around baseball fan, I want to believe that players in today’s game have enough sense of mind to simply spill their guts if they are guilty and let us heal from it quickly instead of dragging the ugly proverbial monster all over the  room.  That monster can surely stink up the joint.

Braun MIGHT have done it.  We may never know.  As for me, I know that I will keep following my favorite sports passion, and I just MIGHT not care what anyone else thinks.

Funerals, Babies, and Office Space

“Sometimes in life, we all deal with challenges…We have an opportunity to look at those challenges and view them either as obstacles or as opportunities.” ~Ryan Braun

I’m hoping to use this mind-set as I tackle this week in my personal life, but this column is dedicated to us sports fans for whom this past week presented our own challenges, disappointments, and opportunities.

First for the disappointment. A good friend will tell you that to move past the hurt it is necessary to take 5 minutes to accept it. Cry it out. Do whatever you feel is needed to accept that things didn’t go your way. So here is to 5 good minutes (or seconds) to accepting that the Packer’s didn’t win, Joe Paterno passed away, and Cundiff shanked a field goal that would have put Baltimore on top. Go ahead. Let it out. Now onto the challenges.

How the soon to be ex-Mrs. Kobe Bryant will handle managing 3 mansions post divorce I will never know–maybe a stint on Basketball wives will do the trick.  Out this week, Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari are having a baby, and are engaged again, though I wonder what order that came in. He was quoted as saying he didn’t break up with her. Ya. And people aren’t crazy. Oh well, at least now Chicago fans will have something to celebrate. Oh no she didn’t! Yes she did.

The opportunities. Much to my mother’s dismay, Craig Counsell announced his retirement from Major League Baseball. Much to my approval he has taken up residency in the offices at Miller Park, a scouting talent from my favorite Brew Crew and Doug Melvin. Here is a good article written by Doug Glanville, from ESPN.com, highlighting his career.  Not many people remember he has TWO championship rings with other franchises. The Florida Marlin’s (’97) and Arizona Diamondbacks (’01).

As you can see there are a lot of challenges facing us every day. Who do we cheer for come February 5th now that our teams aren’t traveling to Indy? Well least not to participate in the Superbowl. What sport am I going to follow now that football is basically over? Jury’s still out on that one for me folks.

The biggest issue will be how do we handle them. Do we throw our kicker under the bus? What about our coach that could have used a time out to give our kicker time to regroup? Or the WR who couldn’t wrap the ball up and had the winning TD stripped? Way I see it, you get 5 good minutes to accept the failure, disappointment, frustration, anger, hurt, or pain. 5 minutes. Then after that you try to move on and see what headlines hit us the next day.