Ryan Braun’s Kansas City Jam

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A week ago, Baseball Prospectus’ daily podcast celebrated its 500th episode by holding a “baseball draft” in which a few writers drafted their favorite things about baseball. Grant Brisbee’s first-round draft pick was “the other Ryan Braun,” a focal point of his interest in baseball players with the same name as each other. As it turns out, just before that Ryan Braun synthetically rose to prominence, a young-ish reliever named Ryan Braun pitched for the Kansas City Royals for two seasons.

On Monday, I started a free trial of satellite radio. I’m still deciding if I’ll stick with it, partly because I tend to think the stations can be too narrow in scope, but for now I really am enjoying their bluegrass station and the fact that I can listen to the Detroit Tigers Radio Network game broadcasts outside of the conventional listening area. One of the first songs I heard was by someone named Lou Reid, and I heard it again last night. (So much for the liberating medium of satellite radio!) We’re big Lou Reed fans here, so the conceit of this post birthed itself pretty quickly. Today’s Jam is the only video version of that Lou Reid song I could find, and if you’re wondering about the audio quality, yes, this is an amateur taping of a CD release party, which was held in the parking lot of a North Carolina Wal-Mart.

If I can, I’ll just add a quick happy birthday note to ALDLAND. It’s been a fun three years. Thanks for stopping by.

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Bay of Cigs: Crime & Punishment

jhonnyWhen Ryan Braun accepted a sixty-five-game suspension for his violation of MLB’s drug policy, I lit into the Milwaukee Brewers star, or at least did whatever constitutes lighting into someone around here. Now that (likely former) Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta has accepted a fifty-game suspension for his connection to the Biogenesis clinic, it seemed only fair that I respond to a part of this expanded story that hits close to my fandom as well.

Peralta represents the nearest the PED scourge has come to my fan doorstep– right on the front stoop, as it were– and even though I acknowledged the likely cognitive bias in the abstract, I did not really appreciate how differently one approaches stories like this when they directly involve a favorite team or player until the Peralta suspension was announced Monday. Lance Armstrong was fun, but I wasn’t a real cycling fan and I never wore a Livestrong bracelet. I wasn’t a fan of Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens either. I did have plenty of pictures of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa on my bedroom walls as a kid, but the revelations didn’t come as quickly then as they do now. By the time they came for those two, I’d moved on.

When the PED dragnet picked up an active Detroit Tiger, a starter, an all-star, and an important component of a team with World Series aspirations, though, I found myself scrutinizing every word of the official public statements in the matter, demanding concrete proof of wrongdoing, and generally establishing a defensive posture. Peralta was reported to have a weaker connection to the Biogenesis clinic than other accused players, after all, and didn’t MLB strongarm Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch into “cooperating” with the league’s investigation by filing a probably frivolous lawsuit against him (yes), and have there been any positive drug test results for any of these players (no), and aren’t they kind of being railroaded into accepting these no-contest suspensions (I mean, at least kind of), and isn’t there something to be said for due process in all of this (of course), and what did the league and the players say, exactly, anyway?

Here’s Peralta’s statement:

In spring of 2012, I made a terrible mistake that I deeply regret. I apologize to everyone that I have hurt as a result of my mistake, including my teammates, the Tigers’ organization, the great fans in Detroit, Major League Baseball, and my family. I take full responsibility for my actions, have no excuses for my lapse in judgment, and I accept my suspension.

I love the fans, my teammates and this organization, and my greatest punishment is knowing that I have let so many good people down. I promise to do everything possible to try and earn back the respect that I have lost.

(Before spring training this year, Peralta issued a statement: “I have never used performance-enhancing drugs. Period. Anybody who says otherwise is lying.”)

Here’s MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s statement:

Continue reading

ALDLAND Podcast

The middle of July is one of the slowest times in sports, but the MLB came through by banning Ryan Braun for the remainder of the season for violating its drug policy and provided us with more than enough fodder for a podcast. Listen as Marcus and I discuss the Braun story and related subplots, as well as our thoughts and advice on workout gear and a recap of Lefty’s big win in Scotland.

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Download the ALDLAND podcast at our Podcasts Page or stream it right here:

The Many (okay, two) faces of Ryan Braun

Yesterday, Ryan Braun, the Milwaukee Brewer who won the 2011 NL MVP and 2007 NL Rookie of the Year awards, agreed to a sixty-five game suspension from Major League Baseball for his violation of MLB’s drug policy and released the following statement:

As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed — all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.

Braun failed a drug test back in October 2011, but he was successful in overturning a fifty-game suspension on appeal by identifying a procedural deficiency in the testing process. During the pendency of that appeal, Braun stated:

This is all B.S. I am completely innocent.

Following its resolution in his favor in February 2012, Braun held a press conference where he issued a long statement, excerpted here:


[T]this is without a doubt the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced in my life, and it’s made it that much more challenging that I’ve had to deal with it publicly. But I truly view this challenge as an opportunity, just as I’ve viewed every other challenge in my life – as an opportunity. I’ve tried to respect this process, even though the confidentiality of the process was breached early on. I’ve tried to handle the entire situation with honor, with integrity, with class, with dignity and with professionalism because that’s who I am and that’s how I’ve always lived my life.

If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first one to step up and say, “I did it.” By no means am I perfect, but if I’ve ever made any mistakes in my life I’ve taken responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart, and I would bet my life, that this substance never entered my body at any point.

I’ve always stood up for what is right. Today is about everybody who’s been wrongly accused, and everybody who’s ever had to stand up for what is actually right. Today isn’t about me, it isn’t just about one player – it’s about all players. It’s about all current players, all future players and everybody who plays the game of baseball.

Ultimately, as I sit here today, the system worked because I am innocent, and I was able to prove my innocence. After today I look forward to returning my focus to the game of baseball, being able to get back with my teammates, allowing my life to return to some sense of normalcy and focusing on helping our team get back to the post-season.

Braun closed the brief question-and-answer period with this statement:

I guess the simple truth is I’m innocent. I’ve maintained my innocence from Day 1, and ultimately I was proven to be innocent.

ALDLAND Podcast

Technical difficulties and general laziness are a good combination for going two weeks without a podcast. Fear not, dear listeners, as one of the two of those issues has been fixed and a brand new ALDLAND podcast is available for you to take in. Join Marcus and I as we preview the NBA finals, discuss the latest in MLB steroids news, and take a look at our preseason World Series picks.

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Download the ALDLAND podcast at our Podcasts Page or stream it right here:

Upset Monday

As hoped for here on this site, Robert Griffin III became Baylor University’s first Heisman Trophy winner on Saturday night. Griffin was the clear choice for the award, in my mind, and the voters agreed.

No sooner had the Kentucky Wildcats become the top team in the basketball land then they went into Bloomington and fell to the unranked Hoosiers on a last-second three pointer. Unranked Michigan State went out west and beat a ranked Gonzaga team at their place, and unranked Murray State took down #20 Memphis on the road to go to 10-0 on the road.

In the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, and Denver Tebows held serve this weekend, doing what they’ve been doing the way they’ve been doing it all year. Despite a defense stripped by injuries and a suspension, the Lions held on to go to 2-0 on the year against division foe  Minnesota, a game Detroit had to have.

In the nascent NBA, the nixed Chris Paul trade still is on hold despite early reports that the Hornets, Lakers, and Rockets had reworked the deal. As I write this, the latest from ESPN’s “sources” is that the Los Angeles Clippers have moved onto Paul’s shortlist of acceptable destinations behind the Lakers and New York Knickerbockers.

The emerging offseason baseball story is NL MVP Ryan Braun’s positive PED test, but fans should be aware that Manny Ramirez, who I assumed was totally dunzo, may be back in baseball in the upcoming season.

The sum total of these and other stories lead me to believe that December is mere prelude to 2012’s sportspocalypse.

Programming note: ALDLAND’s live coverage of the biggest events in sports will continue in the coming weeks with NHL hockey and college football bowl games. Related, a recap of Michigan’s win over Ohio State in Ann Arbor will not run because I only got one good picture and it was a couple weeks ago and everybody knows what happened, and my only real insights on the experience were that there were more Nebraska fans in the Big House the week before than OSU fans that day and that people still have and are drinking Four Loko. Here’s the picture: