Sports

Free Suspended Baseball Slugger Ryan Braun! Nick Gillespie in USA Today

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Over at USA Today, I argue that baseball star Ryan Braun is getting a raw deal. The Brewers all-star has been suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and running afoul of poorly defined and arbitrarily enforced league policy.

A snippet:

With the possible exception of attempts to "get money" out of politics, no recurring moral crusade is more self-righteous and more doomed to failure than the one aimed at tossing "performance-enhancing drugs" (PEDs) out of sports.

Money flows into politics because politics determines to a large degree how much money a business might make. Steroids, amphetamines and other drugs flow into sports like a raging river of Gatorade (needs more electrolytes!) because athletes, coaches and fans all want jacked-up performances….

It would be far more mature to admit that drugs, off-the-wall therapies and secret-training regimens are part and parcel of pro sports, whether in baseball or the National Football League. If this were all done in the open, players, coaches and fans would at least be able to have truly informed debates on the moral and muscular merits of this drug vs. that one vs. actual abstinence.

Read the whole thing here. As a bonus, I reveal the real reason we all (baseball fans) hate A-Rod.

And read USA Today's editorial extolling the suspension—and likely onslaught of more penalties handed out to many top-tier players— here.

Reason on Sports.

Watch "Lance Armstrong Cheated to Win: Is That Wrong?":

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  1. It would be far more mature to admit that drugs, off-the-wall therapies and secret-training regimens are part and parcel of pro sports, whether in baseball or the National Football League. If this were all done in the open, players, coaches and fans would at least be able to have truly informed debates on the moral and muscular merits of this drug vs. that one vs. actual abstinence.

    How do you figure that? The leagues presumably would stop drug testing for PEDs and the players could easily pay off their doctors and therapists to keep quiet about it. Thus no one would know for sure who is juicing and who isn’t.

    There would still be a stigma on unclean players because a lot of athletes have this thing called integrity. Sorry Nick, but baseball is crackdown not just because of the “moralists” in the front office or in the stands, but because the players themselves are fed up with it. But even so, I think the paying customers have a right to demand better from the athletes they pay to see.

    1. “There would still be a stigma on unclean players because a lot of athletes have this thing called integrity.”
      What mean?

      1. I’m saying the majority of players and coaches are opposed to PEDs in baseball. Even if it were legal to do so I’m convinced that the culture in baseball won’t accept it and players who used PEDs will still be viewed with contempt by both the fans and other players.

        It demeans the sport and the essence of fair competition.

        1. “It demeans the sport and the essence of fair competition.”

          Let’s see, should Apple pay a ‘fair’ amount?
          You can set rules and I have no problem, but if the rules are not precise, then those who read them differently are within the rules.

          1. What’s imprecise about having a list of banned substances?

            1. If they are and *were* specifically banned then I stand corrected and I apologize.

            2. How can anti-doping rules be anywhere close to fair when Lance Armstrong beat hundreds of tests over his career?

              Feeble testing does not good law make. If they were catching something more significant, say 50% or even 10%, it would at least seem fairer.

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    2. Sorry Nick, but baseball is crackdown not just because of the “moralists” in the front office or in the stands, but because

      a bunch of human filth in DC is grandstanding and holding hearings about the subject.

      1. When can we start requiring random urinalyses from Congress? The members say so much stupid shit they have to be high on something at least half the time.

    3. Thus no one would know for sure who is juicing and who isn’t.

      And why should anyone care?

  2. Nick,
    You can argue that MLB is a government agency if you like, and you’ll get some sympathy. But not a lot.
    Other than that, if MLB wants to ban people with blue eyes, MLB is welcome to do so. And if people want to watch games with brown-eyed people, they can do that too.
    It doesn’t matter.

    1. I hate those blue-eyed fuckers!

      1. Muddy-eyed cyanophobe.

        1. Our intellect, is superior.

      1. I’m afraid that castration is the only appropriate action.

        An abomination!

          1. That’s different.

            a. Mila doesn’t play baseball.
            b. Mila is HOT!

    2. Remember when MLB banned people with black skin?

      Good times.

  3. From the libertarian perspective, non-issue. If players violate the terms of their contracts–doping, the ethics clause, failing to kiss Schottzie–they’re at the mercy of the employer or arbiter. MLB may have the strongest union in the world, so it’s doubly difficult to feel sorry for Braun even if he wasn’t the world’s douchiest douche’s douche.

    Putting on my paying fan’s cap, baseball is a more entertaining game without PEDS, or at least with fewer and less effective PEDs. I have a strong aesthetic preference for the stolen base and brief, low-scoring games, and artificially increased testosterone levels discourage both.

    1. “I have a strong aesthetic preference for the stolen base and brief, low-scoring games, and artificially increased testosterone levels discourage both.”

      Mr. Frank, pitchers’ duels don’t put butts in the seats.
      Other than that I agree; if the players blew the contract, the players pay the price.
      But I have problems with trying to figure out which drugs are acceptable. Is coffee OK? A hit from Starbucks? A beer or two?

      1. He was stating his preference, one I agree with. I agree that this is not as popular though.

      2. But I have problems with trying to figure out which drugs are acceptable. Is coffee OK? A hit from Starbucks? A beer or two?

        Whatever makes the game more entertaining for me. Greenies make for a pretty entertaining game, so I’m all for players being on speed and Brett-ing out of the dugout every week or two.

        Testosterone makes for lots of homers and EBHs, which makes the SB relatively less valuable. More homers mean more walks, more pitching changes, and significantly longer games, none of which I want. And, like everyone else who ever ate at McDonald’s, watched a movie, or paid $20 to park at a publicly financed stadium built for the rent-seeking class, I don’t care what the helpful abstraction of the market wants when I’m attempting to fulfill my needs & desires.

      3. Coffee and beer are not performance enhancing drugs in this context. Your argument is facetious. It’s quite clear what drugs are prohibited by MLB.

        1. Of course they are.

    2. I agree – the players and their union agreed to these rules.

      And I too like a balanced game. 30 home runs should mean something – other than a good month.

      1. The terms were only agreed at the point of none-too-subtly hidden government guns.

    3. Putting on my paying fan’s cap, baseball is a more entertaining game without PEDS

      How would you even know?

      1. “or at least with fewer and less effective PEDs.”

        For your benefit.

    4. I have a strong aesthetic preference for the stolen base and brief, low-scoring games, and artificially increased testosterone levels discourage both.

      Wrong on both counts.

      Guys MAY be taking drugs for increased power, but there’s no reason to assume drugs won’t increase speed. The use of greenies coincides with the stolen base era.

      It’s the TV commercial breaks, the constant pitching changes, and the fetish about having a perfect baseball in play at all times that drags the games out. I’d bet at least 10 minutes is spent per game while the umpire makes the catcher surrender the baseball and replaces it with a new one because the pitch hit the dirt. Certainly the long pauses and throws to first to prevent stolen bases drags games out so I don’t see how your wish for stolen bases will quicken the pace of games.

      What you really long for is the days of the 15-inch pitcher’s mound.

      1. I don’t know what planet you hail from, but here on earth, it is a logical impossibility for aesthetic preferences to be wrong.

        It should go without saying that the rest of your post is utter horseshit. For your benefit (again):

        1) PEDs that increase the stolen base would be good, not bad, because the stolen base is aesthetically pleasing. Of course, you miss the entire fucking point by a mile, because stolen bases become less frequent because of the prevalence of extra-base hits, not because players aren’t faster than they were before.

        2) Yes, the game would be shorter with fewer commercials. And if you had balls, you’d be a man. That’s not ever going to happen for self-evident reasons.

        3) No, my preference is for what I stated, dipshit. Argue with the claims presented, not some fictitious strawman that came to you in a fever dream.

  4. Baseball set its rules. It did it because fans really don’t want steroids in the game. Fans can be right or wrong, but they’re the customers and the business is catering to them.

    If you’re finding a libertarian dog in this fight, you’re deranged.

    1. Keep regurgitating the propaganda.

      CONGRESS didn’t want steroids in the game. The fans didn’t care all that much.

  5. FTA:

    Speaking of fans, can we finally admit that we want bigger, stronger, faster? During the heyday of baseball’s steroid era, attendance boomed along with the record number of dingers smacked by the likes of Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and occasional Viagra pitchman Rafael Palmeiro. Nobody hates overpaid players like Alex Rodriguez because he’s rumored to have used PEDs after swearing them off. We hate him because he hasn’t delivered enough World Series to earn his salary.

    Who is ‘we’, kimmosabe? Baseball seems to be doing fine today in terms of attendance and revenue even though the game has swung back to favor pitchers.

    People loved watching McGwire, Bonds, and Sosa back in the day because everyone thought they were doing something exciting while clean. Attitudes towards them changed when it was revealed that they were cheaters and had repeatedly lied about it to the fans.

    1. “Baseball seems to be doing fine today in terms of attendance and revenue even though the game has swung back to favor pitchers.”

      “Major League Baseball attendance declined 3 percent during the first half the 2013 season in comparison to last year, according to Sports Business Daily.”
      http://www.chicagotribune.com/…..5135.story

      “Baseball suffers drop in attendance”
      http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/s…..mes-060513

      1. But the news was not all bad for MLB teams. The Toronto Blue Jays are up 18 percent, the Oakland A’s showed an 11 percent increase and the Baltimore Orioles’ attendance rose 9 percent.

        The Blue Jays spent a whole bunch of money on new players (even though they still suck) and the A’s and Orioles have recently become young, exciting and competitive teams. Fans are still excited to see good teams play.

        The article also notes that there have been an unusual number of rain outs and games marred by early season bad weather that could keep fans away. Plus you also have to take into account whether a stadium jacks up prices for tickets, concessions, and parking.

  6. This is why Rollerball is growing so fast. All the drugs, twice the action.

    Get it while it’s hot!

    1. In case anyone else was as curious about this Russian dashcam phenomenon as I was: http://www.animalnewyork.com/2012/russian-dashcam/

      See, America, it could be worse!

    2. I had nearly recovered from laughing at the dude with then fire in the back of his truck when the cow incident happened.

      Russian dash-cams beat anything Hollywood puts out.

      1. *then*=the

        Fuck

    3. needs moar yakety sax

  7. It should be up to the league.

    If roided up players want to start their own competing league, then they should have the right to.

  8. The handler of his urine sample couldn’t find a open Fedex center nearby, which was good enough for the arbitrator to rule that the sample was mishandled.

    It’s a minor miracle that Zimmerman was acquitted.

    1. The clinic’s evidence against Braun, Rodriguez, and co has not been made public, and the Braun suspension was mutually agreed on, not imposed unilaterally. Combine that with the reaction of the MLBPA to MLB’s threats and it’s hard to come to any conclusion other than that Braun was guilty as sin and left an overwhelming amount of evidence in his douchey wake.

      1. and it’s hard to come to any conclusion other than

        I think there’s a lot more going on than what a knee-jerk conclusion would tell us. The MLB owners are much more concerned about Congress investigating their businesses than fan opinion about PED’s.

        There’s an obvious witch hunt on Braun for beating the first rap. MLB isn’t letting go that quickly so I’m sure his agent suggested that he take his lumps now when his salary is lower (and the team sucks), thus making a suspension cost him less money.

        Outside of Braun and Arod, the rest of the players MLB is going after are non-US citizens. Most of those players look at the MLBPA as just another extortion racket that they see every day in their home countries.

        It would not surprise me if in another year or two we hear of Braun leaving the MLBPA.

        1. I suspect that this is Selig’s last gasp at a legacy rather than purely a reaction to state pressure. Selig has always been an owner’s commissioner, and, as you note, forcing Braun to forfeit about $4M in salary is a significant blow to the MLBPA. That said, I don’t know that the union had an opportunity to contest the matter before Braun signed off on it.

          That said, I don’t think anyone’s leaving the MLBPA anytime soon. They’ve spent decades establishing their power and reputation as one of the world’s strongest unions, and a former union member turned scab would have a very uncomfortable life in the clubhouse and with the media.

  9. Man, those guys are jsut going to have to roll with it. Wow.

    http://www.GotMy-Anon.tk

  10. PEDs are banned in American pro sports because the majority of players want them banned, not the ownership. If they did not want them banned, then why agree to said ban in the collective bargaining agreement?

    1. Congress’s perpetual WAR ON DRUGS plays no part whatsoever?

      1. A substance that improves athletic performance when ingested is a PED? By that standard, water and oxygen both qualify.

  11. It’s funny, the majority of the people here seem to persist in the delusion that Steroids only help home run hitters when there really is very little evidence of that fact.

    When you look at the guys who benefit most from steroids it is the Pitchers.

    Batters play every day and get little benefit in season from steroids as a result, sure a regimen of them in the off season can boost your strength and they are often used to compensate for injury so you can get back on the field quicker/stay on the field longer but a Pitcher only pitches every 4 to 6 days and pitching is a much more strenuous activity. Steroids heal a pitchers arm recover completely from the 110 pitches he threw in his last outing in the 3 or 4 days he has before he is scheduled to pitch again, this means he can throw a higher percentage of his pitches at maximum velocity each game without worry that his arm will break down half way through the season. There is a reason why more than half of the guys found to be doping were pitchers and not hitters.

    I would venture to guess that the swing back to pitching dominance in the last half decade can be almost completely attributed to more doping in baseball and not less

    1. It isn’t the boost of strength that helps baseball players, it’s the consistent strength that helps them recover from the daily grind of playing everyday. You understate the influence it has on everyday players.

      1. I alluded to that with “stay on the field longer” but in a message board post with a 1500 character limit I can’t cover everything in detail.

        Even still it helps pitchers more than hitters.

        I don’t have any evidence but I’ll bet that the only difference between Mark Prior and Justin Verlander is Verlander uses some type of chemical assistance (steroids, HGH, something) and Prior didn’t. There is just no way someone could throw that hard for that long and not break down otherwise.

    2. but a Pitcher only pitches every 4 to 6 days

      Relief pitchers probably use them more BECAUSE they throw a lot more pitches (counting warmups) over a 5-6 day period.

  12. I think we are headed to even greater controversies. I always wondered why it was frowned upon to take something that boosts physical strength performance simply because the one with less strength wants to join the level naturally stronger athletes already achieved. Why is it those with poorer natural eyesight are allowed to wear glasses to that their vision at last equals those who naturally are at 20/20?

    But the things that are coming in the not too distant future will really be interesting…implants in the eyes, nanotechnology in the blood stream, increased red blood cells through manipulation, and even more. What will all sports do when technology placed in humans arrives?

    1. “But the things that are coming in the not too distant future will really be interesting…implants in the eyes, nanotechnology in the blood stream, increased red blood cells through manipulation, and even more. What will all sports do when technology placed in humans arrives?”

      I’m not sure what sports organizations will do but I’m sure I know what Congress will do: attempt to regulate it.

      Fuckin’ dinosaurs, thinking they can halt the comet about to obliterate them with its impact.

  13. I think the best way to address the problem is any player who uses ped instead of suspension require that they follow Babe Ruth’s or Mickey Mantle’s training methods.

    1. Hot dogs for the former, beer for the latter.

  14. I don’t detest Braun because he cheated. I detest Braun because he’s a complete jackass.

  15. MLB takes shitloads of money from PED manufacturers. Viagra for example.

    Plus, the MLB-MLBPA agreement has a laundry list of PEDs that are approved for use. Makes me wonder if there isn’t some shakedown operation going on, just like there is with bat manufacturers.

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  18. Given how it affects your metabolism, drinking WATER while exercising is a performance-enhancing drug use!

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