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Ryan Braun

An analogy for PED offenders in Major League Baseball

Yesterday, 13 players were suspended from Major League Baseball for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy. Most of them will be taken out of the league, without pay, for 50 games, which effectively eliminates the possibility of most playing another game this season (the exceptions being those on rosters with a shot at the postseason). With a story of this magnitude, I’ve of course been asked my thoughts. At first, I was reluctant to write anything–after all, what would I have to say that hasn’t been said a million times before?
But after sitting down to write an e-mail, I realized that I was far more fired up about this than I originally thought. Because we’re what we’re dealing with here is a situation that, when ground down to a basic analogy, should be something that every American can understand.
Let’s say you’re back in grade school and you hired an outside consultant to create an elaborate system of cheating for exams. This system would not only help you benefit in the moment by leveling any test that came your way, but would also help to dismiss you of any wrongdoing in any investigation later on. This of course, would be to your benefit alone, but moreover, would be to the detriment of the other students in your class who perhaps got bumped down in considerations for college acceptances, scholarships, etc.
If you were to do this and you got caught, should you be allowed to stay in school? Should you be expelled? Would you be given a second chance? Is there a reason to allow you another opportunity to willingly and knowingly lie and cheat and steal from others?
No. There is not. Not only did you create an unfair advantage for yourself, but you also did so in a per-meditated fashion in which you made sure you would never be caught again…and could repeat the system over and over if so ever you wanted.
Your answer, unless you are a person of dubious character (and yes, I’m putting a judgment there), should be that this person–this liar–should be immediately dismissed from school. This student could no longer be trusted, especially with the intricacy of the lie, and the very purposeful intent to gain an unfair advantage over your peers.… Read more...

David Wright Pulled in Fear of Retaliation

Last night, YOUR New York Mets were ready to call it a loser. On their way to an 8-0 loss at the hands of the Beer Men of The Good Land, Amazins’ reliever D.J. Carrasco gave up a home run to Rickie Weeks. On the first pitch after Weeks had rounded the bases, Carrasco plunked reigning National League Most Valuable Player and object of Mambino disdain, Ryan Braun.

Carrasco was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Gary Darling, and Mets manager Terry Collins wasn’t surprised. So what did he do?

When it was Wright’s turn to bat in the bottom of the 7th inning, Collins sent no-namer Jordany Valdespin (cool name, bro) to the plate instead of his star 3rd baseman. Wright is to the Mets as Braun is to the Brewers, and coupled with the fact that DW notched 2 of the Metropolitans’ 5 hits off of Zack Greinke, Collins knew what was going down.

After the jump, I have power-ranked the participants involved in last night’s event.

5. Ryan Braun

“I respect the fact that (Wright) wanted to stay in the game. I don’t fault them for making that decision at all.” Nice quote from Braun, I guess. He’s not one to put his name in the papers. He wouldn’t hold a press conference to explain himself about anything at all.

4. Jordany Valdespin

“Hey kid, I’m not risking the face of the franchise. Go in there and bat for him. If you get hit, we’ll send you down to AAA.” -what Terry Collins would have said if he didn’t care about the kid’s feelings

Kinda reminds me of Major League 2, when Jake Taylor sent Roger Dorn into face the lefty Bucek, for the sole purpose of stepping into an inside pitch to get on base:

3. Terry Collins

The Mets manager job was such a terrible attraction, that Collins, the team’s friggin “minor-league field coordinator,” emerged as the best candidate for the position. Collins came into his new digs knowing that the team had owners for which “incompetent” was an understatement and “impotent” was a likely possibility, both of which due to the Wilpons’ flirtation with Bernie Madoff. To his credit, however, Collins has steered this ship through the perfect storm to a 20-16 record, which currently places his team in the 2nd NL Wild Card spot.

Collins knows he’s playing with house money. But unlike me, a dude who uses that opportunity to bet the farm for the chance at more money, Collins assessed the situation, pulling Wright and also, Daniel Murphy (who’s hitting a sweet .336), and walked away from the casino. His boys are injury-free and live to play another day. He won’t have to consider a trip to the ATM for another withdrawal.

2. David Wright

Dude wanted to stay in and get hit. What a freaking big boy move by DW. International blogging sensation KFC of Barstool Sports New York called it the best Mets moment in the last 3 years. And looking back at their tortured history, that sounds about right.

When we play sports, the physical contact doesn’t bother us because people don’t do that ish intentionally (unless they do). But to WANT to step in and face the music is not something that us normal people do on the daily. When we expect to get hit, that normal human element of fear usually chimes in:

1. Mets fans

I am not one of them, thank God. But it’s nice to see the red-headed stepchild smile every once in a while.


@TheGreatMambino

Burning Qs for the 2012 MLB Season (Part 1)

Whoa! The 2012 MLB season snuck up on us like a new Rihanna LP – unexpected and yet, we’re incredibly happy it’s here. Like, way too happy.

As is tradition with the birth of every new season, we’re greeting it on MAMBINO like you would any old friend; with incredibly invasive questions, exploring the greatest weaknesses, storylines and potential surprises in the next year.

We’ve rounded up the MAMBINO stable better than Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern could, and written down some questions that HAD to be answered before the 2012 MLB season kicks off in earnest next week (yes, I realize that we’re ignoring “Opening Day” which is an opening series in Japan with the A’s and Mariners that started last Wednesday. No disrespect to my Japanese forefathers, but we’re pretending that baseball isn’t going on yet because those two teams are glorified Triple A squads. It’s not about Japan. For real. It was 80 years ago, everyone’s gotten over it).

Is the Phillies’ window closing? 

Pucklius: So here’s a fun fact for you. The Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies and some baseball-like organization known as the “New York Mets” all finished with losing records last year. Here’s another fun fact for you. All of these teams scored more runs last season than the Philadelphia Phillies.

As far as I can tell, prognosticators tabbing the Phillies for a sixth consecutive NL East title are doing so out of sheer habit and laziness while ignoring the fact that the Braves have been rising for years and the Marlins, who won’t be as good as Jeffrey Loria thinks but will still be good, have a solid crop of young talent (Josh Johnson, GianCarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison) that has been overshadowed by the big name free agent signings (Jose Reyes, Mark Beurhle) as well as some guy named Hanley Ramirez, all of which has closed the gap considerably. The Phillies meanwhile have an almost ancient short stop in Jimmy Rollins, an aging Chase Utley, who hit a paltry .259 last season and won’t be healthy for the start of this one, and a grand total of one player, Hunter Pence, who had a plus-.300 batting average (.314) or a plus-.500 slugging percentage (.502). Meanwhile, Ryan Howard, who according to recent sabermetric-centric story in ESPN Magazine doesn’t help a team that much more than he hurts one anyway, won’t even play until as late as June following a torn Achilles tendon on the final out of Philadelphia’s 2011 postseason. Essentially, this means that if you somehow manage to get lucky and score 4 or 5 runs against the Phillies remarkable starting rotation you probably have a pretty decent chance of beating them — and in the pitchers nightmare that is Citizens Bank Park, scoring 4 or 5 runs isn’t something a competent Major League offense should find all that hard to do. Just imagine what that offense will put up when it finds itself in places where batting average and runs created go to die like Citi Field or Petco Park.

I should note that Philadelphia did win 102 games last season — and outscored opponents by a league-best 184 runs — but those numbers are almost entirely a result of a stellar pitching rotation. Now, that rotation is stellar, and far be it from me to question the abilities of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, but Roy Oswalt is gone and Vance Worley, who struggled last September, and Joe Blanton are the likely men to jump into his position. They do not inspire the same kind of fear and th… Read more...

MLB: Bold and/or Reckless Predictions

MLB Opening Day is the best day of the year. The Fourth of July, Christmas, and the Super Bowl all have nothing on Opening Day. On the first day of the season, every baseball city in America has a legitimate chance to set course on a path towards the World Series (well everyone except those who root for the Cubs). Look at the champions over the last 10 years in the MLB and tell me if you would’ve correctly predicted: St. Louis, San Francisco, NY Yankees, Philly, Boston, St. Louis, Chicago White Sox, Boston, Florida, Anaheim, Arizona. Barring the normal Yankee dominance and a stint in their time as a ‘roided up Red Sox team, all those teams listed were not expected to win the whole thing on the first day of the season.

As a kid, I waited nervously for opening day. I checked spring training box scores and standings each morning in the LA Times. Now, as an adult (albeit a fairly irresponsible one), I feverishly read everything on the Internet about the upcoming summer of lazy days and double plays.
Everyone who knows anything about baseball can tell you the Dodgers are going to be a shitty team this year. We have the worst infield in the League and we still haven’t ensured that Frank McCourt is going to be out of lives forever (seriously, he still owns the parking lot/land in joint venture with Magic). So even though KOBEshigawa went through the trouble of doing a full season preview on the boys in the blue, I don’t see the point in guessing exactly how many players on our starting 9 will be hitting under .250. Instead, I would like to spend my time here with thegreatmambino making reckless predictions about the upcoming season that you will not get anywhere else…
Prediction 1: The Marlins AND the Pirates will WIN a playoff series
The Miami Marlins have been making a name for themselves this offseason. They no longer have to play in their cavernous hole of a stadium, and somehow they landed the craziest manager in baseball. Add that to a lineup that now has speedy (yet fragile) Jose Reyes, a rotation that boasts Josh Johnson (not crazy), Mark Buerhle (kinda redneck crazy), and Carlos Zambrano (batshit crazy), and you have a recipe for dominance. Granted, success in Miami will only come if this witches brew of talent can gel, but with the powerhouses in the East set to have down years (looking at you Braves and Phillies), a hot Ozzie-led squad will eek out a playoff series win this fall.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are finally going to do it this year. I live with a die-hard fan of the losingest team in baseball over the last 25 years and he has assured me that this season is the one! With the expanded playoffs and a Central that no longer has a Pujols or a Prince, the Pirates will finally put it all together and make it into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The playoff series they win… that first game to get into their series with Miami.
Prediction 2: This is the last season without a DH in the NL

The MLB has been run by a bunch of drunks for decades. Each league used to have power beyond anything you can imagine in any other professional sport. So much so that one league plays by entirely different lineup rules. This has been allowed to continue for decades for no apparent reason other than the fact that the AL prefers winning a lot, and the NL has cited tradition/purity in the game. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the DH, but with the new way the MLB has set up the schedule for 2012, the DH has to go. Currently, almost every single baseball league in the world uses a DH (all minor leagues, Japan, Latin leagues etc.).

Teams are soon going to be playing interleagu

Our Best and Brightest – Thoughts on Ryan Braun’s positive PED test

“I would never do it because if I took steroids, I would hit 60 or 70 home runs.” – Ryan Braun
Ryan Braun hit .332, with a .994 OPS. He had 187 hits, 77 of which were for extra bases. His 33 homers, 111 RBI and 109 runs scored were amongst the majors’ best. As if that weren’t enough, he stole 33 bases and was the best player on one of the best teams this year. His charisma, leadership and enthusiasm for the game made him one of baseball’s most popular young players. Personally, he is one of my favorite major leaguers, with his cartoonishly gigantic windmill swing and the teeth-grinding effort he gives on every single play. He didn’t hit 60 home runs this year, but if you watched this guy for a single week’s worth of games, you’d think he was capable of it. He was that good.
Today, ESPN revealed that Ryan Braun had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. The investigation was triggered by a spike in testoterone, which automatically led into further examinations of Ryan’s pee pee. After the lab had run a gamut of tests, they found that Braun had a large deal of synthetic testoterone in his body, which obviously would not appear there by any organic means. With any positive PED test, Major League Baseball administers a mandatory 50 game suspension for first time offenders. The only reason why the sports news headlines do not read “Braun suspended for 50 games” yet is that the punishment and jurisdiction of the commissioner’s office isn’t official yet; Braun and his representatives have appealed the PED test result. No player has yet successfully won such an appeal.
“… The best thing he can do is come out, admit to everything and be completely honest. The situation will die a lot faster if he tells the whole truth.” – Braun, on Alex Rodriguez’s steroid useRead more...