Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Whole New Meaning to the Term A-Fraud

Pucker up
It's very rare these days to have a news story come out of nowhere and knock the public upside the head with a 20 pound sledgehammer. But that is exactly what happened yesterday when The Miami New Times News ran this Tim Elfrink story about an anti aging clinic in Miami. The story then exploded. His three months worth of research linked not only players that got busted last year for testing positive for heightened levels of testosterone in their system (Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera), but it also uncovered a few names that escaped any scrutiny. There was the "surprise shock" in seeing Gio Gonzalez's name attached to the report, there was the "kind of surprising, but not really unexpected" addition of Nelson Cruz, and there was the "damnit, we should've known he would be included" inclusion of everybody's favorite New York Yankee, Alex Rodriguez. Like clockwork, and just in time for baseball's new in season HGH testing program to go into affect, a PED scandal. Oh goodie.

Of course, that was yesterday's flavor. the onslaught of information, speculation and conjecture came from every baseball outlet. MLB Network stopped their regularly planned program to cover this breaking story. ESPN, I'm sure, said something about it, then they went back to drooling over NASCAR and Tim Tebow. It was impossible to escape what was happening. I wasn't even able to find solace or get sanctuary from firing up my old Friendster account as social media darlings had even taken to that platform to discuss, analyze and dissect how MLB players could be, um, well, stupid enough to trust someone like Anthony fucking Bosch.

Of course, we as a people are fickle these days. News becomes old in about 45 minutes, and we are off looking for the next thing that can raise an eyebrow or stir up some enlightening debate. People on Twitter went back to tweeting nonsense, people on Instagram went back to taking pictures of food and people went back to ignoring Friendster's existence. Everything went back to normal, or so it seemed. Just when you thought it was safe to venture back out onto the interwebz again, Ken Rosenthal went and decided that we not only had not had enough of this PED scandal, we also needed a new and illegal way of viewing Alex Rodriguez's tie into this whole mess. Suggesting a possible "out" for the Yankees using his hip surgery, and getting a Doctor to say that A-Rod can't continue playing due to the injuries leaving a bulk of the tab for the insurance company to pick up and saying:
The Orioles received similar benefits when Albert Belle was unable to play again due to a degenerative hip condition in 2000.
Say it with me Kenny, "A degenerative hip condition, in this case osteoarthritis, is not the same as a labral tear." Repeat that 10 times out loud, then write it down 100 times and turn it in after class. That's not where Mr. Short Stack kicks this whole thing off, but that is pretty standard knowledge. The only word that combines the two players is the word "hip." Apparently, our beloved bow tied reporter decided that even minimal fact checking was indeed not necessary before running this story. Let's continue.
The party line is that A-Rod will work his hardest to make a full recovery, just as he did after his previous surgery. But the landscape is different now — much different if Rodriguez indeed was using three substances banned by baseball, as shown by records obtained by the Miami New Times from Anthony Bosch’s anti-aging clinic.
Pretty standard for a team to tow that kind of line concerning their most expensive player. Sidebar, this is the second time that Rosey mentions A-Rod and PED use. I can't afford to install a ticker on the side of this post, so I will just point them out as they come along. Moving on. 
If Rodriguez used PEDs from ’09 to ’12 — after admitting that he used them from ’01 to ’03 — it would stand to reason that he is uncertain of his ability to perform without “assistance.”
That's three, and, no kidding. He's already leaped the first hurdle for PED users in garnering a ridiculously lucrative contract. Now comes the task of living up to said contract. Insert needle here.
A-Rod can attempt to go through his rehabilitation, then make the case that he is physically unable to perform. A doctor surely could make such a diagnosis quite plausible, given the weakened condition of Rodriguez’s two hips. 
 Ahem, weakened condition of one hip. His other hip has already been fixed via surgery, so it's not like he now has some sort of duck waddle type gait going on (although, that would be amusing). It's OK though Kenny, you already made something up once with the Albert Belle mention earlier, why stop now. And I'm sure the Doctor's, um, fee, wouldn't be too extravagant.
A legal fight could ensue, with the insurance companies contending that either A) Rodriguez could still play or B) that his use of PEDs contributed to his physical deterioration. But good luck trying to win either case. 
Yeah, because this would be an insurance company's, and their attorney's first trip around the fraud block.
For the Yankees, there would be no better way out. 
And, boom. You have now officially given the Yankees their only option, and it is to take an illegal route down fraud avenue. Well played.

He says later in the piece that the Yankees would get "significant pushback" from the MLB Players Union if they were to simply try to void his contract on the grounds of A-Rod using PED's. The same Union that has now given the OK to implement in season blood testing for Human Growth Hormone. I find this very hard to believe that the MLBPA would come so far to improve it's public image where PED's are concerned only to turn around and then fight for a player who had just recently, and very publicly, been ousted for not only using enhancers, but lying about not using them since 2003 when he got ousted in 2009 for the same fucking thing!

For a small man, you have quite the reach Mr. Rosenthal. A-Rod has quite a few nicknames among non-Yankee fans (A-Roid, A-Fraud, etc.), but he will get a new one thanks to Matt Sussman and what he said on the twitter machine this morning:

I will say this however, if the Yankees were to go and try to pull this off, and then succeed in doing so. I will henceforth be contracting myself out to homeowners who own abandoned buildings. If they can pull off a heist of an insurance company to the tune of $134,117,647.06, I doubt any insurance company is going to be upset about paying out a few thousand dollars for a building burning down that hadn't been used in the last handful of years.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

John Rocker On Gun Control

It should come as no surprise, but might, that some of your favorite MLB players are gun enthusiasts. Just FYI, in case you didn't notice the amount of good old boys on the playing field or the amount of injuries from falling down stairs carrying deer meat. What you don't hear too often is an MLBer choosing a tragic event like the Sandy Hook shooting as a time to voice his opinion on gun control. Luckily, someone gave former Braves closer/noted New York mass transit antogonist, John Rocker, his own column on World Net Daily. Wait, what?

Rocker played his last game on May 14, 2003 for Tampa Bay giving up one run on two hits and a walk. So let's recap a few important facts about the former relief pitcher before we move forward. In 1999, Rocker pitched 72.1 innings of 2.41 ERA ball with 38 saves and a 12.94 K/9 for the Braves. He had a career 5.78 BB/9 so the walks, like the strikeouts, came in bunches. He's "not a very big fan of foreigners" and imagines riding the 7 train sitting next to "some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids." But he's gone through sensitivity training to take care of most of that. Oh, one more thing, he "would vote for the devil himself over Barack Obama which would actually be tough though as he seems to already be a supporter." Okay, let's move on to his article about gun control...
Mr. Obama wants to severely neuter the Second Amendment and disarm the law-abiding citizens of this nation, a similar act of tyrants throughout the 20th century such as Stalin, Mao and Hitler.
Oh boy. This is the first sentence of the fifth-ish paragraph so he doesn't just do 0-60 in three seconds to compare Obama to Hitler. There's some stuff about the Hispanic vote and Oprah before it.
Absolute certainties are a rare thing in this life, but one I think can be collectively agreed upon is the undeniable fact that the Holocaust would have never taken place had the Jewish citizenry of Hitler’s Germany had the right to bear arms and defended themselves with those arms.
Hard to argue with absolute certanties and undeniable facts. That he made up. If Rocker had a time machine, he'd totally go back in time and kill Hitler. Think about how short lines would be without all of those foreingers who had to flee for their lives to the US. But what does Rocker think about what other people think?
Appearing on “Piers Morgan Tonight” with Piers Morgan, a British expatriate who serves as a 21st century version of a King George Redcoat championing the disarming of the American people, (Alex) Jones let him have it in a way that no individual from the GOP or the NRA – save the late, great Charlton Heston who is sorely needed now – has dared when confronting any mouthpiece for Obama’s gun-grab.

Here’s the main point of the conversation, with Jones telling Morgan, “The Second Amendment isn’t there for duck hunting, it’s there to protect us from tyrannical government and street thugs.”
Of course, Rocker is recapping the publicity stunt between Piers Morgan (Celebrity Apprentice, America's Got Talent) and Alex Jones (the titular character of that Tyer Perry movie?). Rocker sides with Jones.
Jones has the type of energy I like and, more importantly, that is desperately needed by patriotic Americans who are beginning to view the actions of the Obama administration as treasonous and the milquetoast response by the GOP as pedestrian.
Also, Jones yelled like a crazy person the loudest and that's how arguments are won. And come on, I have $50 that says "milquetoast" does not appear in the copy Rocker sent to his editor. I digress. Rocker goes on to tell a story about an Atlanta woman who shot an intruder.
Using a .38 revolver, Mrs. Herman protected her family and her property, performing that age-old American tradition of self-defense.
Good for Mrs. Herman and all the other musket-toting women the forefathers had in mind when they drew up the Second Amendment. Finally...
So to that sanctimonious Piers Morgan and those determined to disarm Americans – and yes, any form of gun control is only the initial first step toward total gun control – I say read the story coming from the suburbs of Atlanta and, if possible, allow the notion of why the Second Amendment is so important to the safety of Americans to circulate through your closed minds.
Closed minds, tyrannical government and street thugs? You'd think Rocker made enough money through baseball and real estate development to move out of that dystopian neighborhood. Or he has confused Hobo with a Shotgun for real life. Easy mistake.

I should be clear. I don't have a horse in the gun control race. This is not a political post. I am concerned about Mike Trout's 2013 WAR but it has little to do with firearms. This is more of a public service post. John Rocker has a political blog on a real website. I'll be in my panic room.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Milton Bradley, Still a Douchebag

For those of you that were hoping that life after baseball would cause everyone's favorite human being Milton Bradley to transform into Wacky Uncle Milton, think again. Thanks to the interwebz and twitter, this USA Today story came across my feed. Reaffirming that Bradley  was, in fact, still a steaming pile of dog shit. Of course, being the avid baseball fan that I assume you, the reader, to be, None of the words below should come as a shock to any of you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

MLB '13 The Show Needs a Coverboy

Every sport has a signature video game. For baseball, SCE San Diego Studio's MLB The Show Series gives you everything you want in a game of simulation hardball, and each year it seems to deliver more of the things baseball fans want to see.

This year, the player who will don the cover of the game seems like a can't miss no matter how voting ends up. Matt Kemp, CC Sabathia, Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper, Buster Posey, Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera and Johnny Giavotella are the candidates. Fans can cast their ballot by heading over to and joining in via twitter or Facebook.

Baseball is doing a great job of promoting this as the marquee game of their sport. All hands are on deck with the aforementioned Twitter, Facebook, and outlets. Each candidate made a campaign video (here's McCutchen's) and I even heard Colin Cowherd talking about the game with CC Sabathia today on ESPN Radio during my lunch break. 

I can tell you from experience, this game is worthy of all the hype. It's one of the few things in my life that year after year continues to deliver without diminishing returns. Even a new car is only great for the first year you have it. After that, you've got trash on the floor and your friends will smoke cigarettes in it without asking.

This game delivers a feel so real, you'll smell peanuts and pine tar from the minute you throw it in your Playstation. Sorry XBOX owners, you're left out in the cold like George Jung for now. 

If you have the time on your hands, I challenge you to pick the game up and try to play a full 162-game season. It might sound like it gets boring or tedious to some, but you'll never see the same thing twice in this game. And over the course of playing a season with that many game you'll see some rare special things at about the same rate you would see them over the course of the real-life season. You'll get blown out, win an 18-inning game in which you have to insert a pitcher to play left field, make a game saving catch, hit grand slams, have a shot at records, endure slumps, rain delays; it's all in this game if you allow play it out and allow it to come to you. 

Now, head over to twitter and send a simple tweet '#MLB13HARPER' to vote for the guy I want to see on the cover. 

Follow @mlbtheshow for more details of The Show '13 cover vote race. At press time, Andrew McCutchen holds a surprising decisive lead.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Chipper Jones Is Retired, Right?

Remember when Chipper Jones announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2012 season? Remember when Larry played in 112 games during the 2012 and hit an impressive .287/.377/.455 in 448 plate appearances as a 40-year-old? Remember how he was lavished with gifts ranging from third bases (Reds, Yankees, Pirates) to a bow hunting camera (Todd Helton) to a year's supply of sausages (Brewers) throughout the season? Then remember how he actually retired at the end of the season? Yeah, well, the baseball world has short term memory loss, at least according to a NY Post reporter tweeting about Jones' agent...

Sure, the Yankees could use Jones as their own ungracefully aging third bagger Alex Rodriguez recovers from hip surgery (if he ever has it). But there are plenty of other teams who could use Jones as a 5/8 of the time third baseman. Had Jones qualified, he would have finished tied for 10th with Hanley Ramirez with a 3.0 fWAR at the position. With Ramirez back at short, the Dodgers might even be at the front of the line for Chipper's unavailable services. Of course, the Braves are looking to contend again this year and would, I assume, welcome Jones back with loving, open arms.

But barring a Brett Favre/every-rapper-ever wishy-washy comeback saga, Jones will remain retired to hunt and fish and tweet. And he appears to be enjoying the latter...

Which is good news for all of us if he keeps posting pics like this one...

That's a festivus miracle/disaster if I've ever seen one. Sadly, there's been no update on the fate of that ladder.