Beyond Golf — 23 July 2013 by Jim Street
Braun takes the fall, A-Fraud next?

The first domino in what could become the mother of all Major League Baseball PED cases fell on Monday afternoon when Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun basically admitted that he was a liar and accepted a 65-game suspension that will keep him out of action for the remainder of the season.

Braun finally accepted responsibility for being involved in a lie that lasted more than two years and cost at least one person his job – one Dino Lurenzi Jr., the tester whose reputation was destroyed when he was “convicted” of submitting a “tainted” urine sample more than a year ago.

Back then, in 2011, Braun was suspended for 50 games, appealed and won on a technicality. And then, on a spring training day in Maryvale, Ariz. in 2012, he declared, “I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point,” he told the media. And if you’re inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt, you accepted his explanation despite your reservations and were willing to move past it.”

Liar, liar pants on fire.

On Monday, the scoundrel took the low road out of Dodge when he came “clean”, so to speak.

“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect,” Braun said in a statement released by MLB and no doubt written by someone other than The Cheater himself .  “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 is has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization.”

Duh!

Taken a toll on his family? Think of the toll it has taken on his colleagues.  Because of idiots like Braun, Chris Davis can hit 37 home runs by the All-Star break, matching a record held by Reggie Jackson since 1969, and eyebrows are raised. The common thought: Davis must be on PEDs.

This is what the likes of Braun, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have given the game by their selfish antics. Damn the rules because they don’t apply to me.

At least Braun finally admitted that he was a liar.

Next up is Alex Rodriguez – the all-time MVP of MLB cheaters.

A-Rod has been A-Fraud since his second year in the big leagues with the Mariners. He was as honest as a three-dollar bill. He found a way to get you to like him, and then did things that made you despise him.

A-Rod is a physical wreck right now, preventing him from rejoining the Yankees on Monday night as expected. He has a strained thigh. Too bad there isn’t a miracle-cure facility A-Fraud could contact for instant help. With all of the money he has, no crooked dude is going to say “no” to him.

According to sources, the evidence against Rodriguez is “far beyond” what MLB had on Braun. The length of Rodriguez’s suspension is expected to be affected by MLB’s belief that he interfered with the investigation.

The Yankees do not expect Rodriguez to be suspended imminently, sources familiar with the investigation and the third baseman told ESPNNewYork.com.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team had not been given any heads up from MLB regarding a possible suspension and had no idea when, or if, any discipline was forthcoming for Rodriguez.

In the meantime, I wonder how many dominoes are going to fall in the next few weeks.

Other players who have been publicly linked to Biogenesis include Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, Nelson Cruz, Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Jhonny Peralta, Cesar Puello, Fernando Martinez, Everth Cabrera, Fautino de los Santos and Jordan Norberto. The names of Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez and the spokesperson for Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano’s foundation were also found among the records.
As you can see, pennant races in both leagues could be determined by the players that have been linked to Biogenisis, the defunct Florida-based company that has become the latest PED factory.

Reaction to Braun’s suspension was not challenged by the powerful players union.

Braun, the 2011 MVP, was commended by MLBPA association executive director Michael Weiner for accepting the punishment.

“I am deeply gratified to see Ryan taking this bold step” Weiner said in a statement. “It vindicates the rights of all players under the Joint Drug Program. It is good for the game that Ryan will return soon to continue his great work both on and off the field.”

Yeah, maybe Braun will do a PSA (public service announcement) and warn kids who might be thinking about cheating to think again and not cheat the way he has for who knows how many years.

In my mind, guys like Braun can never regain the confidence and reputation they had as players. At some point along the way he decided that cheating was OK. It’s not OK and even if he says, down the road, that he is “clean”, it will be almost impossible to believe him.

Have a nice life, Cheater.

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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