Baseball, Steroids and Cowardice

Ryan Braun's recent statement regarding his use of PEDs likely convinced nobody of anything. Those who were predisposed to like Braun and want to move beyond the PED issue were probably satisfied with his statement. Those who either don't like Braun, or are absolutists regarding PED use were equally likely to be displeased and dissatisfied with Braun's statement. Ryan Braun, it seems, is just another rich man caught breaking the rules who exacerbated his problem by denials and obfuscation before finally offering an unconvincing apology. Perhaps if baseball does not work out for him, he could run for mayor of New York.


A Lifetime Ban for A-Rod Would Be Bad for Baseball

A few weeks ago a former MVP who, is still one of the best and highest profile players in the game, was suspended for the duration of the 2013 season. However, nobody is talking about Ryan Braun anymore because this story has been completely eclipsed by the possible lifetime ban now facing New York Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez. The issues around this possible suspension are complicated because while most people recognize Rodriguez has been a user of PEDs, he has not failed a drug test since 2003. Rather he has been linked to Biogenesis, the medical lab which distributed PEDs to many players. More significantly, the discussion of Rodriguez's possible punishment appears to be somewhat capricious rather than grounded in policies or specific rules.

Whither the Athletics

The current Oakland Athletics, based upon a cycle of constantly trading players for prospects while explaining that behavior away by noting their small market size, appear to be at a turning point. It is possible that they will be allowed to move to the San Jose area, thus potentially expanding their market size, while competing with the San Francisco Giants in an area that has long been populated largely by Giants fans. This might catapult the A’s into a larger market. Similarly, they might be able to build a new stadium as their current ballpark feels like Candlestick Park without the charm, but neither of these strategies will work in the short or medium term unless the Athletics can put a better, and better presented, product on the field.

Tony LaRussa, Ron Washington and the World Series

The Cardinals victory in the World Series has sealed Tony LaRussa’s reputation as one of the most important managers in history and made his chances of being elected to the Hall of Fame even stronger. LaRussa has now won more regular season games than any manager other than Connie Mack and John McGraw, and is likely to pass McGraw next year. He is second only to Mack in total games managed. LaRussa is now tied for sixth most pennants won, and is one of only five managers to win six or more pennants for teams other than the Yankees. This Cardinal team was an extremely unlikely World Champion, but it is not clear that winning the 2011 World Series was LaRussa’s most impressive post-season accomplishment. In 2006, he won a World Series with another Cardinal team that had only won 83 regular season games.