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Second Verse, Same As The First

Feb 06, 2013 -- 8:49pm

Patience.

As with anything that contains layers of facts dispersed at different times, patience is required.  Making rash judgments is a simple answer to a complex issue, willingly ignoring details that aren’t known or may not apply to a particular mindset.  With that, let’s look at the facts of the Ryan Braun-Biogenesis relationship as of this moment.

-Braun’s name appears on financial records for Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch, as first reported by Yahoo!

-Bosch and his clinic have recently had portions of their records released by the Miami New Times.

-These records linked MLB players such as Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz as possible clients of Bosch, and asserts that these players received performance-enhancing drugs from the clinic.

-Bosch has previous experience with baseball players and PEDs, having supplied Manny Ramirez with the PEDs that led to his 50 game suspension in 2009.

-Braun faced a 50 game suspension last offseason after failing a drug test during the 2011 postseason.  He appealed the ruling and won, citing a chain-of-custody issue with the sample.

-Braun’s name is not mentioned in relation to PEDs on the Biogenesis records.

Those who were convinced that Braun got off on a technicality last February have made up their minds with this revelation.  And, to be honest, I would not be shocked at all if Braun has used something during the course of his career.  But making that connection based on what we know now is putting the cart before the horse.

Braun cited using Bosch as a consultant during his appeal hearing last year.  That reasoning has not sat well over the last 24 hours, with folks like TJ Quinn and Buster Olney laughing at such logic.  But how is that illogical? 

In the information gathering stage for the appeal hearing, Braun’s legal team looked at two different aspects of the testing process.  First, showing a breach in testing protocol, which they succeeded in.  Second, explaining how the mishandling of the urine sample can affect its composition.  That’s where Bosch came in. 

One of Braun’s attorneys, Chris Lyons, had known Bosch previously through his work with tennis player Wayne Odesnik.  By this point, Major League Baseball was well aware of Anthony Bosch’s work from the Manny Ramirez saga in 2009.  So, the legal team approached one of the few men who has intricate knowledge of the MLB testing system and how certain PEDs affect a sample.  Wendy Thurm, a lawyer of 20 years, lays this out on Fangraphs in greater detail.

This is using what we know to connect some of the dots, not assuming we know the connections.  There are still questions that need to be answered, and I will still have my doubts until they are.  The first is the date of the records.  If Ryan Braun’s name shows up anywhere between October 2011 and February 2012, it lends credence to his argument.  Anytime before or after that is trouble.

The second is how he was aware of Anthony Bosch.  While we know Chris Lyons knew of him, we also know that Braun’s roommate at the University of Miami, Cesar Carillo, appears on the records as well.  It is difficult to wrap your head around the idea that Braun did not have some inkling of who Anthony Bosch was at his time at The U.

Those are questions that need to be answered, and can easily from legal documentation from Braun’s legal team.  As we sit right now, we only have a segment of the facts.  And as much as the naysayers would rather ignore it, the facts do line up

Patience.

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2012's Top Ten Stateline Sports Moments: #1 - The Day The Chicago Bulls Died

Dec 31, 2012 -- 4:09pm

Date: April 28

Location: United Center; Chicago, Illinois

No moment this past year had a greater impact.  Short term.  Long term.  What happened in late April on Chicago’s west side is causing ripple effects even to this day.  The worst case scenario actually happened.

Derrick Rose is an aggressive point guard.  He’s physical.  He’s agile.  His style of play leads to injuries, including a few that kept him out of a good chunk of the season.  But that’s him.  That’s Derrick Rose.  He’s part of the new wave of NBA point guard, possibly the leader.  He’s far and away the leader of the Chicago Bulls. 

He was leading the Bulls to a Game 1 win in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals over the Sixers.  23 points, nine assists, nine rebounds, and the Bulls lead by twelve with under 90 seconds to go.  Rose, still in the game, made a move down the lane, hopped around Spencer Hawes, and dished to the corner.  It’s a move he’s done hundreds of times in his NBA career.  But this one was different.  Something went wrong when he landed.  The play resulted in a turnover, but Rose didn’t back track.  He fell to the court holding his left knee.  And he didn’t get up.

ACL tear was the diagnosis, and Derrick Rose hasn’t stepped on the floor yet.  The Bulls would fall to the eighth-seeded Sixers in six games, and the Bulls we came to know over the last four years was done.  The roster broke apart, and the MVP wasn’t coming back anytime soon.  One awkward landing has set the Bulls back two years, at least.  As I type this, the Bulls are losing at home to the Bobcats, who have lost eighteen straight. 

Tom Thibodeau came under fire for having Rose in the game, justifiably so.  The Sixers had removed their top scorers from the game, Thibodeau did not.  The game was over.  Rose agreed a few months later.  But that’s Tom Thibodeau.  Despite nearly everyone telling him to stop, Thibodeau will run his players into the ground.  Rose’s injuries during the season, along with Luol Deng’s and Joakim Noah’s, can attest to that.  Despite his defensive mentality and schemes, it will forever be Thibodeau’s flaw.  It was fatal in late April.

Will Derrick Rose change his style whenever he returns?  Unlikely, although it wouldn’t hurt.  Tom Thibodeau certainly won’t, as we’ve seen already this season.  We don’t know what Derrick Rose will be when he returns, and what the Chicago Bulls will look like when he does.  And that’s why this is number one.  While the majority of the moments on my list have altered teams, or even leagues, none of them had as widespread of an impact as this one.

In a flash, the Chicago Bulls were done. 

2012 was somewhat tumultuous, so let’s hope for a semi-calmer 2013.  With more winning.  Happy new year.

P.S. The Lovie Smith firing would have assuredly made this list, but it will be worked into next year’s.  Look for it near the top.

 

10. Montee Ball Breaks NCAA Touchdown Record

9. Raffi Torres Hits Marian Hossa

8. Dan Appino Goes To Auburn

7. Aaron Rodgers Named NFL MVP

6. The Fail Mary

5. Ryan Braun Wins Appeal Of Drug Suspension

4. NIU Crashes Into BCS

3. Bears Fire Jerry Angelo

2. Bret Bielema Leaves Wisconsin

1. Derrick Rose Tears ACL

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2012's Top Ten Stateline Sports Moments: #2 - ...Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night

Dec 30, 2012 -- 4:12pm

Date: December 4

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Easily the most surprising moment on the list.  Not one person saw this coming.  Not one.

After dispatching of Nebraska in the Big Ten title game, the up-and-down Wisconsin Badgers were heading back to the Rose Bowl, a place the Badgers have experienced nightmares of late.  Can Bret Bielema finally win in Pasadena?  Well, as the narrator of the Tootsie Pop commercials says, “The world may never know.”

Bielema took the vacant Arkansas job, leaving Badger Nation with a sense of surprised acceptance.  Despite great records and consistent success, Badger fans never took to Bret Bielema.  Failure to win big road games, poor clock management, and lack of bowl game success were part of the problems.  Bielema’s pedestal-like stance on the Big Ten and college football may have factored in.  Whatever the reasons were, no one was really upset that Bret was gone.  Just…stunned.  And you’ll find very few who believe the Wisconsin program is now in trouble.

What followed was the re-emergence of Barry Alvarez, who announced he would coach the Rose Bowl.  A two-week search led to Utah State head coach Gary Anderson taking the job, and captivating the fan base.  It also gave us one of the most entertaining press conferences of the year, when Barry announced his intention to coach the Rose Bowl.  It also gave us angry Barry, who didn’t appreciate how the poaching of Bret Bielema went down and Bielema’s comments about the failure to retain coaches and wanting to win a championship.  If the Wisconsin program is playing little brother to someone, don’t tell Barry Alvarez.

The last month has seen upheaval in a perennially stable program.  But rarely has this much discourse been so…positive.  A spark’s been re-lit in the Badger faithful.  And who knows, it may translate to a win over Stanford on Tuesday.

So, on behalf of the Badger faithful who have rarely uttered this phrase…thank you, Bret.  While shocking, your departure may have been the best thing for the Wisconsin Badgers in decades.

Number one tomorrow.  A hint…it involves a team that has yet to be mentioned in this list.

 

10. Montee Ball Breaks NCAA Touchdown Record

9. Raffi Torres Hits Marian Hossa

8. Dan Appino Goes To Auburn

7. Aaron Rodgers Named NFL MVP

6. The Fail Mary

5. Ryan Braun Wins Appeal Of Drug Suspension

4. NIU Crashes Into BCS

3. Bears Fire Jerry Angelo

2. Bret Bielema Leaves Wisconsin

1. ???

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2012's Top Ten Stateline Sports Moments: #3 - So Long, Farewell...

Dec 29, 2012 -- 3:44pm

Date: January 3

Location: Chicago, Illinois

This one was awhile coming.

After a quick drop from the top of the NFC to out of the playoffs, the Chicago Bears sent GM Jerry Angelo on his way, ending his eleven year run.

The Bears went to the playoffs just four times in Angelo’s eleven year run, and one Super Bowl.  But it was the drafting that became his calling card.  Of his entire drafting history, only 18 players are currently on the Bears roster.  Bust after bust dot the laundry list of Angelo’s drafting mistakes, and he never filled giant voids on offense.

It is rare to see a team in any sport operate as repetitively as the Bears did under Jerry Angelo.  Even more baffling was how long of a leash Angelo received, getting over a decade with one of the NFL’s charter franchises.  When the lack of roster depth became apparent in 2011, there was nothing left to defend. 

Angelo gave way to Phil Emery, and he will face an offseason of many questions, most of which center around Lovie Smith.  There’s still uncertainty as to whether the organization has turned the corner and will start making the hard decisions.  But final ridding of Jerry Angelo was a step in that direction.

 

10. Montee Ball Breaks NCAA Touchdown Record

9. Raffi Torres Hits Marian Hossa

8. Dan Appino Goes To Auburn

7. Aaron Rodgers Named NFL MVP

6. The Fail Mary

5. Ryan Braun Wins Appeal Of Drug Suspension

4. NIU Crashes Into BCS

3. Bears Fire Jerry Angelo

2. ???

sports, football, bears, angelo, lovie, emeryView Comments (0)

2012's Top Ten Stateline Sports Moments: #4 - Welcome To Miami

Dec 28, 2012 -- 4:03pm

Date: December 2

Location: DeKalb, Illinois

A lot of dominoes had to fall.  They all did.  And boy did it anger a lot of people.

As the NIU Huskies rolled toward the end of their 2012 season, a door began to quietly open.  If the Huskies finished the final BCS rankings in the top 16 AND ahead of a BCS conference champion, they’d receive an unlikely berth in the Orange Bowl.  First, NIU needed two overtimes to knock off Kent State, a team ranked ahead of them, to win their second straight MAC title.  Then they waited.  The Big East champion Louisville would almost certainly finish behind NIU in the standings, and unranked Wisconsin grabbed the Big Ten title for good measure.  It was up to the computers, and the computers locked them in at 15.  The Huskies officially crashed the BCS.  All of this one day after Dave Doeren left for NC State.

The uproar was astounding.  Jesse Palmer, David Pollack, Pat Forde, Colin Cowherd, and most notably, Kirk Herbstreit, went off.  Herbstreit went as far to call NIU’s Orange Bowl berth a disgrace to college football.  Meanwhile, the cheers exploded out of DeKalb, celebrating the biggest moment in program history.  The cheers grew louder with every critic shouting their direction. 

NIU sneaking into the big boy’s treehouse would have made this list, but the fallout puts it into the top four.  For a full 24-hour news cycle, NIU was the story.  No Notre Dame and Alabama.  Not Wisconsin somehow going to another Rose Bowl.  The NIU Huskies found their way into the college football money pile, and the talking heads were pissed.  Underdogs are loved in college basketball, but how dare one emerge in college football.

We’re now four days away from NIU taking their national stage, and very likely suffering a defeat.  But the game really isn’t the point.  College football is the biggest political battleground in the nation, and the little guy was able to break in.  All they did was follow the rules.

 

10. Montee Ball Breaks NCAA Touchdown Record

9. Raffi Torres Hits Marian Hossa

8. Dan Appino Goes To Auburn

7. Aaron Rodgers Named NFL MVP

6. The Fail Mary

5. Ryan Braun Wins Appeal Of Drug Suspension

4. NIU Crashes Into BCS

3. ???

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2012's Top Ten Stateline Sports Moments: #5 - Chain Of Custody

Dec 27, 2012 -- 2:50pm

Date: February 23

Location: Maryvale Baseball Park; Phoenix, Arizona

We’ve reached the top five, and in a completely unplanned bit of coincidence, #5 of 2012 was also #5 of 2011.

In early December of 2011, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended 50 games of elevated levels of testosterone.  Braun vehemently denied to claims, and vowed to clear his name.  On February 23rd, 2012, he did.

Braun won his appeal citing a chain of custody issue with handling of his urine sample, and that was enough to sway independent arbitrator Shyam Das.  The league screamed to the mountaintops, blissfully ignoring the problems with the test and the leak that made the results known when they never should have been.  The writers who called for Braun’s MVP award to be given back tried to backpedal, but kept using the word “technicality” too much.  How chain of custody in a drug case is a technicality I’ll never know, but that’s neither here nor there.  The Brewers went about their business, and Braun turned in another MVP-caliber year.

We may never know if Ryan Braun actually took a banned substance.  All Braun did was prove a flaw in the testing itself; a testing system that Major League Baseball was so steadfast and stubborn with its operation.  They puffed out their chests when the system was installed, responding to the whirlwind of criticism about their reaction to the steroid era.  Instead of admitting that the testing process isn’t 100% concrete, Major League Baseball went the route of a small child who got his toy taken away.  They still haven’t addressed it.    

Most of the entries on my list so far have had widespread reverberations around their respective sport.  Braun winning his appeal caught the baseball world off guard.  He was the first player to ever win his appeal publicly, and baseball wasn’t ready for it.  The league, the writers, the fans all refused to believe it.  The players didn’t know how to trust the testing process anymore.  And at the center of it all was Ryan Braun, who remained quiet and confident throughout the ordeal, despite making history.

Technically speaking.

 

10. Montee Ball Breaks NCAA Touchdown Record

9. Raffi Torres Hits Marian Hossa

8. Dan Appino Goes To Auburn

7. Aaron Rodgers Named NFL MVP

6. The Fail Mary

5. Ryan Braun Wins Appeal Of Drug Suspension

4. ???

 

sports, baseball, braun, drug appeal, mlbView Comments (0)
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