Tag Archives: Ryan Braun

Manny, Steroids, and the NFL Combine

If you didn’t know, Manny packed up his estrogen and brought it to Oakland. The hysteria has swept over Oakland’s Spring Training in Arizona since he arrived Friday morning. I’m not sure if the bearded lady is a sideshow or the main attraction yet, but it’s become clear that the players are having fun with it using Mannyisms in their interviews whenever possible. I’m not sure why some people think it’s a terrible signing when he’s only making a prorated $333K after he serves his 50 game suspension. If he sucks, so what, they can just cut him. If he’s a cancer to the team, let’s face it, they probably aren’t finishing higher than 3rd in the AL West anyways. At the moment, I’d much rather watch Manny strikeout swinging as hard as he can than see someone else tap out on a weak grounder to the pitcher. If I thought the A’s were a contender, then maybe I’d be angry he’s taking atbats away from someone else, but at the moment that’s just a silly thought, so let’s see what the bearded lady can bring to the circus that is Oakland these days! The circus has for a moment taken over whatever the Giants are doing right now, so for a day or two at least Oakland is in the headlines over the Giants…

Lord knows I’ve never cared about players doing steroids, and if I did, I’d probably have to condemn my favorite A’s teams with the bash brothers or even more recent versions with Giambi and Tejada. When I heard about Ryan Braun’s negative test, I didn’t bat an eyelash. When his ruling was overturned, I didn’t bat an eyelash. When I heard Braun’s prepared statement, I felt like it was Rafael Palmiero waving his finger at me again, but didn’t truly care what his message was or what others thought of him. Whether he’s innocent or guilty, it’s obvious something happened that wasn’t right. The whole steroid era is overblown. It’ not like crappy players were all of a sudden good because they took steroids, they may have become average, but never great. The great players might be able to enhance their longevity a little, but who cares. I don’t watch games worried about who is using and who isn’t. I watch it to be entertained, and if PED’s end up being a part of that entertainment so be it. Hell, I don’t even care what message it sends to kids. Call me heartless, but if parents don’t instill to their kids that cheating is wrong, then they’re probably not that good parents to begin with. It comes down to a life choice for each athlete, and it should be their choice since they know the repercussions in the media and on the field.

I never watch the NFL combine (since I try to have a life), I’ve always felt it’s sole purpose was to keep NFL fans entertained with something during the off-season while players are poked and prodded in their underwear. Maybe if they had pads on doing some of the workouts would make more sense to me, but they choose underwear instead. As a Raiders fan during the Al Davis era you always had to look at the numbers coming out of the combine, because whoever had the fastest 40 time or could bench the most would most likely end up on our team at some point. Now that he’s gone and we only have two draft picks, I have zero reason to care what’s happening. The only thing that I really do think matters is their wonder-lick scores. No, I don’t really care if a player gets average or high scores, but I’d stay away from any player that scored low on the test, because it’s made for elemetary school kids. Other than that, look at film and call it good with making your picks.

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Kemp Got Robbed

Back in August I got to sit in the Dodgers dugout while working with the Fox Sports production team. Finally had the right time to pull out this picture I took!

So today Ryan Braun was named the NL MVP. It came as a complete shock to me for a few reasons. Maybe while I was living in LA, I just heard too much hype on why he was a slam dunk choice for the award, but the more I thought about it the more I didn’t see why Braun had the “better” season. Yes, the Brewers made it to the playoffs and won a lot, but since Kemp played with literally nobody else helping him on offense it made Kemp’s year that much more impressive. Make no mistake Andre Ethier and James Loney are no Prince Fielder or Corey Hart. Some might argue Ethier is good, but despite some of his numbers early on, he had a crappy year. I watched more Dodgers games last season than I’d like to admit, but honestly unless Kershaw was on the mound, the only thing worth watching in thier games was Matt Kemp’s atbats. I suffered through half hour periods of other players batting basically to watch Kemp bat. He finished with the NL lead in homers (39), RBI (126), and was third in BA (.324) in one of the closest attempts at the triple crown in years. To put Kemp in a little better perspective; his team scored a 644 total runs on the season, and he accounted for nearly 20% of his team’s offense even though pitchers were pitching around him all season long (trust me I saw how few pitches he had to hit, and it was Bonds-esque). Oh yeah, and once on base Kemp did another thing better than Braun, which was steal bases. Kemp had 40 thefts to Braun’s 33. Was it Kemp’s fault the rest of his team wasn’t able to score more runs for them to win more games? He came through every time he could and then some. You know what else was impressive in Kemp’s stats that I came across, is he has five walk off hits, and three were homers. Braun had three walk off hits this year, and only one was a homer.

Putting the all the offensive numbers aside that clearly point to Kemp over Braun, doesn’t playing a harder position much better than the other guy playing a weaker position give you an upper hand in voting? I go back to the rookie of the year race last year, and how Buster Posey won the award over Jason Heyward. Heyward had slightly better numbers and had played more games, but Posey won the award because many cited he played the tougher position. Is Braun an above average outfielder with a great arm? Yes, but he plays left field, the spot usually designated for the worst outfielder on the team. Matt Kemp plays center field at a gold glove level. Sure I get it winning means something, but after I took a closer look at it today, I don’t understand how the BWAA made thier choice. Maybe they hate McCourt as much as Dodgers fans, and decided they couldn’t have the Cy young winner and the MVP under his watch. Anyways, congrats Braun you are a great player, but didn’t deserve the award this year in my eyes. At least Kemp can sleep well on his nice pile of cash money!