A special arbitration panel ruled Thursday in a 2-1 vote to reverse the 50-game suspension imposed on Milwaukee Brewer superstar Ryan Braun. Braun, the reigning National League MVP, submitted a urine sample in October that contained a very high level of testosterone resulting in a failed test.
Despite the ruling, a cloud of uncertainty still looms large over Braun’s legacy in the eyes of fans and the media. Multiple sources have reported the reasoning behind Braun’s exoneration was due to a technicality in the shipment, storage and chain of custody associated with the sample. The test was conducted on a Saturday. The collector of the sample did not send the sample to the testing laboratory until Monday, thinking the FedEx office was already closed for the day. Instead he kept the sample in a cool place in his home over the weekend. Braun’s defense argued that chain of custody had been broken and the sample had been compromised.
Major League Baseball has expressed their displeasure with the ruling. A statement from MLB executive vice president for labor relations Rob Manfred stated “While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”
Despite Major League Baseball’s objections and what some feel to be a reversal due to a technicality, Ryan Braun will be in the starting lineup for the Milwaukee Brewers on opening day. With the departure of superstar Prince Fielder in the offseason via free agency, the Brewers will rely heavily on their MVP to lead them back to the postseason in 2012. Milwaukee begins the season at home on Friday, April 6th against the visiting World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
It’s one of the most monumental meltdowns in baseball history. The Boston Red Sox finished their September collapse, falling out of the playoffs by letting the Baltimore Orioles get two ninth-inning runs in a 4-3 loss, and the Braves fell to Philadelphia 4-3 in 13 innings.
The Red Sox collapse might be the worst fall of the two. Even the fans are severely upset, tweeting and calling into local radio stations expressing their frustrations at managers and players, even at the baseball gods themselves for failing to reach the Ameriam League Playoffs. It could be said that the Red Sox six-month season was wasted in a single night.
“Truly unbelievable. This feels like revenge for 2004 and 2007,” wrote Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy. “It is as if the baseball gods are punishing Red Sox Nation for hubris and arrogance and good times that seemed so good, so good, so good.”
Both the Red Sox and the Braves are positioned to do very well next year but you can expect big changes for the Red Sox. After Wednesday’s season-ending shock in Baltimore, general manager Theo Epstein said, “We can’t deny this month happened. just because it was preceded by four months of being the best team in baseball. We have to take a very close look at everything that’s not right. We have to fix things and that includes the whole organization.”
After getting ejected for throwing at Chipper Jones on Friday, Carloas Zambrano cleaned out his locker and told trainers and clubhouse people during the game that he was “retiring.” Barry Praver, Zambrano’s agent, told ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney that the Cubs were told that Zambrano “definitely” wasn’t retiring. Praver said Zambrano made private emotional remarks to club staff and returned his things to his locker late Friday night.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, apologized to Braves general manager Frank Wren for the actions by Zambrano, which tarnished former manager Bobby Cox’s night. The Braves retired Cox’s No. 6 before the game.
“I feel that anything at all to detract from Bobby Cox’s night other than usual competition is totally intolerable, ” said Hendry.
Zambrano’s teammates have mixed feelings on the situation, but Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster wasn’t so understanding.
“He’s made his bed. Let him sleep in it,” Dempster said. “It’s not like it’s something new.”
Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez said Zambrano would be welcomed back by his teammates, but only if he made changes.
“If he changes his attitude, he’s more than welcome,” Ramirez said.
Hideki Irabu a former Yankees starter, has been found dead in his California home, according to USA Today. Unfortunately, it is suspected the cause of his death is suicide but it is not confirmed. Hideki Irabu was 42.
Hideki Irabu spent six seasons in major league baseball from 1997 to 2002 with a career record of 34-35 record and 5.15 ERA in 126 games (80 starts).
Irabu has had a troubled post-baseball career. Even though Irabu earned World Series rings in both 1998 and 1999 while with the Yankees, he fell far short of expectations of George Steinbrenner and was famously dubbed as the “fat toad.” He was arrested in Gardena, California last year for drunk driving. Back in 2008 he was arrested for assaulting a bar manager in Japan after allegedly consuming 20 glasses of beer.
He retired after the 2002 season. This a sad end to a seemingly troubled man. Our condolences go out to the Irabu family.
Milwaukee Brewer’s first baseman Prince Fielder’s 3-run blast off C.J. Wilson of the Texas Rangers in the 4th inning proved the difference in the National League’s 5-1 victory over the American League Tuesday night. The win gives the National League its first back-to-back All-Star game victories since the 1995-1996 seasons. Prior to last year’s NL victory, the AL had won 13 consecutive All-Star Games.
Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox delivered the first blow of the game with a solo home run in the 4th inning off Cliff Lee to give the AL a 1-0 advantage. However in the bottom half of the same inning, Fielder’s home run gave his team the lead for good giving way to a dominant display of pitching from the National League bullpen. The American League failed to score the remainder of the game managing only 2 hits in the final 5 innings of 7 different NL relievers. Tyler Clippard of the Washington Nationals recorded the Win for the NL while C.J. Wilson took the Loss. Giants and National League manager Bruce Bouchy turned to one of his own, the bearded hero of last season’s World Series, Brian Wilson, to record the Save. Prince Fielder received MVP honors for his game deciding 3-run home run.
The victory for the National League grants its World Series representative home field advantage for the 7-game series against its American League counterpart in October.
The Dayton Dragons have set the record for consecutive sellouts by a pro franchise in North America. An overflow crowd of 8,688 witnessed the 815th straight sellout at Fifth Third Field on Saturday night, when the Dragons surpassed the mark set by the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers from 1977-95.
Once it became official, the game was stopped for an on-field ceremony with a long standing ovation. Streamers in the team’s green and gold colors were released over the crowd, and unveiled a plaque emblazoned with the No. 815 on the outfield fence. The Dragons are planning a larger celebration for July 23, and with more than 8,000 people on the waiting list for season tickets, the streak doesn’t look likely to end anytime soon.
“You can tell every regular was there, no one was giving away their tickets,” Daniel Renken said. “If you go down the third base line, you can see all the fans who are always there. And it was a great feeling to come down the line and say hi to every one of them.”
Fifth Third Field’s actual capacity is 7,290 fans and features 29 luxury suites.
As discussed yesterday, Baseball Rampage now carries Marucci baseball bats including BBCOR and Wooden bats. They’re getting great reviews and are used by Major League Baseball players including such MLB All-Stars like Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Bryce Harper, Chase Utley, and many more.
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Making Marucci Bats Part 1:
Making Marucci Bats Part 2:
See why St. Louis Cardinals All-Star First Baseman, Albert Pujols, swings Marucci:
Why Your Kids Will Love Marucci Bats:
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Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 baseball lost one of its greatest players to ever live, Harmon Killebrew. The great Harmon Killebrew was known as one of the great sluggers and an ultimate gentleman. He hit 573 home runs during his 22-year career, and when he fell to 11th he really didn’t mind the fact that he no longer was the greatest right-handed hitting home run hitter in history. When he retired he was ranked fifth on the all-time list and held that spot for 26 years.
He will be sadly missed by all baseball fans alike. Fans who he practiced signing his autograph for just so every letter would be perfect and legible.
“He took pride in his signature,” John Boggs said. “There was beauty and perfection in it. You could read every letter.”
Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer said, “I didn’t know him as a baseball player, but I’ve known him as a human being, and he’s as genuine as anyone I’ve ever met. He’s probably the top three people I’ve ever met in my life. Definitely three most influential, next to my parents. … He’s going to be in a better place …and be held in just as high of regard in next life as he is right now.”
MLB.com sums up this past weekend’s the 5th annual Civil Rights game that was played in Atlanta, GA. Having the game in Atlanta couldn’t have been more appropriate – being the origins of the Civil Rights movement. The Braves have a two-year agreement so the Civil Rights game will return to Atlanta for the 2012 games. Braves president, John Schuerholz, thinks since they got the games, he’s not so sure their going to want to take them anywhere else.
The Braves’ won 3-2 over the Phillies on Sunday afternoon, the rest weekend that included a round-table discussion for key social issues, a Youth Summit giving local kids a chance meet ex-Major Leaguers, a Saturday game for the Negro Leagues, a Beacon Awards Banquet and a Delta Civil Rights Game to end it on.
Celebrities and ex-MLB players alike came together, including Hank Aaron. And even though Schuerholz and Aaron would like to see the Civil Rights Game become a permanent fixture in Atlanta, being as important as it is, it’s noted that there are many civil rights stories all across the country, and the Civil Rights Games would like explore all of those. Hank Aaron is glad he gets to have one more season to honor those who paved the way at his adopted hometown.
“If Jackie Robinson had failed, not only on the field but even off the field, you wouldn’t have gotten a chance to see great players like Willie Mays, Ernie Banks or maybe myself or somebody else. I think it would’ve set baseball back at least 10 years or 15 years,” Aaron said in the TBS broadcast booth on Sunday. “This was a tremendous moment, especially what Jackie Robinson had to go through, not only on the field, but he had to carry himself so marvelous off the field.”
Everyone is currently raving about college baseball’s new metal bats. The game time is actually quicker and run totals are lower. However, were you aware that the biggest fans of the new metal bats are the scouts of Major League Baseball.
There has been talk from talent scouts that the game is now reflecting “true” baseball for the first time in a long time, making their jobs a little easier when the MLB’s draft gets closer in June. The new metal bats make it no longer a struggle to figure out which player is the true power hitter.
However, there are still people who like the new metal bats but say they aren’t perfect. Jim Fleming, the Florida Marlins’ vice president for player development and scouting, said the new bats were a huge improvement, but also thought college baseball should just switch to using wood bats.
“We use wood — so anything other than wood isn’t a completely accurate representation,” Fleming said. “That being said, the new college bats are much better. It’s much more accurate. It’s more of a true, clean game.”
It’s not just power hitters who are now easier to evaluate, but you could say the new bats have changed the way scouts look at college baseball all together. From pitching to contact, and smaller players stealing more bases, executing hit-and-runs and bunts, are all skills scouts are looking to see from players who can’t produce big power numbers at the professional level.
What are your thoughts? Should college baseball just switch to all wood bats? Have you tried the new metal baseball bats? Which is the best college bat? Do you think they are improving the game of college baseball?