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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Biogenesis Scandal Claims First Victim

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http://i1.mail.com/928/2229928,h=425,pd=1,w=620/ryan-braun.jpgBiogenesis Scandal Claims First Victim
By Wild on Sports Analyst Anthony Cortese Jr.

The MLB released an official statement Monday that stated, former National League MVP and rookie of the year, Ryan Braun, a five-time all-star outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers’ will be suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season (65 games), in connection with the Biogenesis scandal. The organization claims that Braun has violated the collective bargaining and joint drug agreement, which ever player signs before entering the league.

This may or may not come to a surprise as Braun tested positive on a drug test last year. Fortunately for Braun, he was able to avoid the standard 50- game suspension. Although the results came back positive for elevated testosterone levels, an arbitrator overturned the ruling when Braun’s legal team was able to prove his urine sample was handled improperly. It was safe to say Braun could mark one in the win column, for now at least.

The outfielder went through substantial efforts to clear his name over the past year. In the quest to clear his name, lies were told to almost everyone, including teammates, fans, and longtime friends, most notably Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers was a strong supporter in Braun’s innocence, at the time when it seemed the league was out to spoil his reputation.

The league did not take being humiliated in a public case lightly. Extensive research went into information kept by Biogenesis owner, Anthony Bosch, which was comprised of Microsoft Excel files, including the names of athlete treated at the lab. The process was a tedious one, leaving only the words of a person the MLB called “a shady drug dealer,” as their backbone to the investigation. The truth is, there were deals to be made. In hopes someone would choose to come forward to avoid any long-term disciplinary action. The league decided to release information to the players, based on their extensive evidence they gathered from Bosch’s documents.

It was the Brewers’ left fielder, Braun, also known around the league as “The Hebrew Hammer, who was confronted with overwhelming evidence that he, in fact, could not resist accepting a deal with the MLB. This time Braun would not be so lucky as to avoid a hammering of his own. He received an unsettling 65-game suspension on a violation where no “prior” convictions were recorded. So, technically Braun was a first time offender. But Braun’s suspension falls under the commissioner’s rule of discretion to discipline players for “just cause,” if they are found to be in violation of the Joint Drug Program, without a positive test.

What Braun’s coming forward has created for the MLB is the first credible figure to help support Bosch’s previous statements, involving dozens of players including New York Yankees’, Alex Rodriguez, Washington Nationals’, Gio Gonazalez, San Francisco Giants’ Melky Cabrera, and Texas Rangers’, Nelson Cruz.

Without Braun’s agreement, the league would have had a difficult time proving any allegations placed against the players. Now, in light of the recent turn of events, among the many players mentioned in Bosch’s documentations, some will have a difficult decision to make.

The question has been brought up on whether Braun deserves any respect for coming forward. The short answer you will receive is, no. Ryan Braun stretched out a 19 month investigation, attacked the integrity of others, and insisted he’s been wrongfully accused. It would be difficult to sympathize toward any individual willing to go to these extremes, when seemingly guilty in the end. Braun will lose $3.5 million dollars this season. However, he is still under contract with the Brewers’, for $117 million through 2020, after they signed a $105 million extension back in April 2011.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MLB Power Rankings - July 23

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http://media.kmov.com/images/560*311/allen_craig0721.jpg
MLB Power Rankings
July 23, 2013

The St. Louis Cardinals, winners of nine of their last twelve games, once again hold onto the top spot in the MLB Power Rankings after an All-Star break shorted week. The Boston Red Sox, fresh off of a walk-off beat down of the New York Yankees check in at #2. Tampa Bay may be the hottest team in baseball and check in at #3 this week. With a four game set with Boston to start the week they could very well be nipping at the heals of the Cards this time next week. The slumping Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland A's round out the top five.

Where does your team rank this week?

1. St. Louis Cardinals (59-37, last week No. 1)
2. Boston Red Sox (60-40, last week No. 3)
3. Tampa Bay Rays (58-41, last week No. 5)
4. Pittsburgh Pirates (57-39, last week No. 2)
5. Oakland A's (57-41, last week No. 4)
6. Baltimore Orioles (56-43, last week No. 9)
7. Atlanta Braves (55-43, last week No. 7)
8. Cincinnati Reds (55-43, last week No. 8)
9. Texas Rangers (54-44, last week No. 6)
10. Detroit Tigers (53-44, last week No. 10)
11. New York Yankees (52-46, last week No. 11)
12. Arizona Diamondbacks (51-47, last week No. 12)
13. Cleveland Indians (52-46, last week No. 13)
14. Los Angeles Dodgers (50-47, last week No. 15)
15. Philadelphia Phillies (49-50, last week No. 16)
16. Washington Nationals (48-50, last week No. 14)
17. Colorado Rockies (48-51, last week No. 19)
18. Los Angeles Angels (46-50, last week No. 18)
19. Kansas City Royals (45-50, last week No. 20)
20. San Francisco Giants (45-52, last week No. 21)
21. Seattle Mariners (46-52, last week No. 22)
22. Toronto Blue Jays (45-52, last week No. 17)
23. New York Mets (43-51, last week No. 24)
24. Chicago Cubs (43-53, last week No. 23)
25. Minnesota Twins (41-54, last week No. 25)
26. San Diego Padres (43-56, last week No. 25)
27. Milwaukee Brewers (41-56, last week No. 27)
28. Chicago White Sox (39-56, last week no. 28)
29. Miami Marlins (35-61, last week No. 29)
30. Houston Astros (33-64, last week No. 30)

Monday, July 22, 2013

End of An Era for NCAA, EA Sports

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http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/ac1394dbdcca6a36cbf486633b129cd813095ac3/r=x404&c=534x401/local/-/media/USATODAY/test/2013/07/18/1374192910000-c01-EA-sports-18-1307182018_4_3.jpg
End of An Era for NCAA, EA Sports
By Wild on Sports Analyst Bryan Ridall

As players gear up for the 2013 College Football season, EA Sports is officially ending their contract with the NCAA for rights to football for their video games. While EA has continued to greatly improve its NHL video game each year, and continues to add new features and game modes to Madden, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, the NCAA football games have become stale, and their popularity is falling.

EA Sports had a difficult thing to do when you consider the rules regarding players, their image, and NCAA by laws. Because players are not allowed to receive compensation as amateur, or college, athletes, EA Sports could not use names or exact likeness during the game. If you are a fan of a certain team, you should be able to recognize who some of the players are based on their number and position. However, a main issue with NCAA football games is their inability to reach fans, let alone new customers. Without the usage of names to provide player recognition, many fans aren't interested in playing a game in which they know none of players. EA has tried to overcome this by providing you the ability to create your own player and go through an entire college career with him. However, all of the other players are still represented by numbers rather than names, and the ability to play as yourself can only last four seasons because of the structure of a college football career. Another issue with the marketing of the game comes from the relative popularity of the NFL as opposed to college football. Because of the constant turnover of players as well as the amount of teams in college football, it would be hard for both the NCAA and EA Sports to market the players and teams, but with the privacy rules that are in place, EA is forced to use a graduated athlete for the new edition (this year will be Denard Robinson). Perhaps the biggest reason for the NCAA's withdrawal are the numerous lawsuits that are being filed by current and former players. Because the game often used the same number and measurables for the in-game avatars as the actual players they are portraying, numerous lawsuits have been brought against the NCAA, which will most likely become one large class-action suit against the NCAA. If found guilty, it is likely that the NCAA, in some way, will have to compensate all players that have been used in the video games, not just the ones in the suit.

However, life and money must still go on, and it was announced as I was typing this article that EA Sports has agreed with over 150 schools, bowl games, and conferences in order to continue to produce the video games, which generate revenue for EA Sports as well as the schools being portrayed. However, because the schools have made this decision independent from the NCAA, there are going to be changes that will affect the schools as well as EA. By doing this without NCAA support, the individual schools have made themselves vulnerable now to the same legal issues that the NCAA finds itself in, being sued by former players for using their likeness. However, by eliminating the governing body of the NCAA from the process, the schools are entitled to more royalties than if the NCAA was involved, and are also able to negotiate their own individual contracts.

With the separation of the NCAA from EA Sports, the next college football release will be called "College Football '15." It will, of course, feature one of the players from next year's draft, but it will be interesting to see how the game differs between this year and next year. However, don't be surprised if the NCAA tries to fight the Collegiate Licensing Company to stop the release of the game. As all college football fans know, the NCAA is only looking to make more money, while paying its players nothing.

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