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Alex Rodriguez could reportedly still face lifetime ban from baseball

Joel-Sherman-Wants-Us-to-Leave-Alex-Rodriguez-AloneIt would be a shock at this point if New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez was not suspended for his alleged involvement with Tony Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic. The suspension is expected to come sometime within the next few weeks, but MLB fans are still wondering how strong of a statement Bud Selig is looking to make. Would he actually ban A-Rod from the game for life?

CBS Evening News’ Jim Axelrod reported on Tuesday that Rodriguez could still be facing a lifetime ban. Axelrod’s report came after a report earlier on Monday that claimed A-Rod is currently trying to work out a deal with the league for a suspension similar to Ryan Braun’s. However, it was also noted that the evidence against Rodriguez is believed to reach “far beyond” what MLB had on Braun.

Bosch reportedly cut a deal with MLB last month and agreed to cooperate with its ongoing investigation. Obviously the evidence against Braun was compelling enough that he decided to not even bother appealing, which could speak volumes to the information the league has collected against Rodriguez.

Selig has already announced that he plans to retire as MLB commissioner after the 2014 season. No matter what he does, he’s going to be remembered as the commissioner who let the steroid era get out of control before finally cleaning the game up. As we mentioned earlier, Bob Costas believes Selig is determined to change his legacy regarding steroids. There could be no louder message than issuing a lifetime ban to one of the best players the game has ever seen.

If A-Rod did use steroids again, he’s a repeat offender, as admitted to using steroids for three years starting in 2001 while playing for the Texas Rangers. There were no penalties for positive test results at the time, but the fact that he allegedly used PEDs again after claiming he was “deeply regretful” the first time around is a disgrace to the game.

The theories about what Rodriguez’s next move will be are endless. Some believe he will appeal any suspension he is given and finish out the season before retiring. Others wonder if he’ll claim he is physically unable to continue his career because of injury and collect the remainder of his salary.

But what A-Rod decides to do shouldn’t matter. If Selig wants to prove he is serious about leaving a clean game behind when he retires, a lifetime ban for one of the league’s biggest scumbags would be an effective way of doing that.

Matt Kemp on Ryan Braun: ‘I’m disappointed, I don’t like to get lied to’

Matt-Kemp-Does-Not-Want-MVPAmong the many people that Ryan Braun has cheated by using performance-enhancing drugs, you could argue that Matt Kemp is one of the most significant. The Los Angeles Dodgers slugger had an incredible season in 2011, but Braun was named the NL MVP despite Kemp having more homers, RBI, runs and stolen bases than the scorned Milwaukee Brewers outfielder.

Braun was probably given the honor over Kemp because he led the Brewers to the playoffs, whereas LA was under .500 most of the season before rallying to finish 82-79. On Tuesday, Kemp was asked for his feelings about Braun’s suspension and admission.

“I’m disappointed,” Kemp said via the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t like to get lied to. I don’t think anybody likes to get lied to. I think a lot of other people feel the same way. I’m not the only one in that boat. I’m just another one of those guys on the list that are disappointed in what has come about in the last couple days.”

Kemp supported Braun after the Brewers outfielder failed the initial drug test. He said he considered Braun a friend and believed the Milwaukee star was clean. That’s why he now says he’s disappointed and was “lied to” by Braun.

Though Kemp said at the time that he did not want the MVP if Braun were found guilty of cheating, he was clearly disappointed with the outcome of the vote, as evidenced by his tweet about the voters creating a monster. But Kemp maintains that he still does not want the MVP award even though the man who won it is an admitted cheater.

[Related: Logan Morrison uses Ryan Braun situation to take shot at Marlins]

“I was in a race to win the MVP, I got second. It is what it is,” Kemp said Tuesday. “The voters had an opinion about who they wanted to pick as the MVP. That’s who they picked, that’s who they felt was the MVP. You have to respect them for that.”

Kemp is probably right that you cannot go back and give the award to him, but maybe a note should go down in history to say Braun used performance-enhancing drugs during the MVP season. And as fans and media, we cannot forget that Kemp truly deserved the MVP award that season.

Alex Rodriguez reportedly working on suspension deal similar to Ryan Braun’s

Alex Rodriguez YankeesMost of the suspensions that stem from the Biogenesis scandal were expected to be handed out simultaneously, but Ryan Braun struck a deal with Major League Baseball on Monday that changed that. Braun decided to accept his punishment and admit wrongdoing, making him the first domino to fall. Will Alex Rodriguez be the second?

Braun’s decision to accept a suspension likely indicates the evidence MLB has compiled against the players who are connected to Biogenesis is overwhelming. According to ESPNNewYork.com, the evidence against A-Rod reaches “far beyond” what was tied to Braun’s name. While a similar punishment could be coming, it could take a bit longer.

“My understanding is he’s trying to make a deal,” a source reportedly told ESPNNewYork.com. “But I don’t think it’s going to happen [Monday].”

One previous report indicated that Rodriguez could be working on a 150-game suspension plea deal with MLB, while another report claimed he is all but assured at least a 50-game ban. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said the team has been “kept out of the process” and is unsure of what the future holds.

It will be interesting to see if the difference in age between Braun and Rodriguez comes into play. Braun is 29 years old. He will forever be known as a cheat and a fraud, but he can serve his suspension and return next year to continue his career and continue collecting the roughly $113 million the Brewers still owe him.

At age 37 and battling a number of injuries including two bad hips, A-Rod faces different circumstances. Rather than accepting the suspension now, he could appeal it and drag the decision into next year. That way he can return to the Yankees this season and possibly take the road many have predicted he will travel — claiming he is physically unfit to play and collecting the remainder of his contract because of injury.

If A-Rod accepts a similar suspension to Braun’s, his career could be over. His reputation is already ruined, so don’t be surprised if he finds the easiest way to collect as much money as possible before accepting his punishment.

Logan Morrison had a classic reaction to Ryan Braun’s suspension

logan-morrisonMiami Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison is one of the funnier players in baseball. The 25-year-old is one of the best players to follow on Twitter because of some of the comments he comes out with. After Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the season on Monday because of his involvement with the Biogenesis scandal, Morrison took a shot at his own team.

“You know we’re clean,” he said, via the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer. “We haven’t scored a run in 37 innings.”

Classic. Fortunately for Miami, the streak ended at 37 as they scored two runs in the first inning of a 3-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night. While a 37-inning scoring drought doesn’t necessarily mean no one on the Marlins has used performance-enhancing drugs, it certainly makes them less suspect.

Braun has immediately become a punching bag for the entire sports world because of all the gutless lies he told about using steroids and all the people he attacked in an attempt to clear his name. Morrison didn’t have to remind us that the Marlins are awful when providing his thoughts about Braun, but he’s obviously frustrated with the way the season he’s gone. We’re glad he chose to express it the way he did.

H/T Eye on Baseball

Here are all the lies Ryan Braun told about his PED use

Ryan Braun press conferenceRyan Braun accepted a 65-game suspension from MLB for his ties to Biogenesis, which allegedly provided several athletes with performance-enhancing drugs. People are pretty upset over the suspension not just because we are learning that the accomplishments of a former MVP were tainted, but because Braun so fiercely denied guilt over the past year and a half.

Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during his MVP season in 2011. He escaped suspension for the positive test because of an error in the collection process of his urine sample. After winning his appeal on the technicality, Braun attacked the testing process, labeled himself a victim, and proclaimed his innocence.

Let’s recall some of the things Braun said during his Feb. 24, 2012 press conference (seen above). As we would learn 17 months later, Braun knew he was guilty the entire time and still made these statements.

“I tried to handle the whole situation with honor, with integrity, with class, with dignity and with professionalism because that’s who I am and how I lived my life.

“I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.

“I have always stood up for what is right. Today is about everybody who has ever been wrongly accused and everybody who has ever had to stand up for what is actually right.

“I will continue to take the high road because that’s who I am and that’s the way that I’ve lived my life. We won because the truth was on my side. The truth is always relevant and, at the end of the day, the truth prevailed.

“I am a victim of a process that completely broke down and failed in a way that it applied to me in this case.

“The system in the way that it was applied to me in this case was fatally flawed.”

That’s pretty bad, but it gets worse.

Ryan Braun issued this statement on Feb. 5, 2013 in response to being listed in Biogenesis documents:

[Read more...]

Ryan Braun suspended for rest of season, admits wrongdoing

Ryan BraunRyan Braun has been suspended for the rest of the MLB season for his connection to the Biogenesis clinic that allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to several athletes. Braun has repeatedly denied using performance-enhancing drugs despite evidence to the contrary. Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during his MVP season in 2011. He escaped a 50-game suspension as a first-time offender of the MLB’s drug policy because his attorneys found an error with the collection process. Braun also explained his name appearing in the personal notes of Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch by saying his lawyers consulted Bosch when appealing his positive drug test.

After all the denials, Braun accepted his punishment from MLB and admitted wrongdoing in a statement. Here’s Braun’s statement via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it is has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”

MLB must have presented Braun with overwhelming evidence for him to admit wrongdoing after over a year of denials. He also must have agreed to a 65-game suspension as a compromise with MLB (50 games are called for with a first violation, 100 games for a second).

[Related: All the lies Ryan Braun told about his PED use]

“We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions,” said Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President, Economics & League Affairs for Major League Baseball. “We all agree that it is in the best interests of the game to resolve this matter. When Ryan returns, we look forward to him making positive contributions to Major League Baseball, both on and off the field.”

Braun is earning $8.5 million this season, so the suspension will cost him about $3.4 million. It’s quite amazing that he has finally admitted wrongdoing after over a year of denials. He probably should have also apologized for lying the whole time.

Braun’s admission of wrongdoing also spells bad news for Alex Rodriguez and every other player tied to the scandal. That likely means all the evidence MLB has is credible.

Alex Rodriguez ‘all but assured’ a 50-game suspension

Alex Rodriguez YankeesAlex Rodriguez is one of several baseball players facing a suspension from MLB for ties to the now-defunct Biogenesis anti-aging clinic that allegedly supplied players with performance-enhancing drugs. A past report from ESPN said that suspensions for A-Rod and Ryan Braun — the two biggest names involved in the scandal — were likely to come after the All-Star break.

The timing of A-Rod’s suspension is interesting; the 3B/DH is rehabbing from offseason hip surgery and was scheduled to return to the New York Yankees on Monday until being delayed by a quad strain. Based on the new information we’re hearing, Rodriguez may not return to the Yankees at all this season.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that A-Rod is “all but assured” of receiving a Biogenesis-related suspension from MLB for not answering questions presented by MLB investigators. Heyman says the suspension would be for at least 50 games.

MLB’s rules call for a 50-game suspension for a first violation of the league’s drug policy, a 100-game suspension for a second offense, and a lifetime ban for a third violation. Though Rodriguez has admitted to using PEDs in the past, that was not considered a violation because the drug policy was not in place at the time. However, MLB reportedly will consider each offense a separate violation. For example: if MLB can prove that A-Rod used drugs before and after interviewing with them, then that would be considered two violations. They would also consider it a violation if A-Rod lied to investigators, which means he could theoretically be suspended 150 games (a lifetime ban for one ruling would be difficult to execute).

[Previously: Alex Rodriguez, MLB reportedly working on plea deal]

The Yankees are 98 games into the season. If A-Rod’s return to the team is delayed another two weeks and then he gets a 50-game (or more) suspension, that would take him out for the season. The Yankees reportedly have been working to void A-Rod’s contract somehow so that they won’t have to pay him the $86 million he is owed over the next four years, though that would likely be difficult to accomplish.