“I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes.”
These were the words of 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun on Monday as he catapulted straight past Barry Bonds-status and into the realm of Lance Armstrong with a long-overdue about-face.
The 29-year-old slugger got smacked with an unpaid, season-long suspension for breaking both the league drug code and the labor contract. Considering all his ridiculous shenanigans, 65 games and a $3.25 million hit is actually a pretty good deal for the backpedaling former University of Miami standout.
I guess the “truth”, as Braun famously proclaimed at a 2012 spring training press conference (which now makes for comedic gold), is no longer on his “side.”
So how does the Braun ban affect Oakland Athletics ace Bartolo Colon?
Bill Simmons tweeted out a link to Colon’s season stats with the oh-so-provocative sentence fragment: “passing along without comment.” The funny thing about Simmons “no comment” is that his avatar on Twitter is a picture of Manny Ramirez cracking a decisive home run. That leaves me to wonder what particular cocktail of performance enhancers that shot was fueled by.
It was just more typical passive-aggressive nonsense from the popular columnist/author/podcaster who Doc Rivers recently didn’t refer to as an idiot.
But, Simmons tweet does hit at a larger point. Dudes are going to keep using PEDs as long as doing so can help them secure massive new contracts. Braun ,after all, is still owed a cool $113 million by the Milwaukee Brewers. He is under contract until 2020, but the club is only on the hook for a $4 million buyout in 2021.
If MLB commissioner Bud Selig wants to actually cut out the PED malfeasance, then he should set up a system where players actually take a financial hit.
But back to the Athletics and Colon. Nobody seems to know what to expect with the veteran right-hander. Just this morning on 95.7 FM The Game, former big leaguer David Justice suggested that Colon could get busted.
I kind of trust Justice as he is an ultimate baseball insider. The two-time World Series champ was teammates with Colon for parts of four seasons with the Cleveland Indians starting back in 1997.
Like Colon, Justice was also linked to performance enhancers at the end of a distinguished career. For Justice, the PED connection didn’t come until 2007 when he was included in the Mitchell Report. He was accused of using HGH, but denied the claims, pointing out that everyone knows how much he hates using needles.
T.J. Quinn, the ESPN investigative reporter, tweeted this morning that if Colon does face a ban, it would be for 100 games. That doesn’t seem to make much sense, and I don’t know how the league could justify banning the affable Dominican for a substantially larger number of games than Braun.
The league’s argument is that Colon would be facing a second offense … even though it’s actually the same offense that he was already suspended for last season.
Susan Slusser reported that Colon has stated repeatedly that he doesn’t know what’s going on with the investigation, and that he hasn’t spoken with investigators.
So, perhaps the big man is not a top target of the league. Alex Rodriguez certainly figures to be the next giant to topple. But then again, Michael Weiner, the executive director of the league’s Players Association, suggested as recently as a week ago that no suspensions would come down this season.
The point is that the league is acting quite mercurially. Whether you like it or not, Selig and his investigators can do whatever they see fit.
One thing is for certain. Colon will continue to handle the circus — which is, of course, partially of his own making — with aplomb.