Archive for the ‘Ryan Braun’ Category

You have to give the man credit – he knows how to make an impression. In fact, the video above recalling his three-homer day at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia contains several moments that are too good to be true.

Before he launches his first homer of the day, the on-field cameras pick up a leather-lunged Phillies fan screaming “CHEEEEDURRR!” right before Braun takes Kyle Kendrick deep. Then, later in the highlight pack, the lucky recipient of Braun’s third home run ball refuses to throw it back onto the field, stuffing it into the pocket of his hoody as those around demand the ball go back from whence it came. You can see the guy in the Phillies sweater matter-of-factly state his reasoning for keeping the ball as “it’s RYAN BRAUN!” No further explanation needed.

Tuesday marked Braun’s second trip outside the friendly confines of Miller Park, and Phillies’ fans greeted him with a steady stream of boos, voicing their displeasure with his choice of nutritional supplements and subsequent suspension.

As a totally unrelated aside: Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd was greeted warmly in each of his five plate appearances on the day.

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Dr. Lawrence A. Golding was one of the first academic voices in the discourse of drugs in sports. Golding, now retired, owned the title of “Distinguished Professor” at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’s Department of Kinesiology. Before that, from 1958 through 1976, Golding was at Kent State University, where he became Director of the Applied Physiology Research Laboratory and performed a number of experiments and interviews aimed at figuring out exactly what drugs — like amphetamines and steroids — do to an athlete’s body.

Golding was a pioneer. Steroids and performance enhancing drugs were a peripheral issue at best in the sports world at this team, and most of the focus was on international competitions like the Olympics. Few had thought about the issue at all, much less applied scientific principles to it.

Consider the May 1973 headline “Physicians Differ On Use Of Cocaine For Injuries,” part of a series on sports and drugs by Newsday’s Sandy Padwe. “Some doctors say it would be a good drug for an athlete to use if he were competing with minor injuries,” Padwe wrote. “Other physicians say an athlete using cocaine wouldn’t have the body control he needs.” It seems safe to say our drug discourse has changed over the past 40 years.

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Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers

You know the drill by now. Pull up your favorite image of Ryan Braun looking sullen, dig into the text editor window and tell the world what you think about Ryan Braun. HOT TAKES, COMING YER WAY. If you prefer a bolder approach in instructing others what they think or perhaps you like finding new ground expressing your by vehement non-outrage.

They came in waves. First, immediately after the news broke, come the “here is my take” pieces. Then the “here is what the players think” piece are intermingled with the “I’M SO DAMN ANGRY” pieces, which are little more than accredited journalists calling Ryan Braun mean names for 800 words.

Somebody, somewhere, has something insightful to say about Ryan Braun’s 65 game suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinc (predictably, Grant Brisbee is the leader in the clubhouse). Braun didn’t “actually” fail an untainted drug test but the league and its investigators found more than a little bit of evidence suggesting Braun did more than use Anthony Bosch as a consultant, as the Brewers slugger previously stated.

Just a few days later, there isn’t much left of the Braun story. Some are attempting to free the Brewers from his contract but much of the Biogenesis talk is already onto Alex Rodriguez and what he eventually gets (lifetime ban?), rather than attempting to make real sense of what happened with Braun. What Ryan Braun actually means.

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Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox

You can sing the small sample size song all day — thanks to Ted Berg — but we’re creeping up on some real samples now that we’ve got two months in the book. And one of the most recent things to stabilize for hitters (at 200 plate appearances) was their ground ball rate.

Some recent interviewing, spurred by Joey Votto‘s love of the level swing, and stoked by Alex Gordon‘s changes early in his career, has me wondering about the ideal ground ball rate for hitters. I ran a correlation between ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio and wRC+, and could not find a peak. That’s because you trade times on base (with the ground ball and the line drive) for times walking around the bases (with the fly ball and the home run).

But if we’re talking power, it gets much easier. Fly balls good. Fly balls very good. Fly balls are well correlated with any power metric out there, and you really do have to get them up in order to get them out. It *is* that simple, at least here.

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Houston Astros v Milwaukee Brewers

Rookie of the Year, five All-Star appearances, a National League MVP award, and glass urine containers. These are all items currently ingrained in the legacy of Ryan Braun. As Major League Baseball continues to funnel time, money, and energy into the Biogenesis clinic and the players who allegedly hold ties to the PED house, at least one of the names implicated in the scandal is leaving a lasting impact on the landscape of scary sports drugs. According to a report from Andy Martino at the New York Daily News, MLB has made a switch from plastic urine containers to glass in light of Ryan Braun’s successful challenge on a 50-game PED suspension.

Braun overturned his suspension by challenging the sample collection process. The Milwaukee Brewers star’s urine sample remained in possession of the collector for two days before it was sent to the lab for to be tested. Prior to Braun’s victory, MLB used triple-sealed plastic containers to collect and transport urine samples. Now, as Martino reports, glass containers are used:

Now, the collectors use glass bottles, made by the same manufacturer, but considered even more secure. The bottles have a locking mechanism on the top, as opposed to tamper-proof stickers on the plastic version. The only way to open the glass bottles is to smash the top with a hammer, which the lab does in what a person familiar with the process described as a “controlled manner.”

Martino notes the new glass containers will be more difficult to tamper with. While there was no announcement on the change, it was part of several changes made to the league’s testing program over the last year.

World Baseball Classic - Championship - Puerto Rico v Dominican Republic

Welcome to rock bottom. The World Baseball Classic is over so only the ass-end of Spring Training stands between us and the real beginning of real baseball season. FOR REAL! To get you there, we talk about the WBC final and the resulting Hanley Ramriez injury, moving Aroldis Chapman back to the bullpen and the chase of Ryan Braun.

Hit the mp3 link for direct download right here.

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Milwaukee Brewers v Arizona Diamondbacks

2012 Record: 83-79, 3rd NL Central
2012 Pythagorean Record: 85-77
Impact Player: LF Ryan Braun
Impact Pitcher: RHP Yovani Gallardo
Top Prospect: RHP Wily Peralta

Significant Acquisitions: LHP Mike Gonzalez, LHP Tom Gorzelanny, RHP Burke Badenhop

Significant Departures: RHP Shaun Marcum, RHP Francisco Rodriguez, OF Nyjer Morgan, IF Cody Ransom, 1B Travis Ishikawa

Over the last few years, the Milwaukee Brewers emptied their farm system in order to acquire quality Major League talent understanding that they had a window to win. During the 2010-11 off-season, they dealt Brett Lawrie to the Blue Jays to acquire starting pitcher Shaun Marcum and then dealt a package of prospects and established young players such as Alcides Escobar and Jake Odorizzi to acquire Zack Greinke. They decided to go all out in the final season of Prince Fielder’s tenure with the team and it worked. In 2011, they won 96 games and went to the playoffs for the second time in four years.

Coming in to last season, the Brewers still had high hopes even with the departure of Fielder to Detroit. A strong pitching staff anchored by Greinke, Marcum and Yovani Gallardo was coupled with a deep lineup consisting of the likes of Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks and newly minted Aramis Ramirez put the Brewers in good shape on paper. Then the season started and the wheels almost immediately fell off. By May 22, the Brewers were 17-26 and falling fast.

On July 28, with the team sitting 15 games out of the division, General Manager Doug Melvin waved the white flag and sent Greinke to the Angels for a package of prospects headed by shortstop Jean Segura trying to replenish a barren farm system. He had plans to trade Marcum and Randy Wolf as well, but ineffectiveness and injuries kept them on the team a little while longer. Then, because of course, the Brewers started winning.

In August and September, the Brewers went on an inspired 24-6 run that landed them with a 78-72 record and suddenly they were just a game-and-a-half behind the Cardinals for the second wild card spot in the NL. They would come back down to earth a little in the season’s final weeks, but they still finished with a winning record on a year that looked totally lost in early August.

Whether or not the late season run changed the strategy of Melvin and company heading into the winter is unknown, but the Brewers were not busy this offseason, adding little more than some useful pieces to their bullpen. If they are going to contend in 2013, they’ll be doing it with nearly the same roster that finished last season and therefore are counting on the continued good performance of some serious regression candidates.

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