Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More photos from a fun day at Fenway

Here are more pictures from my foray into enemy territory.

The view from outside of Fenway Park, right where our guided tour begins. Fans of all baseball teams welcome, including the New York Yankees. Our guides, all die-hard Boston Red Sox fans, need someone to make fun of. 

The view from these seats is fantastic…

…but the seats are quite uncomfortable. 

The famous Green Monster. I kind of wanted to throw a baseball off the wall and see if I could play it, but sadly that was not part of the tour...

...but later I did get to sit on top of the Green Monster to enjoy the view...

...and I was sure to heed the warning...

...for fear of getting tossed off the tour. I don't think they would hesitate to get rid of us no-good Yankee fans.   

Of course, my time at Fenway ended with a beer at the Bleacher Bar. I highly recommend the seasonal Samuel Adams Alpine Spring. When in Boston!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Yankee fan at Fenway Park

I was in Boston this week hoping to see the Syracuse University men’s basketball team advance to the Final Four for the first time since our national title-winning season of 2003. Instead, I had to watch a glorious season on the court (and a dreadful one off of it) end in a loss to Ohio State. Your condolences are very much appreciated.

However, I did something very cool on this trip that some fellow fans of the New York Yankees might find blasphemous. I visited Fenway Park for a behind-the-scenes tour and actually had a wonderful time. Be gentle, folks.

One of the main reasons I had a lovely time was that our guide was funny and knowledgeable and happy to tease the Yankee fans in the group. I found it most amusing when he said that he genuinely hoped Mariano Rivera would decide to retire after the season. It confirmed that even though the Red Sox have had more success against Mo than most teams, they still would rather not face him at the end of games.

I wouldn’t want to watch games at Fenway Park regularly. The wooden seats are uncomfortable and tight, even for my relatively skinny frame. But it was fun to hear the story of the famous red seat, which was nicely told to us by our guide. And I really loved sitting in the Green Monster seats, even though they are small and cold. The view from up there is just fantastic. I sure did have fun visiting the press box, where our guide confirmed that Boston reporters have earned their reputation as being a tough, cranky bunch.

If you ever make it to Boston, I highly recommend the Fenway Park tour. As someone who loves to visit different ballparks, I found it well worth the $12 fee for a good hour of baseball history. Even if it is Red Sox history. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry takes a silly turn

Well, that was fast! Clayton Mortensen has only been a member of the Boston Red Sox for about two months and he already hates the New York Yankees.

Mortensen was auditioning for a roster spot with the Saux and was getting ready to pitch an inning in the game that Yankees manager Joe Girardi had called after nine innings because he said he ran out of pitchers. Bobby Valentine was annoyed by a supposed lack of courtesy on Girardi’s part. Mortensen was upset about losing one last chance to make a good impression on Valentine & Co. Given the coverage, you would think the Evil Empire really screwed the Red Sox yet again.

With Valentine, it’s difficult to tell if he was genuinely upset with Girardi or whether he was just being Bobby Valentine, stirring up trouble just for the fun of it. But it seems like he was truly annoyed about not being informed ahead of time that the Yankees were calling for an end to the game. Of course, Valentine only found himself in this situation because he called for a suicide bunt to tie a spring training game in the 9th inning. I didn’t see Girardi complain about that.

For the record, I don’t believe a spring training game should go more than nine innings. We are just now getting to the point that the regulars play more than half the game, but you still don’t see many of them in the 8th and 9th innings. Most of the players in the latter innings of spring training games are completely unrecognizable.

And if Mortensen hadn’t clinched a roster spot by now, one more outing probably wouldn’t have changed that. He was sent to the minors after the game so I understand his anger, but he’s got to get over the idea that he somehow got screwed by the Yankees.

The whole drama is just silly, but with Bobby V at the helm of the Saux, silliness comes with the territory.  

Thanks to the US federal government for the Bobby V photo.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

No need to rip Joba over gruesome injury

I don't believe in kicking a man when he is down, but Bill Madden apparently has no problem doing exactly that.

Madden's column in the New York Daily News ripped Joba Chamberlain for the gruesome, potentially life-threatening, ankle injury he sustained while playing on a trampoline with his son Karter. While I agree that Joba probably shouldn't have been on the trampoline in the first place, I can't help but feel Madden was way too harsh in his criticism, especially considering that Joba's life could be at risk. Even Brian Cashman was shaken up by the news and clearly more concerned about Joba's health than the impact of this devastating injury on the New York Yankees.

Anyone who follows Joba on Twitter knows how much he loves his son. Chamberlain is constantly posting photos and video of his cute little boy for all Yankees fans and the world to see. He has said that the blessing in disguise of his unexpected arm injury last year was the thrill of seeing his son off to school for the first time. And Joba very much acts like a big kid himself at times so I'm not at all surprised to hear about how the injury occurred.

But Madden is flat-out wrong to compare Joba's situation to Brien Taylor, the one-time hot Yankee prospect whose career fizzled after he injured his arm in a bar fight. Joba wasn't pulling a Taylor or a David Wells and fighting with some drunken guy. He was playing with his kid. I wish all fathers were as devoted to their kids as Joba is to his boy.

And I guarantee no one feels worse about this injury than Joba himself. So why does Madden feel the need to kick the man when he's down? Badly done on Madden's part.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pettitte return may be uncomfortable for Yankees

In my euphoria over Andy Pettitte’s unexpected un-retirement, I did not even consider that his return could create so much controversy and possibly ill feelings. Putting Bobby Valentine’s digs aside, it seems that the New York Yankees may have set themselves up for quite a bit of dissension in the clubhouse.

Of course, his old Core Four teammates Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera could not be more thrilled by Pettitte’s return, not only because he is a friend, but because they know he completely buys into their team-first mantra. They will never have to worry about Pettitte being more concerned about his borderline Hall of Fame candidacy than about winning ballgames.

But Freddy Garcia signed a contract with the Yankees on the understanding that he would be a member of their starting rotation. And although nothing with the Yankees is guaranteed, it probably was a fair assumption on his part. But now, Garcia not only has to deal with the indignity of competing with the 25-year-old Phil Hughes for a job despite putting up solid numbers with the Yankees last year, Garcia will likely find himself pushed aside for a guy coming out of retirement. Garcia seems like a really good guy so the fact that he is even hinting at a little frustration is something that should worry the Yankees.

Hughes is also being as diplomatic as possible, but he cannot be happy about the fact that he could still get pushed to the bullpen despite rising up the Yankees challenge about getting himself into tip-top shape and pitching well in spring training. Early reports indicate that Hughes more closely resembles the 2010 All-Star pitcher rather than the guy who struggled with injuries and a disappearing fastball last year. But he is going to have to remind the Yankees of a young Andy Pettitte if he wants to secure a spot in the starting rotation.

I agree with the mantra that you can never have too much pitching, but the Yankees relentless quest for pitching may become a problem. That being said, I think there is absolutely no doubt the Yankees made the right call to hire Pettitte out of retirement. His experience, knowledge and work ethic are unmatched and something, perhaps, the younger Yankees can learn from. But with only five starting jobs available, Joe Girardi is going to have to do an amazing job keeping everyone happy or, more importantly, in line.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pettitte return to the Yankees thrilling news

It’s a good thing I never turned off my Andy Pettitte Google alert.

If I had turned it off, I might not have learned the shocking, but exciting news that Pettitte is coming back to the New York Yankees (I’m in Pittsburgh to watch Syracuse play in the tournament). I was very surprised because he seemed happy in retirement, spending time with his family. But he obviously missed baseball too much and missed the Yankees too much to stay away. I couldn’t be more thrilled that he has decided to give his career another go.

Of course, it will take some time before he is baseball ready. But I have no doubt that Pettitte can quickly reclaim the #2 spot in the Yankees rotation right behind CC Sabathia. Hideki Kuroda and Freddy Garcia are solid starters and the Yankees have some very talented youngsters on their staff. But there’s no one Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenners trust more than Pettitte, which is why Hal Steinbrenner loosened up the purse strings despite his tough budget talk. They wanted Pettitte back in the fold because they know he gives them a better chance to win.

I personally cannot wait until May when Pettitte is expected to be ready to start. I will be clamoring for a ticket to that baseball game to welcome him back with open arms.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Instant replay expansion off the table for 2012

Instant replay won’t be expanded this year after all and that’s a bit disappointing.

In the grand scheme of things, a one-year delay isn’t the worst news, but it is a bit of a letdown that Major League Baseball, the umpires and the players’ unions could not reach an agreement in time for the 2012 baseball season, especially after they came to a relatively quick deal to add two more wild cards for the playoffs. We’re now in for a season in which every tough call is going to be controversial because of the inability of the umpires to take a second look. I just hope we can avoid another Armando Galarraga situation (still rooting for him to make a comeback).  

Bud Selig has not been a fan of instant replay due to concerns about slowing down the tempo of an already slow game although he seems to have warmed up to the possibility. It seems like the umpires are stalling the process, which I have a major problem with because they may be trying to use this to gain leverage to sweeten their retirement or disability benefits. I have no problem with them trying to negotiate for better working conditions such as a seventh umpire in World Series games, but their personal benefits have nothing to do with what is happening on the baseball field.

Because a major blown call can make or break a game, it’s important that the umpires have all the tools at their disposal to get things right. It looks like they will be missing one major tool, at least for the 2012 baseball season. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Big-spending Yankees have plenty of company

The big-spending New York Yankees suddenly have a lot of company.

This year, 11 baseball teams will spend more than $100 million in payroll and 15 will spend at least $90 million, according to this report. The most noteworthy new free-spenders are the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at $157 million. They spent a large fortune to pry Albert Pujols away from the reigning World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals and CJ Wilson away from their division rival Texas Rangers, who are coming off consecutive American League pennants.  

A close second is the suddenly flush Florida Marlins, who technically spent money they haven’t even made yet off their gorgeous new ballpark to lure Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhrle and Heath Bell to South Florida. Save for the Mets, the National League East should be an extremely competitive division and fun to watch, partly due to the Marlins’ expected resurgence. If my Syracuse Orange do not make it to the Final Four (and major doubt was cast earlier today by the crushing loss of Fab Melo), my back-up plan is to head to Miami to watch the Yankees play the Marlins in an exhibition at the new stadium (and, of course, to work on my tan).

But no one will ever outspend the Yankees in terms of total payroll, even with the Steinbrenners and Brian Cashman furiously working to get down to the magic $189 million threshold by 2014. The Yankees have absolutely no intention of lowering their payroll anywhere close to the point that they could be confused with the old Florida Marlins. But at least now they have some company closer to the top. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Yankees can keep Granderson and Cano

This isn’t something we have to worry about right now, but the New York Yankees will find a way to keep both Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson if they really want to.

Ever since Hal Steinbrenner firmly committed to getting down to the $189 million payroll mark in 2014 to avoid paying the luxury tax, speculation has run rampant that the Yankees will have to sacrifice Granderson to keep Cano. Although the Yankees would choose Cano over Granderson if they were forced to make a choice, I don’t think they will let Granderson go if he continues to put up numbers like he did last season.

The Yankees must pay more than $20 million each to Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira and will likely have to pay $20 million or more per year to sign their superstar second baseman. That’s well above $80 million committed to four players so it will definitely be a challenge. But while I do believe Steinbrenner sincerely wants to get below that penalty threshold, I don’t think it’s going to force his hand in terms of letting Granderson walk. For one, the Yankees will be very creative when structuring the players’ contracts, using every available loophole to reach an agreement that both sides can live with. And from Granderson’s perspective, I doubt he is going to walk because no team is going to pay him more than the Yankees.

So barring an unforeseen decline or a horrific injury, I fully anticipate both Cano and Granderson to remain in pinstripes for many years. The Yankees have plenty of time to figure out how to keep them both. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Yankees survive Robertson injury scare

The New York Yankees survived their first scare of spring training: David Robertson’s fluke foot injury.

Joe Girardi and the Yankees were concerned about the injury being more serious than initially appeared, sending Robertson for a battery of intensive tests that found only a bone bruise. The prognosis is good, which is a huge relief for Girardi & Co. He must have been terrified at the thought of losing his set-up guy when he already has to wait months before he has Joba Chamberlain back on the pitchers’ mound.

Robertson became a key member of the Yankees bullpen in 2011, posting a 4-0 record, a miniscule 1.08 ERA and an astonishing 100 strikeouts in 66.2 innings pitched. He also showed a poise on the mound reminiscent of a young Mariano Rivera, although Robertson will have to be more like Mo by learning to throw his pitches exactly where he wants them and keeping runners off base so that he doesn’t get into situations that force him to turn into Houdini.

Since things around the Yankees never move slowly, there was immediate speculation about who would replace Robertson in the 8th inning if he went down for an extended period of time. Possible names included Phil Hughes, which would have temporarily solved the 5th starter riddle. But none of that is necessary as the bone bruise should not keep Robertson off the mound for long.

Crisis averted.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hughes takes first step in reclaiming his job

Phil Hughes is fighting to reclaim his job in the New York Yankees starting rotation and he took an important first step yesterday.

The line from his first outing of the spring wasn’t that impressive, but those numbers hardly matter to Joe Girardi and the Yankees. What matters most is the right-hander’s velocity. From that perspective, his outing was a success as Hughes reached as high as 93mph on the radar gun, a number he didn’t reach all last spring in a foreshadowing of his troubles.

But I don’t like the fact that Girardi is openly criticizing Hughes for being overweight last year. Going back to the George Steinbrenner days, I’ve hated the Yankees approach of publicly humiliating their players into submission. I always feel like the Yankees win the battle, but lose the war as the embarrassment breeds long-term resentment by the players that comes back to bite the team in the end. Derek Jeter’s refusal to publicly condemn Jorge Posada when he pulled himself out of a game last year, much to the Yankees’ chagrin, comes to mind. Hughes probably isn’t happy with the public rebuke (he even mentioned that none of the Yankees hierarchy said anything to him last year), but perhaps he can use the comments as motivation.  

But overall, I think the Yankees do want Hughes to pitch well and reclaim his starting job. Hughes is still young and has a lot more upside potential than Garcia, who has been a solid starter for the Yankees (and in all honesty a bit of a savior last year), but is a decade older than Hughes and probably does not have very many years left in his arm. In contrast, if Hughes can get himself back on track, the Yankees can once again breathe a sigh of relief that they will have a young, homegrown starter in their midst for many years to come. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Judge deals Mets owners a major body blow

Just when you think things couldn’t get worse for the New York Mets, they actually do get worse.

Whatever positive vibes the Mets may have had with the start of spring training baseball and the return of Johan Santana to the pitcher’s mound have been completely wiped out by the crushing news that a federal judge has ruled that Fred Wilpon & Co must pay as much as $83.3 million to the trustee overseeing the recovery from Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

The ruling is not a fatal blow for the Mets owners, but it is pretty damn close. Not only do they have to give back the fictitious profits they received, they will have to endure a trial to determine if they should have to pay the more than $300 million principal they invested. The only thing the Mets owners have going for them right now is that the judge expressed skepticism about the trustee’s ability to prove the owners were willfully blind to the scheme. But since he left room to be convinced that that is exactly what happened, the Mets are in real trouble.

The owners insist that they will prevail at trial, but they have mishandled this entire situation, namely by playing the victim card. Their arguments that they were just as much Madoff’s victims as the rest of the bunch didn’t hold water when you considered that they were net winners in the scheme, meaning they received more money than they invested. The actual victims were those individuals who invested their life savings or retirement funds with Madoff and lost it all. If I had been in the Mets inner circle, I would have pushed for a settlement right after the judge’s previous ruling went mostly in their favor rather than defiantly prolonging the court battle. They may ultimately win the trial, but the damage has already been done.

I feel very sorry for the Mets players right now. They are being forced to answer questions about a situation they know very little about when they would much rather be completely focused on getting into game shape. When all eyes should be on Santana, who pitched pretty well this afternoon in a major step in his rehabilitation, people are whispering, sometimes loudly talking, about this latest blow and what it means for the future of the Mets organization.

It looks like Fred Wilpon and his family are going to have to pay, in some way or the other.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Joe Girardi trying to keep the mystery alive

Joe Girardi must be really bored this spring because he seems to be going out of his way to try to make things interesting. It’s not working, but that’s probably a good thing.

The New York Yankees’ roster is essentially set so that will make for just a long month of players getting ready for the regular season. Sure, Girardi has some decisions to make, but these are the kind of decisions that only draw a lot of attention because it’s the Yankees. How many people care who is the fifth starter or the back-up catcher on the other big-league teams?

The Yankees manager is doing his best to keep the intrigue alive. He first said that no one but CC Sabathia was guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation. While that may technically be true as none of the other starters has CC’s pedigree or paycheck, the reality is that there is only one spot truly open. After a surprisingly strong rookie season, the Yankees are going to give Ivan Nova every opportunity to keep his job. The Yankees did not give up their top prospect to put Michael Pineda in their bullpen. And they did not loosen up the purse strings for Hideki Kuroda to not be a part of their rotation (Girardi quickly backed off and said Kuroda has a starting job).

Girardi also publicly contradicted General Manager Brian Cashman, who conceded that the Yankees did not play as hard as they would have in late September 2011 if they were still competing for a postseason spot. This is classic Girardi, not the part about going against his boss, but his sensitivity about anything even perceived as criticism. The Yankees manager will argue that he did everything he could to win those last games against the Tampa Bay Rays, even though he clearly didn’t. If he cared about winning those games, we would have seen Mariano Rivera closing things out and the Rays would have been going home instead of the Boston Red Sox. I’m not knocking Girardi, even though he would consider such comments criticism. Of course, he did the right thing in keeping Mo out of a game that didn’t mean anything to the Yankees. If only Girardi would admit it instead of being so stubborn.

But none of Girardi’s comments are going to shake things up in Yankees’ camp. A quiet spring is just what the Yankees need to get ready for baseball, even if it makes for a boring four more weeks in Florida. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Purists' anger over new wild cards perplexing

I have to say that I’m quite surprised by all the vitriol thrown in Bud Selig’s direction over the news that Major League Baseball will add two more wild card teams and have the two wild cards in each league play a sudden-death elimination game for the right to advance further in the playoffs.

I love that more teams will have a chance to make the postseason, just as long as baseball doesn’t get too ridiculous and expands the playoffs to the point where half of all teams can get in on the playoff action. I love that the excitement that we saw on the last day of the 2011 regular season will be replicated every year. I love that division winners will have more of a reason to fight for that title rather than backing off and resting players, as Brian Cashman recently conceded that the New York Yankees did last season.

I don’t understand the furious arguments of the so-called baseball purists, mostly because in all honestly there has not been much pure about baseball in a long time. But there is a level of anger over the decision that is perplexing, most of it directed at Commissioner Selig. The silly name-calling is by far the worst as the personal attacks are juvenile and unnecessary. Can’t these people make their points without succumbing to hysteria? These changes are not going to ruin the sport, just as breaking each league into three divisions and adding the first wild cards did not break the game. The sport will adapt, the players will adapt, and most importantly, the fans will adapt because we are a resilient bunch, sticking with the sport even during its darkest days, which judging by the Ryan Braun situation will never truly be over.

To a certain extent, I do understand the concern about a third-place team winning the World Series. But that does not bother me as much as the idea of a first-place team in a weaker division winning a championship. Besides, what if that third-place team comes out of the toughest division in baseball: the American League East division? I can easily picture a scenario where the Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays all finish the regular season within a few games of each other and with better records than the teams in other divisions. I would have no problem with a wild-card matchup that pits two of these teams against each other in a do-or-die situation. There would be no way to say that any of these teams don’t deserve a shot at the postseason. I would much prefer seeing a stronger third-place team play for a world title than a weaker first-place team simply benefitting from playing in a division with lesser competition.

But we all have our opinions about baseball’s latest changes and none is more valid than the other, despite whatever any of us think. Let’s just try to act like grown-ups when discussing them. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Who will the Yankees sacrifice for payroll cut?

This is more of a question for next winter, but who will the New York Yankees sacrifice in order to lower their payroll?

If you take Hal Steinbrenner at his word, which I do, the Yankees are going to do whatever it takes to get below that magic $189 million mark in payroll by 2014 to free themselves of paying millions of dollars in luxury taxes. As Brian Cashman notes, the Yankees still have the highest payroll in baseball and that is not going to change anytime soon. But the Yankees’ free-spending days are over.

Of course, the Yankees will have some money coming off their payroll naturally in time for 2014. Rafael Soriano’s three-year deal, which pays him more than $11 million annually, will expire by then. And Derek Jeter will have an option year that will pay him only $8 million barring a renegotiation (that’s if Jeter even decides to keep playing, not a certainty by any stretch).

But the Yankees will have to throw some money at their younger superstars Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, which will eat up the savings from expiring contracts. Cano is the one that worries me the most as his current deal expires after 2013 and his agent is Scott Boras, who is always looking for the biggest payday. Plus, Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira all have several years left on their contracts, which combined amount to about $72 million in 2014, well over a third of the figure the Yankees want to get down to.

The Yankees are going to have to cut someone making decent money loose, even if they do not want to. Nick Swisher is the name that has been bandied about recently and it makes a lot of sense since his current deal expires after this season. That would not sit well with some Yankee fans, but Swisher’s expiring contract and postseason futility make him expendable. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sympathy for AJ Burnett

I feel terrible for AJ Burnett, who is going to miss the next 2-3 months following surgery to repair a broken orbital bone.

It’s a real shame that such a freak injury happened right when things were finally starting to look up for the embattled right-hander. After three inconsistent years, Burnett was finally free of the expectations and pressure of playing in New York following his trade from the New York Yankees to the Pittsburgh Pirates. I was rooting for him to do well in his new baseball home, which could still happen after he returns from his injury (thankfully having nothing to do with his rather durable right arm). But it has to be deflating to be sidelined so quickly after joining a new team.

I do not, however, want to see Burnett’s injury being used as an excuse to expand the designated hitter to the National League. I am in favor of American League teams using the DH in NL parks during interleague games only to avoid injuries such as the one that ruined Chien-Ming Wang’s career with the Yankees. But eventually I want to see the DH job phased out completely, after giving the AL teams some time to teach their pitchers proper hitting techniques, including, apparently, bunting.

Wang, viewed as a potential ace with the Yankees for a time, has yet to completely recover from that devastating injury. I wish a better fate for Burnett.

Get well soon, AJ. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ryan Braun angers his baseball colleagues

Whatever joy Ryan Braun felt over avoiding a 50-game suspension is probably long gone by now.

Although Braun succeeded in convincing an arbitrator to throw out his positive test for a banned substance, his reputation has taken a major hit. He has to deal with the widespread perception that he got off on a technicality. But that perception is not only held by people like me in the general public and the media who think he may have gotten away with cheating. According to this Buster Olney blog post, many of Braun’s fellow baseball players are livid that he won by challenging the process rather than the actual test result.

Although none of the players would dare go on the record, the piece makes it pretty clear that they are disgusted by Braun’s selfishness and willingness to take down the whole system just to clear his own name, which he did not even really accomplish. Braun would have had the support of his fellow players if he proved that he was clean rather than showing that the process was flawed. But the only thing these players see is the destruction of a system that took years to develop, one that was going to prove once and for all that Major League Baseball players were not the cheats that their predecessors were.

The Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder also has to contend with the notion that he is a bully. Not content with his “victory,” Braun went out of his way to imply that his test result had been tampered with. But when the collector dared to fire back to clear his own name, Braun’s team called his comments “inappropriate.” So it was OK for Braun to cowardly imply wrongdoing without offering evidence, but the collector was wrong to defend himself? Yeah, right.

Who is telling the truth: Braun or the collector? We may never know, but I hope some reporter takes the time to investigate the claims on both sides, particularly with regard to whether some FedEx office could have shipped the samples that night. In this day and age where people demand 24-hour service, I do find it difficult to believe that there was not one nearby office that could have handled the shipment. That is what led me to say that the collector should be fired. But it turns out that he seems to have followed the procedures correctly, which direct the collectors to store the samples in a cool place. I think that protocol is flawed as there is no way that the sample should have been kept unsupervised in someone’s home for that amount of time. I don’t believe that proves Braun’s implications that the sample was tampered with, but it does raise legitimate questions about the process.

But many baseball players apparently do not care about something that until Braun’s successful challenge would have seemed like a simple design flaw to be corrected. They just care that Braun avoided punishment and people are again questioning whether the sport will ever truly be clean.

Braun may feel like he was vindicated, but his baseball colleagues mostly beg to differ. 

Thanks to Steve Paluch via Wikimedia Commons for the photo.