About Geoff

I'm a fan of baseball, Cincinnati sports, bourbon and my family - probably not in that order.

The Ryan Braun Saga

 

Major League Baseball announced the suspension of Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun today and, of course, I have my opinions about the situation.

The details are as follows, according to MLB.com: Ryan Braun has admitted to violating MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.  His suspension is immediate and is without pay, meaning Braun will miss the remainder of the 2013 regular season (65 games), any potential post-season games (it’s the Brewers, so most likely none), and lose somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.2 million for those games.

But that’s about where the clear details end and the path to trying to understand everything gets twisted and tough to plot out, but let’s give it a try.

 

What Violations Did He Admit To?

According to the statement by MLB, Braun was suspended for “violations”, not just “a violation”, but didn’t detail any of them.  It’s easy to assume that his violations included the steroid use highlighted by the Biogenesis clinic in Florida, which also implicates almost two-dozen other players, but where do they end?  Has Ryan Braun admitted that his positive test in 2011 that was successfully appealed was actually a legitimate positive test?

 

65 Games Is An Odd Number For A Suspension

First time offenders, which Braun would “technically” be since his positive test in 2011 was thrown out, receive a 50 game suspension.  Second time offenders get 100 games.  Braun landed with 65 games.  Revisiting the question of what Braun admitted to, if it was JUST his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic, he should’ve received 50 games.  Accepting a higher number leads me to form an uneducated and mostly-uninformed assumption that he admitted to more than this current scare, and the only thing that comes to mind is his 2011 positive test.

 

Does The Punishment Fit?

I think this what doesn’t sit well with me.  Just so we understand each other, I’m somewhat of a baseball purest.  I don’t like the designated hitter, I still believe Hank Aaron has the All-Time home run record and the best players on the field should be in the Hall of Fame regardless of how many off the field mistakes they make.  That being said, I see a lot more “book” that should’ve been thrown at Ryan Braun for his admitted violationS of MLB’s steroid policy.  For starters, if the assumption that Braun admitted to using in 2011 are accurate, then it should be an obvious decision to take Braun’s 2011 MVP award away, despite precedent set after Ken Caminiti admitted to steroid use during his MVP season.  The difference is that Caminiti freely admitted his steroid use in 2002 – six years after his 1996 MVP award and three years after his retirement from baseball.  Braun will return to play in 2014 and only admitted his use after being non-cooperative with an investigation last month and finally being painted into a corner by his SECOND exposure as a steroid user. 

On his path to this suspension, Braun has sworn his innocence and fought to beat the rap as a cheater and a fraud.  To do so, he trampled on the career of the sample handler who, by most accounts, did everything as he should according to the policies and procedures in place. 

For most of us, $3.2 million is a lot of money.  Ryan Braun is due to make $120 million over the next seven seasons, which makes that $3.2 million seem like small fries.  On top of that, Braun has been battling hand injuries for most of the 2013 season, playing in less than 2/3rds of the Brewers games during a disappointing season.  Giving Braun the remaining 60ish games to heal during a season where the Brewers are going nowhere is akin to taking Joey Votto out of a 10-0 game in the 6th inning (as done tonight in SF).

In other words, the penalty dealt to Braun for being a cheater amounts to very little unless they take away his claim to fame for his post-career years – his steroid helped MVP award.

 

What To Look For Now

As far as Braun is concerned, I would watch to see if he has surgery to correct his hand ailment.  It will be interesting to see if it is noted that Braun would most likely have had the same season-ending surgery (if it happens), thus nullifying the suspension Braun has been given.  If ever a person has gotten off easier after admitting to multiple steroid policy violations, I have yet to see it.

I would also watch to see what happens when the other steroid needle drops.  With almost two dozen names involved with the Biogenesis clinic, including Alex Rodriguez, something is sure to happen. I guess it is the benefit of admitting your faults first, but when the other names drop, I wonder how much attention Braun will keep as time passes for his infractions. Probably not much.

 

How Does This All Make YOU Feel As A Baseball Fan?

I asked this question before starting this post and the overall theme of the answers revolved around anger towards Braun.  One response asked if any of us with “normal” jobs would still be employed if we violated our contract or employer’s substance policy. Another believes the sample handler should file a civil suit if Braun did, in fact, admit that the test in 2011 was a correct positive. Brewer-fan respondents expressed their disappointment and sadness that the player that they had believed in and trusted was a liar and a cheat.

All-in-all, @CaughtOffBase nailed it when she said that the biggest loser in this situation is baseball.  Unfortunately, with all the other names involved with this latest exposure, I think baseball stands to lose even more if they don’t bring the hammer down hard.

 

 

 

 

As always, thanks for reading. I can assure you that no performance-enhancing drugs of any kind were used in the typing of this blog post.  If anything, this 11-0 shellacking of the Giants is a performance-hindering situation, so thanks for making it through this babble. Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or Tweeting to @GeoffreyHoman.  And remember, don’t do steroids and don’t Woo!

 

 

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Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, The Woo and Pizza

 

So Brandon Phillips Said…

…he was upset about Joey Votto’s contract He said he still is “scarred” by getting less than half ($75M to Votto’s $200M) of what Joey “MVP” Votto received in his latest contract.  I get that.  I understand why Phillips is upset, but I also understand why he didn’t get “MVP money” like Votto.  Brandon Phillips has been the man in a Reds jersey for years, but now he’s not the Face of the Team or even close to being the highest paid. So what is the problem with BPhil being a little hurt about having the Reds pay Votto a mint and give him the “$75 million leftovers”?

Nothing.  Baseball is about a lot of things. Among them: History, statistics, pride, ego…  And let’s face it, BPhil has a lot of all four of those things.  So why is it a problem that he wanted Votto-money and was hurt by the Reds front office when he didn’t get it?  If you feel like you are one of, if not THE, best employees at your bi-weekly paycheck, don’t you want to be paid like it? Don’t you want the respect (and responsibility) that comes along with the high dollars?  I would, and I can surely understand why the Golden Glover would, too…

 

Yeah, But It’s JOEY VOTTO

That’s true. Not many ballplayers play like Votto has and few deserve Votto money.  However, BPhil is getting $125M less than Votto.  Just over a third of the total money and he is hardly “just” a third of the player Votto is.  Again, I agree with BPhil and understand why he was/is upset. I wonder what Joey thinks about the stuff Brandon said about the money being thrown around…

 

“It Made Me Like Him Even More”

That’s what Joey Votto said about BPHhil’s comments.  If Votto isn’t upset, how can you be as a fan?  The only person left to have a reason to be upset is Castellini himself, but I doubt we’ll hear his reaction.

 

What About Team Chemistry?!?

What about it?  Is it better for Brandon Phillips, who is one of the core players on this roster, to keep things as rumors or clubhouse chatter?  Look what happens when bloggers get a hold of certain topics that may be best kept in-house.  Things get blown out of proportion and the situation is worse than if the players would’ve just talked about it in the open.  Plus, the only two characters in this story that have any impact of the team chemistry are Phillips and Votto, and Phillips HAS TO feel better after airing his feelings and Votto has calmly and non-spotlightishly (that’s a Head First Slide trademarked term, by the way) commented that he doesn’t care.  Votto feels like Phillips’ comments have nothing to do with him. If the two participants don’t care, why would anyone else?  It’s almost like the players realize that baseball is also a business whereas fans only see it as a sport.

 

So What’s The Outcome?

Well, as of the time of this typing, the Reds are leading the Pirates 5-3 and Phillips has 3 RBI while Votto has been on base three times.  What is the worst that the situation can cause?  The Reds clubhouse splits, the team falters, the offense sputters and the Reds lose game after game – basically the last ten games before the All-Star break.  What’s the best that can happen?  The Reds clubhouse feels a sense of relief, has a weight lifted off their shoulders and starts hitting the ball and the team tears off a dozen wins in a row.  The actual outcome?  Probably somewhere in the middle, but I’d be willing to Pete Rose that the results are closer to the latter rather than the former (that means I think the team will pull together, relax, and win some ballgames).

 

My Final Analysis

Good for you, Brandon Phillips. I’m sure it’s tough getting “only” $75 million to play a kid’s game, but I’m glad you realize the team still invested a LOT of money in you to perform on the field and that the fans appreciate your game and love seeing you on the roster.  As anyone who has held something inside for a while knows, your relief is probably great and your opportunity to back up your feelings is fantastic.  Get it done, BPhil. Prove your words.

 

A Few Other Thoughts

I haven’t heard the “Woo!” in a few games, which is a good thing. Maybe the larger crowds are drowning out the dim-wits or maybe the infamous “Duane” has had car trouble, but the absence of the Woo! is a good thing…

…but the crowd continues to care more about a free $3 pizza than the Reds actually winning a game.  Luckily tonight is not one of those nights when the pizza-lovers cheer stupidly while the team is down late, seeing as the good guys are up by two in the 9th.  I love the promotion as much as the next guy (that may not be true because I wouldn’t cheer like a rabid dog because of an 11th strikeout when the Reds are losing), but it needs a severe amendment.  Make the offer only good after a winning effort, LaRosa’s. You know it’s the right thing to do.

Speaking of the right thing to do, if you don’t like LaRosa’s or have an issue with the promotion in general, take the advice of @TylerAlonzo and @CatLatos and gift your ticket stub to someone less fortunate than yourself.  The success stories that they retweet after pizza games are awe-inspiring.  #HatsOffCin to you, Reds fans!

 

As always, thanks for reading.  I’m sure you’ve got an opinion about my opinion, so in my opinion, you should leave your opinion in the comments section below. Or drop your opinion on Twitter at @GeoffreyHoman. Either way, it’s my opinion that your opinion matters to which of my opinions I write about, so let me know your opinion!

Things I Have Learned This Week

First, let me apologize for slacking off on my duties and commitment to Head First Slide.  The truth is that watching the Reds games while reading along on Twitter has frustrated me lately to the point where I have stayed away from social media during the games. This has usually meant I am not on my devices when the mood strikes to write something up, so I haven’t been.  A lame excuse, no doubt, but I will try to be more vigilant moving forward for my fans…  Both of them (my mother and my daughter).

However, I will use tonight to highlight a few things I have learned over the past week or so to try to make up some time, so let’s get at it:

 

You Don’t Like Zack Cozart Hitting Second In The Lineup

I get it. Everyone on Twitter gets it. Let’s see if we can get some tweets about something other than the lineup. Which reminds me…

 

People Would Cry About Your Lineup, Too

Dusty Baker is a major league manager who has won a lot of games. You may have played ball in high school and probably have a few PS3 trophies for MLB 13. Dusty Baker isn’t infallible, but I think he gets the nod in the “better equipped to make a major league lineup and manage a ball club” department.

 

Twitter Voting Contests Need To Calm Down

It seems like everything is being voted on through our timelines anymore.  I will fully support contests that win money for our community or a roster spot for our players, but that’s about it. Please use the hashtag #TwitterContestsNeedToCalmDown or #TwitterContestsAreAwesome to vote how you feel about this topic.

 

Brewers Fans Don’t Want To Be Worse Than The Cubs

Twitterless Dan told me that during the Brewers series. I was begging for a Reds win and he, being a Brewers fan, told me that they need wins to end up in front of the Cubs. I suppose that counts as throwing in the towel before the All-Star break?

 

The Chop Is Dumb, But The Woo Is Worse

That about says it all.

 

I Have An Irrational Fear Of Zombies…

…but I just started reading World War Z, a book about a zombie outbreak and decade long zombie-war.  I can tell this book will be a good one because the author describes the office of the director of the CIA and includes “…and, on his desk, an autographed baseball from Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench“. I think I’ll enjoy this author if THAT is a detail he chose to include.

 

My Daughter Turns One In Three Weeks…

…and my wife wants me to BUILD a swingset in the backyard before having family over for her little party. This could end up glorious or disastrous.

 

That’s about it, for now.  Here’s hoping the Reds can pull off a couple wins before the All-Star break to calm some of the armchair GMs down for the break. Just try to remember – unless you are on the team, work for the team, or have an unfortunate gambling problem, baseball is ENTERTAINMENT and is supposed to BE FUN. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading my angry rant.  If you have any lessons YOU have learned this week, feel free to share them in the comment section or on Twitter at @GeoffreyHoman.

 

 

 

So This Is What Being A Reds Fan Is All About?

 

So This Is What Being A Reds Fan Is All About? (WARNING: GENERALIZATIONS AHEAD)

The team is only a few games behind the division leading Cardinals and less than two games in front of the third place Pirates – the team that happens to be going up against the Reds tonight at GABP.  Even though it is a home game for the Reds, and the Pirates are shutting out the home team and winning by three runs (and end up winning 4-0), the crowd cheers wildly and suddenly erupts in cheers and fans high-five and hug all around the ballpark like Jay Bruce just hit a clinching home run.  The thing is, though… he didn’t.

I’m all for fans cheering and acting how they want to as long as it doesn’t make the fanbase – as a whole – look stupid.  The Woo (at any time of the game) and cheering for free pizza while the Reds are getting waxed does just that.  I would rather see the wave start in the 9th inning than hear Reds fans cheer like they did tonight while losing to the team breathing down the Reds necks in the standings (and I’m not a fan of the wave at critical game moments, either).  I think it’s time for LaRosa’s to rethink their promotion and make the offer valid ONLY if the Reds win. I’m pretty sure the Reds are right around .500 when striking out 11 or more during a game at Great American Ballpark, Yes, some of you may have to actually BUY your $4 personal pizzas from LaRosa’s, but maybe then Reds fans would care about the score and not just the strikeout total.

 

I’m Not Saying #FARRRDUSTY, But…

…when Dusty’s time with the Reds is over, I wouldn’t mind giving Clint Hurdle a decent lookover while searching for a new manager. The guy is a local product and makes positive things happen on the field.  Maybe his record doesn’t seem so high-powered, but he makes my short list, for sure.

 

Mat Latos Is My Favorite Pitcher

This guy has been an absolute horse for the Reds and seemingly just the guy you need in the Reds clubhouse.  I absolutely loved seeing Mat get fired up in the dugout when the butt-Pirates hit Choo. He had a bad first inning tonight, but put the Pirates in a virtual headlock afterwards.  He owns a 6-1 record and had FIVE blown games by the bullpen!  Remember when people were questioning if Latos was worth the “potential” the Reds traded away for him?  Makes me glad there are professionals handling the trades and not armchair GMs…

 

Speaking Of Armchair GMs…

…my buddy who was suggesting that Jay Bruce should be traded hasn’t come out to say he was wrong, but he’s hinted at it so much that I accept his apology for such a silly comment.  He has since said that he “always love Jay Bruce” and now sees the reason for keeping him.  Sometimes being pretty smart a super genius means you know when to give up a fight.  Knuckles, Andrew!

 

Pete Rose

Not sure what to say about Pete.  I mean, the camo hat was better than most of the headwear we’ve seen The Hit King sport at a Reds game. We’ve known he’s not the most fashion-forward guy dating back to the showing-off-your-hairy-body-while-standing-in-your-underwear advertisement, but who among us wouldn’t call in sick if Pete had an extra ticket for a ball game?  Let me just go ahead and fly this flag in case Pete sees it: Pete, if you have an extra ticket, I’d enjoy going to the game with you and talking about baseball. It’d make one hell of a Head First Slide posting!

 

Finally, Something Positive From Your Angry Blogger!

Congratulations to Richard (@HFSPodcast on Twitter) and his wife on the birth of their beautiful daughter.  Sunday was my first Father’s Day with my ten-month old little girl, but having a two week old must’ve made the day even more special, if possible.  For me, being a father has been the greatest thing to happen, and I’m sure Richard feels the same way with his new family.  Congrats buddy!

 

 

As always, thanks for reading.  I’m serious, Pete – I’d basically quit my job if you’d let me tag along to a Reds game with you. Yes, I consider this begging, but since very few people read my posts and even fewer read this italics part, I’m ok with that. Let’s make this happen!  For the non-Pete Rose readers, feel free to make fun of my begging ways in the comment section or on Twitter at @GeoffreyHoman.  Thanks again!

 

 

 

THE CINCINNATI BRANDON PHILLIPSES STAVE OFF ELIMINATION! (and other silly comments)

 

THE CINCINNATI BRANDON PHILLIPSES STAVE OFF ELIMINATION!

 

That’s the rumor as many fans would like you to believe after last night’s extra inning breakdown against the division/league/world leading St Louis Cardinals.  As Twitter erupted with bad news about the Reds season being over in June, the Reds made the trip to Chicago where Brandon Phillips took over the offensive duties with six RBI, including a hard-to-see grand slam, and Homer Bailey kept the Cubbies bats (mostly) silent as the Reds took a 6-2 win at a very foggy Wrigley Field.

I was hoping this game would turn out this way, but the game of the series that I am most interested in watching is tomorrow night’s matchup where Matt “Loudmouth” Garza heads to the hill for the Cubs.  If he decides to back up the silly rant from a few weeks ago when he mouthed off about Johnny Cueto, he won’t last more than an inning as he should be plunking Joey Votto. I doubt that happens, but if it does, I don’t see Garza walking off the field with his jersey in tact – just my opinion.

 

 

SPEAKING OF SILLY COMMENTS…

 

A buddy of mine recently made a comment that the Reds should trade Jay Bruce.  I know we all hear some off the wall things like this throughout the season, but he’s a pretty smart guy super genius and he was being honest about his thought.  His defense was that Bruce wouldn’t be difficult to replace with his .270-something batting average and $7.5 million contract.  I’m hoping this comment was a result of frustrations with the Reds losing a bunch lately and Jay Bruce being a fairly easy target.  I don’t think any organizational plan to win the World Series in the next five years is rationally thought out without Jay Bruce in the fold unless a Hershel Walker-type deal is presented to the Reds. My first comment back to my buddy was that I was glad that he didn’t run the Reds, but perhaps I should’ve reminded him that the baseball season is a marathon.  Maybe the Cardinals continue their record-shattering offensive production, but my guess would be they come back down to Earth a little bit.  When that happens, I hope the Reds have their ducks in a row and can take advantage of StL’s losses.  This Reds team has the potential to do great things when healthy, which brings me to another point…

 

 

SEAN MARSHALL IS BACK!

 

Well, kinda.  As reported on the Reds post game show, Marshall has been doing strengthening exercises and began long-tossing today.  Marshall commented that he can bring leadership to the lockerroom, which implies that he’ll be traveling with the team from here on out.  That’s a good thing.

 

 

COMMITMENT IS KEY

 

I’ve always been told you should finish what you started.  Tonight I took that to heart as I lit up the grill and cracked a cold one.  It wasn’t until I dropped the chicken on the grill that the thunder rolled and before too long I was a Kingsford commercial – grilling in the rain.  I didn’t quit and the chicken was delicious.

 

 

BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT

 

The best line of the night didn’t come from the Reds game.  If you’re married (or have an always-around girlfriend), you have probably watched a few segments of the Bachelor/Bachelorette.  Tonight, a guy was dismissed and made the comment “I can’t even cry. I’m all out of tears.”  That alone was worth the disgrace of having to watch a part of the show…

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!  If you want to make fun of me for watching some chick show or make a comment for me to pass on to my buddy with poor trade ideas, leave a comment or find me on Twitter at @GeoffreyHoman.  Thanks!