ryan-braun-failIt’s been a while since we’ve taken a stroll around the rest of baseball, which is only for a lack of time, not for a lack of interesting story lines.

  • With Ryan Braun now suspended for the rest of the season on the back of his connection to the (alleged) PED distribution clinic in Miami (colloquially known as the Biogenesis scandal), there is no shortage of outrage by players, media, and fans alike. My reaction is probably more muted, though I do think Braun deserved some serious punishment for both the usage and the lying. A major paper in Milwaukee, however, has an extremely strong reaction: Braun should be released. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes, collectively, that Brewers ownership should set an example and get rid of Braun (eating his $100 million+ contract in the process). While Braun’s name is undoubtedly tainted in Milwaukee, and it’s hard to see fans re-embracing him any time soon, a release is never, ever going to happen. He’s going to be a productive player next year, and the Brewers are more likely to try and find a new home for him by way of a (money-eating) trade, if they make a move at all. Time has a way of sanitizing these things, and I would be unsurprised if most fans are over this whole thing by late 2014 or early 2015. That may sound like a long time from now, but Braun is under contract through 2020.
  • Speaking of Biogenesis, Alex Rodriguez is obviously the next big thing. His story has taken some crazy turns – the latest of which has MLB reportedly seeking a lifetime ban for ARod (probably hoping he’ll negotiate for a long suspension instead) – and the latest is no disappointment. Apparently the quad strain that ended ARod’s rehab assignment the day before he was due back in the bigs is not a quad strain at all … if you believe the doctor ARod privately solicited to look at his MRI, and then publicly contradict the Yankees’ team doctor. The whole story has so many angles that it’s hard to follow. Will he be banned for life? Will he just be suspended? How long will his appeal last? How injured is he? Do the Yankees even want him back? Will the Yankees save a ton of money if Rodriguez is banned for life? If so, will they privately assist in MLB’s case? I don’t follow the Yankees obsessively, so I don’t know if there are answers out there already to these questions. I just know that I’m glad the Cubs aren’t having to deal with this kind of drama.




  • Jayson Stark writes about how the Trade Deadline has become a dud in recent years, thanks to the combined effect of the new Wild Cards (less sellers), the inability to get draft pick compensation for players traded, and the huge increase in revenue sharing dollars that are allowing smaller market teams to keep their stars.
  • While we might not be able to do much about the third (it is, overall, probably good for baseball), and the second would probably be a hard fought CBA change, the first is something Dave Cameron thinks baseball can fix easily. How? Move the Trade Deadline back. Cameron argues that the July 31 non-waiver deadline has become pretty both arbitrary and harmful in an era with so many playoff teams. Give teams a couple more weeks, at least, to decide whether to buy or sell, and you might see a much more exciting and interesting couple of weeks leading up to the deadline. Thoughts? Would you rather the deadline came in August? It could certainly extend the “life” of the season for bad teams. As it stands for the Cubs – for the last few years – once the calendar flips to August, the season feels, in one sense, already over.
  • Because the Internet is very good at Internetting, here is MLB Player FaceSwap. A Cubs-centric example:

https://twitter.com/MLB_FaceSwap/status/359532887839744001

  • I also kind of love Mat Latos and Jayson Werth:

https://twitter.com/MLB_FaceSwap/status/359915821507678208

  • When it comes to funny baseball stuff, even Major League players get in on the action. Kudos, Ervin Santana:

  • One more item for lulz, here’s Dayan Viciedo representing the White Sox. I love how he not only repeatedly boots the ball, but when he does corral it, he throws it to no one in particular:



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