Archive for April, 2012

Thursday night I thought was the single most interesting 1st round of the NFL draft I’ve ever watched in my life!  People were moving up and down, but as you may know, I like assigning grades and I’ve said this for years – when I grade the draft, I like doing it completely different than everybody else. I like to take your free agent acquisitions and your first 2 picks – those are all starters and that’s how I like to grade a draft. So far, Buffalo (that’s right Mike) has the best draft…seriously! Mario Williams, Mark Anderson Thursday’s draft…those are 3 starters right there! That to me is the team that has done the best. Now, nobody else does that and I’ll talk more about that in my next rant on Monday.

Though my big overview about the 1st round is that generally in life, people are what they are and are attracted to themselves. If you go to a party, the first way to attract somebody is by saying “hey, tell me about yourself! Tell me about what you do…” people love to hear themselves talk and to hear their name. People love to talk about themselves and we’re attracted to ourselves. Biker guy likes biker chick, tat guy likes tat chick, grumpy cranky guy eventually ends up with cranky chick. In the end, people often marry who they “think” they should merry, but they get divorced because ultimately they find out they are really attracted to somebody else – a type, and that type is themselves and people never get away too far from what they are, their DNA.

That’s why I just simply had to laugh at the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night – for the record, the last couple of years I’ve really liked what they’ve been doing – hence why I just recently became a season seat holder for this upcoming season. They found their quarterback, they’re getting offensive linemen, they’re getting receivers…I really really like what they have done in the past 2-3 years in the draft, I really do. But ahh they had to go back and be Cincinnati this year, they took a sip of that cocktail Thursday night – we’re going to draft Dre Kirkpatrick out of Alabama. Cocky, jumps routs, goes for the interception too often, celebrates on every play, massively immature, lot of teams took him off their draft board – but that’s who Cincinnati is! For the record though, I think Cincinnati is a buy – if they were a stock, I’d buy them, but good old Cincinnati just couldn’t get away from their core, their DNA. They’ve done such a good job with most of their picks in the last 2-3 years, offensive linemen, big studs, Andy Dalton is rock sold, get him some receivers…they had a chance yesterday to stop being who we know they are, but they just simply couldn’t stay away! Dre Kirkpatrick has got all sorts of issues.

Many sources that I had been reading, leading up to this NFL draft said that he’s truly a piece of work and will have his issues follow him wherever he landed! Same issue with my Jets where Rex loves the sexy, “Plaxico is out of the can…let’s get him!” Sanchez – good looking, GQ mag guy, Holmes, Tebow…and now you’ve got Quiton Coples – for every solid pick that Rex has made, his DNA is a sexy Rexy pick!Chris Jenkins, former Jet, on the Jets drafting Quiton Coples – who most believe is the one guy in the 1st round who could be a bust, Chris Jenkins said “ I question his heart, running to the ball, pad level, throwing guys around, your coached about those things over and over until you get to the NFL – it’s not rocket science” says Jenkins who went onto further say that “he only moves fast for the sack and that’s it” and Rex wants to put his hand in the dirt and at a 3.4 – Quinton looks like a better outside linebacker, that was the same issue with Vernon…hello?? But that’s sexy Rexy for you.

Rexy, when you think about it, really drafts himself – a project! He was a guy that was passed on for several coaching jobs, so he drafts the guy who was passed up by other teams. We are attracted to ourselves and we draft ourselves. But what do the Patriots do? The Steelers? What’s their DNA? Rock solid, big, strong, and not flashy and the Steelers go out and draft a great offensive guard to go along with their great center – that’s the Pittsburgh Steelers! What do the Patriots do? They draft a high functioning, very smart, two year captain Dont’a Hightower – who was the captain of his defense and called out plays. Why? Because Belicheck sees himself as a smart coach and that’s what he is attracted to – smart players. Most college degree’s out of any NFL current roster. By the way, the late Al Davis saw himself as a rebel…what did he draft? A kicker in the first round and always the fastest guy available!

So we all have a certain type that we’re attracted to and we just never are able to get too far from it…Cincinnati! I really like 8/9 out of the last 10 picks, so I’m totally a buyer on Cincinnati but God they had to go back to what Cincinnati is! I will say this though, I believe – and I’ve been thinking about this for 3 weeks now, that Jeff Fischer and the St. Louis Rams are the best $8 dollar stock in this league right now. All they do is nail it! Mel Kiper came out and he did not like them getting a defensive tackle. He was interviewed this morning on the Mike & Mike show on ESPN and said “there’s still a lot of picks, a lot of movement, but they missed out on Justin Blackmon by one pick, missed on Michael Floyd by one pick and they took Michael Brockers  – a run stuffing defensive tackle…” totally disagree with Mel!

First of all, what did Jeff Fischer – Rams head coach say on the Scott Van Pelt Show earlier this week? That you have to worry about your own division! “First and foremost, you start with your own division and what are the strengths of your division. Well, we’ve got some very talented running games that we have to defend against in our division” so they get the run stopper in the draft, a monster from LSU whose a baby! He’s barely grown into his own body, yet to go along with him is free agent signing Kendall Langford who also goes along the two talented young pass rushers Chris Long and Robert Quinn…they are loaded!! They are the younger version of the New York Giants in the box now! But you might say “ohh they didn’t get a receiver and they didn’t do this…” folks, they have 3 of the first 13 picks in the 2nd round (was written before the start of the 2nd round) and there are receivers and linemen everywhere in the draft. In fact the big story of the first round is that the linemen didn’t get drafted.

So they got 4 tackles, one from Georgia, one from Stanford, one from the SEC and one from Ohio State…all available. They’ve may have a shot at, in my opinion, the only receiver in this draft many believe could become a superstar, but that you don’t know anything about – Stephen Hill, who I thought they would take as their 1st pick in the 2nd round (later did I find out after typing this up that my Jets actually landed him) but he’s a receiver from Georgia Tech, played in a weird triple option offense, but this guy is unbelievable! 6’4, 220lbs and can run a 4.38. So you have the Rams that because of all of this trading down and Mel didn’t like it, they now have nothing but 1st and 2nd picks next year and 1st and second picks the following year. Thursday they go out and get a star on the defensive front – they are now the New York Giants from about 5 years ago on the defensive front, the Rams are the “pop” franchise of the NFL if you ask me, absolute love what they did on Thursday.

So the Cowboys went out and got Morris Claiborne who apparently had a score of 4 on his Wonderlic – the lowest reported score in a dozen in years, the average score is around 21. As I’ve usually said, the further you get away from the ball the less it really matters. My biggest knock on Claiborne is that he doesn’t seem to support the run that much though he’s unbelievable in pass coverage – it doesn’t bother me much. Claiborne said “I looked on the test, there was nothing on the test that came with football so I pretty much blew the test off” that’s a Cowboy for you right there!


Superstars in any walk of life see the world differently than you or I do – doesn’t matter if it’s a singer, golfer, business person. They are better – they know they are better, they want to be treated differently – even the guys we like such as Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson had coaches fired. But I’m watching Sunday night and the Heat are 10-1 without Wade, the Bulls are like 12-5 without Rose, the Lakers keep winning without Kobe…why? What is the downside to any superstar? Like the public, the players often become bystanders – you bring Picasso into a loft, you give him a canvas – that’s if Picasso was still around, even with other great artists around, everybody would want to watch Picasso perform. That was always the brilliance of Phil Jackson – former Bull and Lakers head coach. Is that he got Michael Jordan – the greatest individual scoring talent, except for Wilt, in the history of the game – he created an offense called the “Triangle offense” and a lot of people think the Triangle offense was built for Kobe and Michael Jordan, yet I’d argue just the opposite.

Anybody who really knows the Triangle offense knows that it was created to get Kobe and Michael to share! To get guys shots that don’t normally get shots, that was always the genius of Phil Jackson. Sitting down with the great Picasso of our time and convincing him “let somebody else have the paint brush and the canvas every once in a while. I mean, you can get your shot anytime you want, relinquish the brush from time to time.” When Michael Jordan had Doug Collins as a head coach, he shot about 1100 times a year, with Phil Jackson it was 900 or high 800’s. Couple shots a game – 2 or 3, makes a world of a difference. That was the genius of Phil Jackson because it’s very hard to ask the gifted to give things up – you know, unless they’re getting a tax break. The key in the NBA is not getting a star; it’s getting the right star! And getting the right coach to work with that star and convince him to get others involved because stars will always get their shots.

Carmelo Anthony had 42 points on Sunday; yet the problem is that the rest of the starters had 19. The Knicks offense became like the Cleveland one when Lebron was there – 4 dudes watching one dude. You’re not beating elite teams with the “4 dudes watching one dude” offense. It’s really a gift; it’s a gift for anybody and any management position to get a star – a superstar, to share. Share the mic, share the ball, share the brush, share the technology, share your genius…it’s really hard because superstars, in any industry, think differently. I watched the Knicks on Sunday and sat there and thought “Melo has always been a great talent, but does Melo realize that Denver got better when he left and ultimately, it’s not his shot but the ability to draw a double team and pass to a better shot, a 60% shot not a 48% shot, which will get the Knicks to the next level” It’s hard, after he scores 42, to see that because he was the only guy late, taking 22 ft leaners that clanked.

It’s like I’m watching Kobe on Sunday – and Kobe didn’t play for the Lakers, but he was coaching on the sidelines and I was reading in the LA Times this morning where it basically said “man, Kobe would be an interesting coach” Kobe would be a terrible coach! Magic couldn’t coach; Michael Jordan has not been a good GM. Most of your great baseball managers, Joe Torre was a very pedestrian player. Isaiah Thomas – great player, not great anywhere else, why? Because they see things differently. If Kobe Bryant was a coach – let’s do a role play here. I’ll be Kobe and you be random NBA player, let’s play a game. This – if Kobe Bryant was a coach, I’ll play Kobe, this is how Kobe would coach.”Kobe: alright guys huddle up, here’s the plan. You go break his ankles top of the key, launch from the free throw line, switch hands in mid air, then dunk through two defenders…got it? You: ugh, coach…I don’t think I can do that. Kobe: what don’t you get? It doesn’t matter if somebody’s hand is in your face, you drain the shot anyway, just be better than everybody else. You: but coach, I can’t be better…Kobe: can’t you just be…great?”

That’s how great players see the world, that’s the prism in which they see it. They don’t understand that most of us don’t have that innate skill – that’s why average players make great managers in baseball. Was Jim Leyland a great player? Was Joe Torre? Not really!  A-rod is a great player, but he won’t be a great manager, he won’t even be a manager! Kobe’s a great player; he won’t be a very good coach. That guy at Oklahoma City, Brooks…he’s a good coach. Phil Jackson? Was a marginal player, but a great coach! Greg Popovich, Doc Rivers…good not great, but are great coaches. So as Melo lights up the Gardens, in the end superstars…it’s not about them, it’s about ball movement and getting the right superstar to link up with the right coach who can convince him that he’s got 4 other guys on the floor.

Speaking of other guys, this thing in Boston is a mess! So Bobby Valentine gets hired by the Red Soxs – and everybody knew it was problematic, Bobby is pretty rigid, pretty old school, you’ve got baseball players with guaranteed contracts, mix that with the parochial nature of Boston  which is – there’s an old saying in New England that “fences make great neighbours” I’m serious!  Boston is uniquely parochial; it is uniquely interested in itself. Chicago – in the middle of the U.S. their TV ratings show that they will watch east coast sports teams and they’ll watch the west coast sports teams. Boston will watch nobody but themselves and perhaps New York. So Bobby is really a visitor to Boston, he just doesn’t understand it yet. Bobby’s got a blue hat with a red “B” and he thinks he’s like a native, he thinks he’s just like “one of them”

I’ve got family friends who live in New England – they moved from Texas almost 10 years ago, they still feel as if they are visitors – you can’t move to Fenway and just because you have a uniform think “hey, this is my town and my team” Bobby Valentine criticized Kevin Youkilis on Sunday and Dustin Pedroia came out saying that it’s not the way they do things in Boston – maybe that stuff works in Japan (Bobby was a baseball manager in Japan for 8 years) Dustin Pedroia spoke up for Kevin Youkilis, who got ripped by  Bobby Valentine on Sunday saying “…his teammates have his back and we know how hard he plays, so I really don’t understand what  Bobby’s trying to do but – that’s really not the way we go about our stuff around here, I’m sure he’ll figure that out soon” But then he added another shot to Bobby Valentine saying “…maybe in Japan or something, but over here in the U.S. – man we got a 3 game winning streak, we want to feel good and keep it rolling. We feel like we have a good team and we just have to get each other’s backs and play together because if you don’t do that, I don’t care what sport you play in, you’re not going to win” ohh boy more to come on this later!

So if you did not hear this story, Ozzie Guillen – manager of the Miami Marlins was taken from Chicago to Miami, where he was often very controversial – apparently had to a take a sensitivity class because of his constant outspokenness throughout the years, MLB has fined him in the past. So the Marlins take him under their wing in the hopes of becoming a vital part in the outreach towards the Latino community in Miami but people, specifically Cubans, are now outraged as of this morning because of the comments he made about Fidel Castro – the long time Cuban dictator.

To me, there are two things here. First of all, time and place. These comments don’t’ resonate to this degree in Seattle or Minneapolis or South Dakota, but in Miami/South Beach, they absolutely do. I have relatives who live in Tampa – which is a couple of hours drive from Miami across Alligator alley down south at the tip of the state and he is viewed – Castro in Florida, he is viewed as what he is, a tyrant and a dictator, relentless and evil and sentences and words play different in different places. I can do a cocktail/alcohol joke in Madison, Wisconsin and will get big laughs, but won’t get it in Westpoint – an alcohol free campus.  Time and place, you can do the “no, there is no bomb” joke at an airport, but you don’t make the Fidel Castro joke anywhere in America per say, but in Miami it’s an absolute no no! Dan Le Batard on the Mike & Mike Show this morning talked about how Fidel Castro is seen as the devil in South Beach “The ocean between Cuba and Miami is filled with dead Cubans who have literally thrown their lives to the winds, who get on tires and rafts made of erratic wood in the hopes of getting away from this man [Castro] and what he represents.”

A couple of people e-mailed me today asking if we were being overly sensitive on Ozzie Guillen. To answer that, let’s think about this for a moment. So the New Orleans Saints have been in the news recently and let’s say that you try to re-name the New Orleans Saints to the New Orleans Hurricanes. That would be seen as incredibly insensitive! Yet we have the Miami Hurricanes in college football and basketball, the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL. But if you tried to re-name the Saints to the New Orleans Hurricanes today, it would be outrageous! It’s just a word though right? It would be just a word if I said your wife or husband was unattractive or that your kids are stupid – those are just words too, words count. Our laws are only words until they’re put into action. The Constitution of Declaration of Independence or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, are all words right?

Words, time and place are very very important and Ozzie Guillen just didn’t understand the room he was playing too. Dan Le Batard, a Cuban-American sportswriter out of Miami, made another point about Fidel Castro and his impact – his negative impact on how any words associated with Fidel Castro and what they could mean in South Beach “Given that Ozzie Guillen was hired to be a latin voice and face for a team that would represent Miami, this is the worst possible thing that Ozzie Guillen could have said, I can’t think of anything else, given the customers, that would’ve been worse because for Cuban-Americans, he’s our Hitler” ‘He’s our Hitler” is what Dan Le Batard is saying of Fidel! A veteran Spanish speaking baseball announcer down in Miami Omar P. Gonzalez, who fled Cuba at age 17 and lived in Miami for several years had this quote this morning “ it’s like going to New York’s Jewish  district and saying ‘Hitler wasn’t so bad’ he managed to stay in power for a few years”

So this is what we are dealing with here and Cubans have every right to be sensitive about this. When I last visited my relatives in Tampa it was interesting because Cuban food is a real part of Tampa, the food was absolutely delicious and in Miami you’ve got Cuban coffee shops all over…Miami is just a fun town with a great deal of flavor. Cubans – when I was visiting my relatives in Tampa, I was told this they make great neighbours – very self aware, very decent, hard working…they make great neighbours, they are such a big part of South Beach though and they have so much pride and they are great neighbours, they are just an incredible part of that community. So for somebody reading this in Los Angeles – they may not fully understand the impact of this or somebody living in Toronto or Minneapolis, Seattle or Pittsburgh, but having visited Florida, not South Beach, but the Tampa area you can imagine what the Cuban presence must be like there.

So the Miami Herald did a poll this morning asking if Ozzie should keep his job and it was dangerously close if you’re Ozzie to 50/50 – it was 56% No, he shouldn’t be fired and 44% saying yes. A lot of people in baseball were saying this morning “there is no way Ozzie is getting fired” I think it’s doubtful, but I do believe that the Marlins’ ownership this morning – like any corporation, was watching that press conference very carefully. Now, I don’t think protests will lead to his firing but I think they will watch it [ the drama unfold] because if advertisers pull out, if fans stop showing up to the park, I think Ozzie Guillen – in my opinion, is in a great deal of trouble. You see this often with corporations – where they sit and wait and watch how people react. I’ve said this since I started blogging, the media is so strong and powerful in markets like Philadelphia or New York that sometimes management will plant a story, give it to talk show hosts, they’ll talk about it and ownership and management will watch the circus develop and see how fans react to “Tebow to the Jets” or “Jason Bay to the Mets” stuff gets floated all the time in these powerful media markets by ownership or management to see how the public reacts.

I think the corporation of the Marlins this morning and the ownership are going to be watching and seeing what unfolds in the next 7-10 days. I will go the other way though, I think Ozzie Guillen could be fired – I’m not saying he should be or shouldn’t, I’m just saying that my opinion is “ they have not made a decision yet” and his future I think hangs in the balance over the next 3-6 days, that is my opinion and my opinion only. But I do not believe that he is free and clear on this.

So with the NFL draft coming up and all, I’ve been getting all these emails – firstly asking if I’m still alive…clearly I am, just had some personal matters to attend to and crunching fantasy baseball numbers using spring training stats for my keepers league isn’t something I take lightly. Anyways, Secondly and more importantly, a lot of you are asking if Andrew Luck is the real deal or could we all be possibly whiffing. For starters, people have a right to ask and I’m at a point where I’m getting enough emails and the volume is enough where I’m just going to answer it. So is it possible that we are all making a huge mistake with Andrew Luck? Is it possible that Andrew Luck is over-rated?  I think….no! But you might say “Well Andrew, Ryan Leaf…” he’s not Ryan Leaf.

When you have overwhelming evidence such as Tiger Woods at 13 years old –every golf expert had to be wrong because at 12/13 years old, he already had an agent and everyone in golf acknowledged “that’s the prodigy” You can say “I’m going the other way on this” but what you are then saying is that your smarter than everybody else who works in this business. If you’re a bartender, a lawyer, a doctor, don’t you get agitated when people walk into your law firm or your hospital or your bar and think they know more than you? Don’t pretend you know more than NFL GM’s – it’s what they do for a living and all of them say “best college quarterback in 20 years” As a lawyer, isn’t it frustrating when clients are telling you how to do your job? Heck yeah!! Tiger Woods at 13 was labeled as a “can’t miss” and John Elway was also labeled “can’t miss” athlete.

Now, that doesn’t mean that they are always right, but when every single guy in the league overwhelmingly says “brains A+, arm is A+, eyes A+,  toughness A+, dad played in the NFL, coachability A+”  barring an injury, he’s going to be at least very good. Jimmy Clauson? It was 40/60 amongst the GM’s, Cam Newton was split, Peyton Manning as well…some guys liked Ryan Leaf, Tom Brady – even the Patriots who picked him passed on him for 5 or 6 rounds, so this is one of those situations. Lebron James was another one – go back to the Lebron draft, overwhelmingly 100% of basketball people said that Lebron was the Tiger Woods of the sport – he was the prodigy. So in life, sometimes you have to do things to protect yourself that even if deep down you didn’t believe it to be true, you draft Lebron! If he fails you can say “everybody else loved him too” but you don’t go against unanimous support. There were other good players in that draft – Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, but if you were Cleveland…you had no choice but to draft Lebron if for no other reason than to protect your organization and to protect you! So if you’re the Colts you will take Luck and if he fails? Everybody loved him as well.

Josh McDaniel’s of Denver was a great, young and bright football coach via Belicheck – now he’s a coordinator, he thought he was smarter than the league; he drafted Tebow when no one else would. When you go out in a raft by yourself, sometimes you can hit the lottery but if you fail Josh, your fired! Sometimes, you have to draft Luck! Just as you would have to sign Tiger Woods if you were the #1 golf agent or for the rest of your life people would say “oh hell, you passed on Tiger Woods…you’re an idiot!” and people still say “well college this or college that…” again, overwhelmingly! Nobody is saying, for instance Tim Tebow, Vince Young, Matt Leinhart – half the league didn’t like those guys, more than half on Leinhart, a lot of guys didn’t like Sanchez or Stafford yet with Luck it’s 32 of 32…everybody across the board is in on Luck, you have to take him!

Yet people will still say to you for instance “well, what about Greg Odon?” I always say about Greg Odon that centers are less important, they fall apart, he had major injuries in high school and college, and he was 18 and looked 38! I was never a Greg Odon guy nor was I a Durant guy, but everybody else in the league liked him so with those guys, there were buyers and sellers yet there are no sellers with Luck. So if you’re the Colts and you don’t take him…good luck! You’re on your own on an island…good luck! I’m not willing to do that.

Now, for those of you who have been reading these rants for the past year or so, after this rant you might go “hey Andrew, it sounds like your kinda contracting yourself. You’re the one always claiming to buy what people are selling and now you’re saying buy what people are buying , that’s pretty ironic no?” First off, it’s not ironic because I generally believe that you shouldn’t follow the masses, there’s an old saying, “don’t follow the masses because the masses are…” let’s keep it professional here. But I think there are also times in life that you should just buy Microsoft stock or Apple stock because it’s a good buy, no contradiction at all. Generally speaking, when it comes to gambling for instance, don’t follow the masses. But there are times that conventional wisdom is right – when the smartest people in any industry are all on board, you go for it! By the way, the smartest people in the world were buying technology stocks 15-20 years ago, that’s why my dad initially bought Apple and Microsoft stock. Just because conventional wisdom – anytime the smartest in any industry are in, you go all in! When it comes to Andrew Luck…they are all in!

A story I wanted to drop but failed to because of the “Bountygate” story and the “Manning getting cut and signed by the by the Broncos” stories was the Ryan Braun story. If you didn’t hear, Ryan Braun – who by the way, is not polarizing, nobody roots against Ryan Braun, you don’t and I don’t, CBS doesn’t, Yahoo doesn’t, ESPN doesn’t …he’s not Barry Bonds or A-rod. He’s not polarizing, he’s not unlikeable but rather, Ryan Braun is soft and a dude has big teddy bear eyes, plays in Milwaukee – nobody hates Milwaukee, people hate LA because it’s too superficial, people hate Dallas, people hate New York, but nobody hates Milwaukee. You probably fly over it most of the time, they have nice people. So Ryan Braun had a 50 game suspension overturned by an arbitrator – everybody in Milwaukee including Aaron Rodgers was like “ahh, he’s innocent!” slow down people. His testosterone level was 5x the level of yours or mine, 20:1, it should be 4:1.

An independent arbitrator – who could go either way, decided that he liked Braun’s argument better! They didn’t argue about the testosterone, they just argued about the shipping. Where basically the courier did not immediately head to the nearest FedEx office…why? Because it was Saturday night none were open in Milwaukee. So the courier guy sat on it, he put it in his fridge in Wisconsin. Yet Braun’s lawyers argued “come on!! That doesn’t sound right…who knows what he did with it…” it’s a guy getting off a crime because a cop didn’t read him his Miranda rights.  It’s a technicality win – which by the way, doesn’t mean that Ryan Braun is guilty, it doesn’t mean that Milwaukee fans are wrong. But never forget that jury’s never find defendants innocent – they can’t! It’s not their job. It’s not within their power. They can only find them… “Not guilty!” a verdict of “not guilty” can mean two different things: you believe the defendant or that a verdict is not proven or there is a “technicality” and there’s 2 ways to beat Major League Baseball when the steroids stuff comes up: lab error – which is pretty tough, or didn’t like the transportation of the urine to the lab., and they beat him on that.

Aaron Rodgers was one of the most vocal athlete’s to support him and was firing shots at the media for blaming him. Listen, sources previously had confirmed a synthetic testosterone in Braun’s system – that his T.E. ratio was 20:1, “not guilty” is not always innocent, and it’s simply not proven guilty. That’s not anti-Ryan Braun! Nobody dislikes Ryan Braun, but everybody in cases like this one jumps to both sides: “innocent” or “guilty” but can’t we just have a moderate perspective? Can’t we just let this thing play itself out? Nobody is anti-Ryan, I hope he’s innocent, but to somehow jump up and down and claim “this is outrageous!!” Major League Baseball is going to appeal this; they wouldn’t appeal it if Ryan Braun would have proven without a doubt that they butchered the test. It was the transfer of the urine, not the urine. A lot of trials are won and lost in a lab.

Now, I’ve always thought that you have to be very careful about believing somebody right after they strongly defend themselves – we’re all human beings. You pound that table “I’m innocent!!” and we might go “ahh he’s innocent” we’re human; we’re affected by words, that’s why TV commercials work. But in the end, I always try to have perspective and take a step back and look at the facts – take the emotion out of it, it’s sorta the montra of this blog. So Ryan Braun is out there very adamant and in denial. Let me ask you something though; why do you think attorneys spend so much time on closing arguments? Why do you think the great ones spend so much time on closing arguments?  The answer is quite simple, because the last thing you hear can sway you! That last emotional plea, that last funny line, you forget everything from the last 8 months, and it’s why closing arguments mean so much in Law.

So Ryan Braun came out that same week he’d won by a technicality, takes the microphone and it’s an aggressive self defense, here’s the transcript on what he said “ …if I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first one to step up and say I did it. By no means am I perfect, but if I’ve ever made any mistakes in my life, I’ve taken responsibility of my actions. I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.” Wow, that’s strong stuff no? Especially the line “bet my life” that certainly will sway some people. “Andrew, did you read that? He’d bet his life” folks, he doesn’t have to actually bet his life, it’s not a courtroom, didn’t take an oath, he was just a dude at a ball park in front of a mic. “I would bet my life” that is certainly strong stuff and it’s hard to go against a guy who, I mean, would “bet his life” but would he?

So Braun steps down from the mic – and those of you with whom I had shared my initial reaction to this story with, were then texting me and saying “Shame on you Andrew, that’s egregious that you’d think like that. He’s been wrongly persecuted” Let me ask you something though, what are the 2 strongest denials in baseball history? I’d argue Roger Clemens and Pete Rose –how did those turn out? Roger Clemens pointed at you, pointed at Congress. Pete Rose took a strong stance for 15 years. Of all the attorneys in the U.S. who has the strongest denials, bordering on cartoonish? With bold, loud statements saying “I’ll bet my life?” Its criminal defense attorneys who often represent the most egregious and most guilty clients.

I’m not here to tell you that Ryan Braun is guilty nor am I here to tell you that Ryan Braun is innocent. But I heard Ryan Braun’s speech and you know what I got from it? Anybody and everybody is on trial! He just doesn’t think he should be. You know who was thrown under the bus? Braun is largely claiming tampering, the gentlemen who took the urine sample. You don’t know much about him, Mike Lupica wrote about him shortly after the story broke out. I’m going to introduce you to the guy who is now being framed as a tamporer. He probably opened up that bottle and threw in some synthetic testosterone or something. His name is Dino Laurenzi Jr, he’s 52 years of age, is a healthcare professional, has a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, has a master’s in medicine from North Carolina and an MBA from Loyola-Chicago – that’s a world class university. He’s been doing this stuff for 3 years. So he’s got a B.A., a Masters and an MBA. For the record, if you believe there was tampering, why was the F.B.I. not called? That’s what I would do, yet never was.

So in this “step to the microphone/step to the podium” bold statements, bold defense…let’s take a deep breath. At one point, Braun was asked the question about “how do you explain the whole 20:1 testosterone level thing?” and he replied by saying “well the most honest answer I can give you is that I’m 100% certain it’s never entered my system. I can only speak for what happened up until the time the sample went missing, I have no idea what happened to it for that 44 hour period and beyond that, your guess is as good as mine, I don’t have any idea” so he’s 100% certain. It reminds me of that sentence you read a couple of minutes ago “bet my life” of course you can’t document 100% certainty; it’s not really a scientific number nowadays right? “Bet my life…100% certain!” with a mic in hand at a ballpark and the emails started to pour in.

All I am saying is that you guys are too smart, we’ve seen this before and I think I’m too smart to let words get in the way of facts. I am not saying Ryan Braun is guilty, but it felt like to me “bad urine tester…bad guy tampering” Those are major claims! That is a felony and Braun is claiming that a gentleman – who for the record lives in Wisconsin, I doubt he’s anti-Brewers haha and doubt he’s anti-Ryan Braun is being framed as a tamperor – that’s heavy stuff folks