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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The gift that keeps on giving: Performance enhancement drugs

So Anthony Bosch, this bastion of wonderment who has been selling his illegal performance-enhancement drugs to big-time athletes, is about to come clean with Major League Baseball officials and will sing like a caged songbird as to who he gave his illegal crap to.

And sure, this will more than likely seal the end of Alex Rodriguez's tenure with the Yankees and probably end his career, because no other team will want to take a gamble on a two-time PED abuser. This time, A-Rod can't blame his cousin or his ignorance that he didn't know the cream he was using was illegal and that he thought all along that he was taking vitamins.

A-Rod's involvement and his identification of being involved with the Bosch group Biogenetics isn't that shocking and isn't that newsworthy, except that it pushes him to the head of the steroid-using class, ahead of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, simply because Clemens and Bonds were only implicated once and this is strike two for A-Rod.

Nope, the name that jumps out above the rest this time is another thought-to-be one-time steroid loser Ryan Braun.

If you remember, Braun, the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player, was believed to have tested positive for PEDs before the start of the 2012 season, but had his 50-game suspension rescinded when Braun claimed that the testing procedure was tainted and that it could have been anyone's urine that ended up in a Wisconsin lab, not his.

A federal judge ruled that Braun could not be suspended for the drug charge, simply because the urine taken from Braun sat in a Wisconsin lab for three days and was not properly marked, even though the chemist involved with the testing never had a problem with the thousands of drug tests he did before.

When Braun was thought to be vindicated, he held a press conference in Arizona, ripping the process, throwing the chemist (a diehard Brewer fan, by the way) under the bus, saying that the system was wrong and he was proof that the system didn't work. Instead of being apologetic and contrite, Braun was on the warpath, claiming that he was done wrong and his reputation was forever harmed.

Well, what in the world is Braun's reputation worth this morning?

He's now a two-time loser, like A-Rod. But when A-Rod was first approached about using PEDs, A-Rod admitted his mistake and vowed to never do it again _ a promise he obviously couldn't keep.

In the case of Braun, he lied about using, then got off on a technicality, then ranted and raved that he was unjustly attacked as being a user _ and now has to face the charges again.

What does Braun use as an excuse this time? It was not him who went to the clinic in Miami, that it was some other guy named Ryan Braun who looks like him? That it was his evil clone twin? That excuse might have worked on "The Young and the Restless," but not here.

One of Braun's advisors had the audacity Tuesday night to say that Braun was being targeted by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to "set an example."

Dummy. Braun plays for the Brewers, a team once owned by Selig himself. A team that Selig still holds with great reverance and love. Selig doesn't want to hurt the Brewers. In fact, I would venture to say that Selig is sick over the fact that a beloved Brewer is involved.

If Braun was just a tad contrite last year when he held that ridiculous press conference, I might be able to feel a little sorry for him today. But right now, after he blasted everyone under the sun for what he thought was injustice and gets caught doing the same crap again, he can go far away. No sorrow here. If he's suspended for 100 games and loses millions in salary, then Braun deserves every single ounce of that penalty.

If this songbird Bosch brings down other ballplayers with his tell-all secrets, then so be it. Maybe this might lift the cloud of uncertainty that has hovered over the game of baseball since 1998. Does he do steroids, doesn't he do steroids? Who's on the Mitchell Report list and who's not? Who's with BALCO and who's with Biogenetics? You have to keep a scorecard, steroid or no steroid.

It's that way with the Hall of Fame. This year alone, Mike Piazza didn't get in because it's believed he used steroids and Bonds and Clemens didn't get in because they did. It's going to get to a point where Cooperstown will need its own wing for steroid users, because you can't tell who did and who didn't.

We know now that A-Rod is a two-time steroid user and that should end his career and all hope of the Hall of Fame. We also know now _ even though he won't admit it _ that Ryan Braun is also a two-time steroid user.

In the case of A-Rod, it was expected and it's not shocking. In the case of Braun, it's downright sickening, because of all the people outside of baseball who he sang botched his urine test and ruined their lives and reputations strictly because he wanted to save face. In this corner, his case is more disgusting than A-Rod's, because you had to figure Braun was innocent the way he was so adamant he did nothing wrong in March of 2012.

Well, guess again. Denial is not just a really long river in Egypt. It's the rally cry, the mojo, the motto of professional athletes who were caught red-handed using PEDs and they still deny they did anything. Lance Armstrong. Marion Jones. Rafael Palmiero. They all denied they ever did it. They're not denying it now.

So, Ryan Braun, don't let the door hit you on the ass as you begin to serve the lengthy suspension you should have received last year. Because if the door hits your rear, it might sting a little from where all the steroid needle marks were.

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You can read more of my work at www.theobserver.com, www.hudsonreporter.com, and www.dailyrecord.com.




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