We’ve noted that Ryan Braun’s public comments about the man who handled his urine sample back when he tested positive for testosterone in 2011 were low rent and uncalled-for, what with the implication, however oblique, that it was possible that the sample was tampered with. Buster Olney reported last night that his private comments — behind the scenes to other players whom he was attempting to rally for support — were worse.
Specifically, he was trying to create the impression among them that the sample collector was out to get him due to either anti-semitism or the fact that he was a Cubs fan:
According to sources, Braun called veteran players around baseball privately at that time to lobby for their support. In the calls — confirmed by three sources — Braun told other players that in the preparation for his appeal, some information had become known about the collector of his urine sample, Dino Laurenzi Jr., including that he was a Cubs fan — with the implication he might work against Braun, who played for a division rival of the Cubs.
Braun, who is Jewish, also told the players that he had been told the collector was an anti-Semite.
This is leaps and bounds beyond what he ever said in his public comments and is, above all else, really pathetic. Especially considering his ultimate defense to the sample was a technical one, related to collection methods, and not one where the motives or character of anyone involved was actually litigated.
Braun is said to be coming around to the idea of “coming clean” soon after the heat dies down. If he does, this is something he had better come clean on and for which he had best find a way to make amends.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: