If Melky Cabrera’s phony website didn’t warrant a 100-game suspension, how can Ryan Braun get one?

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The news came down yesterday that MLB is, at least according to some sources, on the verge of handing out suspensions in the Biogenesis case. These sources continue to say that MLB is intent on giving Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez 100-game suspensions despite the fact that neither has previously served a PED suspension and despite the fact that the Joint Drug Agreement clearly states that 100-game suspensions are second-time discipline.

This is a pretty extreme approach. Maybe it’s just bluster, intended to scare players into copping to their PED use and accepting a 50-game suspension (if so, that’s pretty clever actually). But MLB may actually level a 100-game suspension. The question I have if they do this is what possible basis do they have for making it stick?

The ESPN report says that, at least in Braun’s case, it would be the result of both an association with Anthony Bosch and for lying to investigators.  Which is interesting considering that the same report says that Braun did not answer investigators’ questions. Maybe it was his lyin’ eyes, I dunno.  Or, more likely, maybe the real basis for double discipline is Braun’s alleged lack of cooperation with the league. That could make more sense.

Except for one thing: Melky Cabrera.

Last year Melky Cabrera famously — and quite ridiculously — attempted to pass off a phony website as an excuse for his positive PED test. It caused MLB to actually have to conduct an investigation into the phony company, purchase phony products and, at least according to some reports, travel to the Dominican Republic. This, apart from its hilarity, was blatant lying, deception and fraud. And yet, at the end of it, Melky Cabrera was given only a 50-game suspension.

If what Melky Cabrera did wasn’t worthy of double discipline, how on earth could Braun offering denials or, more likely, not saying anything, justify it?

If your answer is “Braun really made them mad last year and they want to get even” well, therein lies the bulk of my objection to what’s been going down in the Biogenesis matter.

(h/t to Kyle Kaestner for pointing out the Melky analogy on Twitter yesterday)

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

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The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.

Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.

Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.

James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.

The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.