July 23, 2013
Red Rover, Red Rover send Ryan over!
Remember that game? For those who don’t, you form two teams. each team forms a line facing each other. You join hands. Now, you call someone from the other team. They have to run towards your team to try to break the human chain. The strategy is to look for the weakest link. You attack that link with everything you have in the hopes of breaking through.
This can be fun as a child’s game but not so fun in real life. Take the case of Lance Armstrong. He attacked the chain lined up against him and tried to obliterate it. One link was named Emma O’Reilly. To small to fight, to poor to amass a legal team to fight back, her life was ruined. What does she do now when vindicated? Will she have to stand in line yet again behind all those legal teams looking to sue Lance?
I thought about Emma who loved her job as a soigneur and happened to be hired by US Postal. Little did she know that would be her last job in professional cycling. I thought about her when the Ryan Braun news broke. Early in 2012, Ryan tested positive for testosterone/epitestosterone ratio. The legal limit of baseball is a 4:1 ratio. Ryan tested at 20:1. To protect his MVP award, he went after the chain with the same fervor as Lance. He attacked the weakest link. The sample collector. Dino Laurenzi Jr. Dino did not have the money to stand up for himself. He took Ryan’s collection and since it was after 5:00 pm, he followed his protocol to store the sealed samples in his house rather than having FedEx keep them in their warehouse. Ryan went after that link by saying;
“There were a lot of things we heard about the collection process, the collector and some other people involved in the process that have certainly been concerning to us.”
In fact, he followed that with a sanctimonious;
“I know what it’s like to be wrongly accused of something and for me to wrongly accuse somebody else of something wouldn’t help anybody. I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body.”
Ryan broke the chain and beat a positive drug test. He didn’t care if it ruined a man’s life in the process. What does Dino do now?
July 23, 2013
Since 1998, pro cycling has been the dirty sport. The sport of cheats. I have endured many an evening of good natured ribbing by my friends. My retort was to say that just because you don’t look for a problem, does not mean it does not exist. My logic was always that if people cheat in cycling, wouldn’t they cheat to a greater extent in sports such as baseball and football where the stakes and rewards were much higher?
Today, there is a well written article from Steven Goldman at SB Nation talking about the first in what should be a series of suspensions by Major League baseball. It seems there is enough evidence in the Biogenesis investigation to possibly make this the MLB version of Operation Puerto. Ryan Braun who beat a positive test to keep his 2011 National League MVP will not contest the evidence against him this time.
I would suggest you read the article. I sense an undertone of “not my kid” here. As a parent, we all know kids do bad things. When we see a kid get in trouble, we have the urge to look down our nose at their family and say “Well, I always knew Johnny was a bad kid. His parents must not have raised him right.” Then when the police call your house, there is a narcissistic feeling about “How could this happen to me?”
Read this column and see if there is that feeling. See if Mr. Goldman is saying “I get cycling look at them. But how could this happen to baseball?”
I think I’ll cry with Mr. Goldman and let him know it happens to all families er… sports.
July 19, 2013
Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Chinese Proverb
Fool me four times, call me a cynic. I believed in Tyler Hamilton, I bought the whole Basso mother story. I wanted fairness for Floyd. I even allowed myself to bid chapeau to Lance in 2005.
Now we have Chris Froome. After seeing Chris Froome chomping at the bit last year, I could not wait until the Grand Depart for this year’s Tour de France. After watching stage 11, there was something familiar going on. Then stage 15 up to Ventoux. That attack. I’ve seen that somewhere. Where could that have been. Ah yes. This looked too much like the Lance Armstrong recipe. I always knew climbers and time trialists were two totally different breeds. You could be good at both but if you were great at one (Indurain), you could not be great at the other. A 6’1” 158 pound man is the build a time trialist should have. Could he chase down and destroy a 5’5″ 126 pound pure climber who lived at 10,000 feet? I never thought that could be true until I suspended it for Lance. Should I believe my head or my quadrice broken heart?
I know there is a lot of buzz going on and some of it has died down after Froome cracked on L’ Alpe. But I remember someone else cracking after chasing down Marco Pantani.
I wish I knew what to do.