Firing Round

So often in life, justice isn’t served and never meets the proper setting.  In other words, bad men go unpunished and walk free.  No, I am not talking about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.  That case is soiled, overcooked, old news and quite simply needs to be locked away somewhere where a media rep can’t find it.  I am talking about something simple.   Baseball scum.  Let’s get right into it.


Ryan Braun cheated.  He took performance enhancing drugs.  He did this to heighten his game, recover from injury quicker, hold on injury with a stronger body and well, get a step ahead of everybody else.  Baseball is no longer a pure game, but it does hold one of the freshest toughest drug testing programs in sports.   During the Biogenesis testing trial, over 100 ballplayers were found to be guilty of using illegal PED’s.  Braun was one of them.  This is the same guy who said in front of a million people that he was wrongfully suspected last year of testing positive for a PED and that the testing party, a regular man called Dino Laurenzi Jr., was the one at fault.  Braun was guilty as charged and walked away clean because the sample taken was held over the weekend instead of sent to the MLB headquarters right away.   Braun got behind his suits and blamed Dino for being the dirty one.  It’s too bad every baseball fan in the world knew Braun was dirty.   He cheated then and apparently, in a new study that will cost him the rest of the 2013 season, cheated a few times.   
Now, Braun will tell you he isn’t a perfect man and has made mistakes.  Wrong sir.  You are worse than a cheat.  You are cheating liar and a repeat offender.  Braun didn’t just cheat his teammates, bosses, league and many around him who trusted him since he was a little kid playing little league ball.   He cheated us, the fans.  He told us he was clean and took many Milwaukee fans for a ride with his high powered play.  He hit home runs, made great plays in left field and wowed anyone who saw him play.  Well, except me.  I looked at Braun and saw a jerk.   He untucked his jersey on the field after games and always had his mouth running.  He thought he was king of the world, and I knew he was the dirty scum of the baseball earth.  He may have ruined Laurenzi Jr.’s life for nearly a year.  I am sure if he walked into a bar for a drink, many Brewers fans gave him the meanest treatment because he tried to take away their Braun.  The only people in the world who thought Braun wasn’t guilty all this time were mostly Brewers fans.   How could they?  After Prince Fielder left, John Axford got Ankiel nerves in the 9th inning and their pitching staff went to shit, there was no way their star player could be as dirty as the ground at a biker bar.  
Braun will come back in 2014 and play.  He will hit less home runs, look a little weaker and won’t be the flash and dash event he once was.  The lying repeat offending cheater will get another chance.  They give those to killers coming out of prison, so Braun gets a few.  He won’t make it into the Hall of Fame because voters made an example out of cheaters when Mark McGwire was held out and fellow steroid bashers Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa may not get in as well.  Roger Clemens won’t get into the hall.   Braun will continue to play but won’t get the respect of a ballplayer back.  Like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds(two ballplayers who cheated but got out of the game before they could be publicly ridiculed), Braun denied usage.  Rafael Palmerio denied it in court and was later found to be dirty.  McGwire didn’t say a word in court but we knew he did it so his admission wasn’t surprising.  Braun denied, denied and denied usage until he was caught and there was no technicality waiting to bail him out.  
Look, PED usage is hard to fully attack.  It’s not an easy fight.  Most players took them in a day and age where there were no rules or laws against it.  Big Mac, Sosa, Canseco, Palmerio, Jeff Bagwell, Ken Caminiti, and others took it because there wasn’t a suspension waiting for them nor was there a fine.  It was out there to be had.  While we can look down on them for doing it and breaking the purity of baseball, its hard to get too mad at them because what separates them from the thousands of other baseball players who took steroids yet didn’t improve on the field.  The reason I am fed up with and think of Braun as scum is because he didn’t own up to it.  He lied, cheated, and also repeatedly broke the rules.  If I did that at my place of employment, I would be fired and not be able to come back in a few months.  Braun knowingly broke the rules and lied about doing it.  He is scum.  I always knew he was and now that it is confirmed, I can just sit here with a smile on my face.  
A smile that won’t last because the game still isn’t clean.  Alex Rodriguez will be suspended soon.  He was also found to be guilty in that same biogenesis study.   This will be his 2nd or 3rd offense.  His legacy is ruined.  He won’t get into the hall.  The game is still full of cheaters.  However, baseball is getting cleaner and I applaud the sport for it.  They are suspending and dropping the ball on baseball superstar ballplayers and no longer protecting them.  That is a small light in a dark tunnel.  
The Real Question is-Who is next?  
Moving on….
Edward Mujica is starting to show signs of wear as a closer.  In his last 10 appearances, the outings have been getting more dicey and tension packed.   As Bernie Miklasz pointed out, Mujica is a pitcher who defies the sabermetrics crowd laws of being a great closer.  He doesn’t blow you away or strike out a bunch.  He pitches to contact and has a decent splitter.  However, contact pitchers are going to get sooner or later.  Time will tell if Mujica turns into Ryan Franklin 2.0, but while he is 28-30 in saves, Chief is getting more human by the outing.  Pitching to contact involves luck and some of the hit balls are finding holes.  This is nothing to get stressed out about.  Mujica saved the Cardinals in a number of ways.  After 4 blown saves in the first 12 games, the Cards have suffered 4 the rest of the season.   Mujica has blown two saves in his last 7 chances.  He blew both on the road.  He nearly blew Sunday’s finale against San Diego but got a lucky hop from a hit down the line and a leaping catch by Allen Craig to save the day.  Eddie is gambling and still winning.  If he starts to seriously falter, the Cards have options.  Not that Mike Matheny would pull him anytime soon.  I am just saying the man is still getting the job done but yes the crack are showing.  They always do in late July.  
Lance Lynn is starting to not be liked by his teammates and coaches because he acts like a big baby on the mound when a fielder commits an error or he doesn’t get a call.   Well, now they know how the fans feel watching Lance pitch.   I am sure the fielders hate it when they give the guy a lead and he blows it right away.  Lynn’s problem isn’t in his arm.  It’s in his head.  
Once again, calm down about Chris Carpenter.  He has made TWO starts in 2013.  He is still in spring training mode.  I second what pitching coach Derek Lilloquist said.  As long as he is throwing hard, feeling good and making some pitches click, good things are happening.  Carpenter will be back.  He threw a bullpen yesterday and throws against this weekend.  Give it time.  If we get him back in early August for a stretch run, that’s as good as a free agent signing. People are jumping ship too early on Carpenter and please don’t expect the world to shift when he returns.  He will provide whatever his right arm can handle and it will be nothing close to ace material.  This is his last stand.  Let him complete it.  
Shelby Miller starts tonight against the Phillies.  This is a big start for Shelby.  The guy has had nearly 2 weeks off since his last start and comes to the mound tonight fresh and without excuses.  If the Cards are going to be sharp in the second half, Shelby needs to contribute.  The 5th spot is a question mark and Lynn is in limbo so Shelby needs to put his foot down, collect innings and get back to the pitcher he was in May.  His biggest issue is his pitch count.  It gets extremely high and he can’t go more than 5-6 innings.  That’s fine if they are effective outings, but lately they haven’t been.  Getting 7 innings out of Miller hasn’t been easy for 2 months.  He can either keep trending downward or get back on the horse and eat innings and win some ball games.  Forget Rookie of The Year.  Just get out there and pitch.  
I met with a film critic friend today to begin the process of getting into the St. Louis Film Critics association.  This is a big step for me in becoming fully part of the film world.  The man I met today would sponsor me and help me get voted into the group and that would make me an official bad ass to the bone critic.  I would get tons of screeners, be a part of a special group and be taken a little more seriously.  It’s exciting and something this movie guy has been waiting for his entire life.  
Will Witherspoon coming back to the Rams to play outside linebacker is great news.  He was a fine player for years here, plays the position well and will complement James Lauranitis and newcomer Alex Ogletree perfectly.   The Rams D was tied for the lead in sacks in 2012 and played very well.  They kept up their end of the bargain and if the offense can put up some points and do it quickly, this team may be able to win quite a few games this season.  
Hopefully, you got a chance to read my tribute to the late yet great character actor Dennis Farina yesterday.  He passed away suddenly, so I went home and fired something out.  It’s a faithful piece.  Farina was a cop and then a pro at stealing scenes from stars.  
Ryan Gosling could play Bruce Wayne/Batman in his sleep in the 2015 sequel to Man of Steel. You heard it here first.  (also on my website)
What else?  Quick Firing Round Ending. 
*People don’t realize when they get into accidents that they are delaying a lot of people’s day.  I mean, the dumb asses who drive stupid and cause accidents.
*My parents will never let this boy go hungry or be without lawn furniture.  Every visit from the folks involves frozen pizzas and chairs for the backyard.  
*My son Vincent tests me everyday.  My soon to be 2 year old doesn’t act his age and seems to think he can do a lot of things on his own.  Work the TV remote.  Open and shut doors.  Hurt himself to get attention.  The kid is an adventure.  In a year or so, Rae and I may be adding to the family.  That’s a tentative plan.  TENTATIVE!!!  HA, kidding.  It will happen.  
*I want a little sister for Vinny.  A delicate, sweet little angel to oppose my brutish little man.  
*My family blood line is full of boys so I can forget about it.
*When will the Blues add the piece to the their puzzle that gets the fans seriously thinking about a Stanley Cup?  
*Going to the Zoo in the summer has its dangers.  You cook out in the open sun, look at poorly caged endangered animals like they are glassware at a store, ride a train and finally leave when the family smells like animals.   Its fun but only when you are ready for it.  Sometimes I think humans should be in the cages.
*The royal baby was born.  Who gives a shit?  Not this guy.  Tons of beautiful ambitious babies are born every day.  Not all of them are born kings, but I would like to think this big birth needs less attention.  My son Vinny is a lot cuter and tougher than that pampered little British baby.  Let’s see that baby struggled with heart and stomach issues and still come out looking like a million bucks and not even needing hair to be adorable.  DO that British royalty!  
*Seeing The Wolverine tonight.  Screening a film at home called BLOOD for my future interview with Mark Strong and catching Only God Forgives, the violent followup film from the Drive director starring Ryan Gosling.  Busy week for the movie guy.
*Doing a piece on Hugh Jackman this week.  How good is this guy?  He won a Tony award for playing The Boy From Oz, where he sang and danced on stage.  He was nominated for an Oscar this year for Best Actor for the musical Les Miserables.  He also happens to convincingly play one of the biggest bad asses in Marvel’s arsenal of heroes, Logan aka Wolverine.  Jackman is a true jack of all trades.  Read more on Friday on Film-Addict.
That’s it.  Thanks for reading and stay cool.

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