The 2011 National League Most Valuable Player is under scrutiny again. Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs after the conclusion of the 2011 season, just a short time after being awarded the MVP award. He was handed a 50-game suspension but thanks to his appeal and a fortunate, for him, technicality, the suspension was lifted. With baseball's not-so illustrious history when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs, the most recent report of players linked to Miami based anti-aging clinic add even more fuel to the fire for naysayers of the league. Anthony Bosch has been targeted by Major League Baseball as a provider of performance-enhancing drugs as he is the owner of the clinic. Notorious PED user Alex Rodriguez has also been linked to Bosch as well as Braun and a number of other players.
Braun acknowledged his involvement with Bosch, but claimed he merely used him as a consultant when preparing his appeal in 2011. Whether you believe Braun's story or not is up to you. Many are rushing to crucify the All-Star outfielder while others claim people are too quick to convict. With baseball's history of cheating and lying, the cynic in me is inclined to believe he took PEDs. I still don't believe he was clean in 2011 - let us remember, he had his suspension lifted because of how his tests were handled, not because his positive result was proven to be false. It's likely Braun, Rodriguez and any others players considered to be linked to Bosch won't be suspended simply because the Union will not stand for disciplinary actions without concrete evidence. But that doesn't mean the court of public opinion will remain quiet. Where there's smoke there's fire and if you choose to bury your head in the sand and believe the players' word for it, you may end up looking silly when it's all said and done.
• In case you forgot, Dwyane Wade is still a stud. LeBron James has completely taken over the Miami Heat molding the squad around his game, but Wade is still capable of taking over a game like he did last night against the Houston Rockets. Wade dropped 31 points with five rebounds, eight assists, four steals and two blocks helping to lead the Heat to a 114-108 victory over James Harden and the Rockets. James added 32 points of his own while Harden provided 36 points in a losing effort.
• The traveling circus that is the Los Angeles Lakers continues to make noise off the court. While the Lakers have been much improved in recent weeks, climbing back up into the Western Conference playoff picture with three wins a row while being 6-4 in their last 10, the off the court drama continues. Pau Gasol, who has been battling injuries all season, will be missing at least six weeks of action thanks to a tear in his plantar fascia. This coincides with a nagging shoulder injury ailing Dwight Howard right now. Kobe Bryant is becoming impatient. Kobe called out his All-Star teammate urging him to play through the pain and stop worrying so much about what fans and the media think of him. He claimed the idea of playing for a Championship and nothing less is "foreign" to Howard and may not fully understand the standards the Lakers organization sets forth for the team. People may not like Kobe Bryant as a person, but this is exactly the type of leadership this team needs if they wish to salvage this otherwise disastrous season.
• The New York Giants made two noteworthy cuts to their team yesterday as starting RB Ahmad Bradshaw and veteran DT Chris Canty were released. Bradshaw, who has rushed for 1,000+ yards two of the past three seasons had another surgery on his foot this past week as he is expected to need two months to recover. It'll be interesting to see if he can nab another starting gig elsewhere or settle for a backup or split role on another team.
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