Baltimore Orioles Chris Davis suspended 25 games for taking amphetamines

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis was suspended by Major League Baseball for testing positive for amphetamines.

Davis released the following statement:

I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans. I made a mistake by taking Adderall. I had permission to use it in the past, but do not have a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) this year. I accept my punishment and will begin serving my suspension immediately.

Adderall? That’s a drug for kids who have ADHD. Davis seems more than happy to sit for 25 games. I almost get the impression that he’s just glad he didn’t get caught for taking something else.

A therapeutic use exemption (TUE) is something covered in the Joint Drug Agreement between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association. It essentially allows a player to take a banned substance if they have a doctor’s note and they promise, cross their heart hope to die, that what they’re taking isn’t being taken to give them a competitive edge. MLB allowed Alex Rodriguez to use performance enhancers before they didn’t allow him to use them, and he simply kept on using them.

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I assume from Davis’ statement that he was probably using amphetamines with the league’s blessing last year when he hit 53 home runs and batted in 138 runs.

For having such gaudy numbers last year, Davis was having a terrible season this year. He was hitting only .196, but he hit 26 home runs and hit 72 runs batted in. He also had 173 strkeouts, second most in MLB.

Bryce Harper drags foot over Braves logo

Spoiled brat Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals took some much deserved heat Saturday night from Atlanta Braves fans when he intentionally dragged his foot over the giant stylized letter “A” behind home plate. Evidently, this was done in retaliation for Braves fans booing the immature outfielder every time he made his way to the batter’s box.

Harper, of course, lied about it after Saturday’s game. That’s what he does. He acts like a punk and then lies about it after he’s called out on it. It’s the Harper way.

It’s hard for me to put into words just how much I dislike Bryce Harper. I can’t even watch Nationals games anymore. Living here in Maryland, I can watch every Orioles and National game on TV. I used to, pre-Harper, watch quite a few Nats games when the O’s weren’t on. Not anymore.

As of this morning, Harper is batting .249 and has only four home runs. Harper has struck out 65 times. Being the Bryce Haper hater that I am, maybe I should start watching Nationals games again for the schadenfreude.

Sports Card Radio: Raffles, razzes, and girls that look like boys

If you’ve ever listened to Sports Card Radio, a podcast about sports cards, you probably know that host Colin Tedards is not a fan of raffles. It’s where someone takes an unopened, factory sealed box of sports cards and charges people for the privilege of getting all the cards from a specific team. The team you get is random and is assigned by the person conducting the raffle.

For example, a box of baseball cards contains 30 teams. A person holding a raffle will sell 30 slots to baseball card collectors, mostly over the Internet in chat rooms. Each slot sold represents a team. Once all the slots are filled, the person holding the raffle will randomly assign each slot a team. One slot is assigned the New York Yankees, and another is assigned the Colorado Rockies, and so on and so on. The packs in the box are then opened, usually over a webcam, and people get the cards belonging to players from their assigned team or slot.

People like Colin believe the activity is a raffle because not all teams are of equal value. Participants pay money without knowing what team they will be randomly assigned.

The practice goes by different names because state and federal law strictly regulate raffles. PayPal, the payment gateway most used by people holding group breaks, specifically prohibits raffles. Because of this, they are often called razzes, razzies, or group breaks.

On the latest episode of Sports Card Radio, Colin interviewed Josh Cade, a very popular and seemingly successful group breaker. The interview was probably the most uncomfortable 34 minutes of audio I’ve ever listened to, including the time I was tricked into listening to a Jimmy Buffett CD.

The conversation was extremely hostile and antagonistic. It was also very confusing.

For instance, when Colin asked Josh to describe the process, Josh said the following:

“What you do is, is put everyone’s name in a randomizer, okay, so everybody has a chance at the same thing for the same value per spot. So basically all you’re doing is mixing up the names, half the people will get into a break, the other half will get the same value in cards. So, it’s really an equal opportunity for everybody, just some getting this part of it, some getting cards.” (0:55)

This doesn’t make sense to me. Doesn’t everyone get the break that pays to get the break?

What was even more confusing was when Colin told Josh that what he was doing seemed a lot like a raffle. This was Josh’s response:

“What seems like something, so, if you see a girl walking down the street that looks like a guy, you say, “oh, that seems to be a boy, but it’s really not a boy, okay, so I don’t know if that’s a good example or not, but something that seems like may not really be what it is. So that may not really be a boy, even though you may think it is. But if you talk to ’em and then oh you are a boy, then you know for a fact. So what seems like something and what really is something are two different things, do you agree? Because a while ago, you said something about a raffle, then you said, “Well a raffle seems like, it seems like…”, well, does it seem like or is it? That’s what I’m asking you.” (6:22)

I believe Josh was trying to say that just because something seems like something, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something. I’m not sure why he chose to provide an analogy involving a transgender person, but in his defense, he probably doesn’t know why he did that either.

Colin then asked Josh why he does these raffles:

“Because some people can’t afford to necessarily buy stock outright, so, they can either take a chance on getting into breaks or they take a chance on getting their other side of it, and getting cards. So they win, their money is at work. That’s why.” (12:21)

It’s hard to believe that something can involve money, chance, and winning, and not be a raffle. Those seem like to me all the major ingredients to a raffle.

When Colin asked about Josh’s business partners and investors, he said the following:

“You’re not dealing with retards, in this, I’m telling you, I know your last name is retarded, but the fact is, we’re smart business people. As much as it hates and pains to you to understand that, we are smart businessmen. We know how to cover our tracks. We know how to do things legally.” (14:02)

How to cover their tracks? I don’t think I’ve ever heard a reputable or legitimate business describe themselves this way.  Typically the phrase is used to describe the concealment of wrongdoing.

When Colin asked Josh to clarify what his definition of a raz is:

“So a raz is a fictitious name that we gave to (inaudible). It’s like a game. So basically the game we play is a gambling game. It’s a game where some people can get into a break, some people get cards. You just don’t know what you’re getting. But you’re getting equal value of money worth of product. So, I guess that’s the definition of a raz. What else are you looking for?” (22:04)

A raz is a gambling game where people don’t know what they’re getting, but it’s not a raffle. Got it.

Mariano Rivera is passionate about Dustin Pedroia's 'red-hot passion'

Former New York Yankees ninth-inning pitcher Mariano Rivera shared in a new book that he thinks Boston Red Sox Dustin Pedroia is the superior second baseman over former Yankees teammate Robinson Cano. In The Closer, Rivera says that he doesn’t think Cano “burns to be the best” or that he doesn’t see that “red-hot passion in him that you see in most elite players.”

What does that even mean? He might as well say that Cano doesn’t have the eye of the tiger or the thrill of the fight.

Rivera also supposedly wrote, “Nobody plays harder, gives more, wants to win more. He comes at you hard for 27 outs. It’s a special thing to see,” and “If I have to win one game, I’d have a hard time taking anybody over Dustin Pedroia as my second baseman.”

Nobody plays harder? From 2007 to 2013, Cano averaged 160 games a season. For the same period, Pedroia averaged 141 games a season. It seems that the first prerequisite for playing harder is actually to play.

I think it’s ridiculous that Rivera would publicly criticize a former teammate, and then claim he would rather have a player from the Yankees’ most hated rival than said teammate. It doesn’t even matter that it’s stupid and statistically speaking, not true, claiming that Pedroia is a better player than Cano, is a jerkish thing to do.

Rivera is probably just trying to stir up interest in his stupid book by insulting a former teammate. I doubt he would’ve said negative things about Cano if he hadn’t signed with the Seattle Mariners in the offseason. He went after Cano because he’s an easy target, at least for Yankees fans, the only people I could see reading this book.

Yankees fans that can read that is.

MLB kills the ‘transfer rule’

Major League Baseball announced on Friday that effective immediately, they were doing away with the new transfer rule. MLB had earlier clarified that the existing rule on catching the ball would be interpreted going into the 2014 season that if the fielder fails to transfer the ball properly from his glove to his throwing hand, the catch is not a catch, and the runner is safe. The interpretation was referred to as the transfer rule.

This is what it has always said in Section 2 of the Major League Baseball rulebook:

A CATCH is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball. It is not a catch if a fielder touches a fly ball which then hits a member of the offensive team or an umpire and then is caught by another defensive player. If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught. In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional.

I don’t understand how you can read the rule and determine that it’s not a catch if you drop the ball while taking it out of your glove. The two events, the catch and the subsequent throw, are independent of one another. The Baltimore Orioles lost a game against the Boston Red Sox because of this stupid interpretation. I’m sure other teams were robbed because of it too.

The transfer rule was stupid. I’m glad to see that they killed it.

Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda ejected for having pine tar on his neck

New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was thrown out of last night’s game against the Boston Red Sox for having an illegal substance on his neck. It is believed that the illegal substance was pine tar.

Pine tar allows a pitcher to get a better grip on the ball. Grip is good. Baseball being baseball, hitters are allowed to use pine tar, pitchers are not. With that said, it’s kind of an unwritten rule that nothing will be said about a pitcher using pine tar when it’s cold, as long as they aren’t being obvious about using it. In cold weather, it’s harder to grip the ball. Pineda’s problem last night was that it wasn’t cold and he was being very obvious about it. He had it right on his neck for the world to see. Red Sox manager John Farrell asked the umpire to check Pineda’s neck and the rest was history.

The Red Sox went on to win the game 5-1.

As fate would have it, last night’s game was televised nationally on ESPN. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone from the four-letter network alerted the Red Sox about the pine tar on Pineda’s neck, knowing that the inspection and subsequent ejection would create lots of drama.

If there’s one thing ESPN likes is drama.

I’m not so sure it was Pineda’s fault. Once I saw a magician pull a quarter out from behind a young girl’s ear. Who was responsible for producing the quarter, the girl? I don’t think so. For all we know, a magician or a wizard could have put the pine tar on Pineda’s neck. I couldn’t help but notice that although the umpiring crew checked Pineda for foreign substances, they didn’t check the stands for wizards or magicians.

I guess we’ll never know.