Tuesday, July 23, 2013


That thwack we've all just heard is the sound of a shoe dropping--from the top of the Empire State Building to the Gotham pavement below.

It came off the left foot of the notoriously lightweight Commissioner of Baseball--the man we call BS--and it managed to fall in such a way as to create only a glancing blow upon the thick-as-a-brick noggin of one Ryan Joseph Braun. (But interestingly, the blow will be felt with much greater force by just about everyone else.)

The inside story of the relationship between the Commissioner with a long conflict-of-interest legacy and the brash, brazen slugger playing for the team that the king of folksy twaddle used to own will never come to light, save for these snippets, brought to us (once again) by our courageous flying correspondent, Buzzy the Fly, who's going on a long holiday now that all the paperwork on the lingering stench that is known as Biogenesis will soon reveal itself to a besmirched, bemildewed nation.

Buzzy was a little excited yesterday, so his flying lawnmower tones were a bit more saddled with vibrato than usual, but the gist of his latest "inside the fortress" forays goes something like this:

BS and crew, having found a way to scotch Braun's 2011 positive test, certainly had reason to suspect that the Hebrew Hammer would realize that his favored location had allowed him to dodge a bullet. Back-channels (and in the regime of a guy like BS, back-channels are everything and everywhere...) soon indicated that Braun had decided that his position on the Brewers was akin to a get-out-of-jail-free card.

BAD assumption. Once burned, BS turned his back on protecting his former team and worrying about insulating the league's highest honor (the MVP award). He decided to do what they do in the movies--namely, follow the weasel.

Braun's barely concealed antics, including a dotted trail to Biogenesis, helped BS and crew ratchet up what looks to be--as Dave Zirin has ruefully noted--an increasingly Draconian drug testing policy. And the legacy that Braun's misplaced braggadocio hath wrought is weighted with shadows for the future.

For this "negotiated suspension" that sits outside the purview of the official rules of the drug testing policy just happens to grant BS a set of extraordinary (and extra-legal) powers that weren't in his pack of jokers until just now.

In the immortal words of Jim Gosger: "Yeah, surre..."
Now it's possible to skirt the rules based on so-called "extraordinary circumstances." Now (as Zirin rightly points out) there are (or soon will be) ancillary, unwritten and unnegotiated "rules" in play that give BS unwarranted latitude with respect to the MLBPA on this issue.

So Ryan Braun has not only been an arrogant putz, he's also been a Trojan horse for the MLBPA.

BUT there is a silver lining in all this. Buzzy reports that it's clear that due to the intense efforts involved in what is ID'd in a special file cabinet under the code name "Operation Recividist," BS no longer has any difficulty distinguishing Rob Manfred from Rob Neyer.

Make no mistake, however: for the players and their union, these are dark days. More thwacks are coming, and they will reinforce the fact that the actions of an arrogant few will have a chilling impact upon many.