January 2012

Let him have it


ImageRyan Bruan was the best Major League Baseball player in 2011.

There — I said it.

Ryan Braun is my most hated Major League Baseball player — ever.

That was a little bit easier to say.

On Saturday, Braun accepted his first National League MVP award after leading his Brewers to the playoffs, all while hitting 33 home runs. He also had a batting average of .332 and an unprecedented OPS of .994 with a solid .597 slugging percentage.

What will cloud his rather remarkable season, though, is shame.

Braun tested positive for a banned substance in December, after he was already named MVP. Us Pirate fans rejoiced at the news. Of course, it was an opportunity to point a finger and laugh and the man who has helped torment this fan base in all of his five seasons in the league. It affirmed the speculation that something most definitely has been up with this guy, and it’s about time he was found out.

More so, it fueled the judgement of a doubting nation that the steroid-era is most certainly not over.

ImageBraun has long been a players advocate saying that he is clean and could be tested at any time to prove he’s truthful. Even with the confirmed allegations against him, he maintains his innocence. While it wasn’t necessarily a steroid or a Performance Enhancing Drug he tested positive for, Braun still broke the rules.

Still, he got on base, hit the home runs and led Milwaukee through an exciting season and playoff run.

For that, he deserves to keep the award.

Defending the honor won’t be so easy as Braun faces a 50-game suspension for, well, breaking the rules.

I’m not one to put an athlete on a pedestal, but they will always be looked up to. I don’t not cheer for guys that are proven jerks, convicted felons or smug to the fans. I root for players, not people.

But, I don’t pull for Ryan Braun.

The Brewers have long been Pirate killers. Since 2007, they are 38-4 against Pittsburgh. At the axis of the evil, Miller Park, Milwaukee won eight games when hosting the Pirates. There have been brawls, chin-music pitches thrown from each side and a 20-0 beat down within it all.

It has all been said and done, Braun is the 2011 NL Most Valuable Player, deservingly so. He also deserves a 50-game suspension for injecting/ingesting something that is illegal. He’s appealing it, but to take a page from Braun’s book when referencing getting beaned by Pittsburgh’s Jeff Kastens:

“We’ll see what the commisioner has to say about it.”

photo credits: washingtonpost.com, espn.com


Back in black…and gold

According to the 2011 Latest Leaders, The Pittsburgh Peas was the 14th most read mlblog over the past year.

Not bad for not posting in about three months.

I always strived to post a few times a week. That was made a lot easier when I was in college with plenty of spare time to spill my thoughts on the Pirates, baseball and life in general. Heck, studying and writing important scholastic papers took a backseat to this blog.

But now I’m in the real world.

Regular posting started to slow down this summer when I had an internship with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, a minor league affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.

Myself with Scrappers 1B Jarrod Sabourin

There were long hours in a fast paced environement, but I showed up to an office each day that over looked a baseball field. Couldn’t beat that.

Now, I’m back to writing — full time — at a newspaper. Sports writing as always been at the forefront of my career aspirations. I get to cover local sports with a much greater circulation than my college newspaper at WVU. I’m not sitting in a press box with top notch media from all over the country, but I still get to tell a story in my own words.

And now I’m really back to writing where I started with this blog.

The Pittsburgh Peas opened many doors for me, including the past two positions I’ve held. I’ve also connected with so many fans from all over the place, even meeting a few in person.

Doing "the peas pose" with Todd Cook and son, Tim, of http://cookandsonbats.mlblogs.com/

There are so many blogs out there that relay much of the same information on a team or story and I’ve prided The Peas on being much more than that. This is about my  experiences, my thoughts and, most importantly, those with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

After all, this was the 14th most read blog for a reason.

So, I hope to get back into regular posting. I hated to see a gaping hole from October to December. With three years in the making, I let myself down for being a bit lax and letting The Peas fall by the wayside. We’re still in the dead of winter, but so many good times are ahead.