Cumberland Times-News

Mike Burke - Sports

July 24, 2013

Dirty rotten scoundrels

So many things I don’t understand.

For instance, I don’t understand how you can always find a van, truck or SUV parked in front of signs that say, “FOR CARS ONLY - NO VANS, TRUCKS OR SUVS.” Why bother to put up the signs if we’re not going to enforce what they say?

And why is the Royal baby such a big deal here? I understand why it is over there, but why were so many people here so giddy and pacing about as though they were going to have a baby themselves? I mean the kid’s still third in line to the throne.

Maybe it’s because at our core, despite van, truck and SUV drivers who park in front of those signs, we’re not really ugly Americans after all. Maybe we’re actually more genial than the rest of the world believes we are. So why not get a little bubbly over the Royal baby, right? As Lt. Frank Drebin once said, “No matter how silly the idea of having a queen might be to us, as Americans, we must be gracious and considerate ...”

And is it just me, or does Prince William remind anybody else of Peyton Manning? And please. Enough of calling the Manning family — likeable as they are — America’s quarterback royalty. Ack! No wonder Johnny Football bugged out.

Speaking of bugging out, how about that Ryan Braun? Talk about your bold-faced liars ... Prior to being suspended for 65 games for taking performance enhancing drugs, the Milwaukee Brewers slugger denied not once, but eight times taking PEDs, with my personal favorite being the denial of Feb. 24, 2012: “If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first one to step up and say, ‘I did it.' By no means am I perfect, but if I’ve ever made any mistakes in my life, I’ve taken responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.”

Guess his life’s worth just 65 games as, this past Monday, we came across Braun saying, “As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization ... I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”

Sure, nobody’s perfect, right? Everybody makes mistakes. And this whole thing really must have taken a toll on Braun and his family, so thank goodness it’s behind him. And I imagine he’s somewhere taking practice cuts right now so he can get back to the game he loves — the game he loves so much that he spent more than a year lying to everybody connected with it.

And speaking of a toll being taken on somebody and his family, what of the original urine collector in this sticky mess, Dino Laurenzi Jr., who received death threats because Braun did nothing but lie? We have no apology for Dino? I’ll bet this all became a bit of a distraction for him too, although this is the business he has chosen. Personally, I’d look for something else to collect, but that’s just me.

What I really didn’t understand about all of this was Major League Baseball saying first thing in its statement, “We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions,” and MLB Players Association executive director Mike Weiner saying, “I am deeply gratified to see Ryan taking this bold step ...”

Bold step? He was twice caught red-handed, and then negotiated his suspension down with Major League Baseball. Saving your skin is a bold step? Cheating and then lying about it at least eight times and then saying “I’m not perfect” after you’re caught in your lie is taking responsibility? Sure it is, just like the guy who wasn’t a bit sorry he robbed the bank, but who is now very sorry he got caught with the goods.

The guess here is Braun will assume poster boy status for MLB’s fight against PEDs once he is allowed to return to the game he loves, as MLB and the MLBPA both spoke of the positive contributions he would be making in the future, both on and off the field. But with his credibility rating going neck and neck with Anthony Weiner’s, who really needs to see that?

Unfortunately, having now been through several of these PED episodes, there is very little left to surprise us, although word persists that what Braun faced is small potatoes compared to what Alex Rodriguez is about to.

At least something positive is about to happen for the Yankees.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at mburke@times-news.com

1
Text Only
Mike Burke - Sports
  • Terps need to move and move quickly

    The good news is Maryland will never have to play another basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Goodbye, good riddance, sayonara, smell ya, no more of you, stay classy, we won’t let the door hit us on the way out.
    Until we see you in court.

    April 13, 2014

  • Then again, he’s manager of the Yankees, and I’m not

    I went to bed confused Wednesday night, which in itself is nothing new. But having
    watched most of the Orioles-Yankees game, including the final three innings, earlier
    in the evening, then watching the late Baseball Tonight before I turned in, I was under the impression that the Yankees had won the game when I was pretty sure before watching the show that the Orioles had won.

    April 11, 2014

  • At times we all should allow for a little flex

    Other than when I was a student in the Allegany County Public Schools System, I’ve always believed the most thankless job there is — or at least one of the most thankless jobs there is — belongs to the person who ultimately hits the switch on whether or not to call off school because of the weather. You’re slammed if you do, you’re slammed if you don’t. No matter what you decide it’s no win, but, like managing a baseball team or running a bar, everybody knows they could do it.

    January 11, 2014

  • A treasured member of the family of baseball

    When a former professional football player from our past dies, he is most often remembered as being one tough son of a gun, or a wonderful runner or pass catcher, or as a brilliant quarterback.

    January 10, 2014

  • Bob Giffin believed in the goodness of us all

    The first time the Giffin family exploded onto my radar was at a Fort Hill basketball game years ago in the old Fort Hill gym. Believe it was a City game, which meant the place was packed, the walls were sweating and the smell of popcorn permeated the atmosphere. And through it all marched the family Giffin in perfect formation, tallest in the front, shortest in the back, led by father Lew, mother Donna, oldest son Bob, second son Tom, third son Donnie and fourth son Johnnie.

    December 28, 2013

  • Redskins do that voodoo that they do so well

    This time last year the Washington Redskins were in the midst of a seven-game winning streak on their way to the NFC East title. Mike Shanahan was being hailed as the perfect football presence the franchise had sorely needed for so long. Quarterback Robert Griffin III in the sprint option was being hailed as the single greatest invention since the wheel, and beleaguered Daniel Snyder, the little owner who couldn’t, was being hailed for not even trying as he allowed his two-time Super Bowl winning coach and lord of all things football to pull the strings on all things football.

    December 13, 2013

  • Fort Hill’s approach is all-inclusive

    After Fort Hill opened everybody’s eyes last season in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year (*1), it was a pretty sure bet that the Sentinels, given all of their returning resources, would be making a run for the state championship this year (*2).

    December 6, 2013

  • What resource will the O’s allocate next?

    In November 1993, Dan Duquette, then the general manager of the Montreal Expos, traded second baseman Delino DeShields to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a young pitcher by the name of Pedro Martinez. According to a story in last Sunday’s New York Times, upon completing the deal, Duquette, now general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, told Neal Huntington, then a member of the Expos front office and now the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, “This trade is going to be hated in Montreal.”

    December 4, 2013

  • No month of Sundays this Friday

    With Fort Hill comfortably in control Friday night in its eventual 46-7 1A West Region semifinal victory over Manchester Valley, and with score updates from the other semifinal pouring in from nearby Washington County, Greenway Avenue Stadium was abuzz, for the unthinkable was about to take place — Fort Hill was going to play Hancock.

    November 16, 2013

  • Mike Burke Ty Johnson works hard, and makes it look easy

    Any summer day you might go to Greenway Avenue Stadium to get a little exercise you are likely to see any number of high school athletes there working out — football players, soccer players, basketball players, any kind of player you might want to think of.

    November 9, 2013 1 Photo