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The Specter of PEDs and Alex Rodriguez Resurfaces PDF Print E-mail
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Articles & Opinion
Written by Will Carroll   
Saturday, 26 January 2013 20:09
Alex Rodriguez

The New York Daily News and their I-Team investigative unit unleashed another fastball at Alex Rodriguez on Saturday. The article claims that MLB and it's internal investigation unit is investigating two Miami-area figures with connections to several MLB players, with the article focused on Alex Rodriguez.

On Friday, Brian Cashman discussed the possibility that Rodriguez might be out for the season, though he did not indicate any reason for this. Rodriguez is currently expected to be back around mid-season. There is no indication that Cashman believed this investigation of Rodriguez, who admitted to previous steroid use in 2009, will make the Yankees third baseman unavailable due to suspension.

MLB has reportedly turned over information regarding Anthony Bosch and his father, Dr. Pedro Bosch, to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Anthony Bosch is a well-known consultant to several baseball players while his father is a physician. Dr. Bosch first came to the attention of MLB when Manny Ramirez was first caught using banned substances. Dr. Bosch wrote the prescription for HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin), the substance Ramirez tested positive for in 2009.

The Boschs reportedly have connections to several other players, including Alex Rodriguez, and have been consulting with them on blood tests. The suggestion is clear that MLB believes that these blood tests could be used to help circumvent MLB drug tests.

In essence, the Daily News is asserting that the Bosch's are a Florida-based BALCO. BALCO provided nutrition-based testing, blood testing, and other legitimate services that also dovetailed with it's use of performance enhancing drugs. BALCO was known as the major source for "The Clear," an anabolic steroid that was unknown up to that point (2003) and could not be tested for. BALCO also used banned substances like a testosterone cream that was specially compounded and prescribed drugs like modafinil, a non-stimulant drug designed to treat narcolepsy.

The Daily News focuses on the belief that exogenous testosterone, used in doses small enough to not trigger the ratio (4:1) test, is a problem. BALCO founder Victor Conte has on several occasions asserted that he believes this type of "microdosing" is rampant in sports. Conte, when asked by me on Twitter, asserted that he is no longer working with any MLB players:

No RT @injuryexpert: @victorconte Any current MLB players? Know you've had a couple in the past.

— Victor Conte (@VictorConte) January 21, 2013

MLB moved to correct this issue with new testing guidelines. In addition to increased HGH blood testing, urine samples will now be monitored for any change in testosterone levels. This so-called "biological passport" will be used in concert with the ratio testing, as well as increased CIR/IRMS testing.

While Conte and others have called for all samples in MLB to undergo CIR testing—it is the gold standard of testing—the fact is that the cost and sheer number of samples make this impossible. The expensive machine and skilled technicians at the Montreal lab that conducts MLB's testing would have to do nothing other than process MLB's tests for twelve hours a day, 365 days a year, if this were the case.

With names involved beyond Alex Rodriguez and Ramirez, the Daily News suggests there may be some connection between the Boschs and other MLB players that have tested positive for various substances. Those players, such as Melky Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal, and Carlos Ruiz all tested positive last season, though Ruiz tested positive for a stimulant. (Ruiz's suspension of 25 games indicates that this is his second positive test for a stimulant.)

Rodriguez has had other situations similar to this. He was known to have associations with a doctor involved in prescribing drugs to BALCO. (This same doctor is currently working to make a new type of blood therapyundergone by several high level athletes like Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning available in the United States.)

Rodriguez was also involved with Dr. Anthony Galea, who was prosecuted for smuggling HGH and other substances into the U.S. from his Toronto base. Galea treated many well known athletes, including Rodriguez, Tiger Woods, and Jose Reyes. None of those athletes ever tested positive and Dr. Galea insisted he used no banned drugs.


Will Carroll is a member of the BBWAA. He currently writes for Bleacher Report. You can follow him at @injuryexpert on Twitter.

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Detailed Salary Data for 160 MLB Salary Arbitration Players in 2013 PDF Print E-mail
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Salary Arbitration
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 17:38

2013 MLB Salary Arbitration Data

The Biz of Baseball has been updated with new data…

As has been the case since we’ve launched, each year we spend a great deal of time focusing on salary arbitration in Major League Baseball. We’re providing a spreadsheet with a large amount of data found nowhere else to use.

This year saw 160 players that were eligible, 133 that filed for salary arbitration, 35 players exchange asking figures with their respective club offering numbers, and no salary arbitration hearings. With the exception of 1976 and ’77 when salary arbitration was suspended while free agency in the league was being implemented, it was the first time since 1974 when the process was put in place that there had been no hearings.

Other points of interest:

  • A total of $473,010,000 was spent on the 160 players for the upcoming season, and increase of 106 percent from the 2012 salaries of $233,533,506 for the same players.
  • Total contract dollars that included multi-year extensions for the 160 came to $619,085,000.
  • Rangers starting pitcher Matt Harrison had largest total contract with his 5-year, $55 million contract.
  • The largest increase in salary from 2012 to 2013 came to Giants catcher and NL MVP, Buster Posey. Posey reaped the rewards of not only a great performance last season, but being a first-time salary arb player. He earned $615,000 in his last season of club control with the Giants, and will earn $8 million in 2013, and increase of 1,201%
  • There were 22 “Super Twos” that were part of this year’s class, up by six due to changes in the latest CBA that allows for more players with between two and three years of service time to be eligible. Drew Storen, Chris Johnson, Tyler Colvin, Everth Cabrera, Sam Fuld, and Josh Thole were the beneficiaries.

Make sure and catch my article on Baseball Prospectus that takes a deep  into the 2013 MLB salary arbitration class and look at trends that are affecting not only salary arbitration, but free agency.

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE DETAILS FOR 160 SALARY ARBITRATION PLAYERS IN MLB FOR 2013

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MLB Players to Wear Special Stars and Stripes Caps on Independence Day PDF Print E-mail
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Sponsorships, Promotions
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 12:39

4th of July Caps

As the ad went, there’s baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet. When we think of baseball, it’s often in the context as a wholly American experience, so it’s not surprising that on patriotic holidays, Major League Baseball promotes it.

As was the case on Memorial Day, tomorrow on Independence Day,  players will wear specially designed “Stars & Stripes” caps from New Era. This marks the sixth consecutive year that the league has done this with it benefiting ongoing fundraising and awareness initiatives for Welcome Back Veterans, which addresses the needs of returning veterans and their families.

According to the league and New Era, the caps will have the American flag etched into the team’s logo, with white or gray crowns and blue or red brims and buttons (the Toronto Blue Jays hat will once again incorporate a Maple Leaf design instead of the “Stars & Stripes”).


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

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Baseball Fans Rejoice as MLB.com's At Bat 13 Is Released PDF Print E-mail
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Mobile Devices
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 22 February 2013 00:20

At Bat iconThe NFL may rule television ratings, but when it comes to digital media and sports, Major League Baseball is king. MLB Advanced Media has become a gold-standard that other leagues try and emulate, and the digital-rights arm of baseball has ruled the mobile app world.

So, when the latest version of Apple’s highest-grossing app, MLB.com’s At Bat 13 is released, fans take notice. It’s out, and with it, Spring Training is not far behind.

The latest offering released on Thursday sports new functionality, is cross-platform, and hosts a new mobile platform.

As was the case last year, you can download it for free if you are a MLB.TV Premium subscriber. Unlocking all the features requires an MLB.TV Premium subscription which runs $129.99 for the season, or you can get it for $24.99 a month. Fans also may subscribe to MLB.com At Bat 13 for the one-time annual fee of $19.99, covering the entire season through the World Series. iOS users may pay $2.99/month with the recurring billing offer. A nice touch this year is that those that had At Bat last season will not need to download a whole new version if on Apple platforms, as in years past. A push update was released, and users that upgrade simply need to provide MLB.TV Premium subscription details or opt for the “Lite” version.

As mentioned, it’s an MLB.TV sub, so you’ll be able to watch on your computer, or other supported devices such as Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3 system, Apple TV, WD TV, Roku, internet connected Panasonic, Samsung and LG TVs and Blue-Ray players, as well as Boxee (see the full list of MLB.TV Premium supported devices).

New for this year is a new platform that will be available and was announced in January in the form of BlackBerry Z10. Those users will have to wait until Opening Day, rather than iOS mobile platforms such as iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android phones and tablets, and Kindle Fire getting updates for Spring Training.

It took some time, but live streaming video is across all the supported platforms, although MLB.com states that details on the BlackBerry Z10 will be forthcoming by the start of the regular season.

NEW FOR 2013 (Spring Training update only; Opening Day update coming soon)

  • Multi-platform live audio access for At Bat 13 subscribers, offering account portability to listen to live games on Mac/PC desktops and laptops
  • Universal iOS and Android support for At Bat 13 subscribers, full feature accessibility across all supported smartphones and tablets
  • Sortable batting, pitching and fielding statistics (iPad and Android tablets)
  • Re-designed individual team pages (iPhone and Android phones)
  • Updated news section interface (iPhone and Android phones)
  • Expanded video highlight integration (iPhone and Android phones)
  • Classic games video library archive (all devices)
  • Re-architected app navigation (all devices)
  • Additional push notification options (iPhone)
  • Favorite team enhancements (iPad and Android tablets)
  • Searchable video highlight library expansion to include access to complete video archives (all devices)
  • In-app annual subscription purchase (Google Play)

SPRING TRAINING FEATURES

  • Watch live streaming of more than 200 available Spring Training games with a subscription to MLB.TV Premium (iPhone, iPad, select Android phones & tablets)
  • Listen live to available Spring Training radio broadcasts (all)
  • Track league-wide scoreboards and batter-by-batter action for every game (all)
  • Breaking news, schedules and interactive rosters and players stats for every team (all)
  • Full-season schedule calendars (all)

iPad Images

At Bat 13
At Bat 13


iPhone/iPod Touch images

At Bat 13
At Bat 13 At Bat 13
At Bat 13 At Bat 13

 

Android Tablet

At Bat 13

 

Android Phone

At Bat 13 At Bat 13


Download At Bat 13 for Apple devices on iTunes

Download At Bat 13 for Android phones on Google Play

Download for Android tablets on Google Play

Download At Bat 13 for Kindle Fire on Amazon

Source: MLB.com


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

Follow Maury Brown on Twitter Twitter

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Tapping Craft Beer, Hillsboro Hops Top Online Seller in All of Minor League Baseball PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 12 August 2013 15:53

Barley

When the Single-A Yakima Bears moved in to fill the void in Portland, OR for professional baseball, the owners knew that with the larger market, rebranding would be a part of the equation. A new ballpark, a larger metro area, all offered opportunity for a new look. The idea of “tapping” into something of a trademark for Portland seemed a logical choice.

So when Short Season LLC, the owners of the club, came up with the name the Hillsboro Hops, they had to know they were hitting on something very “Portland” in the craft beer craze (CNN ranked Portland as the #1 beer city in the US). The question was always, how could their merchandise tie into it?

Starting with their mascot, Barley, who was recently voted the Northwest League’s Best Mascot, it all made sense… Balls “hop”, hops are used to make beer, as is barley.

It would be one thing if the marketing was a local or regional sensation. But according to sources, the Hillsboro Hops have the best online merchandise sales—not in just the Northwest League—but all of Minor League Baseball. While numbers weren’t provided, to achieve that mark is a sign that the logo resonates with fans, as does the idea of craft beer. After all, baseball, hot dogs, and yes, beer, are a timeless tradition. The Hops just seem to be happy to run the keg dry at this point.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

Follow Maury Brown on Twitter Twitter

 
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