FEB. 6, 2013

The rewards are many for athletes that reach the ultimate in their sports, but those compensations don’t come without scrutiny, especially so in these days where nothing escapes the media’s spotlight. For Todd Helton, Alex Rodriguez, and Ryan Braun, the close inspection of their recent activities has to be uncomfortable.

Rodriguez has become a lightning rod for controversy—if you’ll pardon the pun—in terms of on and off-field activities. The Yankees’ hitters struggled in this past postseason, but A-Rod’s problems at the plate drew the most attention. His admission on national television of PED use earlier in his career was supposed to be his great confession and the chance to move forward with a “clean” approach to the game, but there were plenty of skeptics. With his body breaking down with more frequency of late, it appears his solution was to become involved with a clinic that allegedly has been involved in prescribing PEDs. A-Rod’s camp talks of a conspiracy, but isn’t that just the usual diversionary tactic to change the subject or cover tracks? There were enough people willing to give Rodriguez a second chance after his first confession, but now I wonder if many are taking the stance that “we won’t get fooled again” as Roger Daltrey and the Who told us.

Braun’s case is a little more difficult on which to make an assessment. The Milwaukee slugger was successful in overturning a previous suspension with the claim that accepted testing procedures were not followed. More than a few critics stated that Braun “beat the system.” Now comes the assertion by Yahoo Sports that he has a connection to that same South Florida clinic as A-Rod, along with as many as 9 other MLB players. Braun’s legal team says the link to Anthony Bosch and his anti-aging clinic was the result of inquiries as to the possible use of the clinic as a resource for their case in overturning the earlier suspension. That may certainly be the situation, but the fact that there is any connection between Braun and Bosch is potentially troubling.

The DUI arrest of Todd Helton the other night is first spot on an otherwise sterling reputation. The ballclub acted swiftly in releasing their statement regarding the matter, as did Todd. Such is to be expected. The embarrassment caused to him and his family will live with the Rockies star long after the legal proceedings have run their course. Driving under the influence is serious and should never be minimized in terms of its potential risks. Fortunately, no harm came about from this incident—except to Todd’s reputation. Knowing Todd, I expect he will use this misstep as an opportunity to become a spokesman for raising awareness of the dangers of drunk driving. Todd made the mistake, but hopefully, we can all learn from it.

Today’s “check it out” is the latest effort from Harry Connick, Jr. entitled Smokey Mary. There is the obvious New Orleans feel to the disc, and I enjoyed the boogie-woogie tone it took on many of the cuts. My favorites are the title track, Cuddina Done It, and The Preacher. CHECK IT OUT!