Posted on: August 5, 2011 11:25 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2011 12:29 am

MLB warns about steroid alternative in deer spray

By Evan Brunell

Baseball is trying to prevent players from using deer antler spray as an alternative to steroids, SI.com reports.

The velvet from immature deer antlers have been found to include insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which controls the level of human growth hormone (HGH) in the body. HGH is banned by baseball because it can help build muscle and cut fat and may be even more effective than steroids. There is no current drug test for HGH as it cannot be detected in urine. No blood testing has been agreed to by the player's union and baseball, which is required to find HGH and IGF-1.

The substance from the deer is sprayed under the tongue and acts as a "anabolic or growth stimulation," with "muscular strength and endurance," one manufacturer said.

Baseball's warning was only about a specific brand of deer spray and not because of IGF-1, but because it's considered a potentially-contaminated nutritional substance. Players were warned that the spray could show up as positive for a banned steroid called methyltestosterone, which is not one of the deer spray's ingredients.

Essentially, baseball is telling players that it has caught on to the new wave of trying to get ahead, and is helping produce a chilling effect by warning that it can show up on drug tests if "contaminated" with a banned substance.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Tags: Evan Brunell, MLB
Posted on: August 1, 2011 4:55 pm

Rangers ban wave with funny message


By Evan Brunell

The wave is one of the most hotly contested "traditions" in baseball, with one side crying out that the wave has nothing to do with baseball and the other side just trying to enjoy themselves at the game, which they paid out of their own pocket to see.

The Rangers took it one step further, decreeing on the video scoreboard that there are no waves allowed at the ballpark. It's not meant to be taken seriously as you can tell by reading the message the Rangers show fans on the scoreboard (photo above, from stopthewave.net). There are no penalties and no official team policy against the wave.

"I was getting lots of emails and Tweets from fans during the game asking me to do something to stop the wave," Chuck Morgan, the Rangers' senior vice president for ballpark entertainment, told ESPN.com. "So I said, 'Let's see if we can have fun with it.'"

The backlash against the wave isn't just limited to Texas, though. The Rockies made a commercial earlier this season in where a fan gets yelled at by Rockies players for starting a wave during a critical moment in a game. Even Rangers reliever Darren O'Day can be found in a video on Rangers.com saying, "Don't distract really good-looking bullpen pitchers … by doing the wave."

StopTheWave.net's Greg Holland, who attends Rangers games, couldn't agree more with the movement. "There is nothing worse … than being stuck in a section with someone who is relentless in trying to get the wave started, especially if they're sitting in front of you," Holland said. "To me, doing the wave is basically giving the middle finger to the guys on the field. You're telling them you don't care about what's going on and that they are not entertaining you."

Despite Morgan's attempts to stop the wave, which Holland said has been working, Morgan says the fans don't really pay attention to the warnings. But he won't stop trying to spread the gospel.

"I'll probably keep doing it until somebody gets so mad they're not going to come to the game anymore," he said. "Or management tells me to stop."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 31, 2011 8:54 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 10:18 pm

A's owner speaks out against McCourt

WolffBy Evan Brunell

The A's owner, Lew Wolff, is the first baseball owner to come out against Frank McCourt in his never-ending battle to keep control of the Dodgers.

"My hope is that the Dodgers will be sold to a party that will restart this great franchise, and that Frank and his family will benefit from a positive sale," Wolff said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "But to try and equate or compare what Bud Selig has done with the administration of the current Dodger franchise is unsupportable."

Wolff is especially displeased with McCourt's attempted smearing of Selig publicly and in court. McCourt and his lawyers challenged Selig's authority in court and made the ludicrous argument that even if McCourt took out money from the Dodgers for personal use, it was far greater than the amount Selig has taken out of MLB. The commissioner pulls in an average annual salary of $18.35 million, set by major-league owners.

"Even taking the commissioner's false claim that $100 million was taken out of the Dodgers at face value," McCourt's attorneys wrote ina  filing disputing how much money McCourt has taken out of the Los Angeles club. "It is difficult to understand how the commissioner can complain about this when he pays himself a salary of approximately $20 million a year — meaning that he has taken out between $120 million and $140 million from baseball revenues during the same period that he complains about $100 million being taken out by the owner of a team."

That didn't sit too well with Wolff.

"For anyone to seek to diminish Bud's accomplishments in order to rationalize their own actions is, in my opinion, ludicrous and hugely disingenuous," the A's owner said. Wolff has been a part of the A's since 2005 and is trying to get Oakland a new ballpark but has met resistance and has been waiting over two years for Selig to issue a ruling on the decision. If anyone might have cause to be frustrated with Selig and perhaps side with McCourt, it would be Wolff. But:

"I can't think of one owner that is not supportive of the actions taken by MLB," Wolff said.

He added that he is not speaking out in an attempt to get on Selig's good side for the ballpark ruling and proposed move to San Jose. While it's unsurprising to know that all the other owners are arrayed against McCourt, it's surprising to see Wolff speak out, as Selig is attempting to keep the distraction McCourt has wrought to a minimum.

Currently, McCourt is attempting to keep the Dodgers despite no available funds after he and his ex-wife used the Dodgers as a personal piggy bank. After an embarrassing and expensive divorce, McCourt has been limping along until he was forced to file for bankruptcy in order to hang onto the Dodgers.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 31, 2011 1:48 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 2:00 pm

Live trade deadline chat!

By Evan Brunell

Welcome to the live trade deadline chat here at CBSSports.com! Starting at 2 p.m. ET, tune in to talk baseball with Eye on Baseball, as well as hearing from Scott Miller and Danny Knobler. Tune in below for all your trade deadline needs. The deadline expires at 4 p.m. ET. For all Eye On Baseball trade deadline posts, click here.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 10, 2011 11:36 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 12:19 am

Can Rickey Henderson still play baseball?

By Evan Brunell

Rickey Henderson was up to his usual dominating self on Sunday, cracking a home run in the celebrity softball game. For a moment, he thought he had handed his team victory -- until Luis Gonzalez walked off.

After the game, Henderson chatted with CBSSports.com about the home run as well as whether he thinks he can hang with the big boys in the actual All-Star game -- if he was asked to play. (Hint: He can.)

Oh, and whose his favorite baserunner in the game now? The answer won't be surprising -- it's Jose Reyes.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 10, 2011 11:26 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 12:12 am

Jordin Sparks speaks on softball performance

By Evan Brunell

After participating in the celebrity softball All-Star Game, Jordin Sparks spoke to CBSSports.com about her performance at the game, which included switching bats. That was because the bat she was using was heavy and, as a competitive person, she wanted to be the best she could be. So she switched out for a softball bat.

Sparks, the youngest person to ever win American Idol, is set to perform the National Anthem on Tuesday for the MLB All-Star Game.

Check out the video to hear her talk about her performance in the softball game as well as whether she'll consider switching careers to being a softball player.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 14, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 3:33 pm

Jeter could land on DL; proud of career


By Evan Brunell

In a rare interview, Derek Jeter appeared on ESPN New York before Monday night's game to chat about his chase to hit No. 3,000.

Jeter, who collected a single before leaving Monday's game with a calf strain that could land him on the disabled list, said he's trying to enjoy the chase to 3,000. That chase will likely have to be delayed as Ramiro Pena was spotted Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, which would indicate Jeter going on the DL.

"It’s something that I’m proud of, I’m proud that I’m to this point, but I’ve still got a long ways to go,” Jeter said in a transcript provided by Sports Radio Interviews. “I never take anything for granted. You saw that Bernie Mac movie where they took one of his hits away, and 'Mr. 3000' ended up with 2,999, so you’re never sure until it happens."

Jeter admitted he has thought about getting the 3,000-hit milestone, especially after hit No. 2,000 -- but that it's never been a goal. Rather, the goal is to be consistent.

"It takes a long time; you have to be durable; you have to be consistent," Jeter said. "One stat I don’t think most people hit is the 200-hit plateau; well you have to do that every year for 15 years in order to get to 3,000. This is my 16th year, so I’m happy. You have to be consistent obviously to have an opportunity to do it. It’s something I’m proud of. I’m proud of the fact I’m close, and I hope I can get there soon.”

Jeter also spoke about his team, saying that inconsistency and a plethora of injuries have made it tough for New York to hang in there -- "but I like where we’re at right now. Yeah there’s a lot of room for improvement, but we could be in a whole lot worse shape. I think everyone here is working hard, and with some guys down other guys are going to have to step up. But I like how we’ve been playing."

He also sees a parallel between the Miami Heat, who lost the NBA Finals on Sunday, and the Yankees.

"They became the talk of the NBA. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em, which is very similar to our team," Jeter said. "So that team got a lot of attention, and hey, they had a good year. Like you said before, it’s not easy to win, a lot of things have to go right. If you have a good team with good players, you’re going to have an opportunity to win, but that doesn’t mean you’re just going to go out on the court and beat every team you play.”

Here's guessing Jeter hopes to avoid one more parallel to Miami: losing the 2011 postseason.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 11, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2011 4:14 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

By Evan Brunell

As Major League Baseball continues to discuss possible realignment, one idea that has come up is going to a league with 15 teams per league, reports ESPN's Buster Olney.

Currently, the National League has 16 teams and the AL 14 for scheduling purposes. Should baseball go to two 15-team leagues, that would likely require interleague play every day of the season. Given baseball likes to treat interleague play as an event, that could dilute the appeal of interleague play to the point it would no longer be a moneymaker. However, there is still real resistance to the idea which has not been presented to owners yet, although the player's union is reportedly open to it.

"I'd still say the odds of it happening are less than 50-50," the source said.

CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler says that players are open to it because they are not happy about AL West teams having a 25 percent chance of making the playoffs, the NL Central just 18 percent and the rest all at 20 percent.

To switch to a 15-team alignment, one team from the NL would have to move to the AL. According to Olney, two highly-ranked executives think the Astros could receive the call in order to tap into a rivalry with the Texas Rangers. Picking the Astros would also allow baseball to remove one team from the NL Central and slot Houston into the AL West, which would address the issue of playoff percentages.

The Astros, to no surprise, are not interested in switching divisions, a source close to new owner Jim Crane told CultureMap.

"Jim is a businessman first, but he's also a traditionalist in many ways," the source said. "He's a pitcher [in college] and he loves the National League game. He grew up in St. Louis. This is not something he's looking for. This group certainly didn't buy the team with the intention of it becoming an American League franchise."

Yeah, but Crane doesn't wield the power... Selig does. He hasn't been formally approved as new owner yet after purchasing the team from Drayton McLane, so Selig could make a move a condition of purchase. However, the source also countered that.

"You don't spend $680 million on something and have a third-party come in an dictate new terms after the agreement's been ironed out," the source added. "Even Major League Baseball. These are extremely complicated deals. A lot of work goes into them. They are not something you can just go in and change in that significant of a manner."

The only time a team has changed leagues is when Selig's own Brewers -- owned by the family at the time -- switched leagues from the AL to NL. Selig's main excuse was that Milwaukee was a "National League town" because of the Braves (who had previously played in Milwaukee). That's not the case in Houston.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Tags: Astros, MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com