First impressions, second thoughts and the third degree:
Given how Ryan Braun responded last season to having his reputation battered by performance-enhancing drug rhetoric, should Brewers fans really be so upset about a replay?
Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during the 2011 playoffs, but the All-Star left fielder claimed the sample was tainted, a since-fired arbitrator for Major League Baseball ruled in his favor and a 50-game suspension for 2012 was stayed.
Driven in part by critics and hecklers, Braun put together an MVP-worthy season — .319 batting average, 356 total bases, 41 home runs, 112 RBIs, 30 stolen bases and a .595 slugging percentage — while helping Milwaukee recover from a horrible start and finish 83-79 in the National League Central Division.
Now there are questions about a link between Braun, a defunct Florida wellness clinic and its suspicious owner, Anthony Bosch, who has ties to active PED investigations involving major leaguers Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez and Alex Rodriguez.
Braun claims his name showed up on multiple ledgers from the clinic because his lawyers consulted Bosch on medical matters while preparing his successful appeal last year. Braun may be telling the truth, but at some level he must appreciate our skepticism.
For one thing, Bosch isn't a licensed physician and his background in medicine seems dubious. For another, clinic records indicate Braun or his representatives owed Bosch $20,000 to $30,000, which seems like awfully expensive intel given Bosch reportedly was never cited by Braun's side during his appeal.
When pitchers and catchers report today, Brewers fans shouldn't worry too much about Braun's ability to focus on his job, but they should be concerned more smoke might actually mean there's a fire somewhere.
FROM THE WRECKAGE: OK, so now we have two vastly divergent reports stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case at Penn State.
One was commissioned to find out what happened and who was responsible for allowing a serial pedophile to prey on young boys.
The other, a rebuttal, was conducted to try and save the tainted legacy of the late Joe Paterno, whose football program was ground zero for Sandusky and his abuses.
Reading through both, a fundamental truth remains unchanged: Paterno knew Sandusky was a horrific menace and didn't do nearly enough to stop his former assistant coach.
Under oath before a grand jury in January of 2011, Paterno acknowledged he'd been told Sandusky was seen having sexual contact with a young boy in the showers at the football complex nearly 10 years earlier.
Paterno testified he told his superiors "within a week" yet never followed up with the witness, former graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary.
Quibble with the reports all you want, but that excruciating truth cannot be scrubbed away.
THE CHOSEN ONES: We're getting closer to having a selection committee of 14 to 20 people that will determine the four participants in the Bowl Championship Series semifinals starting in 2014.
Regardless of who is chosen for the committee — reportedly there will be representatives from the 10 Football Bowl Subdivision leagues — the selection process should be as transparent as possible to avoid as many conflicts as possible.
That's why the committee should either have a pool reporter — a member of the Football Writer's Association of America — or a court stenographer to provide a transcript of the proceedings.
Contact Andy Baggot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-252-6175.