“Talk to your doctor about how you too can slug away [medical condition] with [drug name]”

File:Ryan Braun Accepts Silver Slugger April 2012.jpg

(Ryan Braun accepts his 2011 NL Outfielder Silver Slugger Award. Photo Courtesy Wikicommons/Royalbroil)

By Jeremy Shulkin

During the 1998 Sammy Sosa-Mark McGwire season long home run derby, and again in 2001 as Barry Bonds pushed Sosa, McGwire and Roger Maris’ record-breaking seasons to second, third and fourth on the all-time list, enough sportswriters discussed steroid use for my 13 year old (and then 16 year old) self to know that what more and more ballplayers were accomplishing wasn’t natural. 

But fans collectively willed away talk of performance enhancing drugs. Remember McGwire’s fleeting well-it’s-not-quite-illegal androstenedione mini-scandal? 

"All the downsides — the andro revelation … had less to do with them than with us. Besides, what they gave us will far outlast the controversies … Everywhere men were laughing. Everywhere children shouted … Thanks to them, we escaped," read an ESPN The Magazine article on Sosa and McGwire from October 1998, as quoted in a 2005 special report titled “Who Knew?” from the same publication. The Associated Press reporter who broke the story was vilified by coaches, players and other members of the sports media.

For steroid-wary fans, however, rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers came with a clean conscious. During the steroid era they had few surprising demonstrations of feats of strength or former utility players suddenly hitting 40-50 home runs in a season. The team performed so terribly between 1993 and 2005 that if the Brewers were juicing then their starting rotation must have been as useless at locating their teammates’ butt veins as they were locating their fastballs.  

When the Mitchell Report was released before the start of the 2007 season, Brewers fans could still feel morally superior when no Brewer of significance was among the 89 former and current players singled out for using Performance Enhancing Drugs. The Brewers might have lost constantly, but at least those losses came naturally.

(It’s fitting that, like most claims related to the steroid era, this last paragraph comes with an asterisk. Eleven players with ties to the Brewers were named, including Eric Gagne, whose Milwaukee contract was inked just 72 hours before the report’s release. Other notables included Derek Turnbow, who had one sensational season with the Brewers and whose link to PEDs also dated back to his pre-Brewers tenure. Gary Sheffield was named in the report, but he wore out his welcome in Milwaukee before his career barely even started. Overall it was probably Fernando Vina, Milwaukee’s five-year second baseman, whose appearance on the Mitchell Report caused the most consternation. But if team’s strongest link to cheating came via Vina - who peaked in 1998 and left the club eight seasons before the Mitchell Report’s release - then it was easy for Brewers fans to maintain the high ground.)

This makes it difficult for Brewers fans to talk about Ryan Braun, their star left fielder, home run hitter and face of the franchise; the player that the league wanted to use as proof that the new generation of clean players could equal the excitement of the ‘roided up players from a generation ago (and some of whom have still stuck around) with just Muscle Milk and some core conditioning.

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Raw Reaction: The Time They Forgot Valentines Day

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(Chris Jericho. Photo Courtesy Pro Wrestling Wikia)

By Jenny Pacillo

Last night’s Raw was pretty good, although I was expecting more of a Valentine’s Day theme. I get that we’re all looking forward to the Elimination Chamber this Sunday, but I was still kind of hoping for some “Secret Admirer” type antics. At this point, we’re probably all clear on the fact that I don’t believe in love and have the same views on men as a haggard diner waitress, but for whatever reason I still have a tiny soft spot in my heart for romance. I wanted some fireworks between Vickie and Paul Heyman, or maybe a nice little side story with Ziggler and Aj. Oh well. I suppose the WWE doesn’t really consider what women in their thirties would want to watch.

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The Dilemma: Wrestling Fashion for Females

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By Jenny Pacillo

My mother has been telling me to get on “What Not to Wear” for at least the past 10 years of my life. Lucky for her, this blatantly offensive demand rolls off my back thanks to my easy going nature. Plus, I am well aware of my ill-style. I get compliments on it all the time like, “oh I didn’t realize you were a girl” or “I didn’t think that assortment of colors matched” and other inspiring words along those lines. What can I say? I know what’s cool.

You’re probably wondering what makes me such a fashionista, and I am more than happy to spill the beans. I’m pretty much like Cher from “Clueless”. I have this giant automated closet that’s connected to my computer and I deliberate over which outfit is best based on what I’ve worn in the previous days and weeks. Just kidding. I dress like Ramona Quimby. T-shirts and cardigans every day, although once in awhile I’ll bust out a button up. Color and patterns make zero difference to me since I don’t believe it’s possible for anything to clash. As for pants, my trick is to wear the same pair of jeans every single day rolled up at the bottom to show off whatever fancy wool socks I’m wearing, which is also a preemptive measure to protect me against flash floods. 

The whole “ragamuffin” look has worked for the past decade, but lately I’ve been wanting to add something new to my wardrobe: wrestling gear.

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Trying Out Field Hockey: Part III


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(Photo Courtesy Wikicommons )

By Shaun Connolly

This is a three part series on field hockey, from an irregular man’s perspective. (Read Part I and Part II.)

When I’m onstage I sometimes tell jokes about being a JV field hockey coach (I’m a comedian). The joke is that I don’t know anything about the sport. That they needed a warm body and I needed $3,000. The truth of the matter is they really needed a coach that cared, and I care too much.

Our home field is behind the school, next to a hidden reservoir, surrounded by elm trees and in direct line of the football team’s field goal kicker’s target. It’s paradise. When I’m not digging up rocks in the middle of the pitch, there may be tire tracks of a four-wheeler from a weekend warrior or glass from some late-night beers. The ground is anything but flat, which is usually a standard feature on any athletic field. When someone is standing on the north side looking down towards the south goal that they can only be seen from the knees up, as if their shins down were cut off.

Since we’re JV our uniforms are the hand-me-downs from the varsity squad. We don’t have enough, and some of them are stained with blood from 15 years ago and others have numbers peeling off, depending on our roster we may have to resort to golf shirts with medical tape numbers on them. Skirts are few and far between, for 18 players we have 13 skirts. 

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Raw Reaction: Returning to the Game

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By Jenny Pacillo

There are a few things I’d like to discuss and I would like to start by saying that I kind of checked out on the WWE last week. The Royal Rumble really let me down, I had a tantrum at an all dude party where I only knew two people because the Rock stole the belt from CM Punk. I probably came off as a massive weirdo to a roomful of strangers, which is so unlike me. Everyone was having a great time eating wings and reading nudie mags, and I was losing my mind because my boyfriend’s 434 day reign as WWE Champion was unfairly ended by a People’s Elbow from the Rock. I may or may not have even said some mean things about his mother, who cares. All I know is that I skipped Monday Night Raw last week, and tried focusing on other aspects of my life, like my Will Smith Appreciation Club and if I’d look cool wearing a bandana around my neck.

I’d rather not think too much about how many women my age rush home from work to watch Monday Night Raw on their DVR, as it would most likely cause some sort of existential crisis, so I’ll just look at the bright side and be thankful that I didn’t miss another episode.

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It Took a Blackout: The Super Bowl in a Nutshell

By Kevin Koczwara


The Baltimore Ravens were in cruise control. The San Francisco 49ers looked like Notre Dame in the BCS Championship game, getting dismantled by a more talented and hungry team one play after another. Then the lights went out in the Super Dome and I was annoyed because I wanted the bloodbath to end sooner rather than later. It was painful to watch the 49ers struggle every time it got near the Ravens side of the field. It was painful to watch Joe Flacco heave the ball into the Heavens praying someone would be there to catch the pass and then see someone magically appear in a Ravens jersey to catch said pass that had no intended target. It didn’t make sense and I was confused as to how the 49ers could have made it this far and been so disorganized.

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The Trouble with Falling in Love with Dolph Ziggler

(Dolph Ziggler, Courtesy Wikipedia)

By Jenny Pacillo

I’ve been sweating CM Punk for about a year now. I’m sure the feeling would be mutual if he knew I existed, but so far the whole romance has been pretty one-sided. It’s fine. I’m used to unreciprocated love. 

Punk and I have a bond that can’t be broken because I understand him; we are two peas in a pod. He acts all tough with his tattoos and pipe bombs, but I know deep down he’s really a sensitive, little bunny who needs a nice girl like me to spoon and watch horror movies with. I’m totally into this love affair, like 100 percent, but I feel like I need to give Punk a heads up about my steadily growing crush on Dolph Ziggler so he doesn’t miss the boat.

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Miami vs. Boston: Play-By-Play Reaction

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By Shaun Connolly

First Quarter

Rajon Rondo has had back-to-back triple-doubles. He has a knee injury. This could be bad for the Celtics.

Rebounding doesn’t exist for the Celtics its seems. They are playing solid help defense, but gave up on boxing out. Just because you can jump doesn’t mean you can rebound.

Turns out these teams are last and second to last in rebounding in the league. Not surprised.

Rondo’s presence is definitely missed in the half court set. There is no offense.

8:02 Lebron James took three steps, it must be great to be royalty.

7:26 Dwayne Wade is shooting 61 percent in the last three games and Avery Bradley doesn’t even put a hand in his face. Wake up.

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Trying Out Field Hockey: Part II


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(Jamie Dwyer is one of the world’s best field hockey players. Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons.)

By Shaun Connolly

This is a three part series on field hockey, from an irregular man’s perspective. (Read Part I.)


Hockey in America means violent men, with missing teeth and scars on their face, who are either from Canada or Russia. They date supermodels and stage lockouts every three to five years because players and owners alike think they deserve more money. While hockey is a team sport, it has this selfish nature to it. It’s gritty and offbeat. When talking to a talking type person you get a blue collar mentality. It’s simple and it should be that way, a rubber puck, ice, and two nets. That’s all you need. 

To the rest of the world, hockey has the connotation of valiant men, with mouths full of teeth and flawless faces. They are either from India, Pakistan or Australia, and like European football, they play internationally as well as club. They make a good living but there is no wait to watch. 

Field hockey in America, is linked to whiny teenage girls playing on a freezing October afternoon with plenty of whistles being blown. Recently, a referee I frequently work with told me his secret to calling a good game was to blow the whistle and let the girls decide what the foul was, because they typically know the rules better than he does. 

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Raw Reaction: Love and Hugs

By Jenny Pacillo

People look forward to lots of things when they’re at work. They can’t wait to get home and snuggle with a significant other, play with their kids, open a nice bottle of wine. At least that’s what I assume normal humans think about during the day. I spent my entire waitressing shift this evening making dumb mistakes because I was too excited at the thought of returning home to watch Monday Night Raw to focus. Not quite sure what this says about me as a person, but I wasn’t sweating what people would think if they could have seen me speeding through the streets of Worcester.

I get that everyone is super pumped for the Royal Rumble this weekend, and I am totally with you, but can we just focus on a few unrelated issues and put that on the back burner for now please. There was a lot of love going on at Raw tonight, and while I don’t actually believe in such a far fetched concept, I still found it extremely entertaining.

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