Blog Entry

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:31 pm
So you still don't believe Ryan Braun?

Sorry, I can't help you.

So you're now claiming that the process is rigged, or that baseball didn't really want Braun suspended?

Sorry, can't help you.

Go ahead and tell me that it's "corrupt," as one Twitter follower wrote after Thursday's decision was announced in Braun's favor. Go ahead and call him a "coward," as another tweeter said.

Sorry, can't help you, because in that case you're not interested in justice.

And as for the idea that one not-guilty verdict taints other positive tests, seriously? When one criminal trial ends with not-guilty, do we empty the jails because every other conviction must be wrong, too?

If baseball or any other sport is going to have a drug-testing system, there needs to be a way for a player to appeal a positive test. If there's going to be an appeal process, it needs to be fair enough that if the player makes a legitimate case that the test was flawed, he gets off.

Ryan Braun's people made that case, and an independent arbitrator agreed with them, with his vote swinging a 2-to-1 decision on a three-man panel that also included a representative from the commissioner's office and one from the players' union.

That's an independent arbitrator, independent enough that MLB quickly issued a statement saying it "vehemently disagrees" with the decision.

Braun's people made the case that the chain of custody was a problem, that the sample wasn't sent for 48 hours after Braun took the test. They made the case with the help, no doubt, from an abnormally-spiked testosterone level in the test in question, and in a clean test that Braun took after the first result came back positive.

It's a tough case to prove, and that's why when the news of Braun's failed test first surfaced in December, the strong assumption was that his appeal had little chance of success. No one had ever successfully overturned a suspension before.

But if there never was going to be a first one to succeed, why have the appeal process at all? And if you're not going to have an appeal process, well, you explain to me how that's fair.

What's unfair right now is that news of the Braun positive test got out in the first place, and that it unfairly taints his reputation. You see now why the players insisted on confidentiality, with a suspension only announced after the appeal process was complete.

In all cases before this one, the news never did get out before the appeal.

So how should we look at Ryan Braun now?

With sympathy, I'd say. A flawed test is useless as proof of anything, so unless he fails a test where there is no question about the method or the chain of custody, he's as innocent as any other player in the game today.

Does this mean that MLB is clean? No. Does it mean that MLB won't take on its biggest stars? Definitely not.

Does it mean that Ryan Braun is absolutely clean? There's absolutely no way to know that, just as there's no way to know it with certainty about any player.

But with this verdict, he gets as much the benefit of the doubt as anyone else.

So what does this mean, then?

It means that the system works.

If you can't accept an independent arbitrator ruling in Braun's favor, then what exactly would you accept?

If the answer is nothing, then I go back to the start.

Sorry, can't help you.

Category: MLB

Since: Apr 14, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 4:34 pm

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

So TapeDog-If a guy who has averaged 32.2 HRS and 106.2 RBI's for his career drops to 10 HRs and 60 RBI's the year after he may or may not have tested positive for a banned substance doesn't make you wonder...I worry what you are on.  Obviously, not having Fielder to protect him will impact him to some extent but won't explain a big dropoff if he has one

Since: Feb 24, 2012
Posted on: February 24, 2012 4:25 pm

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

I cannot believe Hossman's comment bears any merit when Fielder has left the organization and no team has to pitch to Braun this year with another right-handed batter to follow.  What are you on?

Since: Apr 14, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 4:02 pm

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

I guess the real truth will come out with his production this year...when he hits 10 HRs and has 60 RBI's we'll have a pretty good idea he was cheating; if he puts up numbers that support his career averages, you should assume he was clean all along

Since: Apr 27, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 3:34 pm

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

Perhaps it's time to keep your useless opinions to yourselves until we hear the ENTIRE story from actual named sources of people involved.

If this appeal works and they do keep their opinions to themselves I want you to call for an end to war, poverty and world hunger.  

Since: May 5, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 3:23 pm

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

Skylinechile, you misuse the word "facts".  What you are referring to are allegations.  The facts are that a sample was taken from Braun, that sample was mishandled, and miraculously, a person (Braun) who has never tested positive otherwise, now tests positive with this mishandled sample.  Those are the facts.  The allegations are that this mishandled sample was never tampered with and that it is 100% accurate.  Yet we see that no other tests support this finding.  The word fact is synonomous with the word truth and there is no way to be certain of the truth to the mishandled sample thus that sample should not be mistaken as fact.  Take more samples.  Should the new samples be handled properly and test positive, then suspend him.  But don't destroy the integrity of process by misapplying the process.

Since: Mar 5, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2012 3:22 pm

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

jack sprat. Just change your screen name to Don King.

Since: Mar 18, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 3:21 pm

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

Sorry Danny - you do not spend any time at all on the real driver of the story - the leak.  ESPN (in this case) is the culprit and to be fair, this discussion should be equally about the media's 24/7 rush to be the first with information, even when they know there is confidentiality surrounding this process.  But I see no regret or shame anywhere in the media - instead, we're focusing on the process of the testing itself.  We will never know if Braun is guilty or not but let's also be clear that he got off on a technicality.  The money in major sports today and the media's (with players and agents too) drive to be first and influence events has come at the expense of many "right" things, including confidentiality, honor and more.  By your silence, Danny, you contribute to this sad trend.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:51 pm

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

LongTimeFan?, alrighty, then, here it is, "direct, straightforward," except that the pronouns have been changed to make them inadmissable in the unlikely event that I shall someday need them to be. If your hypothetical child abuser darkens your neighborhood, then by all means take justice into your own hands if you feel that you must. But, having done so, your fate lies in the consciences of 12 men good and true. Accept this as your chosen lot, however the dice may fall.
I would rather the responsibility be placed in the hands and consciences of individual civilians than of satraps, potentates, or mere functionaries. If no one is prepared to put their skin in the game, then better let it lie. Whether Safety or Liberty be your choice, let your blood be that which waters the Tree.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:34 pm

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

Gatorfish 1, I suspect that you and Braun may be on to something here. I've long been suspicious of the extent to which certain "experts" have achieved great notoriety and financial success from what appears to me all too llikely a racket, in the criminal sense of the word. I am mindful here of the independent Michigan "profiler" who so famously was discovered to have manufactured all of the evidence by which her testimony put a number of men behind bars. Further, there has been the presence of a single Federal investigator hovering over a number of these and similar cases. He puts me in mind of one of Torquemada's Inquisitioners. As well, variously, of the entire apparat in "Darkness at Noon," the prosecutors in Salem and the French countryside in the days of witches and Jean d'Arc, the "Cultural Revolution" in China, and the Prosecutors of the Terror.

Repeatedly over the last thirty years, we have seen the Mob called into the streets by District Attorneys, both local and Federal. At Duke, at McMartinville, and a hundred other venues. More, we've seen several extraordinary abuses of the power of the Congress to compel testimony, each done for no more than a chance for vain and crippled souls to hector whom they please and be seen doing it. These be snakes slithering about, intent on the business of their foul Master.

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:33 pm

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

Chain of custody = Roger Clemens innocent!

Actually, fantastic point.  Where is the chain of custody for the needles that low-life had.  How do we know he did not stalk Clemens, pull syringes out of the trash can of Roger's doctors office (for that flu shot he was getting) and then tainted them with PED's?  Makes perfect sense!!!

Actually, I am making fun, but you have a wonderful point.  This sample was at least sealed with Braun's signature across that seal, so that is why I don't think it was tainted and probably a legitimate test, but Clemen's needle was supposedly stored in a sandwich baggy for 6 or 7 years before made public? Where is that chain of custody?

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