Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:18 pm

Anti-doping official: Braun verdict "miscarriage"

The Ryan Braun decision was a “miscarriage of anti-doping justice,” an official from the nation’s leading independent drug testing organization told on Friday.

Chris Guinty, a vice president for the National Center for Drug-Free Sport in Kansas City, Mo.,  aggressively defended the protocol in handling what had been labeled a positive test for the Milwaukee Brewers’ star. He told that it was “standard industry practice” for Braun’s sample to be held overnight.

Drug-Free Sport handles testing for the NCAA, PGA, LPGA and the minor leagues.

A three-man arbitration board decided to grant Braun an appeal to his 50-game suspension for reportedly testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone. Braun is believed to be the first Major League player to win such an appeal. In a press conference on Friday, he maintained that his sample was invalid after it kept by the collector for two days instead of being immediately shipped to MLB’s testing lab in Montreal.

Braun went to say the process was “fatally flawed” and suggested the sample may have been tampered with.

“I stop short of condemning anybody,” Guinty said. “[But] I believe in the chain of custody. I don’t believe any standard industry protocol was violated here.”

In the anti-doping world, the reaction was the opposite. The World Anti-Doping Agency said the protocol breach that saved Braun would have been within its rules. The chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, called the verdict in Braun’s favor "a real gut-kick to clean athletes." Major League Baseball released a statement defending the process.

“We have a very similar reaction to baseball,” Guinty said. “In our industry, it was standard industry practice to conduct the collection service like this collector did and take the sample home. The fact that nobody focused on the fact there is an unaccountable positive result … is a slap in the face to all the clean athletes who play the sport.”

Braun told reporters the test in question showed three times more testosterone than had been recorded in any other player. The reigning National League MVP went into detail Friday saying there was a 44-hour gap between the collection and the shipping. He went on to tell reporters that there was five FedEx locations open until 9 p.m. within five miles of Milwaukee’s Miller Field where he was tested Oct. 1. He said there was an additional FedEx store that was open 24 hours.

Guinty said that if the MLB collector had missed a FedEx shipping deadline, it is still better for that collector to hold the sample overnight.

“It is much more safer in the handler’s hands [in that situation] than at a FedEx where you don’t know what happened to the sample,” he said.

Sports medicine consultant Rod Walters also weighed in. Walters was head trainer at South Carolina for 17 years and has 28 years experience in the field.

“If it was overnight…is the specimen any weaker?” he said when contacted by ‘When you go longer than a year [the sample] may denigrate, it may lose some of its [strength].”

Drug-Free Sport has approximately 300 college clients, all but a fraction of those are NCAA schools. It claims more than 80 years of drug-testing experience on its staff. 

Posted on: October 9, 2009 9:55 am

Cardinal Nation is hurt

Aside from the ocean, resorts and mountains there isn’t much to do in Missouri.

OK, make that -- aside from the polluted Lake of the Ozarks, Worlds of Fun and beer pong, there isn’t much to do in Missouri.

Beer pong? The state’s two largest breweries are located in St. Louis (Belgium-owned Anheuser-Busch) and Kansas City (locally owned Boulevard).

This brings us around to Thursday being one of the state’s worst sports days in recent memory. Remember, the Rams, Chiefs and Royals call this state home so it had to be bad.

Yes, the Blues lost their home opener to Atlanta. Missouri coughed up a hair ball in the rain against Nebraska. But Matt Holliday, dude, what were you thinking?

The immediate aftermath of the Cardinals’ leftfielder dropping a series-tying fly ball that would have sent the St. Louis-Los Angeles division series back to The Loo tied 1-1 is pity.

I’m here to spew lava. It was ball to the gut (Holliday’s) followed by a punch to the gut (of the fans).

There has been baseball torture over the years in baseball’s finest city, few worse than this acid-in-the-eyes moment. I’m just hoping Cardinals fans don’t boo Holliday went he takes the field on Saturday. (

Maybe that would be the best case scenario. Holliday might need security. Nah, this isn’t Philadelphia.)

He lost it in the lights? What’s next, the dog ate your homework? You missed your ride to work?

Sorry, but major leaguers don’t lose balls in lights, especially those paid millions of dollars about to go to free agency. Especially with everything on the line in the playoffs. Especially in the freakin’ day time!

If I wasn’t so pissed right now I’d forgive Don Denkinger. That little miscue in 1985 looks like spilled milk compared to this.

Back then, it was the umpire’s fault. This gaffe, Matt, is on you. It probably cost the Cardinals the series.

Lost it in the lights? It was about 6:15 p.m. PT when the ball was hit. I’d feel better if you told us you lost it in the sunset.

Lost it in the lights? Just admit you couldn’t decide whether it was glove up or glove down.

Lost it in the lights? Just not good enough. Not for a major leaguer. Any time.

I think I speak for all Cardinals fans when I say, you tore our hearts out, Matt. We need someone to blame.


Category: MLB
Posted on: May 25, 2009 11:33 am

Underdogs to Wonderdogs again

A week or so ago Fresno State needed to win three of four against Sacramento State just to qualify for the WAC baseball tournament.

This was important because Fresno won the national championship last year. The "Wonderdogs" were unranked and unloved but swept through the Omaha bracket with the help of rightfielder Steve Detwiler and his mangled thumb. This was important also because those defending national champs were in last place having to beat Sacramento State.

According to the NCAA, Fresno was threatening to become the first defending national champ to not even quality for its conference tournament since Georgia in 1991. But the Dogs swept the Sac State series (how many of you even knew Sacramento State was a WAC baseball member?) to earn an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii for the WAC tournament over the weekend.

At the time it seemed like a nice parting gift for the defending national champions who were hovering around .500 at that point. Then they somehow made it to Sunday -- late Sunday, actually, Eastern Time.

The Wonderdogs won four consecutive elimination games, including two against New Mexico State on Sunday to grab the NCAA tournament automatic berth. This is why they call them Wonderdogs: sophomore Jordan Ribera hit back-to-back game-winning homers to put Fresno back in the bracket. (The NCAA tournament field was announced Monday afternoon ET).

Ribera had come into the tournament hitting .113 and was only playing because first baseman Alan Ahmady was suspended. Ribera's first home run broke a 7-7 tie in the top of the ninth against the Aggies. In the second game, Ribera broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run shot.

When was the last time a .113 hitter was named tournament MVP?

Now it's on to the big tournament to see determine if the once last-place Freak Dogs can go back-to-back in national championships. 
Posted on: February 18, 2008 9:49 am
Edited on: February 18, 2008 11:39 am

Why They Had To Go To The Hill

I've stayed silent on this long enough. You want to know why this baseball stuff has to be played out in Washington?

Start with accountability. Baseball enjoys a long-standing anti-trust exemption. It enjoys that exemption at the leisure of the federal government. Baseball operates with impunity enough. When its lords let cheaters take over the game, there has to be some authority to oversee the game.

In other words, baseball can't control baseball. The current drug testing problem still isn't enough. Until it is random and year round for all times, it won't be complete.

Anyone else notice that -- with agonizingly few exceptions -- these drug cheats aren't accountable until the feds intervene. BALCO brought it all out in the open. Now Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are opening themselves up to perjury charges proving once again that it's not the crime, it's the cover up. Can't wait until IRS agents get their hooks into Clemens' tax returns. Think those might be interesting?

It didn't have to be this way. All these guys had to do was admit a weakness. They would have been forgiven by now. Washington might have been a circus, but it certainly isn't a waste of time. I want to know who did what, when and how much. I want to know why the best players in the game, sure Hall of Famers, felt like they had to get an edge.

Hubris? Stupidity? Arrogance? All of them?

I'm still operating on the belief that the heroes were the guys (and girls) that didn't take performance-enhancers. The fools, they wanted to do it the natural way. And for those who equate athletes with Judy Garland on speed for the Beatles on acid (hey, they're all entertainers), go back in your hole. Entertainers are not in competition. They are not duping the public.

That's why the hearings last week were a good thing. I don't care if baseball didn't test for drugs during large parts of Barry Bonds' and Roger Clemens' career. That's a cop out. How about breaking the law? How about being able to look in the mirror? How about being a fraud?

That hypocrite Dan Burton ripped Brian McNamee for lying. How about Burton having a child out of wedlock? Another Republican blowhard accused McNamee of being a drug pusher. What does that make those he was injecting, addicts?

While McNamee is not a saint, a huge point must be made here. Yes, he has lied before but men have gone to the gas chamber on the testimony of convicted felons. Sometimes, dear public, we must rely on the testimony of the flawed to convict the guilty. Let's not wring our hands over a guy who has no motive in ratting out Clemens. McNamee knows he is ruining his own career.

Let's just assume for a second that McNamee is telling the truth in this case (he is backed up by Chuck Knoblauch and Andy Pettitte). This former trainer arguably has revealed the most significant piece of information in baseball history.

One of the best pitchers in history, cheated his ass off (pun intended). Those 354 victories? Transparent. Seven Cy Youngs? Illegitimate. His legend? Dead.

The sad part for baseball is that it has ignored this problem for so long that it had to rely on the testimony of two drug cheats (Knoblauch, Pettitte) and a proven liar (McNamee) to nail the biggest baseball fraud of all time.

Category: MLB
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