Friday, February 24, 2012

Braun's brawn - real or juiced?

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, and 2011 National League MVP, Ryan Braun will not have to serve a 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.

"I am very pleased and relieved by today's decision," Braun said in a statement. "It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.

"We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances. I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide. I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year."

Unfortunately for Braun, it's not that simple. It appears he won his appeal not because it was proven Braun did not use PEDs but that there was a chain of custody issue in handling his urine sample.

According to one of the sources, the collector, after getting Braun's sample, was supposed to take the sample to a FedEx office for shipping. But sources said the collector thought the FedEx office was closed because it was late on a Saturday and felt the sample wouldn't get shipped until Monday.

As has occurred in some other instances, the collector took the sample home and kept it in a cool place, in his basement at his residence in Wisconsin, according to multiple sources. Policy states the sample is supposed to get to FedEx as soon as possible.

So there remains a possibility that Braun did indeed "juice" but that he won on a technicality. Don't think that won't be touted if the Brewers have another successful season thanks to another solid year by Braun.

The flip side is what if Braun's 2012 offensive production actually takes a dip? Without the specter of a positive drug test, one could easily write that off to the fact that slugger Prince Fielder no longer hits behind Braun in the batting order. But due to a December report of a positive test, many fans outside Milwaukee, fair or unfair, will likely view it differently, especially if their team was usurped by the Brewers in the 2011 standings.

With Major League Baseball contemplating a lawsuit in response to the arbitrators' decision, it's likely we haven't heard the last of this.



Mr. D said...

With Major League Baseball contemplating a lawsuit in response to this the arbitrators' decision, it's likely we haven't heard the last of this.

This is the part that blows me away. When you agree to using an arbitrator, you waive your right to protest the decision. MLB is full of lawyers and has to know this, so I'd chalk a lot of that up to posturing.

Brad Carlson said...

True, D. But since lawyers are involved, they're now carving up the arbitrators' interpretation of the rules in reaching their verdict. Pretty thin logic to be sure, but that's high-profile lawyers for ya.