Braun-Ball

Published on: 2/24/2012

The decision finally has been made, and now we can get on with the baseball season...or can we?

Ryan Braun won his battle to remain an active player in the Major Leagues since the MLB inquiry into the possibilities of Braun's use of enhancement drugs has been settled in his favor with a two-to-one arbitration decision in his case.  You will recall, no doubt, that his testosterone levels were supposedly off the chart in a random testing instance during the past season.  He had maintained his innocence but there had never been a MLB player who won his appeal after being hit with a suspension edict.

There have been strange things going on in this case from the 'git-go':

MLB had tested him regularly, several times during the past season prior to this occurrence.  He had never tested positive.

MLB broke the "chain of custody" requirement in that the sample was not under its control for some 48 hours after it had been taken.  MLB knew that, and could have re-tested Braun when that was discovered, but chose not to do that.  Instead they went with that sample (even though they did finally re-test...see below) that could be subject to appeal, and they lost as the result.

Braun has never shown any evidence of 'doping'; no other positive test results ever; no physical growth indications such as we've seen in other players who have used performance enhancing drugs; no season performance surges that would suggest some new strength that hadn't been seen before in his career, etc.  Braun has played as well as he plays since he emerged.

Somehow, this whole testing episode, that was supposed to never reach our eyes or ears, was made public before any hearings had been held.  There was a leak and we don't know how that occurred and may never know how that occurred.  If MLB had been on top of their game when this leak occurred, they could've and should've taken another sample and done away with the chain of custody issue.  They did finally re-test Braun according to press reports, and that test apparently was negative.  This happened a relatively short time after the first sampling and, given the very high testosterone levels in the first sample, it was surprising that this test was normal.  Yet, MLB went ahead with its proceedings apparently ignoring the re-test sample.

Then, after the findings were finally released (two to three weeks later than expected), MLB had to further erode its tenuous PR position by releasing a nasty statement that, essentially, said "we lost, but we really don't think that was right".  This was classless pouting that has done nothing but tarnish the MLB, in my opinion.

If there is anything we can draw from this episode, it is this:  just because Commissioner Selig lives and offices here in Milwaukee, there is no favoritism being shown the Brewers or its players.