Tag Archives: Suspension

Tidbit #2

Posted by Steve

So much for the break from Ryan Braun stuff. This tidbit isn’t really much of a tidbit after all: it potentially could make Braun’s entire case. Yet, somehow, nobody is talking about it. Will Carroll, formerly of Baseball Prospectus and now of Sports Illustrated, is considered a doping expert and has published a book on the topic. He has been talking all weekend about his piece with info that nobody wanted to host. Apparently it was too similar to the one SI already had? Except for the fact it had info nobody else’s did, so I don’t really understand.

Anyway, Carroll decided to put his article on Amazon for 99 cents. Rather than link to that, I want to share an article that discusses Carroll’s info. It links to the Amazon article if you are so interested in splurging.

The author, Chad Moriyama, is a Dodgers blogger–something I found a bit interesting, because many Dodgers fans were calling for the MVP to go to Matt Kemp after this Braun story broke (Kemp should have won the MVP in the first place anyway, but that’s beside the point). Anyway, he’s very objective in this piece, and most of his commenters seem to be as well.

He also attacks the “technicality” angle, correctly pointing out that chain of custody is part of the science. And he highlights the new info that we’ve only seen from Carroll: Braun’s defense team was able to replicate the positive test in a new sample by following the same procedure as Braun’s handler.

This is again, a piece of evidence that should exonerate Braun, yet no national media member has run with this. ESPN sure as hell hasn’t. All the national polls at web sites show that the majority of people believe Braun is guilty, yet this hasn’t been widely reported? Asinine. People aren’t hearing the entire story.

Of course, there’s no total proof that Braun is innocent, but you cannot say there is for any other MLB player, either. All the facts that have come in over the last 4-5 days show that there is no logical way to assuredly proclaim Braun’s guilt, and that anyone doing so is ignoring evidence.


Another tidbit

Posted by Steve

I realize I’m probably posting too much here, but I thought this tidbit was too good to just add in as an edit to the last post. This is a report of what Dan Patrick said this morning on his radio show.

“According to Dan Patrick, the collector bypassed 2 open Fed Ex and then went to a 3rd and it was closed. So he went back and stored it. He is a Cubs fan, and during the appeal proccess they asked him to state his name, and it took 37 seconds for him to respond. They asked him to identify Braun, and couldn’t look at him. Braun also passed a lie-dector test.”

Whaaa? This is just getting better and better! If this crap is true, there should be absolutely no doubt anymore. And if it’s true, I can see why Braun would be getting ready to sue the bejesus out of this guy and anyone else he could.

Braun Press Conference

Posted by Steve

I wanted to wait until we heard from Braun before I passed total judgment. First, some other things that came out today:

-Apparently Lester Munson, ESPN’s legal analyst, said

Live Blog of the Conference: My reactions as it’s happening

-Initial Braun claims:

-Literally never gained a pound
-Didn’t get stronger or faster, has documentation
-Making all the claims we have: 9 years left on his contract, never failed a test, no performance indications, so much to lose, not much to gain

-“If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I would come right out and say it.” The unintentional part is what stands out. This has nothing to do with intent. In fact, if his argument was that he took it on accident, he’d have no case.

-Wow. He went into EXTREME detail about the day of the test and the process, including a near-comical description of FedEx. He really put the collector to task, naming all the stores in the area that were open until 9 p.m. and one that was open 24 hours. That’s what this has come to.

-Apparently the collector’s son is the third party involved here, as he was actually the one who observed Braun take the test.

-Awesome comment from Braun when asked about tampering. “I know what it’s like to be falsely accused of something, so I don’t want to falsely accuse someone else.” ZING.

-Not a timid press conference at all. He seems like he’s struggling to stay calm; you can tell he’s wanted to say this for a long time.

-Even discussing the detailed process once the sample gets to the Montreal lab

-He is considering legal options! Love it.

-He actually said he never has had an STD! On national television! Wow.

-“Sad and disappointing” that this has become a PR battle for MLB.

-The second questions is a fluff question: “How important is the support of your fans?” MOVING ON

-Can’t name the collector at this time because of his possible lawsuit

-Biggest challenge he’s ever faced in his life

-Baseball-wise, he’s very motivated by this. Sounds like he’s a good bet for another great season.

-Another fluff question: “What does it mean to have your teammates behind you?” How’s he supposed to answer that, other than with a fluff answer?

-He wouldn’t speak for the entire program (whether it’s flawed), only for his case, in which case he said it was (obviously) fatally flawed.

-“The players agreed to this system. MLB has agreed to this system. The system decided I was innocent.” All very valid points. MLB is honestly abandoning its own system by disputing its outcome.

Those were mostly the highlights, but that doesn’t capture the conference. It was the way he spoke. He was determined, and it looked like he was struggling to keep from losing his temper–the opposite of someone who is trying to hide guilt. You could tell he’s been waiting five months to say all this. He was composed, and went into great detail about the process, the day of the test, and what happened in the few days afterwards.

After taking a few minutes to gauge reaction from media/twitter, it seems Braun did quite well. Even curmudgeony Bob Costas was impressed with the conference on MLB Network. He believes there is true reasonable doubt. I’m actually surprised to hear that.

On twitter, there are a lot of, “Braun hit that one out like a hanging curve” types of comments. My thought is that it only would have been better if there was a door for him to kick down as he walked off the podium.

I’m feeling jacked, and I’m taking it as an omen that my Baseball Prospectus Manual and Baseball America Manual arrived during this post. Bring on baseball.

Time to pile on MLB

Posted by Steve

It’s only been a few hours since the news of Braun’s exoneration broke, and you can already find opinions all over the board. MLB’s representatives came out and immediately shredded the tie-breaking arbitrator, Shyam Das, claiming that Braun was found innocent on a technicality. In turn, several articles either disputing the “technicality” claim, criticizing MLB’s process, or both (like here, here, and here, for example).

Because there’s already so much out there on that, I don’t see the point in repeating it, other than to say if the process is flawed, the sample is therefore flawed. Instead, I want to make a point that I haven’t seen made much tonight for whatever reason: We have still heard nothing from Ryan Braun.

Right? Isn’t that sort of crucial? In about four hours, we’ve gone from celebrating Braun’s innocence to relating his exoneration to O.J.’s (actually saw that on twitter). Remember five freaking months ago, when this first (illegally) came out? How Braun’s only reaction was to call the results “B.S.” and say he was totally innocent? I find it pretty hard to believe he’d be talking so confidently if his only line of defense was that the sample had sat out a couple days. There still has to be some bizarre details to this story that we have not heard. Why else would it have taken so damn long to resolve it?

Adding to the fishiness of this is the fact that the report that the ruling was based not on the test results (huh? how?) and instead just on the storing process of the sample. I say it’s fishy, because it comes from ESPN’s Mark Fainaru-Wada. Of course, Fainaru-Wada is the guy who broke the Braun story five months ago in the first place…. So is he the most credible in this situation? Who’s to say he’s not just trying to defend his own original report? And how could the ruling not be based on the test results, when the handling process could have tainted the results?

I just want to hear what Braun has to say tomorrow. The only twist is that, now, I’m not really sure how much he’ll actually give us. If he would have been suspended, I imagine he’d have given us full detail into his defense in attempt to save some face. Now that he’s off the hook, he might not see that need. I truly hope he does though, because otherwise the naysayers will be that much louder. Plus, selfishly, I’m really curious to know what extenuating circumstances dragged this out so long.

As for MLB…. They’re coming off like morons. This debacle is entirely their fault, yet they’re trying to place the blame all on one person (Das). Let’s go over MLB’s errors, from start to finish:

-Letting the positive test get leaked to ESPN in the first place. It’s crazy to think that all of this, including today’s hoopla, should not be known by any of us!

-Messing up the process with the courier. Again, they didn’t intend for it to happen, but you would think they’d have a backup plan if  “the courier doesn’t realize FedEx is open 24 hours.” They should be embarrassed that even happened, regardless of whether it was the reason the failed test was thrown out.

-Having this stupid appeal process set up in this format in the first place. If you’re going to have a panel of three arbitrators, why would you have one from MLB and one from the players’ union? They’re just going to vote for their side regardless of any evidence; doesn’t that make them faulty in the first place? Have three independent arbitrators decide the case, not just one.

-Breaking confidentiality again tonight! MLB’s Rob Manfred, the arbitrator representing MLB in the case, popped off, saying he “vehemently” disagreed with the ruling and discussing details of the case. Again, this is all before we’ve heard anything from Braun? Manfred, why are you saying anything at all at this point? Again, THIS IS ALL SUPPOSED TO BE CONFIDENTIAL!

MLB made its own bed in this one, and they now have to sleep in it. I have a feeling this will get worse for them before it gets better. It’s been revealed that they were this careless in this instance, so how will players feel about testing in the future? About positive tests that have already come down? For that matter, how credible does the Mitchell Report look right now? Their entire testing process might come under fire. This is a nightmare for a league that claims to have cleaned up its sport.

It seems bonkers that we haven’t had anything other than a generic statement from Braun at this point. I suppose it’s possible that we don’t get anything more than that tomorrow, but I at least want to wait until possibly forming an opinion that he was let off on some sort of technicality.