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Your morning Ryan Braun roundup

Feb 24, 2012, 7:48 AM EDT

If, like a lot of people, you read HBT at work for the most part, you missed out on Ryan Braun insanity last night.  Here’s a roundup of it:

Finally, I went on NBC SportsTalk last night, about a half hour after it all went down, to talk to Russ about it all. Check it out here:

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!


I’m sure we’ll have more on it today.  Maybe even some baseball too!

  1. EK Ohio - Feb 24, 2012 at 7:57 AM

    Really, the reaction boils down to this: Many baseball writers and fans want to have today’s stars fail these tests, just to prove that their baseball heroes were better/clean. If they had any interest in the process, then Braun’s win should have been a victory of a testing/appeal system. Instead, we get a bunch of people saying “they’re guilty until I SAY SO”. Heck, why don’t we just see if they weigh more or less than a duck, because that is want many writers/fans want.

    • Old Gator - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:08 AM

      Cris[y duck, at that. For years MLB and the Union winked at the entire doping situation while big production numbers packed their bank accounts; now, they’re howling with indignation when a player wins an appeals process they set up themselves. The whole spectacle is rapidly losing its interest for me.

      Say, didn’t spring training start on Monday or some such thing?

      • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:14 AM


        I have to say I followed the Braun thing really closely last night. But when Matthews Orioles post went up last night, it was light inhaling fresh air for the first time in a while.

  2. navel gazing - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    Disclaimer: I don’t care if Braun did or didn’t get caught.

    It makes me crazy that the leak (no pun intended) isn’t being discussed more. I know we’re not talking grand jury testimony, but the fact that the false positive was leaked, and then won in arbitration, should have all been behind closed doors.

    MLB and the players assn should be taking a look at who had access to the information, and make sure to tighten up that info. Because this whole thing could have been avoided if the info was handled carefully and access was kept contained.

    If they were half as careful with access to the info as they claim to have been with the sample, the black eye on MLB, the testing process and Ryan Braun could have been avoided.

    • navel gazing - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:20 AM

      Dammit, and there goes Lar @wezen_ball saying it 1,000 times better.

    • themohel - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:22 AM

      It was not a false positive. Chain of custody was intact and he specifically did not contest the result.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:31 AM

        Maybe because, despite a potential ability to contest the results, it was easier to contest chain of command?

        And why are we assuming he didn’t AT ALL contest the results?

      • themohel - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:54 AM

        I’m not assuming that he didn’t contest the results; many very similar reports confirm this. This is an assumption – from a PR standpoint, the best defense would be to successfully prove that the test was a false positive. His lawyers were very good; they would have used this angle if it were possible.

      • Francisco (FC) - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:56 AM

        Chain of Custody, Chain of command is something else entirely :)

      • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:57 AM

        But you don’t know what his lawyers did and did not use. You do not know their strategy or how the hearing went.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:58 AM

        FC just defeated me on a technicality!

  3. cleverbob - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:18 AM

    So rather than having the Manny taint, he’ll have more of a Bagwell shadow hanging over his career.

    • largebill - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:34 AM

      Actually, believe this is closer to Manny than to Bagwell. Bagwell never had a hint of a positive test it was all innuendo. This is closer to a case where a guy is caught doing X (shoplifting, littering, whatever . . .) and case is thrown out because cop screwed up paperwork or failed to read him his Miranda rights. Guy still littered whether case was thrown out or not.

    • themohel - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:39 AM

      More than a shadow, I think. His sample tested positive, which he did not contest. The seals on the sample were intact when it was tested, meaning it was not tampered with. He won his appeal solely because the tester did not ship it the night it was taken, as apparently inferred by the agreement. A technical violation that does not go to the content in the sample – a huge amount of testosterone.

  4. makeham98 - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    Braun’s lawyer did his job – he got his client off. If Braun wants to “clear his name” it’s a completely separate issue.

  5. paperlions - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    The reactions to this have been fascinating. It is amazing how people can develop such strong opinions without access to any facts and then defend those baseless opinions. Just strange that people can become so invested in something they think, even when they don’t have any real reason to think it.

    First, we get strong reactions to the leak of the positive test, and a lot of rumor that many treat as fact.

    Second, we get equally strong reactions to the arbitration decision, when no one has any solid facts about the contents of the hearing. Obviously, this was a complex issue and not a simple decision, but the vast majority of people act like the issues that formed the basis for appeal can be boiled down to a one or two sentences. If that were true, it wouldn’t have taken so long to reach the decision.

    Third, people act like there is some victim here. The only potential victim is Braun for suffering through what should have been a private process publicly, and for possibly being wrongly accused in the first place (again, none of us have sufficient information to know what if he is guilty).

    • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:57 AM


    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:01 AM

      I can’t +1 this enough

    • themohel - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:01 AM

      First – the leak/rumor turned out to be exactly correct; he did test positive for huge levels of testosterone.

      Second – There are plenty of solid facts out there (even on HBT alone) to form an opinion of the situation.

      Third – I agree the this process should have been private, and that the leaker should be punished. There are other “potential” victims, though, such as fans of Braun, the Brewers, and baseball in general. This next part is purely from a “court of public opinion” point-of-view. How did such a huge amount of a PED get into his system?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:03 AM

        “potential” victims, though, such as fans of Braun, the Brewers, and baseball in general

        You have to explain this. How has any fan, MLB or the Brewers suffered from this?

      • paperlions - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:09 AM

        Actually, the sample tested positive for huge levels of testosterone, which is not the same as Braun testing positive. If (as was decided by an arbiter with infinitely more information than we have….and much of the “information” posted here is here say and conjecture, not established fact) the chain of custody was broken, then it can not be established that the sample was that provided by Braun.

        Does it not seem strange to you that in a sample with questionable custody, the rumored result was that the test revealed never been seen levels of testosterone?

      • themohel - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:15 AM

        Church – many believe that fans have been “victims” of PED use in baseball. If this were not the case, there would be no interest in the topic. If we are all victims, of Bonds, Palmiero, McGuire, etc., than we are in the same sense “potential” victims of the use of PED’s by Braun. Again, this ruling was not about whether his sample contained the drug; I think he will need to answer that in the court of public opinion.

      • themohel - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:27 AM

        Paperlions – the arbitrator did NOT decide that the chain of custody was broken; the chain of custody was completely intact.

      • paperlions - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:33 AM

        Could I get a link to the text of the arbiter’s decision? I’d love to exactly why the test was thrown out then…..or is this another anonymous “some one with knowledge”-based speculative comment?

        Here is the thing about anonymous comments: they are usually wrong. Realizing that they are usually wrong, what would make you decide to believe any of them?

      • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:43 AM

        Paper, I’m sure you’ve read by now but I think the arbiter gets 30 days to file his enitre written report. Hopefully we get to see that in some way.

        @TheMohel: I don’t understand anyone feeling like a victim (any fan I mean). I sure didn’t feel victimized watching McGwire and Sosa battle it out that year. I didn’t feel victimized watching Bonds be one of the best players ever in baseball. The funny thing is that no one really felt victimized at those times either.

      • themohel - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:54 AM

        Philly – I am personally not too worked up over steroid use in general, and don’t feel like a victim. Many are though, so my point is that if one gets worked up over Bonds, McGuire, and Palmiero (and non-proven users like Sosa and Bagwell), one would get worked up about Braun. I mean, he actually tested positive.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:36 AM

        Mohel: You keep saying over and over again that Ryan Braun tested positive. He did not test positive. The sample of which a positive test was taken and attributed to Ryan Braun was, in and of itself, tainted.

        Your argument is as tainted as the supposed sample.

      • themohel - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:04 AM

        Koufax – here you go, read a little before you say things…

      • cur68 - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        I’m failing to see where I’ve been victimized by Braun, Bonds, McGuire, Clemens, Palmiero etc. Some of those guys were jerks, but not becasue of PEDs, but because they’re jerks even without PEDs. The one thing I can see is that anyone forming strong opinion on all this conjecture is risking looking pretty foolish if the actual facts come to light and it turns out that chain of custody is the least of the problem with MLB’s case against Braun.

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:54 AM

      ^This x 1000

      • badmamainphilliesjamas - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:56 AM

        reply fail . . . should’ve just thumbs-upped paperlions @8:50 am

    • Gamera the Brave - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:24 PM

      Well said (golf claps).
      This issue has really stirred up the troops, and I think Craig as well.
      Some of the most interesting comment threads in a long time.

  6. wischadson - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    so the sample was sealed….fine. how many new seals does the courier have access to? u think he only has one set for seals? he clearly tampered with the sample, early reports said the sample had deadly amounts of testosterone in it.

    • rooney24 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      I would think the seals need to be sealed and signed in front of the person who was being tested. So, even if the tester had other seals, I don’t think replacing them would have been an easy option. It’s nice that you automatically assume corruption and tampering. Everyone is complaining about assuming Braun did wrong with “no proof”, while you jump to an allegation of what I assume would be illegal activity with zero proof.

      • themohel - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:20 AM

        Exactly correct. There is no allegation of “bad acts” by anyone. The agreement says that the sample needs to be sent in right away, and the arbitrator ruled that keeping it overnight (even though chain of custody was handled correctly) was a violation of the agreement and he can’t be suspended. NOTHING about this means that the sample wasn’t his or was a false positive – that sample tested positive TWICE.

  7. Jonny 5 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    I’m not convinced there was any chain of custody issue and this test being overturned seems like a case where the guilty got away with being guilty for no good reason (only because the chain of custody protocol seems intact). Could Braun sue MLB over confidentiality if he had to go public with something? Like say having Herpes? Forcing MLB to broker a deal to toss the charges or be sued for a substantial amount? I’m just grasping straws here because this really doesn’t make much sense right now to me.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      I thought Craig had posted an blog from a doctor at Hopkins that said Herpes meds would NOT have raised his testosterone levels. But I’m all for leaving his personal life alone.

  8. Walk - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    There are a few things about this process that bother me. It starts at beginning too. Stop your leaks. Someone and probably several people know who leaked the info. Fire them. The courier as far as i can tell did follow procedure. However the procedure is terrible. That sample should never have been left unattended and unsecured. I cannot stress how badly that need to be changed. If it is going to be stored it needs to be locked away.

    • themohel - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      I’ll agree that a sample should be secure; but isn’t it secure in the locked dwelling of the person who took it? The seals were all properly attached when it arrived at the lab. These tests are often done after FedEx/Kinkos has closed for the night/weekend.

  9. makeham98 - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Saying McGwire didn’t test positive is as lame as it gets. . . he admitted using steroids. He cheated. A test is unnecessary for him.

  10. fergie22 - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    lets he plays for who oh yeah the brewers

    and who is the head of baseball oh yeah bud the pud which team did he own?

    just saying jmo

    • jwbiii - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      And yet the sole dissenting vote on the arbitration panel came from MLB VP Rob Manfred. He was the only member of the panel whose vote Selig could influence.

      Seems like you’ve got something other than a functioning brain between your ears.

      Just saying.

  11. dowhatifeellike - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    I don’t have an opinion either way, but “not guilty” is not the same as “innocent”. The judge could not prove conclusively that Braun was using a testosterone supplement, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do it. And testosterone supplements are not illegal – you just can’t take testosterone directly. You can go to any supplement store and get a bottle of test precursors that become test through normal metabolic processes. They’re not “steriods” and you’re not getting ridiculous doses of test, but they do elevate test levels.

  12. El Bravo - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    I’d like to know more. I won’t likely ever find out more. That’s frustrating. Like, for instance, why is it such a huge breach in chain of custoday to put a sample in the fridge at a tester’s house overnight? I see the opening for tainting samples here, but in this case, I find it kind of amazing that that would be the kicker to why Braun won the ruling.

    The MLB will likely adjust their rules on chain of command for this scenario to never reoccur. It will be an easy fix I’m sure. But like I said, IF that is the one thing he got off on, then that sucks for the MLB, the fans (except the Milwaukee fans I presume) and for other players not named Braun. One, it shows the MLB’s procedures are flawed (which has good aspects as well, but flaws aren’t good on their face), two, it doesn’t enlighten anyone to whether or not Braun actually was cheating (which sucks b/c if he was and won an MVP, that bums me out a bit), and three, the fans will just never know what to think. Well I don’t know what to think now, so no matter what, this sucks for the fans….

    • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      This breach of chain of command shows just how flimsy the entire process happens to be.

      If Braun was such a user of drugs, why had he never been caught before? He’s come of age in MLB during testing done at the minor league level. That Oct test wasn’t the first time he was tested on major league level. And then he tests positive on a sample that was brought home and kept in a fridge (allegedly) for 2 days….

      This whole thing reeks.

      The real bottom line is that the initial findings should not have been leaked. Which is another example of the lack of professionalism and case security that the handling of personal information requires. Nevermind from any of these reports is the lack of really knowing whether the sample taken, tested, and stored were one and the same. I mean, who am I suppose to trust? Bud? WADA? The courier? ESPN?

      None of them have earned my trust. All of them are culprits until this entire facade is done away with.

      • El Bravo - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:05 PM

        And I agree…especially about the leak. The problem here is that these leaks will ALWAYS occur when big names are involed and/or the stakes are high. It happens in politics, sports, and everywhere else. The rules need to take that into account somehow. If there were a way to punish the leaker(s) that’d be nice, but finding out the culprits is usaually next to impossible.

      • navel gazing - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        This, exactly. This should never have seen the light of day, as the process is supposed to play out before anything is made public. No one can be proven innocent here. El Bravo is right, and where they should be looking is after the leak, who caused the PR insanity for everyone involved. If they find a way to inhibit people’s willingness to share this information, they will have spent their time and money well.

        The process was well defined. Someone found the test didn’t follow the process. I love that so many people feel they are so educated that they feel they are MORE informed than the person employed by 2 incredibly powerful organizations, with opposing viewpoints, who they presented information to make an informed decision.

        Can we please just talk about PFP and other related nonsense now? I think the press is 900X more outraged than the general public.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:44 PM

        Exactly, El Bravo. This is a completely imperfect system that will do nothing but drag people through the mud.

        The can of worms of squishy.

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