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The players are not happy with the Braun decision

Mar 1, 2012, 9:44 AM EDT

Ryan Braun Getty new Getty Images

At least the ones Buster Olney has spoken to.  He reports that he has spoken with dozens and dozens of ballplayers off the record in the past week, and that as many as 80-90% of them are upset at the Braun decision.  They don’t like that he challenged procedure as opposed to substance, and they think it’s bad for the testing program overall, which they sincerely want to work.

I understand that. And I think it’s a good thing for drug testing in baseball overall that there are people who are upset at it.  Like I said yesterday, systems are improved over time when blips and inefficiencies occur.  The Braun decision may seem unjust on some level, but its lasting legacy will not be about what it means for Braun, it will be about how, when faced with a problem in the system, the league and the union can work together to address it. Which I am certain they will here, either by clarifying the collection procedures to their people in the field or by changing the Joint Drug Agreement to conform to the practices those in the field have employed and to apply them going forward.

All of that said, complaints that the Braun decision somehow puts testing at risk is silly.  Braun walking on this charge is no more of a threat to the drug testing system than a guy getting off on a burglary charge because the cops didn’t get a proper search warrant is a threat to the criminal justice system. You may hate the result, but the remedy is easy: get it right next time or change the rules to make what happened in that instance acceptable.  It is not something that puts the entire regime in peril.

Finally, I’ll observe that these complaints all seem a little self-righteous to me.  No one who ever wins on a procedural argument themselves ever seems to have a problem with it.  And I suspect that the 80-90% of the players Olney spoke with here were under the gun themselves, they would not hesitate to make the same arguments Braun did if they or their legal advisors thought to do so.

134 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. nolanwiffle - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Can someone tell me where the procedural breakdown occured in this case?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      The arbitrator has not released his report yet so we don’t know exactly what breakdown led to his decision. It has been strongly suggested that the collector holding the sample in his home for a day or two before FedEx could ship it to the testing facility — while what the collector was trained to do by his employer and while it had been standard practice in the field — was not in conformance with the Joint Drug Agreement entered into between MLB and the MLBPA.

      • bdawk20 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:15 AM

        It’s kind of a damned if you do damned if you don’t scenario. If the collector dropped the specimen off at FedEx on Saturday, it would have sat there until Monday as well. Braun could have challenged that the sample was tainted by a FedEx employee in that case. I wonder that the MLB policy is for that – do you leave it at FedEx where no one is trained to handle it, or take it home where a trained and experienced collector with no previous track record of tampering (I would assume) would hold it?

        I think Braun would have gotten off either way based on his argument.

        Craig- do you know who chooses the timing of the testing? I would venture it’s the 3rd party. Either way, I hope the MLB understood the procedure needed for a weekend test…

      • 78mu - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:59 PM

        And this is why people say he got off on a technicality. Braun didn’t argue that the specimen was tampered with or that the delay contaminated his urine. He only argued process, not that the process changed his sample.

        Braun could have argued process unless he gave his sample in the drug testing lab. There were always people handling samples which is why they are bar coded and signed off by the player.

        I want to see the arguments put forth by Braun’s team and whether there really was a FedEx office that could have taken the sample. If the sample could not have been dropped off and shipped until Monday the arbitrator has some explaining to do as does the union rep on the panel since he should have to justify his decision beyond saying he works for the players.

        Until we get all the info (and I hope reporters dig into the whole story) this case will always smell fishy.

      • senclaydavis - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:13 PM


        “Braun didn’t argue that the specimen was tampered with or that the delay contaminated his urine. He only argued process, not that the process changed his sample.”

        How on earth do you know this? According to Will Carroll, Braun argued that the storage conditions are what led to the change in the testosterone/epitestosterone ratio. We won’t know for sure if this is true until we see Das’s report, but it makes more sense to me than the arbitrator being duped by some dumb procedural point that has no effect.

        And it is not surprising that current players are not happy with the Braun decision given that ESPN has forced the “technicality” explanation upon them.

      • bdawk20 - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:07 PM

        Yup, he did not argue that the specimen was tampered with in his appeal, but he made that argument in his statement to the public. He is using his win against the testing procedure to theorize that the flawed procedure caused the positive test.

        The one thing Braun does have in his favor is that he has never had a positive test before. The negative thing is that he was tested in the playoffs, during the biggest moment of his young career.

      • bdawk20 - Mar 1, 2012 at 4:26 PM

        Totally unrelated, but when did Braun become Henry Rolengardner??

      • senclaydavis - Mar 1, 2012 at 5:56 PM


        Again, according to Will Carroll, Braun’s defense team did argue that the storage process led to a change in the urine sample. It is a “process” argument in the sense that the process influenced the test result.

        I watched Braun’s press conference, and he never said the sample was tampered with. He said something about learning things about the process that made them suspicious. His statement is completely consistent with the storage process leading to a change in the urine composition.

      • MarMar - Mar 1, 2012 at 7:17 PM

        @bdawk20 but none of the FedEx employees would have anyway of knowing it was Braun’s sample, unless they opened the box. But then I believed the samples themselves don’t have names on them. So in the end the only one who knows is the collector himself.

      • stercuilus65 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:05 PM

        A few things that we know:

        There was no degradation of the sample which supports it was stored properly.

        The three seals were intact which it makes it very hard to believe they were tampered with outside of area 51 9/11 conspiracy buffs.

        Urine will not spontaneously generate testosterone, if anything the level will go down in time. Braun’s PR team is throwing it out there along with the sleazy innuendo about the test taker to try to create doubt among people desperate to believe. There’s a reason they didn’t try it with the arbitrator.

        The test taker was chosen by MLB AND the Players Association who have had no problem with his six years of service until now where suddenly Braun finds him shady and incompetent.

    • saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      When a star caliber player hired good lawyers to convince the ignorant that 40 hours in a Federal Express drop box was a better place to store urine than a private residence.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:11 AM

        That’s funny. I always thought the ignorant are the ones who know everything when they really don’t know anything. As in, being on the ground with the hard facts.

        Keep living in bliss, buddy.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        This is the credited response.

        From all of the information we currently have available, since that is all I or Craig or any of us have to go on, the collector acted in the best interest of preserving the integrity of the sample. And the integrity of the sample does not appear to be in question.

        If this is really a matter of the timing of the drop off to Fedex, the arbitrator should have the authority to exercise a little common sense in determining if the procedures actually used violated Braun’s rights or corrupted the sample.

        I would think a clean Braun would want the integrity of the sample to be determined, since a clean Braun could have only produced a clean sample. If the test results were not tainted by the procedures, the only winner in this case would be a PED-using Braun.

      • saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:22 AM

        Koufax, the definition of ignorant is readily available. It is a neutral term. I am ignorant to plenty of things.

        Lawyers swaying the minds of the ignorant is not something new. That’s what they do. Juries and arbitrators are never (well, I will allow for the .001% of the time) experts on the subject matter.

        Do you think the arbitrator is an expert on urine chemistry?

      • donniebb23 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        sabathia – If there’s one thing all the previous PED-related appeals have taught us is that it’s virtually impossible to get the ruling overturn using the “tainted sample” argument. Can’t you envision a scenario where Braun genuinely knows he didn’t do it, but him and his legal team knew the best chance to get the case overturned was to go the procedural route?

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:31 AM

        Donnie, There you go being reasonable and making sense. Don’t do that. Many commenters don’t like it.

      • vivabear - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:45 AM

        brew crew – I’m not sure reasonable is the right description. Naive probably is better. The likelihood of Braun’s test actually being clean is not very good. Synthetic testosterone doesn’t just grow in piss. Yes, he was within his rights to appeal – and show procedure wasn’t followed and get out from serving the 50 game suspension. We hear his team recreated the circumstances around the test. Do we know if that recreation showed that a test:epi ratio could be skewed…or if it could cause synthetic testosterone to grow in piss? Not at this point.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:50 AM

        vivabear, I’m not a scientist like everyone on these boards seems to be all of the sudden. What I do know though is you attack what you can beat just like Donie said. I’m not saying Braun absolutely certainly didn’t do PED’s. What I’m saying, and I believe Donnie is too, is that even if he knows he didn’t do it he also knows that going after the test results would be a much harder case to prove than the procedure itself. Sounds smart to me.

      • brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:07 AM

        So if we dont agree with you mitzvah does that we are anti-semites?

      • CJ - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:07 AM

        once again the “synthetic” argument. This was leaked by a “source” in a report which also contained other information which were later proved to be inaccurrate. Why then, must so many insist on hanging on to that statement as if it is fact, despite the fact that the real facts haven’t come out yet?

      • kopy - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        Wait, when did we learn there was synthetic testosterone in the sample? Please source.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        vivabear, What me and, I believe Donnie, mean is if Braun didn’t do steroids but knows there’s little to no way he’l be able to win the appeal by attacking the test results then it only makes sense to go after the procedure if that’s what you can beat. And I’m not saying Braun didn’t do them, I don’t know if he did but his lawyers would be dumb to go after somethig that isn’t winnable.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:15 AM

        Donnieb, I am not saying he should argue that the sample was tainted. From what I gathered from the MLB statements, his team did not even assert that the procedural lapse (if there in fact was one) could have compromised the sample. If the sole argument is that there was an inconsequential mechanical variation in the procedures (which seemingly occurred to safeguard the integrity of his sample) he will have won the battle of the suspension but lost the war of general perception.

        As I said, we have not read the arbitrators decision, so maybe I am way off base on this, but from everything I have read nobody has been considering the scientific merits of the test or test sample since the procedure was not 100% compliant with the (apparently faulty) contractually defined procedure. I reserve all rights to change my mind once I see the decision. From what I see so far, however, the only way this is a win for Braun is if he was in fact guilty and now only has to face only a partial penalty (to his reputation) while leaving at least some room for the public to suspect his innocence. I would think an innocent Braun would want every scientist in the US examining that sample and proclaiming the results of their findings from the mountain tops of Milwaukee.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        Vivabear. Naive is the word if you think Braun stood a chance to beat the test results themselves. I don’t know if he did them or not but it would be stupid of his lawyers to attack the test results when the process has basically said we dont care why they are in there, they were there so you are suspended. Attacking the procedure seems to be the only way to go. And Im not claiming he didnt do them just that it would be dumb to attack what he wouldn’t be able to beat.

      • vivabear - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:50 AM

        Well here:;_ylt=A2KJjb12p09PzxsAmgVNbK5_?slug=jp-passan_ryan_braun_drug_test_appeal_testosterone_022712

        among other places, are reporting the A sample showed elevated levels above acceptable – and the B sample showed synthetic testosterone.

      • cur68 - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        Viva: that’s a yahoo link. Those guys have variously reported 20:1, 30:1, 40:1, trace synthetic, no synthetic and so on. They can’t even agree in house. Have you got a source from someone who actually has direct knowledge, a name, and credentials to be telling anyone anything about the samples?

      • phillyphreak - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:22 PM

        More importantly than a yahoo link, it’s a Passan article. The ultimate judge of morality……

      • vivabear - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        You mean that he just made that up? Ok, sorry about that. I should have known professional reporters on national websites make things up just to write a story.

      • rhandome - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        Viva: yes, you really should know that by now, cause it’s true.

      • cur68 - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        viva: right, so your answer is “no I do not have a source that isn’t some team of reporters trying to get clicks”?

        Why don’t we all just cool it a bit and wait for Das’s report? You never know, you might be totally vindicated with your argument (which I think is likely). That way people like me, who kind of want Braun to get a fair hearing, and not be condemned by the court of public opinion, can stop asking to see the evidence from people who aren’t listed as “multiple unnamed sources”? Y’know, in the interests of fairness and all?

      • patsandsox - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:32 PM

        When can they get some one with more credibility and some impartiality to write on this subject? I think Craig Calcaterra has pretty much shown he has neither.
        The only good thing is when I post at this time of night I wont have to listen to him whine because his mommy doesnt let him use the computer in her basement after 9pm

      • stercuilus65 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:11 PM

        There is a reason why Braun didn’t try to appeal the triple sealed, degradation free, twice tested sample by the lab and test taker approved by the Players Association.

  2. saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    Craig, so you are saying that people who commit crimes are okay with getting off on technicalities (something other than the merits) and that people who do not commit crimes do not like that?

    How observant of you.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      Saints: So you’re saying, you’re brilliant, and everyone and anyone who doesn’t think like you is an asshole?

      How wonderful of you.

      • saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:17 AM

        You got that from the above? Wow.

    • okobojicat - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      For the last damn time. This wasn’t a technicality. The test was never valid. The end result doesn’t matter.

      He didn’t get off. Getting off implies guilty and then innocent. The ruling was that he was never proven guilty.

      Let’s say you’re trying to get into grad school. So you take the GRE (the piss test). However, the test checker lines up the questions wrongs so you get every question wrong (the piss receiver not following rules according to MLB-MLBPA agreement) so you receive a 0 score on your test. The test is invalid. You didn’t fail. You didn’t pass. You need to take another test.

      • saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        Wow. Okay.

      • kopy - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:25 AM

        Getting off just implies something different to me entirely.

      • okobojicat - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM

        I should also say that I’m a Cubs fan, and the extremely slim chances the Cubs have at the division this year would be slightly better without Braun. However, MLB totally messed this up by leaking the test results. They deserve as much egg on their face as possible.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:38 AM

        Why not use common sense and have someone review the test to verify your answers?

        I would say that the flaw in your analogy is really that your scenario involves a direct link between the procedural error and the test producing an incorrect evaluation. What if you really did get every answer wrong, but petitioned to have the results thrown out because the test was listed as taking place in Brooklyn County instead of Kings County (which are the same thing, but Kings County is technically correct). If your test results are thrown out, it may be on valid grounds, but the test taker remains a dumass.

      • davidpom50 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        okobojicat, there is a significant flaw in your analogy. In your example, the failure to follow procedure would definitely produce inaccurate results. In Braun’s case, the experts have all said that the procedure followed by The Collector is standard in their industry and would not influence results, and the lab tested the sample for markers that would show it had degraded or been tampered with, and those tests were negative.

      • okobojicat - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        @david, I agree with you on that point. Other testing agencies say that this test would not have been compromised. I have no reason to doubt their expertise. According to vivbear’s link above, the people who conducted Braun’s test said it wasn’t compromised.

        However, I’m not arguing that point. From the reports, the collector didn’t follow the procedures as outlined in the MLB-MLBPA agreement. At that point, the results are invalid.

      • rubbernilly - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        @okobojicat — He got off on a technicality.

        “Getting off implies guilty and then innocent.”
        …well, “guilty but found not guilty” would be the better way to say it, but I’m with you so far…

        “The ruling was that he was never proven guilty.”
        …which has no bearing on whether he was *actually* guilty, of course.

        I tend to think of a “technicality” as some process-oriented misstep that offers no clarification on the substance of the charges. In Braun’s case, he challenged a point of procedure, which rendered a judgment as to guilt/innocence impossible. It’s perfectly reasonable to hold the view that Braun *did* take PEDs even though the system could not, because of this technicality, prove it.

        As always, I’ll state that my opinion of Braun will be settled only when I can read the arbiter’s report, and review any “replication” Braun’s defense team was able (or not able) to produce.

  3. brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    I’m obviously a Brewer fan and happy for the outcome. That being said we don’t know all the information about why the arbitrator ruled in Braun’s favor. Until he returns his report and if they decide to go public with it only then can we all form an opinion based on all the facts. The arbitration proces is already flawed in the sense that they have a panel of 3 with 1 representing MLB who always sides with the Comissioner’s office and one representing the players’ union who always votes in favor of the player. So really it’s only a panel of 1.

    • saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      I agree that it really seems odd to call it a panel of 3. To me, it would be better to have an actual panel of 3 neutral parties, but I suppose that would cost a good deal more.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:00 AM

        I would agree with that 100%.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:22 AM

        It would probably not cost as much as a 50 game suspension for a player making the league minimum. Even if it did, it seems like a reasonable expense to pay.

      • saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:29 AM

        Agreed, Sabathia, but MLB has proven that they are not exactly a spare-no-expense operation.

    • 78mu - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      All the arbitrators should explain their decisions including the union’s rep. He has an obligation to study the evidence and weigh the arguments just as any impartial judge and not just automatically vote for the player. Ditto for the MLB rep.

      And I hope Das has to take questions from reporters and doesn’t get off with just giving a written report justifying his decision. I’ve never had trouble writing a report justifying anything I did since it’s not hard come up with BS to cover your behind.

  4. phukyouk - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    How long till baseball starts? sigh….

    • rubbernilly - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      Anymore this *is* baseball.

    • wlschneider09 - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:57 PM

      And who gave this thought a thumbs down?

  5. plmathfoto - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Craig: Why have you consistently defended Braun in this, to the point that it looks to me like you really don’t think he did it (and I do realize that being found guilty and having done it are two different things but they really shouldn’t be and in my opinion you’ve way crossed that line-you rip on people who are appalled at the decision, and any one who says something about him really having done it and/or being guilty gets ripped on by you too).

    Love your stuff generally, just asking.

    • okobojicat - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      Craig gets angry at people fro implying Braun failed a test because its totally wrong to assert that. The test doesn’t count. Its an invalid sample so NO ONE can draw any conclusions from it.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:31 AM

        What is the collector used UPS instead of Fedex? That would still be a departure from procedure and potentially violate the CBA, but damn does it make Braun look guilty to dispute the result on those grounds alone. I suppose we will all have to wait until the decision comes out to know what it what.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:31 AM

        That was supposed to say “What IF….”

      • okobojicat - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        It doesn’t matter how they differed from the agreed-to process. They differed from the process. At the point where the process wasn’t followed, any information, data, tests – anything at all – the outcomes of that process are invalid. They don’t count. This test doesn’t count. If he had used UPS, if he had used USPS, if he had hand delivered it to the lab, whatever, it doesn’t count.

        The reason for that is that a process must be repeatedly thousands of times. Otherwise, you introduce alternative scenarios where the results could be thrown off.

        Obviously, the arbitrator thought the inconsistency in the process implied that the test results weren’t valid. I agree with him.

      • saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:56 AM

        Okobojicat, you seem very convinced that you agree with the arbitrator’s reasoning in this. Can you tell us what his reasoning is? What is the procedural defect that caused the urine to not be a reliable source of determining Braun’s body chemistry?

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:19 AM

        Where did he differ from the process? If the collector can prove he followed the process, then there’s no reason to throw out the sample.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM

        okoboj…I don’t think pure proceduralism should reign above all else. Saying the test does not count does not mean the test was wrong. If that is the only argument being made in Braun’s favor I think he deserves a little suspicion from everyone.

      • rubbernilly - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:01 PM

        The test was invalidated by incomplete, non-distinct verbiage in the MLB drug policy, and it was only invalidated for purposes of that drug policy.

        If (1) other experts come out and say that the manner in which the sample was handled is consistent with industry norms and that such handling would not alter the chemistry of the sample (which is happening already; experts are speaking out), and (2) we find that there is no way to demonstrate that such handling could alter the sample (ie, the rumor proves false that Braun’s legal team was able to replicate a false positive, or at least that such a false positive test would be discovered on testing the B-sample), then we’re left with a test which would, by any other normative standard, have resulted in a finding of guilty and a suspension from the given sport.

        Even more damning would be MLB rewriting the policy to state that what happened in this case is exactly what they would *want* to have happen in the case of a weekend test without a FedEx shop available.

        So don’t pretend, just because MLB can’t render a penalty, that we can’t still use our reason and our judgment to form an opinion about this.

      • stercuilus65 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:19 PM

        Craig gets angry because he wants people to throw common sense out the window when they look at this case. He gets angry because people are calling his BS Straw-man arguments for what they are. He gets angry because defending such a despicable display that Braun and his lawyers have put on isn’t going anywhere with the thinking public and obviously a vast majority of the players. It must be very frustrating to be president of the flat earth society.

    • saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      Plmathfoto, Craig covered this yesterday, and quite eloquently. Allow me to speak for him…

      Craig doesn’t “fucking care if he took PEDs or not.”

      He was very professional.

    • phillyphreak - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      Seriously? I must be reading a different website…

      I don’t think Craig ever said he thought Braun was innocent or guilty. In fact in some of his posts/responses to comments, he’s said he doesn’t know. All he is doing is questioning procedures and exploring the impacts of these procedures.

      Again, I think this goes back to the whole “I disagree with Craig. I think Braun cheated. Therefore, Craig thinks Braun didn’t cheat. Therefore I take issue with this.” They can be mutually exclusive arguments.

      • philsfansince80 - Mar 2, 2012 at 6:34 PM

        Well, actually…He was defending Braun’s defensive tactics, and that just kind of sets a tone. Any time you come to someone’s defense, then people are going to draw their own conclusion.

        Technically, one could argue (and many did), that Braun’s strategy only raises further suspicion that he did it, so to defend that, would in itself be indirectly taking a stance.

        All I’m really saying is that it’s kind of naive to take anyone thoughts for face value. There is always something to read between the lines, and people will always perceive things differently. In defending Braun in any way, he opened himself up to it, which I am sure he is aware of…

        I think that’s much more reasonable, and less insulting, then to come to the conclusion that people are so hell-bent on disagreeing with Craig that they are actually going to put him on the opposing side of every opinion they have. That and…usually when someone disagrees with someone it actually relates to something they disagree over. They don’t need to invent something to disagree over.

      • phillyphreak - Mar 3, 2012 at 12:02 AM

        I never said it’s invented. I said that they disagree with Craig because they think Braun cheated. The implication then, and the implication made by many all over this site, is that Craig doesn’t think he cheated. These aren’t the same arguments.

        Also, if that was insulting then people need thicker skin.

  6. sdelmonte - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    What kind of union men are these guys? Following procedure is a safeguard to make sure that the bosses don’t run you over. The way they do in football, for example. And even if you don’t see ballplayers as having a true union, they have bosses all the same as I do. And you need a way to brake the bosses before they break you.

    Of course, I never liked that the union gave the owners the right to do intrusive testing without anything in exchange. But I suspect the only person on the face of the Earth who agrees with me about this is Marvin Miller.

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      @sdelmonte – keep talking like that and you’ll have Luke Scott after you.

      • sdelmonte - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        Luke Scott vs Marvin Miller!!!

    • ta192 - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      No, sdel, Marvin Miller isn’t the only one who agrees with you…

  7. bobdira - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    OJ, Braun, two in a long list of guilty people who got off. No questino he cheated. Unfortunate that he stole an MVP vote from someone/anyone more deserving. watch his numbers dip this year.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      While the Braun- OJ Simpson comparisons are easy to make let’s not compare someone committing double murder to someone who got off for PED’s in a sport that’s only our entertainment.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:33 AM

        We have been comparing the decision of a single arbitrator to the American justice system all week, so the OJ comparison is par for the course.

      • phukyouk - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:36 AM


      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:41 AM

        Sorry. I don’t agree.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:46 AM

        Use a better example then a double murderer. OJ is the sum of the earth. Braun didn’t hurt anybody but himself. And don’t say he hurt Matt Kemp because Kemp was going to get paid anyways.

    • fordman84 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      I’m sure those 80%-90% of players are hoping for a dip in numbers, just like all the fans that realize he got away with cheating hope the same.

  8. vivabear - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    “And I suspect that the 80-90% of the players Olney spoke with here were under the gun themselves, they would not hesitate to make the same arguments Braun did”

    I suspect 80-90% of the players Olney spoke with have zero chance of ever being in Braun’s position…because they are not taking synthetic testosterone.

    • sleepyirv - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      My thoughts exactly.
      If they are without sin on this particular issue, we should not be surprised if they cast the first stone.

    • phillyphreak - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:46 AM

      How would you even suspect this? No one has ANY idea who is on steroids. Players don’t necessarily bulk up on the stuff and turn into 40 HR hitters.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      This is why I never understood the MLBPA ALWAYS defending steroid cheats. Don’t the cheaters harm the clean players more than anything else? If there is a division in the interests of the players, why would the union side with the cheaters?

      • saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        Maybe they outnumber the clean guys.

      • saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:53 AM

        Because the cheaters outnumber the clean guys?

  9. brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    And I don’t exactly like Olney putting a % on the number of guys who don’t like it without saying how many he’s actually asked. If he’s only been to Florida so far this spring and somehow managed to talk to every player there about it which I know he hasn’t he’s still left a huge sample of the MLB population spending spring in AZ out of it.

    • dcfan4life - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      Buster Olney is a really good analyst and baseball reporter in my opinion. I trust he has spoken to a lot of guys about this hence why he can put a percentage like that. He definately hasnt just spoken to 10 guys and 8-9 of them were against the Braun decision. Id venture its more like 50 guys.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        While I agree Buster is a good reporter the fact is full squads haven’t even had to report yet so I stand by my statement.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:53 AM

        Full squads haven’t even had to report yet. He hasn’t talked to enough. I like Olney also but I think him saying that isn’t the best reporting.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:59 AM

        Olney is good but considering full squads haven’t even had to report yet and half the teams are in another state I’m going to say he shouldn’t make that statement.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:35 AM

        Sorry full squads dont even have to report yet so I don’t agree.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      Sorry. Since full squads haven’t had to report I wont consider him able to make that statement.

    • gendisarray - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      From Buster Olney’s blog:

      “I’m guessing I’ve had 30 to 40 conversations with different folks around the sport, a small sample for sure. But a decade ago you might have found three or four players among those 40 who criticized a fellow player… But if this recent straw poll of players is a proper reflection of the union as a whole, there has been a dramatic shift of thought among the brethren. I’m guessing 80 to 90 percent of the players I spoke with expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome of last week’s case, in varying degrees.”

      Sounds like he talked to 30-40 players and 80-90% of those were dissatisfied with the Braun arbitration outcome.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        So you think about 35 guys out of the 800 or so guys that will be on Mlb rosters this year is a good sample size? I would disagree witht that.

      • Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        brewcrew, did you even read the excerpt from the comment?
        “I’m guessing I’ve had 30 to 40 conversations with different folks around the sport, a small sample for sure.

        “I’m guessing I’ve had 30 to 40 conversations with different folks around the sport, a small sample for sure.

        “I’m guessing I’ve had 30 to 40 conversations with different folks around the sport, a small sample for sure.

        Now go back and read the rest of it.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:36 PM

        While I will admit I blew it on the reading comprehension part it still just makes my original comment stand out as true. If he hasn’t talked to that many people why say anything at all about it?

      • spindervish - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        Because that’s his job. That’s what his blog is for. He’s passing along an interesting tidbit. For fuck’s sake, it’s not a scientific study and I doubt it was presented as such.

        And I don’t even like Olney.

  10. El Bravo - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    This case highlighted one blipping big ineffiency, clearly. Too bad no one in the public realm knows what that is yet. Like I said in my first response to this event, the MLB will clearly fix their “loophole” immediatley, but this will certainly set a precedent of appealing before an arb panel whenever players have the chance. All types of assinine excuses will be heard as to why the player’s in question piss isn’t clean and/or why it wasn’t handled correctly. Not that that’s a bad thing b/c it will tighten up the rules and chain of custody procedures over time, but for this case, it sucks not knowing the truth about one of the best players in the game.

    • kopy - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:24 AM

      If I understand it correctly, almost every case has been appealed in an identical fashion, it’s just that somebody leaked Braun’s test results. Normally, when we hear about a suspension, it’s after an appeal was denied.

      • El Bravo - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:18 AM

        I don’t know either way how often the appeal process is enacted honestly. I do know it will be enacted as a rule of thumb now. The precedent here is that you can actually WIN the appeal. Again, not that that’s a bad thing b/c that’s only fair in some situations (e.g. false positives, chaine of custody failures).

        I’m still leaving Braun on my douchenozzle list. Sometimes a dictator (which I am b/c I solely rule over said list) has to chop the head off one of his citizens without provocation to keep the other potential douchenozzles in line. Sorry Braun, but you’re my huckleberry…

      • kopy - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:47 AM

        It is interesting. It’s also possible that a player has won an appeal and nobody will ever know about it. I think it’s been said that Braun is the first to win, but I wonder if that has come from people that would know if a player won an appeal before without a leak.

      • vivabear - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:54 AM

        kopy – Jimmy Rollins tweeted something a while back about rumors of someone testing positive, but not being penalized. It seems it’s happened, but never been reported.

  11. AJ - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    I wish I had more time for Calcatrolling today. I think at this point we all need to hear the arbitrators report. Before we get to the issue of whether the process must be improved as a result of this incident we need to first determine if there was, in fact, a flaw in the process in the first place. The arbitrators decision alone isn’t enough to say that there actually was a procedural flaw, just like a kid taking an elementary school math test, I’d like to see how the arbitrator reach his result. We can’t close the door to the possibility that the arbitrator just flat out got it wrong.

    • phillyphreak - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      “We can’t close the door to the possibility that the arbitrator just flat out got it wrong.”

      This is true. But we can also rearrange it to say

      “We can’t close the door to the possibility that the arbitrator just flat out got it RIGHT” or even

      “We can’t close the door to the possibility that the testing was flawed.”

      Because all of those possibilities exist then we have to wait. And pronouncing guilt or innocence until then with such certainty is absolutely wrong.

      • AJ - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:04 AM

        Agreed, you are 100% correct in listing all of those statements as possibilities. The final report is vitally important before any of us can make a fully informed judgement. I’m simply pointing out that, at least to my knowledge, “the arbitrator just flat out got it wrong” possibility hasn’t been presented in these posts, it is always assumed that the arbitrator used sound judgement in reaching his decision and that there was, in fact, a flaw in the testing procedure.

        I’m just pointing out that the arbitrator isn’t infallible. Like anyone else, he can make mistakes. Additionally, he has not been subject to any of the personal or professional ridicule that the sample collector has been subject to in these posts which seems a little unfair. Where’s the scrutiny of the job he did? To your point that all of the above statements are equal possibilities, I agree completely.

  12. atworkident - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    I applaud the players for not agreeing with Braun. I disapprove of them talking to Buster Olney though.

  13. jetsguy1117 - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Not if the cops followed the rules when getting the warrant…

    Furthermore, a court would look at the error that was made and determine whether it had a material effect on the end result.

    Besides those two huge differences, AWESOME ANALOGY!

    • nategearhart - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:14 AM

      If the cops followed the rules to get the warrant, I imagine it wouldn’t be an improper warrant.

  14. capone2510 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Hey Craig, why are you riding Braun’s jock so hard? Where was there a breakdown?? Can you show other tesing procedures that outline how what was done is this case was wrong? The sample was sealed in Braun’s presence, and never opened until at that lab. How is that hard to understand?

    • okobojicat - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:14 AM

      Because there are a list of other procedures between those two points in time; those procedures weren’t followed. According to the rumors, that’s where the issue is. If the process is spelled out, and the process isn’t followed, the results aren’t valid.

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        Funny how everyone’s quick to point out how the “synthetic testosterone” was just a report, and yet instantly say for certain that “procedure wasn’t followed.”

        But if the collector CAN prove everything he described in his statement:

        1) Braun’s lawyers are very good at their job.
        2) The arbitrator is very bad at his.
        3) Braun still owes the collector a very public apology for repeatedly destroying his good name while decrying others for trying to destroy his.

        Come to think of it, #3 needs to happen, no matter what happens from here.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:42 AM

        ‘not valid’ does not equal ‘not correct’

      • okobojicat - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        I agree completely with you on #3 if it was Braun who leaked the named of collector. That is crap.

        1. Braun has denied the synthetic testosterone report.
        2. We have no reason to suspect the arbitrator was bad at his job.
        3. If it comes to light that procedure was followed, and the arbitrator made a rulling from left field, then yes, we can at that point call him an idiot.

        However, from the reports I’ve read, it appears procedures weren’t followed.

      • vivabear - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        okoboji – Braun specifically denied having synthetic test in his system? He said something to the effect that if he would have put anything in his body, intentionally or unintentionally he would have admitted it.

      • comeonnowguys - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:37 PM

        I don’t think it matters if Braun named him. Braun, if he is innoncent, had just spent the winter going through what he’s putting the collector through.

        He threw out some really weak and vague accusations about the collector. At the very least, if he thought he was safe because the collector wasn’t named, he probably should have realized that if his name was discovered, anybody’s could be.

        I liked Braun before this. But the nature in how he handled this–accusing the collector of intentional corruption, playing the “terminal illness” analogy card (while not as abhorrent as Brian Cushing, it was tacky and ill-advised at best)–he’s really carried himself as a self-righteous jackass.

        Sue or shut up.

  15. randygnyc - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    None of the players are gonna like this. His name slips my mind, but the stoner analyst of the MLB channel said this very thing when the news broke.

    Anyway, sure people who commit crimes (big or small) are happy to get off on technicalities. But when you do, just STFU. Move along. Don’t draw EXTRA attention to yourself, proving what a gigantic douchebag you are (I’m talking to you, Braun).

  16. brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Why the hell aren’t any of my posts showing up!?

  17. randygnyc - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Don’t kid yourself. That arbitrators report will say nothing more than “sample taken on X day. Lab received sample X day +3. CBA says sample must be received no later than X +2, therefore test sample invalid”


    • blabidibla - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      The agreement doesn’t require the sample be shipped on the same day. It says it “should be” but still allows for the sample to be stored if necessary for later shipment. See post below

  18. brewcrewfan54 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Will this post actually show up?

    • comeonnowguys - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:29 AM

      This isn’t ProFootballTalk, so your chances are good.

  19. muskyhunter2542 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Lets move on!!!

  20. davidpom50 - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    “Braun walking on this charge is no more of a threat to the drug testing system than a guy getting off on a burglary charge because the cops didn’t get a proper search warrant is a threat to the criminal justice system.”

    This is what I’ve thought all along, and why I was so put off by Craig’s posts claiming, in essence, that anyone who still thought that burglar was guilty obviously doesn’t care about the criminal justice system. It’s possible to disagree with the outcome of one case without disagreeing with the whole system. Since The Collector’s statement, Craig seems to have toned down the rhetoric a little bit, and I, for one, am glad.

    • rubbernilly - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      This, FTW.

      Well put.

  21. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 1, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Maybe Braun is just more manly than the rest of us. Could the results be explained by giant balls?

  22. saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Test (posts not showing up).

  23. joelwrobinson - Mar 1, 2012 at 12:34 PM


  24. blabidibla - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    The agreement:

    “Absent unusual circumstances, the specimens should be sent by FedEx to the Laboratory on the same day they are collected.”

    Note: By all reports the ruling was based on the definition of “unusual circumstances.”

    Note: “…should be…” not “must be” sent by FedEx to the Laboratory on the same day they are collected.

    “If the specimen is not immediately prepared for shipment, the Collector shall ensure that it is appropriately safeguarded during temporary storage.
    1. The Collector must keep the chain of custody intact.
    2. The Collector must store the samples in a cool and secure location.”

    Note: the agreement allows for delay and storage in a cool and secure location.

    By all reports these are the details the decision to dismiss this case were based on. I eagerly await the Arbiter’s explanation how the samples sitting in a unsecured Fed Ex facility for 2 days would not be considered unusual circumstances, or how Laurenzi’s apparently allowed storage of the samples violated this agreement.

    • nolanwiffle - Mar 1, 2012 at 1:54 PM

      The procedures plainly state that the samples cannot be left at a FedEx drop box. I’m very curious to know why the arbitrator ruled in the fashion he did.

  25. randygnyc - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    I recall reading somewhere that the arbitrator doesn’t need to clarify his ruling. I suppose that also means that he doesn’t need to file an explanatory ruling beyond, appeal approved. Anyone else hear/read that?

    • saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      If he doesn’t explain himself, he should be immediately dismissed as the MLB and MLBPA arbitrator. These guys cannot be allowed to escape accountability.

      This guy is not stupid, though. He has a reason for ruling the way he did, and I feel pretty confident that reason will be announced soon enough. My guess is that his reasoning will be one that shows a complete ignorance to the chemistry of urine, and the testing process in general, though.

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