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The Ryan Braun Rules are in effect! MLB, MLBPA Announce modifications to joint drug agreement

Jun 7, 2012, 2:29 PM EDT

ryan braun wide getty Getty Images

In the recently-completed Collective Bargaining Agreement, the league and the union agreed to make several modifications to the Joint Drug Agreement which governs drug testing, suspensions and whatnot in baseball.  They just announced that they have reached agreement on the modifications.

They’re all listed below. The ones that seem notable or major to me in bold. Many of them are designed to specifically address the Ryan Braun fiasco from this spring:

  • Adding hGH blood testing during Spring Training, during the off-season, and for reasonable cause.  The parties also agreed to study expanding hGH testing to the regular season.
  • Increasing the number of random tests during the season and off-season.
  • Modifying the Collection Procedures of the Program to clarify when collectors must deliver specimens to the courier, and how specimens should be stored prior to delivery to the courier.
  • Modifying the Appeals procedures of the Program, including the circumstances under which procedural deviations will result in the invalidation of test results.
  • Creating an Expert Panel of recognized ADD/ADHD experts to advise the Independent Program Administrator (“IPA”) on Therapeutic Use Exemption (“TUE”) applications for ADD/ADHD medications, and another expert panel of medical professionals to advise the IPA on TUE applications for other medications.
  • Strengthening the protocols for addressing use by players of drugs of abuse.
  • Permitting public announcement of the specific substance that resulted in a player’s positive test result or discipline.
  • Making players who are suspended for violating the Program prior to the All-Star Break (including during Spring Training and the preceding off-season) ineligible to be elected or selected for the All-Star Game.
  • Establishing a protocol for evaluating and treating players who may suffer from an alcohol use problem or who have engaged in off-field violent conduct.
  • Clarifying the rules for violations for use or possession of prohibited substances based on evidence other than positive test results (“non-analytical positives.”)
  • Increasing the penalties for criminal convictions for possession or use of drugs of abuse (including stimulants).

Some of these, such as the no-All-Star Game for those who test positive thing have been long sought-after. I’ll also note, building on yesterday’s post, that while there is now something for evaluating people with alcohol problems, and something about increasing discipline for drug convictions, there is nothing about DUI incidents or convictions. So close, guys!

  1. asharak - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    No (current-year) PED users in the All Star game, huh? Wouldn’t it be a stronger deterrent if this (also) made the player ineligible for the post-season roster and/or prohibited him from receiving a World Series ring or postseason share from his club?

    • Old Gator - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:43 PM

      Oooohhh, I just wanna live long enough to see you try to get that one past the Player’s Association.

      • CJ - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:00 PM

        I don’t think the world is quite ready for an Old and Immortal Gator.

      • sabatimus - Jun 8, 2012 at 12:12 PM

        Now THAT would be a battle of epic proportions.

  2. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Interesting you don’t think the adhd/therapeutic use exemption isn’t important. Unless you assume it’ll be the same as all other Selig panels.

  3. lpd1964 - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    what does whatnot mean??

    • cogitobaseballergosum - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:38 PM

      It’s a folksy version of etc. Craig learned it in rehab from Lawyers’ Use of Latin Words and Phrases.

  4. lanflfan - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    If the end result of the Ryan Braun circus are clear, logical rules for properly handling samples then I think that’s a fair trade off.

    I still think he’s guilty, and unless/until I read the final written conclusions (which will probably never happen), not much else can be said.

  5. aarontzach - Jun 7, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Say man, you got a Joint Drug Agreement? … It’d be a lot cooler if you did.

  6. El Bravo - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Have a nice J!

  7. Detroit Michael - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Nice that baseball has the most productive management / labor relations of any of the four major American team sports. This was a pretty contentious issue, but it’s now resolved prospectively.

  8. nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 7, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    I still would like to see MLB ban any kind of tobacco use by team personnel while in the ballpark.

  9. paulhargis53 - Jun 7, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Awesome Dazed and Confused reference Aaron!

  10. mariner425 - Jun 7, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Braun still needs to explain the high amounts of synthetic testosterone in his tests. That sh*t doesn’t magically appear.

    • ufullpj - Jun 8, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      I think that the lab needs to explain the test as well. The burden of proof has to also include the testing and analysis portions. Not saying you’re wrong, but for a guy that’s never tested positive, and has been tested since the minors, and doesn’t have any of the other tell-tale signs – substantially increased production / numbers, physical growth, etc. – something, I agree, doesn’t smell correct. But before the burden of proof is laid solely at the feet of Braun, the testing and analysis phases also must prove they were free of error.

      • delawarephilliesfan - Jun 8, 2012 at 11:35 AM

        If the Union were to agree, the lab could explain the results in full detial. I am sure MLB would have no problem allowoing the lab to talk publicly about the result.

  11. raysfan1 - Jun 7, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    As for HGH, it metabolizes extremely quickly, so any amount of testing actually catching someone will be luck, or the person caught stupidly uses the hormone constantly. The only real purpose of testing for it is as a deterrent. However, HGH is an ineffective PED. (Feel free to read the article “Human Growth Hormone(HGH): Does It Slow Aging?” at MayoClinic.com; pay special attention to where it states that HGH can increase muscle mass in healthy adults but that it does not translate to increased strength.) in other words, HGH is the snake oil of PEDs, and testing for it is a waste of money.

  12. test2402 - Jun 7, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    What?

  13. Jason @ IIATMS - Jun 7, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    You might remember me from the “Vote For Manny” scheme in June 2009, when I championed this whole “if you get caught using, you can’t be voted an All Star” idea. Go head, look it up!

    Crazy times. at least I was then.

  14. rcali - Jun 7, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    MVCheat!

  15. MattJanik - Jun 8, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Am I the only one who cringes when I see this bullet point: “Modifying the Appeals procedures of the Program, including the circumstances under which procedural deviations will result in the invalidation of test results.”

    I may be reading it wrong, but to me, that sounds like MLB looking to have the chance to say “hey, proper procedures might not have been followed here, but guess what? You’re still guilty/suspended anyway!”… I don’t like that at all.

    • umrguy42 - Jun 8, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      Well, I think the idea is “hey, things are going to happen in the process that we didn’t expect – let’s try to define what’s definitely NOT ‘ok’ in those regards” – covers the idea that, as in the Braun case, the collector couldn’t get the sample to FedEx right away, so he stored it as he’s been storing samples for years, presumably in a fashion approved by his direct employer (the collection company). Before, this technically violated the procedures, so the whole thing got tossed (presumably). Now, this would hopefully allow for some common sense to actually the picture in a future case.

  16. rico7207 - Jun 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    !st offense, and proven guilty, should be a lifetime ban. Lets see how long the players association will go on strike for the 10% of cheaters. Do you really think that the 90% will be willing to strike for more than a season, losing millions, for the 10%. No damn way, as I see it, but if they are dumb enough to, then let them. The real problem is that the MLB just pretends to care, or they’d put tons of pressure on the players association already. MLB enjoyed the gate $$$$$ in the Bonds, Maguire and Soccia era , which is MLB’s bottom line. So they mask the whole problem better than Bautista is masking his drugs.

  17. sabatimus - Jun 8, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    But there still needs to be personnel who do their jobs to the LETTER. That seems to be the bigger issue here, certainly with the Braun case. You really can’t protect against people making mistakes or not following procedure in any given instance. You can fire them after the fact, but so what? The procedure is screwed and so is the investigation.

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