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Why doesn’t Major League Baseball just suspend Ryan Braun and see what happens?

Mar 22, 2013, 12:07 PM EDT

ryan braun getty Getty Images

Here’s a deep thought: if Major League Baseball is certain enough that its players took PEDs supplied to them by Biogenesis that they’re willing to file a lawsuit to that effect, why are they not certain enough to simply suspend Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and all of the other players named?

Seriously. You can’t file a lawsuit in good faith unless you are willing to swear under oath that what you put in that lawsuit is true. And for their part, the lawyers, by virtue of the rules of civil procedure and legal ethics, are bound to file only those lawsuits which they believe to be in good faith.  My misgivings about the merits of this lawsuit aside, let’s assume — because it is polite to assume such things — that Major League Baseball truly believes and has basis for what it says in the complaint.

If so, is that not enough for them to suspend the players under the Joint Drug Agreement?

There’s not a burden of proof in the JDA. It merely requires, in the case of no positive test result, “just cause.” They have just cause to file the lawsuit — and they already suspended a minor leaguer based on what is now known — so why not just suspend Braun and everyone on a just cause basis now and make them appeal the discipline?

Of course they would appeal it, and with no shortage of vigor. But they’re going to do that regardless of what happens in this lawsuit. Indeed, baseball’s whole end game is to get the Biogenesis records and then suspend players, so they’e going to have this fight eventually, and there’s no way the players’ union will ever concede that what documents MLB is able to get — likely none, but whatever — prove anything. They’ll argue until the end of the world.

So have the fight now without this charade of a lawsuit. Put Braun and everyone on defense. No matter what happens — even if Braun wins on appeal again — Bud Selig can throw up his hands and declare victory, saying that they did what they had to do and, once again, those no-good players got off on a technicality. Or, perhaps, with a new arbitrator in place and all of the stuff that has thus far spun out of Biogenesis, they actually get their men this time.

Seems preferable to monkeying around with a dumb lawsuit.

  1. Old Gator - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Naaahhh, Craig, I don’t agree. I think it would be cooler to see their lawyers sanctioned and Bud Light forced into court to defend himself and MLB against a contempt citation.

    Meanwhile, Scrooge McLoria must be delighted to have all the attention shifted away from his sorry ass.

    • artisan3m - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      I’d imagine there has been a lot of “lawyer talk” since this petition was filed ~ players and agents talking to their lawyers about subsequent damage claims of their own if MLB does not prevail in this matter. I agree with CC. If the mechanism is already in place to impose sanctions, why do this silly dance ~ ~ ~ ~ unless Selig & Co aren’t comfortable with the evidence they already have? If that be the case, they probably should be careful about what they are saying on the public record.

    • indaburg - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      Agreed, OG. I would also love to see MLB’s financial documents.

      I’m getting the popcorn. This is gonna be good, I can tell.

  2. sdemp - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    [Comment deleted for anti-Semitic crap, commenter banned]

    • chomsky66 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      go crawl under a rock and die

    • gerryb323 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      Which face? Where? That there face?

      • KR - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        There wolf! There castle!

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        Vrollll, vrolll, vrollll in ze hayyy.

        There’s some folks around these parts that could use a sedagive or two.

    • number42is1 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      I’m confused… shouldn’t the “dirty” part have been in quotes and the “Selig” part not? and for that matter the word Jew should have been in quotes as well.

      • trevorb06 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        That’s just what happens when the cousins breed with the cousins.

      • Old Gator - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        You’re clearly dealing with an illiterate moron here. Everything you thought about capitalization and punctuation was correct.

      • number42is1 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        All i am saying is… if you are going to be a racist/ anti-Semite at least be ALMOST intelligent

      • number42is1 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        GREAT! now i look like the anti-Semite :-)

      • heyblueyoustink - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        Why go across the street when you can go across the hall?

    • indaburg - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Thank you, Craig.

    • Old Gator - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      Good shooting Craig!

    • ugglasforearms - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      Can’t believe anyone in this day and age would say something like that (but I’ve been wrong about it before). On HBT people can get banned. Hope you do.

      • ugglasforearms - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:38 PM

        This time it’s good to be late. Thanks Mr. C.

  3. thekcubrats - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Craig,
    What if this all were Kabuki? Sometimes frivolous lawsuits are filed for non-frivolous reasons, not for their nuisance value, but as cover. Now I’m as cynical as the next guy (if the next guy is the reanimated corpse of Ambrose Bierce), but what if the whole point of this suit is to give the BioG-men cover for handing over the docs to MLB. Under the (yes, convoluted) theory that prosecutors (Fed and State) would LOVE to see MLB suspend some real giant stars for once, as the mighty deterrent example it would set, etc.; would not be surprised if Biog got coddled if it helped MLB ring up Braun and ARoid. Would you?

    • chomsky66 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic’s eyes to improve his vision.

    • dnc6 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      But why wouldn’t Biog just have turned over the documents when MLB first asked? I’m legitimately asking. Wouldn’t it be much more beneficial to Biog to turn over the docs for some under-the-table payment instead of having to go through the ringer of the court system?

      • rbj1 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        These are medical records, possibly covered by HIPPA.
        http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/index.html

        I don’t know enough about BioGenesis (and have no legal training in healthcare law) to know if they are/were (is it still in business?) a covered entity, but even if not, they are under no obligation to comply with MLB investigators.

    • Old Gator - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      “The reanimated corpse of Ambrose Bierce.” Delicioso! Bud Light’s legal shenanigans ought to leave Braun plenty of time between being thrown over the railing and having the rope go tight.

      • chomsky66 - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        OG, you got kcubratsed.

  4. largebill - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I see what you did there. You put “legal” and “ethics” in the same sentence as though there was some correlation.

    I keed, I keed. Anyways, the lawsuit is a ridiculous idea. It is the sort of thing done when there is nothing to be done but a boss is angrily screaming for you to do something. So, you do something stupid to appease the boss.

    • nbjays - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      “You put “legal” and “ethics” in the same sentence as though there was some correlation. ”

      As I have heard many times, 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

      As for the “appeasing the boss” thing, I see this as a very Dilbert-esque reaction, but then, Bud Selig reminds me of Dilbert’s boss, so the analogy works.

  5. mvp43 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Okay, just to let everyone know I am a Braun fan and don’t really care if he’s juiced or any other player for that matter. All players both former and current have found ways to get a competitive edge. What if its found that high doses of vitamin C (or any vitamin) can produce a reaction within your body that yields a higher amount of strength or awareness etc, or players find that they can pop 3 doses of Centrum and produce results equal to what a banned substance will?

    Is MLB going to step in and ban that now?

    What really pisses me off about MLB is that Braun’s original test should have never been leaked in the first place. He would’ve won his appeal without us ever knowing anything about it……I guarantee that other high profile players were in the exact same situation as Braun and their stories were never leaked. Bud Selig should be more concerned with his own staff leaks than trying to nail Braun.

  6. Ben - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Why doesn’t baseball solve the real problems in the game like the Oakland stadium situation?

  7. bayballtim - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Isn’t MLB going to be able to get all of those documents during the discovery stage?

    They aren’t even going to have to go through with the lawsuit in order to get the only information they are looking for.

  8. evanwins - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    I’m all for this lawsuit. But hey, I’m a guy who likes to make sure things are right. And I’m fairly certain that damages in this case are not financial. Everyone is aware there are plenty of types of damages that have nothing to do with money, right?

    MLB was up against the wall. New Times wasn’t handing over the docs, the Feds aren’t ready to help out, so they decide “Hey, lets just sue Biogenesis and see what happens”.

    Why not? How does this affect any of us other than it maybe gets us closer to the truth about what actually went on with BioG?

    And as far as just suspending Braun goes, MLB is trying to do something I don’t see many commenters or the editorial staff of Harball Talk do very often – actual looking into something that they believe may be true instead of just going ahead on the assumption that what they want to believe is 100% true. I can see why that concept confuses you..

    • dnc6 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      “actual looking into something that they believe may be true instead of just going ahead on the assumption that what they want to believe is 100% true”

      This is a joke, right? MLB actually looked into this, and they didn’t get the answers they wanted, so now they’re trying to game the legal system based on the assumption that what they want to believe is 100% true.

      • evanwins - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Really? How did they actual look into it? When they asked to see the records and were denied? Let me guess, they were supposed to shrug their shoulders and say “oh well, we tried”?

        The FACT (you can look that word up if it confuses you) is that they have been stonewalled at every turn with this BioG report. All they know is what they’ve read in the paper. You don’t think they should have more info on the subject?

        If your wife was cheating on you would you make some feeble attempt to ask for proof and then when you were deined something you knew existed just give up?

      • dnc6 - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        I’m sure they’ve done more than ask to see the records. MLB has been known to be pretty nefarious when it comes to this witch-hunt.

        And that you refer to it as stonewalling suggests you aren’t interested in much more than the witch-hunt. MLB has been going hard after this, and the legal system and right of others has gotten in their way, so now they’re trying to game the system to keep steamrolling over anyone who dares question them.

        This idea that MLB is feebly asking people nicely to just help them get to the truth is laughable.

    • dnc6 - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      “MLB was up against the wall. New Times wasn’t handing over the docs, the Feds aren’t ready to help out, so they decide “Hey, lets just sue Biogenesis and see what happens”. ”

      Then too bad. The New Times has no responsibility to hand over the docs, and its not the Feds job to shame ballplayers for MLB. You don’t get to sue because you didn’t get what you wanted.

      • evanwins - Mar 22, 2013 at 4:49 PM

        You don’t get to sue because you didn’t get what you wanted
        –yes you do. In fact, they’re doing it.

        Why is everyone against MLB in trying to find out the truth of what was actually in those reports and what actually happened with regards to steroid use?

        If any player BROKE THE RULES and used something to gain an unfair advantage then personally I;m on the side that does everything it can to bring those players to justice. It’s sad how many of you just want MLB to give up and foret about it. It speaks to who you are as a person.

        Suing BioG isn’t illegal, it’s not breaking the rules. It is n fact entirely within their rights. Rights you seem to want to take away. I’m glad that your opinions are meaningless and that none of you are in any position of power to do anything about this.

  9. southcapitolstreet - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Why shouldn’t MLB try to force Bosch to turn over records that potentially incriminate Braun or A-Rod before suspending those guys? MLB has a much weaker case for suspension if they only base it on what has been printed in the Miami New Times. If MLB was embarassed by Braun’s lawyers before, this would be ten times worse.

    Plus, MLB’s chances of getting Bosch to turn over the records are probably pretty good. Even if the legal merits of MLB’s suit are weak, Bosch would still have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to get the case dismissed. Where’s his incentive to do that, other than a sense of omerta? He’s already disgraced, probably broke, facing legal action on other fronts. If he hands over the documents, this all goes away.

    • Old Gator - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      You seem to be blissfully unaware that the legal roadblocks to one private entity being able to bully or extort information out of another private entity were put in place primarily to protect your sorry ass from intrusive assaults just like this one.

      • southcapitolstreet - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:51 PM

        Oh, I’m not saying MLB is morally justified in bullying Biogenesis into producing records under the threat of a dubious, but costly, lawsuit. I’m saying that if MLB is truly hell-bent on nailing Braun or anyone else involved in this fiasco, going after Biogenesis is a pretty good strategy – strictly in a Sun-Tzu/Machiavelli sense – and not as dumb as some people are making it out to be.

      • Old Gator - Mar 22, 2013 at 3:15 PM

        I which case, I hope your sorry ass will accept my apologies.

  10. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Why not execute the players involved? Then MLB would surely get their day in court to prove (as their criminal defense) that they did EVERYTHING in their power to rid the sport of the scourge of “PE”Ds.

    So go ahead, MLB. Grab a (not-banned) assault rifle, a max capacity magazine and gun down anyone with any sort of ties to Biogenesis.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      (in case it is not obvious, the post above if really sarcastic. People shouldn’t really shoot each other for any reason.)

      • Old Gator - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        Visited Florida or Arizona lately, have ye?

    • zzalapski - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      If something like this hasn’t been used in an Onion article yet, it should be.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        Life has had a depressing habit of imitating The Onion recently. Better not take the chance.

  11. chacochicken - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    I think this is a ploy to try and find a fool-proof means of suspension. If they led with a suspension that didn’t have sufficient evidence they just look like vindictive bullies, which they very well may be. Now they attack the weak link in the chain and hope it produces a reasonable amount of evidence to convict Braun in the court of public opinion at minimum and hopefully to the JDA standards. I said it yesterday, if the piss sits you must acquit.

  12. trevorb06 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    I think we all need to take a step back and remember the Three B’s…
    -Bacon
    -Boobs
    -Beer

    What? You thought I was going to comment about how interesting and/or ridiculous it would be if the MLB did just go and flat out suspend Braun and have a huge fight with the Players Association about it that would set a major precedence for PED cases to come? Please. :-P

    • Old Gator - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      I agree. I don’t drink much so I don’t care about the beer, but I am very fond of well-proportioned natural boobs without the serial numbers on an implant visible from below, and I’m all in on bacon, especially thick center-cut bacon cured without nitrites, crisply fried yet chewy in the center.

      • JB (the original) - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:48 PM

        Just for you OG we can replace beer (ie nectar of the gods) with Barcalounger.

      • voteforno6 - Mar 22, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        Whole Foods has some very good bacon, of the sort that you describe.

      • Old Gator - Mar 22, 2013 at 5:52 PM

        Ah – you mean the one in The Village?

  13. Francisco (FC) - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    If MLB had put a tenth of the energy in resolving the A’s relocation as they put into this Bio-genesis matter we would have a new stadium in San Jose by Opening Day.

  14. thebadguyswon - Mar 22, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    The horse is dead, Craig. We get it already.

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