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We still don’t know what the basis of the Braun discipline was

Jul 23, 2013, 4:37 PM EST

Bud Selig defiant

You’ve heard me blather for two days now — my favorite hate comment so far was one calling me “calcaterr-ible” — so this is more of a links thing. Two good ones.

First: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel talking about the decision making, such as he can determine it, into the length of Ryan Braun‘s suspension. It puts to rest the notion — floated by some scribes on Twitter yesterday — that Braun was suspended “50 games for the violation, 15 games for being an a**hole.” Which is hilarious if it were true, but sadly isn’t.

But the notion that it was 65 days because “it just happened to be 65 games left [in the season]. If he had gotten back to them a day later, it would have been 64 games” is a bit curious. If A-Rod delays a week, does he get less of a suspension? Is MLB just trying to put an end-cap on all discipline happening this season?

The other worthy link is from Tim Marchman over at Deadspin, who actually put the question of where the 65 games came from to both MLB and MLBPA.  The answers are … less than illuminating.

None of which makes the discipline bad policy or bad form in any way. It just would be nice to know what standards the league is applying and how it’s coming to these decisions. Maybe that’s for after all of the Biogenesis discipline is done. But it should come at some point.

  1. Stiller43 - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    “Calcaterr-ible” has got to be your new pen name…I mean, doesn’t it?

    • fanofevilempire - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      MLB issued a statement in which they said they commend Braun, WTF
      is going on.

      • El Bravo - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:27 PM

        That was part of the plea agreement and nothing more. Bud Selig would eat Braun’s heart on a plate if he had his way.

    • Panda Claus - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:44 PM

      Yeah, I think “Calcaterr-ible” is gonna stick. It’s too good not to.

      Now if only we can get Charles Barkley to start using “that’s Calca-turrr-ible” when doing his NBA analysis.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:26 PM

      Hager the Horrible and Craig the Calcaterrible.

      /swivels around in chair and blows pipe bubbles

  2. captainwisdom8888 - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    I believe that if you simply make the punishment a lot harsher for testing positive, than a lot less players will be willing to take the risk of not only being suspended for the entire season, but losing their pay as well for the infraction. When you start threatening the player’s money than I believe they will mosly stay clean.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Exactly, that’s why states that have capital punishment for murder have a super low crime rate, right?

      • kopy - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:54 PM

        Well it stopped witchcraft.

      • Old Gator - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        Ackcherley, witchcraft is flourishing now. What’s the name of that little town just northwest of Idiot Hat, Colorado that has a big population of practicing witches, warlocks and wiccans? I don’t know if the hocus-pocus works or not, but they make great hamburgers out there.

      • paperlions - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:00 PM

        Yeah, but it didn’t stop innocent people from being burned at the stake, did it?

    • El Bravo - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      Why so many thumbs down for the most sane comment I’ve read all day? And capital punishment has no bearing here, Church. Totally not related and silly to compare. It is more like a nuclear deterrant if anything.

      • paperlions - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:04 PM

        No it is not unrelated. The comment may have been sane, but it was also inaccurate.

        Harshness of punishment does NOT affect the likelihood of engaging in a prohibited activity.

        Likelihood of getting caught DOES affect the likelihood of engaging in a prohibited activity.

        The reason harsher prison sentences or capital punishment do not deter crime is because they do not affect the chance of getting caught (which isn’t really all that high). All that is needed to deter players from using PEDs is to increase the likelihood that they get caught if they do it.

      • paul621 - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:20 PM

        I disagree, paperlions. I don’t see this as the same as criminal behavior–are many criminals weighing the pros and cons of committing murder before doing it? Conversely, I believe the players do weigh those factors, and one could argue that the pros still outweigh the cons in the view of some players. I can’t imagine a zero-tolerance, lifetime ban wouldn’t change behaviors.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:47 AM

        I can’t imagine a zero-tolerance, lifetime ban wouldn’t change behaviors.

        25 players total have been busted for PEDs before Ryan Braun. 25 in 7 years. There’s always going to be someone who tries to game the system.

  3. sdelmonte - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    I will keep saying this: I want to see the evidence. I want to understand this punishment. But 65 games/till the end of the season feels arbitrary, and feels like a bad precedent for future discipline. And I still remain convinced that the union is rolling over and playing dead because the players are more interested in steroid justice than good collective bargaining practices.

    • El Bravo - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      That’s b/c it was an internal plea bargain, which is somewhat arbitrary by design. You are right, fans deserve some deets in my opinion. How else will we know if this was a fair punishment? My thought is no way, this is Braun STILL getting off easy. Why else would he take it? Fuck that guy, man.

  4. chiadam - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Calca-getoveryourselfnoonecarespleaseshutupalready.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      Yet here you are!

      • El Bravo - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        Craig, why must you spend time on these replies while ignoring comments with substance? That, sir, is feeding the trolls or something.

      • kopy - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        Calcat-errific!

  5. El Bravo - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Calca-pie time.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:04 PM

      Before or after a toke of marijuaterra?

      • El Bravo - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        If I had toked, this issue and all other world issues would have been solved already. Duh.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      Oh, don’t start up the Calca-cakes again.

  6. mybrunoblog - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    “my favorite hate comment so far”
    Time out. Relax. Nobody hates you and nobody’s comments contain “hate”. Christ we don’t even know you. We wouldn’t recognize you if you sat next to us a restaurant. I vehiminantley disagree with your PED views but nobody’s making hate comments. Take a breather Calcaterra and slow down. No hate speech here.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      I’d recognize him, and give him an atomic wedgie. Then would buy him a drink.

    • tigersfandan - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:20 PM

      If you’ve ever seen a pic of Craig, you’d recognize him.

  7. paul621 - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    Two honest questions:

    1) Have we been told why he was suspended yet? (Sorry if I’ve missed it; this particular story includes too much “noise” to follow it properly.) That is, did anyone say “because of Biogenesis,” or are we assuming?

    2) Do we know for sure if it was related to his previous suspension/appeal? Everyone seems to be saying “well, now we know he was lying back then,” but do we really? Not defending him, just looking for some facts that seem to go unsaid. Is it possible he really was innocent then and really is guilty now? Or have we been told that this is just validation of his previous “tainted” test?

    • ilovegspot - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      He was guilty then and now. Serial roider. Started when he was a the University of Miami

      • paul621 - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:24 PM

        This kind of goes back to my original point about “noise” in this story… I have a feeling this is your speculation; MLB didn’t say “we’re suspending him because we have evidence of his steroid use back til college.”

      • schm1471 - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        If you can’t trust a guy named ‘ilovegspot’ to give you objective news analysis then I am all out of ideas.

    • kopy - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      I was under the impression this suspension has nothing to do with 2011. That is an open, appealed, and shut case. This suspension is because of all the Biogenesis evidence collected, which is supposedly a hefty amount (paperwork, cell phone texts, etc.). Those that are saying “now we know he was lying back then” are just speculating, but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong (they’re probably right, actually).

      • jwbiii - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:52 PM

        I thought that too, but Biogenesis didn’t open until March, 2012. Obviously, Braun may have had a relationship with Bosch before then, but you’re not going to find it in Biogenesis records.

    • tubal22 - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:40 PM

      I would guess that MLB not telling people what they had on him was part of his deal.

      He accepts the suspension, MLB stays quiet, the end.

  8. ilovegspot - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    Craig has been a Braun apologist since his positive testosterone test.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      Craig had a positive testosterone test? Twitter is gonna go crazy with that.

    • Old Gator - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:44 PM

      If Craig has been anything, he’s been a tacit apologist for imbecility by not deleting some of these brain-damaging posts.I think Craig has made a great deal of good, fair, decent sense in his comments about Braun and Bufogenesis right down the line – it’s just that gibbering Yahoo-blog refugee morons like ilovegspot here insist on lying about or fabricating what he’s written.

      If we’re going to be unfair, what we really ought to do is hold Craig responsible for attracting decerebrates like this clown to Circling the Bases in the first place. Craig, how do you plead?

      I thought so. You are hereby sentenced to spend one week as Dan Shaughessey’s copy editor.

  9. dakotah55 - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    I’ve seen pictures of Craig Calcaterra. Its hard to believe he’s been abusing testosterone.

    No offense Craig…

    • Old Gator - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:44 PM

      Testosterone makes your hair fall out, you know….

      • nbjays - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:50 PM

        So THAT’S my problem… damn!

  10. ezthinking - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    It’s pretty awesome how MLB, Fox, ESPN, TBS and pretty much every local sports channel I’ve seen takes money from AndroGel and other testosterone peddlers to air their commercials on TV and radio and then suspend players from using the same. I particularly like the one with the guy who takes AndroGel and then is shown having the renewed energy to umpire. Classic.

    Question: Aren’t the suspensions the best advertising for AndroGel? (Tagline – This shit works so well baseball bans it!)

  11. rathipon - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    As I mentioned in a previous comment from last week in the blog article where Michael Weiner brought up the “Just Cause” provision of the JDA, there is no contractual basis for a suspension here outside the scope of the 50/100/lifetime ban framework. The “Just Cause” paragraph of the JDA specifically does not apply to penalties for usage and possession, which are the violations we are talking about here.

    I’m wondering if the questionable basis for these enhanced suspensions will serve to actually moderate the suspensions. 65 games is a lot less than a lot of the numbers bandied about. Maybe MLB and the MLBPA realized that a longer suspension would be challenged and they would lose. So they ‘settled’ for a token amount of games on top of the 50 that it should be under the agreement.

    And isn’t it freaking insane that the MLBPA is going along with this?

    Disclaimer: Pointing out that the length of Braun’s suspension is dubious from a contractual perspective doesn’t mean that I disagree with the punishment. I am firmly in the ‘screw the cheaters’ camp – but I just don’t see how they get away with it under the present rules governing MLB and MLBPA.

    • jwbiii - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      The “Just Cause” paragraph of the JDA specifically does not apply to penalties for usage and possession

      Not really.

      7. Discipline
      G. Other Violations
      2. A Player may be subject too disciplinary action for just cause by the Commissioner for any Player violation of Section 2 [list of prohibited substances] above not referenced in Section 7.A through 7.F [list of penalties for failed tests and criminal convictions] above.

      The “Just Cause” paragraph only comes into play when there is no failed test or criminal conviction, but there is other evidence. There are no specified penalties.

      We have good reason to believe that Braun has adequate legal counsel. If he did not contest this, we have good reason to believe that the “other evidence” is pretty strong.

      • rathipon - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:20 PM

        Section 7a proscribes the 50/100/lifetime ban penalty for use or possession of banned substances. The Just Cause paragraph, as you pointed out, applies to violations of the JDA not referenced in 7a. So again, the Just Cause paragraph specifically does not apply to violations for use or possession.

      • rathipon - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:31 PM

        And by the way, as for section 2…. Yes there is a list of banned substances. But the first paragraph, a list of violations, is what is being referenced in 7g. Specifically, the relevant portion states:

        All players shall be prohibited from using, possessing, selling, Facilitating the sale of, distributing, or facilitating the distribution of any (banned substance).

        7g, as you quoted, applies to player violations contained in section 2 (see above), and not referenced in 7a through 7f. 7a specifically refers to use or possession. Just cause therefore cannot apply to violations involving use or possession.

      • jwbiii - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:20 PM

        7. Discipline
        7.A. Begins, “A Player who tests positive for a Performance Enhancing Substance. . .”
        7.B. Begins, “A Player who tests positive for a Stimulant. . .”
        7.C. Begins, “A Player who is determined by the Treatment Board to have not complied with an Initial Evaluation or a Treatment Program for a Drug of Abuse. . .”
        7.D. Begins, “A Player on a Treatment Program for the use of posession of Marijuana. . .”
        7.E. Begins, “A Player who is convicted or pleads guilty. . . to the possession of any prohibited substance. . .”
        7.F. Begins, “A Player who participates in the sale or distribution of a Prohibited Substance. . .”

        It’s all about failed tests, missed meetings, and convictions. Braun has done none of these things. At least not lately. The documents from Bosch/Biogenesis apparently connect him with a Section 2 prohibited substance, which puts him under 7.G, which does not specify a list of penalties.

      • rathipon - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        You left out the important part of 7A. Here’s the entire full sentence, with important portion emphasized in all caps:

        7A – A Player who tests positive for a Performance Enhancing Substance, or OTHERWISE VIOLATES THE PROGRAM THROUGH THE USE OR POSSESSION of a performance enhancing substance, will be subject to the discipline as set forth below (50/100/lifetime ban).

        So, again. Per 7G, the “Just Cause” provision does not apply to violations referenced in 7A through 7F. And 7A very specifically applies to violations through the use or possession of a performance enhancing substance (without requiring, as you stated, a positive test). Thus, how exactly can “Just Cause” apply to the use and possession violations we are seeing in this Biogenesis matter?

    • bigharold - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      “And isn’t it freaking insane that the MLBPA is going along with this?”

      The only reason I can see the Union going along with this is because there is a quite but concerted effort among “clean” players to punish alleged violators. The problem with that is, as you point out, there doesn’t seem to be a basis within the CBA orJDA that allows for it. Moreover, what happens when a player, say A-Rod, doesn’t agree to go along? Does the Union support him or throw him under the bus? And, if he wins, .. because it’s pointed out that there is no provision to allow MLB to make it up as they go, ..do the players that accepted “suspensions dejour” get a refund??

      If a player decides he isn’t willing to go along with MLB’s equivalent of a kangaroo court all the emotion about this subject will be replaced by the law and the CBA and JDA, .. and they don’t seem to provide for MLB to wing it.

  12. brewcrewfan54 - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    I’m just happy Braun getting suspended has put everyones lives here back on track.

  13. jputignano - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    7/23/13; New York Yankees starting lineup vs Texas Rangers

  14. heyblueyoustink - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Let me know when everyone stops all this yelling and such.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      Hey, blue, how are you? How’s your superior effort and flexibility working out today?

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        God complex is working jut fine today, so says the money changers. ;-)

        / hands a pack of batteries over gently, bows.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:10 PM

        Oh, honey, that is never how I’m going to take you out.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:29 PM

        If it’s foxglove or something of the sort, please make it a strong dose.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      LOUD VOICES!!!!!ELEVENTY!!!ONE

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:05 PM

        seriously, I just didn’t want any part of it, not the serious raging anyways. Lord knows I get carried away like anyone else does.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:32 PM

        Plus Church, we agree on the overall PED theory anyway. So for me, as you know, this just seems like unnecessary bad theatre.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:17 PM

        I just can’t believe that Arod and Braun punched so many people’s babies! I mean, that’s the only reason I can come up with people being so happy at someone else’s misery.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:20 PM

        Sacrificed babies, to get stronger, sacrificed babies.

  15. jayscarpa - Jul 23, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    It doesn’t matter what the basis is. You keep looking at this from the perspective of a lawyer, gotta have precedent. This is all about appearances, perceived accountability, and fan reaction. MLB can and will do whatever the hell it wants. If Selig wants to suspend one guy for 50 and another for 100 he will – and if the player appeals then it will only make MLB look tougher and better. Being able to say ‘suspended for the rest of the season’ has a nice ring to it & is a great soundbite.

    • rathipon - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:23 PM

      The problem with this reasoning is that if MLB doesn’t have a contractual basis for a particular punishment, it will lose on appeal. This is very much a legal matter.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:18 PM

      If Selig wants to suspend one guy for 50 and another for 100 he will – and if the player appeals then it will only make MLB look tougher and better.

      Except if those suspensions are overturned on appeal. Ask Goodell how he feels having Tagliabue agree with everything that happened and still overturn the punishments.

      • jayscarpa - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:06 PM

        Overturning suspensions doesn’t matter to MLB. Punishing cheaters is only a nice bonus.

        It is the perception of being tough on PED’s that is very important to Selig/MLB.

        MLB probably thinks it is a deterrent making the player either 1) grovel for a deal or 2) spend money and time fighting it.

        The fact that a lot of people think Braun got off easy by being suspended For The Season is exactly what MLB is looking for.

        MLB has plenty of lawyers. Let the players appeal – it will be months of ‘MLB cracking down on PED’s and cheaters fighting it’ stories.

  16. banpeds - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    We are not going to hear any details about why Braun or any other player soon getting suspended, espcecially from MLB. As for Bruan, read his statement carefully, another Attorney prepared statement admitting to nothing, no use, no buying, no nothing. It’s all to try and protect him from possible Federal Drug Charges against him and all those involved. The DEA is all over everyone inlvolved and MLB cannot protect them. You heard it hear first.

  17. wheels579 - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    It doesnt really matter what the collectively-bargained agreement permits if both sides agree to an alternative. That seems to be a silver lining in all of this for anyone (like me) who prefers to move this story forward instead of ranting and raving about cheaters and morality and who owes who apologies. The league needs the players on board to enact real change and the union under new leadership appears to want that now more than ever before. How the union handles A-Rod and others will be very interesting.

  18. louhudson23 - Jul 24, 2013 at 3:31 AM

    The Union is obligated to represent the wishes and interests of its rank and file. When the rank and file have made it clear,either by calling for or approving an action of the leadership ,then the Union is doing its job. The rank and file are (apparently)no longer going to protect those whose behavior it deems damaging to the membership. The bums are on their own. This is good stewardship.

  19. stevem7 - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    While I support getting rid of PED users and have no problem whatever with MLB performing investigations I must say that nothing about this particular investigation passes the SNIFF TEST. MLB files a case against Biogenesis under specious basis, does it under seal so the case doesn’t appear on the Circuit Court public records, coerces witnesses then agrees to pay them, and now are moving forward with suspensions. Seems to me all the things that would get a case tossed in a court of law have been employed by Selig and Manfred. Nobody likes dirty tactics and this seems to meet the test.

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