Baseball vs. itself

Like all of you, I have no idea whether Ryan Braun used roids or any other performance boosting drug. What I know is it’s unfortunate that Major League Baseball is effectively trying to taint one of its mosts marketable superstars.

MLB must have its reasons for reacting so harshly to Braun’s exoneration. Bud’s underlings apparently believe Braun is guilty. Maybe they are trying to defend the integrity of the testing process.

Whatever their reasons for ripping the National League MVP, it seems baseball is about the only sport that routinely finds itself actively undermining its own product. I don’t know. Maybe MLB’s stance “vehemently” disagreeing with the arbiter who ruled for Braun is the smart long-term position. For now, though, it fuels suspicion about one of the game’s brightest young stars.

Again, I’m not trying to defend Braun. I watched him on TV today and he seemed reasonably sincere. Maybe he cheated. Maybe he didn’t.  I just think it sucks that baseball is in the position of wrecking the credibility of its very own product. Meanwhile, dozens of football players pump themselves full of chemicals that could kill Keith Richards, and no one cares. And you surely don’t hear the NFL trying to make people care.



15 thoughts on “Baseball vs. itself

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  1. Braun’s argument was based on chain of custody. To a criminal defense lawyer, this is known as reasonable doubt. To a layman, this is known as a technicality.

    A false positive, whether for drugs or DNA, simply is not possible. A false negative, sure. There is no doubt in my mind that Braun is guilty. I will forever regard him as a cheater. (Although Zev Chafets makes a compelling case in “Cooperstown Confidential” that may ultimately change my mind about these things.)

    I think MLB feels exploited once again by the MLBPA, which, like every union, refuses to allow its members to be held to account. The system of arbitration for such a situation was never, IN THE MIND OF MLB, intended to shield the player from the consequences of his cheating, but was simply supposed to be a second layer of verification. The union on the other hand no doubt feels that its well-laid groundwork has paid off handsomely. For nearly 50 years, the union has outmaneuvered and outsmarted the owners.

    The other consideration is Bud Selig’s ties to the Brewers. By tainting Braun, they might have been able to get away with underpaying him for the next five (5) years.

  2. Jack makes a good point about the union v MLB owners. On its face, MLB is no doubt trying to protect its new found integrity, er, stricter drug policy. I agree that Braun is a likeable enough fellow, but a positive drug test is hard to forget, especially since he was exonerated on a technicality (and by all accounts, it truly was a mere technicality). I suppose if he continues to put up monster numbers without any other failed tests baseball fans, myself included, will give him the benefit of the doubt.

  3. They’ve consistently outmaneuverd and outsmarted the owners because they’ve pretty consistently been right on the merits of their arguments. The job of a union is to represent all of their members, even the ones who don’t necessarily personally deserve it. It doesn’t work any other way.

    Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I really think the guy is guilty and it seems as though he’s being judged by most fans that way on a de facto basis.

    The point about MLB tearing down it’s stars was far more valid in the pre-labor peace era. Between the arbitration system and the general war on players that the grimy likes of Reinsdorf, Huizenga and Co had “Bud” lead in his generally idiotic and inept way, they did much to spread the notion that players were unimportant and easily interchangeable and that the product they put on the field was no great shakes. They were a dictionary definition of pennywise and pound foolish. That’s largely a thing fo the past these days and I don’t see this situation as analagous, at all.

    Baseball has just come through an embarrassing era, where relatively mediocre players like Sosa, Palmeiro and McGwire piled up huge numbers and climed onto statistical perches where they had no business being. This stain had just started to be washed when this asshole’s test popped and dragged this all back out into view. The fact that he’s beaten it on the basis of a very questionable decision by an arbiter shouldn’t sit well with them because it opens up a lot of potential doors for miscreants to use in the futire, unless MLB tightens up the procedure. I’d be pissed if I were them, too.

  4. I haven’t been paying that much attention to the case, but slamming Braun strikes me as Bud maneuvering for the next labor agreement and the Brewers’ next contract with Braun. Frankly, I was inclined to think Braun was guilty, but once Bud, who’s on the wrong side of EVERYTHING, slammed the decision, I more inclined to think that perhaps he isn’t.

  5. Bud ignored Bonds, McGwire et al because it was in his interest. He queered the Braun results for the same reason. No mysteries here. The fish rots from the head.

  6. If MLB spent one tenth the money that they drop on drug testing into medical research on how to use steroids/HGH/Uncle Manny’s Horse Pills safely and effectively to heal faster from injuries it would not only greatly improve the game and help protect their multi-million dollar investments but actually benefit humanity.

    But hey, drugs ‘r bad, mmmmmkay? Gotta protect the integrity of the game.

  7. The lab chief testified that the three seals holding the sample were not tampered with. Two different unrelated tests proved that the sample contained something like 20 times the normal amount of testosterone, and it contained synthetic testosterone.

    Braun is claiming that his urine was replaced with someone else’s. I find that hard to believe.

  8. If Braun has less than a stellar 2012 campaign then it’ll be hard to say he’s clean.

  9. Wilson’s out 4-6 weeks. Liberty claims they lost money on the Braves last year because of Derek Lowe. Niggling events large and small are giving me a third place vibe about this club.

    Also, Dan Uggla showed up with 20 pounds more muscle weight after an offseason “program.” I hope his urine is leaner, too…

  10. I always thought the job of a union was to see that its members were treated fairly and in accordance with law and contract, not to suborn perjury to sell a lie to a credulous (or dishonest) arbitrator.

    Worse than the test results are Braun’s protestations of cleanliness and claims of vindication. A verdict of not guilty reflects a failure of proof, not actual innocence. He should shut the fuck up. I hope NL pitchers spend the season throwing at him.

  11. Not that I like being on the same side as the used car salesman, but the guy was caught cheating red handed and got off on a technicality; he then created some ridiculous scenario which makes him look like an innocent victimized by a conspiracy; in doing so, he’s working to undermine the legitimacy a testing system which is of great importance to the game. Manny Ramirez had more character. At least he walked away when he got caught and didn’t try drag down the game any further.

    I’m with Jack: I hope when he comes to the plate, it’s target practice.

  12. I agree completely about Braun. I’ve never liked him (I think I’ve written as much here before) and I think he’s a lying, self aggrandizing piece of shit.

    I really don’t want to get into discussion of union politics but I didn’t feel that I could let “…which, like every union, refuses to allow it’s members be held to account.” go unanswered.

  13. The more I read about it the more apparent it seems that Braun cheated. I’ll just conveniently forget that I’m agreeing with the Used Car Salesman.

  14. Like the new Ralph icon. I always felt a little cheated that I never got to see him play as a Brave.

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