In the wake of Ryan Braun's positive test for PED's (Performance Enhancing Drugs), we all had to have had visions of Bonds, Clemens, Pettitte, Palmeiro, Sosa, McGwire, A-Rod and the list goes on. All of these men were superstars of the game and Sosa and McGwire were given credit for bringing baseball back in to the spotlight! Who could forget the homerun race of '98. I was glued to every minute of every game those two played.
Then it happened! It being the Mitchell Report. Fingering players that have been linked to PED's. There was the infamous meeting on Capital Hill which some players took a stance. Palmeiro and his finger wag and McGwire who was not there to talk about the past.
But as McGwire would say "I'm not here to talk about the past." I am however here to talk about the present. Ryan Braun was tested on October 1st of 2011 during the playoffs. A few weeks later Braun was informed of his positive test with a 20:1 ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. These are two hormones that should be roughly equal when testing and anything above 4:1 is considered to be a positive test in the eyes of MLB. Braun had 5 times the legal amount in his system.
Braun trying to restore his reputation challenged these findings and has won his appeal of the process on a 2-1 vote. VINDICATION!.... Not So Fast My Friends (Lee Corso voice). If you look deeper in to how Braun won this appeal you will find out that he did not challenge the "science" he really didn't even challenge the findings of the sample. Instead he challenged that the sample taken was not handled according to MLB collection protocol and even questioned if the sample was his. I do however find it interesting that Braun did offer a DNA sample to determine if the sample was his, but as I have been reading more and more about this situation I have found out that Braun's camp later backed down from this offer. What really happened behind the scenes will most likely remain a mystery to us in the general public. Therefore we are left with a He said He said (MLB v Braun). This is a great video from ESPN Outside The Lines explaining information from both sides.
While I'm sure Braun and his camp believe this a victory, and to an extent it is, it really doesn't prove anything other than the procedure for handling of samples was not properly followed. This is the equivalent of challenging a DUI by saying "I may or may not have been drunk, but they were holding the breathalyzer wrong when they did it." Fact of the matter is you were still drunk and that you will be let off due to a technicality because of the way things were handled (For those of you wondering if that is a valid way to get out of a DUI, it is not!). The science and testing methods were not argued in this case, there was no accusation of tampering and all tampering seals were intact, and the only thing that was argued was if it was correct for the collector to store the sample at his home until he was able to deliver it for shipping on Monday.
Ryan although you have won your appeal and will be playing baseball for 50 more games than anticipated this year. You are still far from proving your innocence! You will be under the microscope all year and if you ever have another positive test again you might as well go and find Roger Clemens and make friends because you won't be allowed into the club with all of the players who either did not take PED's or just owned up to it. Ryan you were one of the "Good Guys" now you are on the defense and with the way Baseball has been over the past 12+ years you can't blame us. We want answers and your appeal provided none that will satisfy a pubic that wants to see sports played in their purest form with the purest of players. I suggest you start making the song above your anthem for this year because in the eye of the public and MLB you are "Guilty Until Proven Innocent"
Research gained for this blog post was found at www.espn.com