Ryan Braun beats suspension
by Jim Hague @ogsmar
His 50-game suspension is eliminated because the urine sample he gave on Oct. 1 sat on someone’s desk and wasn’t sent via FedEx (when you absolutely, positively need it send overnight) until Oct. 3?
That Braun’s pee became tainted because it sat there for two days? Or that you can’t get a positive read on two-day old pee? Or just that the technicality of the whole thing, that it wasn’t properly sealed and sent, because, after all, it had to get from Milwaukee to some lab in Canada absolutely positively overnight?
So what was it? From what I’m reading this morning, the suspension was tossed out because the proper procedure was not followed and that since there might be some ambiguity involved with two-day old pee, then the suspension goes bye-bye and everything is good with the world.
So was Braun really positive for performance-enhancing drugs or not? We’ll never know. However, if his performance at the plate dips dramatically this season, even with former teammate Prince Fielder now in Detroit, then we should know the answer to that.
Did anyone catch Fielder’s comments about Braun having his suspension removed?
“Hey, I don’t know anything about it, but I’m glad for Ryan,” Fielder said.
That’s OK, big fella. None of us really know anything about it. Only Braun knows for sure.
And Braun’s stance yesterday was absurd. He stood there, holding a press conference, boldly proclaiming his innocence like he did all along, saying that “the truth prevailed.”
No, Ryan, the truth didn’t prevail. You got off on a technicality. It’s the same as a murderer walking free because some cop didn’t read him his Miranda rights. There’s no truth being revealed here.
His words are very disturbing.
“I am a victim,” Braun said at a press conference in Arizona Friday. “If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I would be the first one to step up and say I did it. This substance never entered my body at any point. … There were a lot of times I wanted to come out and tell the entire story, to attack everybody as I’ve been attacked and had my name dragged through the mud.”
He continued on: “Today is about anybody who has been wrongly accused. The system and the way it was applied to me in this case was fatally flawed. This simple truth is I’m innocent.”
Nope. You’re not guilty of one thing. You’re not guilty of someone not taking your pee and having it shipped properly to the lab in the proper time.
How about Braun’s comments about “admitting” it. If you did it, you would have admitted it? WOW, we’re going to believe that? It’s like believing that Pete Rose didn’t bet on baseball. No one admits they do ANYTHING illegal unless they’re caught red-handed.
You wanted to tell your entire story? OK, then do it. The story Braun gave MLB investigators is that he was taking a cream to battle a sexually transmitted disease, either herpes or gonorrhea, and that cream is what caused his testosterone level to explode off the charts, apparently reaching levels never before reached in any tests. Was that mentioned Friday? No way.
Apparently, he’s the “Hebrew Hammer” in more ways than one.
So Braun gets off scot free and everything is good with the world, right?
Hardly. It’s going to send every single MLB test for performance-enhancing drugs right to the court room. Every single one from now on will be appealed.
Right now, Roger Clemens is appealing all uses of syringes. Barry Bonds is appealing the fact that he ever visited BALCO or that his name appears on the Mitchell Report. Hell, let’s not stop there. Let’s appeal the entire Mitchell Report. Rafael Palmeiro is appealing the fact that he never really appeared in front of Congress to say he never used steroids. It’s going to be one litany of appeals.
Because this screw-up leaves the door _ and window, for that matter _ open for every single PED case in baseball, and maybe other sports, from now on.
And a sport that has been ravaged by cheaters over the past 20 years or so will now get even more destroyed, simply because people who are paid good money to make sure that urine tests are accurate screwed the whole thing up.
What about the hit FedEx takes with this? “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight, unless it’s pee.” Maybe they have to change their motto.
So what do we know?
Do we know Ryan Braun is innocent? No.
Do we know he didn’t do anything illegal? No.
What we do know is that two out of three arbiters agreed that there were no legal grounds for suspension because the drug test COULD have been tainted.
Yes, our national pastime. It’s more like our national pisstime.
And if I’m Ryan Braun, I better hope to the Lord above that I hit .330 with 30 homers and 110 RBI this year, to prove that maybe, just maybe, the test was inaccurate. Because if he slumps just a hair, then everyone will think the same thing. His MVP year was enhanced by the cream he was putting on his privates.
Plain and simple, the Star-Ledger’s “investigation” and subsequent reporting on the North Bergen “recruiting” situation has now become an obsession, a vendetta and a witch hunt.
Both reporters Craig Wolff (who I’ve spoken to and written e-mails to about his inaccuracies) and Mike Vornukov continue to bombard the paper about the stories that legendary football coach Vince Ascolese “recruited” two players to play for the North Bergen football team that won the state championship.
The fact of the matter is this: Ascolese did not recruit anyone. There’s no proof of recruitment.
These reporters, one of whom used false pretenses to gain access to people in North Bergen, continue to write the dirtiest word in high school athletics, namely recruiting, and associate it with Ascolese when they have no legitimate proof.
They’re basing the entire story on the words of a disgruntled parent, who abandoned his 17-year-old son and left him unattended in an apartment that he was supposed to pay only $300 a month for, then when he refused to pay and the landlord got upset, he went scurrying to the Star-Ledger to cry.
The only problem in the story is that the landlord was Ascolese. He should have never set up a cushy deal for the players. He should have never gotten involved in their housing in the first place. That was his mistake.
But recruiting? There’s no way.
However, Wolff and Vornukov (who couldn’t bother to stand at attention during the national anthem at a recent Seton Hall game, drinking his soda and Tweeting and texting throughout the anthem, like he was on some important deadline, even though the game started at NOON) continue to berate and pound this non-story.
Vornukov can’t even stop drinking and typing for a minute and a half to give the country that he works in a proper sense of respect? It was embarrassing to watch. I know, because I was two seats away from him on press row.
What do they hope to happen? That the NJSIAA strips North Bergen of its state championship and they can put that in their pelt collection? Well, guess again. It’s not going to happen. The NJSIAA’s Controversies Committee, which will hear the case, isn’t about to strip a state championship over the cries of a disgruntled father who didn’t want to pay rent after abandoning his child.
To write their first story as part of their ”investigation” is one thing. To continue makes it a witch hunt. Who do you think the NJSIAA is going to believe? A coach with 50 years of dedication to the game of football, with an unblemished record for all those years, or two reporters on a witch hunt and a father who wasn’t doing his job as a parent? I’m betting on the coach.
There were some outstanding performances this year in Major League Baseball. However, one clearly stood out from the pack.
Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp was named the National League Stan Musial Award winner for 2011 in voting held by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. Kemp received all 15 first place votes and completely dominated the rest of the voting field like he did in putting up almost a 40 HR/40 SB season for the Dodgers this year.
Coming in a distant second was Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun, who garnered most of the second place votes from the group. Braun’s teammate, first baseman Prince Fielder, came in third.
Interestingly enough, even though Los Angeles pitcher Clayton Kershaw outpointed Philadelphia hurler Roy Halladay in the BBA’s Walter Johnson Award voting for best pitcher, Halladay received more points for the Stan Musial Award.
Over in the American League, there were more ballots cast, perhaps due to a more intriguing race. When the dust had settled, though, Toronto’s Jose Bautista had held off Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury by a handful of points.
Bautista received eleven of the 22 first place votes and 225 total points, while Ellsbury received five first place selections and 200 points overall. Detroit Tiger first baseman Miguel Cabrera came in third with 183 points and three first place nods. He was followed by two players with Detroit ties, former Tiger and now New York Yankee Curtis Granderson and current teammate and Walter Johnson Award winner Justin Verlander.
The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):
Jose Bautista, Toronto (11) 225
Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston (5) 200
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit (3) 183
Curtis Granderson, New York (1) 135
Justin Verlander, Detroit (2) 126
Adrian Gonzalez, Boston 109
Dustin Pedroia, Boston 68
Robinson Cano, New York 55
Ian Kinsler, Texas 35
Michael Young, Texas 28
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay 25
Alex Gordon, Kansas City 20
CC Sabathia, New York 13
Paul Konerko, Chicago 12
Adrian Beltre, Texas 10
Alex Avila, Detroit 8
Jered Weaver, Los Angeles of Anaheim 6
Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay 6
Mike Napoli, Texas 4
James Shields, Tampa Bay 3
Victor Martinez, Boston 2
David Oritz, Boston 2
Melky Cabrera, Kansas City 1
Matt Kemp, Los Angeles (15) 195
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee 134
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee 83
Joey Votto, Cincinnati 79
Justin Upton, Arizona 77
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia 49
Troy Tulowitski, Colorado 49
Albert Pujols, St. Louis 46
Jose Reyes, New York 42
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles 31
Lance Berkman, St. Louis 28
Dan Uggla, Atlanta 14
Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco 13
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia 11
Hunter Pence, Philadelphia 6
Michael Morse, Washington 5
Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati 3
Ian Kennedy, Arizona 2
Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh 2
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado 1
The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of this writing, the organization consists of 316 blogs spanning all 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.
The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into “chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted. The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split between the two leagues.
Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot. Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.
Notably, though the Alliance’s awards come out well before their official counterparts, the BBA selections have matched those of the Baseball Writers of America in all but two instances in the past two years. This, of course, does not include the Goose Gossage Award that is exclusive to the BBA.
Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and for this award, were tabulated on a 13-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 point scale for first through tenth place. In the interest of transparency, links are given below for the ballots. Chapter affiliation is in parenthesis. Those chapters that decided on the group method are noted with an asterisk.
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)
Baltimore Life and Sports (Baltimore)
The Bat Shatters (Minnesota)
The Blue Jay Hunter (Toronto)
Boston Red Thoughts (Boston)*
Camden Crazies (Baltimore)
Contract Year (Oakland)*
Detroit Tigers Scorecard Blog (Detroit)
The Flagrant Fan (General)
Kings of Kauffman (Kansas City)*
Lady At The Bat (New York)
Misc. Baseball (History)
The Next Level Ballplayer (Other)
Seattle Mariners Musings (Seattle)
Some Thoughts On Baseball (Toronto)
Tigers Amateur Analysis (Detroit)
The Tribe Daily (Cleveland)*
Twins On Twins (Minnesota)
Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)
Appy Astros (Houston)
Blog Red Machine (Cincinnati)
Cincinnati Reds Blog (Cincinnati)
Dugger Sports (Philadelphia)
The Flagrant Fan (General)
Fungoes (St. Louis)
Misc. Baseball (History)
The Next Level Ballplayer (Other)
North Side Notch (Pittsburgh)
Phils Baseball (Philadelphia)
Rockies Woman (Colorado)
22 Gigantes (San Francisco)
Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? (Pittsburgh)
Prior Winners: 2010: Josh Hamilton, Texas; Joey Votto, Cincinnati
2009: Joe Mauer, Minnesota; Albert Pujols, St. Louis
The official website of the BBA is located atbaseballbloggersalliance.wordpress.com. The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba. For more information, contact Daniel Shoptaw at firstname.lastname@example.org.