Friday, February 24, 2012

Ryan Braun Makes A Strong Case

My initial reaction to Ryan Braun's ground breaking defeat of MLB's drug testing lords, was that "he probably did it" but so what?

After seeing this strong performance at the start of spring training today, I am starting to crawl back into the camp of "maybe he really WAS screwed!"


Kudos to Braun for pushing back strongly on how violated he was by the so-called "confidentiality" portion of the process, and kudos for standing up and taking questions.

Here's what stopped me in my tracks today, thinking about the drug testing "establishment." You know, the very sanctimonious folks at WADA and other such pee-pee collecting agencies. Think about this: how many times have you heard one of these PED scolds saying honestly, and frankly that "yes, mistakes are made. So we have to keep the possibility (regarding athlete X) that he or she is innocent."

You never hear that.


Yet mistakes are made. False positives exist.

They PED scolds at WADA, have one basic response to everyone of note who "gets caught."

"Yeah... sure. They all say that..."

Kind of like judges who say about defendants... "yeah, yeah, they all say they are innocent..."

Well, sometimes, they are innocent.

At the end of the day, both MLB and WADA would be pleased with a "big fish" being caught. It would send a chilling effect to other would be users, and more importantly for WADA, it would just further underscore their call for MORE testing and more ADVANCED testing (i.e. blood doping).

Remember, WADA is a business.

And there is a lucrative horizon of testing to be done on all sports, at increasingly sophisticated levels into the future. WADA doesn't prosper if it appears PED use is on the decline, or otherwise sufficiently "in check" buy current testing regimes.

Not saying it's a bona fide conspiracy. Not saying there was tampering. Just saying that if Ryan Braun loses, MLB and WADA "wins". Thus, you have to be suspicious.

In the case of Braun, you also have to give strong weight to the fact that neither his numbers nor his physical attributes showed any real "pop" that would make you suspicious. Granted, that isn't a foolproof exoneration of PED cheats.

But if his testosterone was indeed that sky high, well then he wasn't getting much "enhancement" of his actual performance.

Personally, I don't really care about athletes who might be juicing. I know they do, because I know it works. But the only people who really got their knickers in a wad, were the baseball nerds who became horrified at how Bonds was laying waste to the record book like Godzilla to a seaside Japanese village.

Them, and parents of kids who play sports and are worried that they'll run into the local corner version of Jose Canseco in their neighborhood.

Look, athletes need to be tested. Cheaters need to be punished. But the rush to judgement, and sanctimonious attitudes of the testing organizations and the leagues themselves, need to pump the brakes.

Ryan Braun's case, is a prime example. If you can't handle the pee pee in the exact manner you are OBLIGATED to handle it, then how can a MLB superstar trust that the more complicated process of testing for tiny amounts of banned substances is done correctly?


  1. I know since starting as the sports guy for Lazer 102.9 (The Hog) you have become successful beyond your wildest dreams so I hope you are not becoming lazy and complacent? I commend your blog above because it presents a unique angle that I am sure the average person has not considered. However, your off the hip flap this morning was no better than a drunkard at a local Milwaukee pub. Over the years, I have grown to appreciate your honest outsider perceptive of Milwaukee sports and relatively insightful thoughts about sports in general. However, today’s off the hip flap with ZERO facts on Braun’s exoneration was disappointing to say the least.

    For instance, highest testosterone test since MLB testing began (about 20x normal levels), his 25 negative tests since entering MLB, his 3 prior negative tests during the year in question, NO weight gain during the year, NO increase in running speed as charted by the Brewers, and that the moron in charge of shipping the sample kept it in his home for 36-48 hours before changing his Cardinals uniform to finally ship it.

    This is my second time in six years complaining directly to you so know this……you have had far more awesome days than bad and for those I thank you! I will be brushing today off as a golden sombrero for you!

  2. Weren't most of those facts that you mentioned only discovered after Czaban's segment this morning?? Those are all items Braun told us during his press conference and I never heard anyone popping off those stats/info prior to the Braun himself stating them on Friday afternoon.

  3. Steve, when did you start working for the ACLU? If these guys are so innocent, then let's have blood testing and any other testing as they are all so clean. Oh, I forgot, THE UNION won't let them. Braun, and many others, innocent on a technicality.

  4. I forgot one other thing. Cheating does matter. I am not a baseball nerd. I am a man trying to live with honor. When a ball payer cheats at any sport, it damages our culture. When a politician cheats (Clinton, Geithner) it damages our culture. I am fed up with letting dishonorable behavior being excused. I am not perfect, but I do try to emulate those that behave with honor.

  5. Thanks Honestabe. I sorta feel stupid about how easily I fell into the "of course he probably did it" trap that the WADA purists want me to fall into. It was only after thinking about this case some more on Friday, that I really started to smell the rotten fish. I mean, it comes down to this: the EASIEST part of the test, is collecting the pee-pee and mailing it according to standards. The much harder part, is the science of sniffing out things that are "wrong" with a sample. (And it can be a LOT of things...) So when the EASY part is fucked up like a Polish wedding (it's okay folks, my dad's side is pure Pollock) then you just HAVE to say it's POSSIBLE the hard part was/is/sometimes gets screwed up too. THAT is just plain common sense. And why even have arbitration or appeals, IF when you WIN that appeal, MLB just stomps its feet and says you are STILL guilty. Had MLB said: "We disagree, but we respect the process. And certainly, mistakes sometimes get made. This MIGHT have been one of them." THEN I would not be so critical of the whole anti-performance drug hysteria.

  6. Bud should be run out of Milwaukee for MLB's "vehement" opposition to the arbitration finding. What the hell Bud? What do you think you are going to gain from this other than a yearly coating of your sad ass statue at Miller Park. Braun finally had his day in court and he won - be a big boy Bud and call off your pee-hounds. Its a disgrace, and a shame and a mockery - a dishamockery - that the one suit in MLB who actually knows Braun and who could put this sorry suit to bed forever isn't taking the high road. Shame on you Bud Selig for not having the baseballs to take it like a man. I vow to organize a stealth team of grab ass commandos to deface your statue at Miller Park every Spring with lipstick, KY Jelly and the urine of a real doping athlete until you admit defeat and apologize to Braun. Bud you have the power to put this to bed. Every day that the cloud of suspicion hangs over Braun's head is just another day the world will continue to see you as the biggest dope in professional sports...and in Milwaukee, and in the United States....crap! too many politicians to really make that stick...well in MLB. Bud ya pud - do your job.

  7. Czabe, everyone that comes out on the losing end of arbitration / litigation / court hearings of any variety stomps their feet. You wouldn't have a battle escalated all the way to those levels if you didn't have two opposing sides that both believe strongly in their respective cases. The verdict handed down always leaves one side happy and one side stomping their feet. Why should this case be any exception to that rule?

    Honestabe, I wouldn't typically even bother with making a point of something so petty, but since you're on such a high horse about people shooting from the hip with "ZERO facts," I'll go ahead and make note of the fact that the agent handling the specimen for the testing laboratory was a CUBS FAN, not a Cardinals fan. So evidently not only is the franchise one undying fuck up after the next, so are their insufferable douchebag fans.

  8. Replies
    1. He's the left fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers.