Friday, February 24, 2012
Ryan Braun Makes A Strong Case
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?