Friday, February 24, 2012

Ryan Braun

Here are some of my thoughts on the Ryan Braun saga.

First off - we are not talking about a crime here so let's stop with the talk about due process. Ken Rosenthal had a very good take on the subject but his one flaw was thinking this was a matter of due process. It was a case of contractual process and arbitration. If Braun was "guilty" he wasn't going to jail.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement calls for certain processes to be in place and those processes were violated by agents in the employ of MLB. If the lack of adherence had come on the part of the player - say if the player did not provide the urine sample in the presence of a MLB tester - then the sample would have been ruled invalid and rightly so. That is not to assume that the player would have tried to use a Whizzinator if the tester wasn't watching but that same adherence to the agreed upon rules has to apply on the flip side of the coin. Who's to say the courier who failed in his duties doesn't have a Matt Kemp shrine in his apartment and access to synthetic testosterone?

It has been said that the arbitrator was also influenced that Braun's sample was rumored to have three-times the testosterone of the next highest sample ever recorded. Unprecedented levels of testosterone coupled with an unprecedented breaking of the testing process guidelines really left the arbitrator with no choice but to rule the way he did.

In unrelated news - the Milwaukee Brewers announced today that Rocky Mountain Oysters will no longer be served in the Brewers clubhouse. Ryan Braun was the only player eating them anyways.

Let me just say that MLB looks bad in this episode. They responded by saying they "vehemently disagreed" with the arbitrator's decision. They "vehemently disagree"? Is that how it works? MLB disagrees. Overruled. No, no, no - we VEHEMENTLY disagree! Oh, well if you vehemently disagree then the arbitrator should take some time to reconsider - NOT! (Someone at ESPN should definitely get Kevin Pollack to read MLB's statement.)

According to a Tweet from Ken Rosenthal - the 2-1 vote was the result of Union chief Michael Weiner and independent arbitrator Shyam Das siding with Braun while Rob Manfred of MLB voting against Braun. Is it just me or does this seem like a strange arrangement that would always result in any case starting off at 1-1? Why bother having the Union and MLB voters in the first place? Just have the arbitrator. Saying it was a 2-1 vote instead of an arbitrator's decision just makes it worse in my opinion.