Not to Fifty!
Ryan Braun won't have to suffer the loss of 50 games from his life after winning his appeal and seeing his suspension overturned by an arbitor. This sucks for the Cubs and their fellow NL Central teams who don't want to see the Brewers gain the extra 2-3 wins Braun is likely to add to their lineup over a third of a season. But this is great for people who believe in following rules, which I'm pretty sure is most of the people who care about PED testing in the first place . . . in theory, at least.
That's the whole point, right, to follow the rules? If Ryan Braun used steroids, that's cheating, whether it helped him do better or not, yes? And it matters because numbers matter in baseball. And if we can't trust the numbers, we can't really enjoy baseball (a truth sabermetricians and old school record-loving hardliners can agree on . . . or something). So, for the numbers to mean anything, for baseball to feel pure, we have to follow the rules and punish those who don't. MLB didn't.
Braun's sample was collected on Oct. 1, a Saturday and the day the Brewers opened the NL playoffs. The collector did not send the sample to the laboratory until Monday, thinking it would be more secure at home than at a Federal Express office during the weekend.
Baseball's drug agreement states that "absent unusual circumstances, the specimens should be sent by FedEx to the laboratory on the same day they are collected."
So they broke the rules. Granted, keeping Ryan Braun's piss in your fridge is probably tantamount to an unusual circumstance, but the collector, acting as an agent of Major League Baseball, broke the rules. So MLB should be punished, and today they were.
Do we still have reason to suspect that Ryan Braun cheated? Sure. He's a human and a baseball player, and I have my suspicions about that entire lot. Let's not pretend we all trust each other. We don't. That's why we enforce rules about transporting pee-pee. Baseball players don't trust MLB any more than MLB trusts the players. But anyway, the only significant evidence we have that Ryan Braun cheated is a sample we can't trust because it was handled improperly. And nobody wants to mess around with an improperly handled urine sample.
We don't know for sure if Braun's test would have failed. We don't know for sure if he broke the rules (if we didn't have reason to suspect he did break the rules, MLB wouldn't be testing him in the first place . . . they suspect everyone). So right now, we're no further along in the accusatory process than we ever were in Braun's case. Why? Because of what we do know for sure: MLB cheated. They held on to his sample too long. They broke the rules. They lose. They can vehemently disagree with the decision all they want, but they can't disagree with the fact that they broke the rules. If MLB wants to cheat without consequences, I suggest they revisit the 1990s. Or the 1980s. Or the 1970s, '60s, '50s, '40s, '30s, '20s, '10s, or the 1908s. But now that baseball has finally entered an era in which they've decided that cheating should be punished, their disagreement with this decision falls flat.
If you still think Ryan Braun is guilty, I'm going to go ahead and not worry about what's going on in your brain. He maybe cheated. He maybe didn't. I certainly do not care what everyone's guesses are. I'm just glad MLB got screwed for breaking the rules. Like confidentiality. MLB sucks at that one. MLB deserves to see test mishandling and corporate rule-breaking blow up in its face.
That's the crappy thing about being holier-than-thou. It becomes really for fun for all the thous to watch when your holiness get pissed on.
Is there a Cubs game today?
Whitney Houston Performance I Recently Enjoyed
I submit this without irony. Well, not a ton of irony.