Now, for what’s really important

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

55 thoughts on “Now, for what’s really important

  1. I still don't understand what exactly this changes. The entire basis of the appeal was factual evidence against the original result. It didn't matter one iota what Braun actually did. Once the test was proven invalid, there was nothing to interpret. This wasn't forgiveness of a positive test; it was a recognition that the positive test never truly existed.

  2. Process matters. If the process can be questioned just once…every outcome after is in question. I don't know if Ryan Braun is guilty, but we can't say he is if the process is tainted.

  3. Great article, it continues to confuse me how people keep ignoring the fact that it was the person who took the test who made the mistake. I don’t know what MLB is fighting over and I don’t know why they think this invalidates their testing as a whole. Someone didn’t follow protocol, therefore the test is invalid, it isn’t a strike against their testing, it’s a strike against the person who gave the test.

  4. Just wondering – but what if the leaker KNEW that the testing procedure hadn't been followed, therefore invalidating the results? Any chance they leaked for the purpose of convicting him in the court of public opinion, since there was no actual evidence that would stand up in court?

  5. "is moralizer extraordinaire Jeff Passan, who starts his column out this way:

    The program failed Bud Selig.

    And that’s as far as I got. Seriously, I haven’t read anything beyond that sentence."

    My hero.

  6. The sad part is, as Brien mentioned in his article, is that Ryan Braun is now and forever a steroid user. It's not fair and it's not right, but there it is. As soon as this leaked it was all over.

    The court of public opinion had already rested it's case.

  7. MLB would have to be absolutely crazy and have received really bad advice to try to challenge the result in federal court.
    First and foremost from a legal prospective- federal courts are incredibly hostile to attempts to overturn arbitration decisions where there is no dispute that the parties contracted for arbitration (which is unquestionably true here). The standards are so high, that it would be very difficult for MLB to present a non-frivolous argument as to why they are even bringing an arbitration result to court.

    Further, MLB is going to be asking the Court to enforce a program and a result that there appears to be no dispute that MLB did not follow. In fact, it has been violated in two material ways; (1) the failure in the collection/shipping procedure; and (2) the leak of information to the press.

    The laws in defamation differ from state to state, (in some states the plaintiff has a burden to show the statement is actually false), and I do not know which states laws would apply to Braun's claims based on the facts disclosed. However, depending on how that shakes out, Braun could have a decent claim for defamation here.

  8. I'm inclined to believe Braun in this one, he genuinely seemed shocked that he tested positive. I know every player denies the use, but this just seemed different.

    Either way, the test was not performed correctly, and that says nothing about Braun, so nobody can really judge him.

  9. If the chain of custody was the sole factor in the arbitrator's decision to void the test, it will be interesting to hear exactly what the Collector did with the specimen. If this is his regular job, I imagine he should have preparations in place at home to secure specimens. The MLB/MLBPA agreement is somewhat vague. (See Addendum A, Section XI-E here: http://mlb.mlb.com/pa/pdf/jda.pdf ) Having been a police officer (retired) I can tell you that we stored specimens in a locked mini-fridge in the cell block, sometimes for a few days, until they were transported to the state lab. To my knowledge, that was sufficient to preserve the chain-of-evidence required in court.

  10. Maybe you should actually read some of the articles your commenting on?

    Braun hired the right people. They convinced Das that even though the collector had stored the samples “in a cool and secure location,” as the program advises, it was not sufficient to maintaining chain of custody.

    “This stuff happens around the world all the time,” said Travis Tygart, the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Association. “They’re collected at people’s homes after the UPS or FedEx or DHL is closed. The DCO (doping-control officer) keeps it with them. These are well-trained people whose job it is to maintain it.”

    According to baseball’s rules – or at least Das’ interpretation of them – protocol in other sports did not matter to baseball. Nor did the security seals on Braun’s two tamper-resistant samples remaining in place and the collection agent testifying at the arbitration hearing that the samples had remained untouched.

    I seriously love this site, unless its talking about steroids, as the writers here are largely apologists. Braun used and got off on a technicality that wouldn't have worked in any other sport. Instead of recognizing that, once again you're ignoring the truth and claiming that the test wasn't valid.

  11. I read the Yahoo article and don't think it was based on a flawed premise. The author goes on to explain that the testing process was supposed to be Selig's way to help clean the game and safeguard its reputation. Seeing what just transpired, with almost as much confusion as there is certainty having been spawned by this specific case, then the program did fail Selig. It failed everyone.

    I get the idea that if the process fails, the sample is invalidated. I do. But it doesn't appear that the process itself failed per se, just that it didn't hold up to the specificity defined in MLB's version of how the testing should work.

    Either way, I think the article was worth reading in its entirety. Essentially the author is claiming that the process is fallible. Not because it yielded a specific result, but simply because the process itself was successfully cited as flawed by Braun's legal team.

  12. Thanks for that nice summary, Larry.

    I still want to say: "The test was inconclusive, so let's get the pitchforks and torches so we can storm the castle!" :-)

    I have been having a hard time not being overly cynical in the media's overall role in the PED saga that has been going on with baseball these past several years. With that said, it would have been nice if the major media would actually sum up that the arbitration ruling in Braun's favor truly means that the original tests were inconclusive and that all his other tests have been negative.

    Just seems fairer to Braun and the fans. But that is my two cents. (I realize it probably doesn't drive ratings nearly as well, which is part of the problem.)

  13. I think the only real reason as to why people (and, really, that's only "people who are invested in caring about clean/dirty players") are upset and/or confused at this whole situation still DESPITE the arbiration ruling is:

    1) Braun was not guilty because of the "breakdown in process."
    2) MLB (and other less-savory sources like the testing people who hate not having oversight on US drug testing) say there was no breakdown in process, just potentially unclear wording in the CBA.
    3) NEITHER side say that the sample was tampered with or showed any evidence of tampering.

    So, again, we're left in the position we were originally: confusion over something that should never have been revealed and the truth of which may never be known. Until we hear (as the guys from Around The Horn were saying) from Shyam Das or the collector himself — which we never *should* mind you — we have no way of knowing what was actually said about what was actually done. Thus the "he got off on a technicality" people are correct AND the "he was innocent because the process wasn't followed" are correct at the same time… which is terrible for everyone who does care about it.

    I think at this point the only thing we can say for certain is: the PRIVACY process wasn't followed and somebody should be sued/fired/jailed for that.