February 29, 2012

Baseball's Biggest Lie

By - Todd Stepp

Last Thursday, 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun successfully appealed his 50-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball for a failed drug test.

It was the first time ever that a positive test ruling had been overturned.

Photo by: Jae C. Hong
Now, Braun may have an STD (allegedly), and he may have actually been the product of a drug testing company foiling his sample (allegedly) - those things may be true. But who's telling the truth here?

The sample collector was called out for "tampering" with the sample - something Ryan Braun himself said happened in his press conference declaring his innocence. Today the sample collector is speaking out, saying Braun is lying (you can read the full statement from Dino Laurenzi here). Braun claims that his test was positive because Laurenzi didn't immediately ship the sample to the lab for testing. Braun claims it took Dino 44 hours to even get the sample to FedEx to be shipped.

And now we have controversy.

An arbitrator declared that Braun is innocent, even though he failed the standard drug test, forcing Major League Baseball to issue a statement saying they don't agree with the arbitrator, but they must uphold the decision. It's almost like the Commissioner's office has a direct tie to the offender and his team.

Oh, wait.

Braun's issue now is that Laurenzi is speaking out, specifically saying Braun's claims that he tampered with the sample, causing it turn out positive are incorrect. And, until we hear more from Laurenzi, who do we believe? If you read Laurenzi's statement, you're certainly inclined to believe that he followed protocol. Plus, you can imagine the stress of a guy like Braun, with millions of fans probably threatening Laurenzi directly, has become. Braun's own dollar signs could ruin this guy's livelihood altogether.

Steroids have hindered the overall thoughts of many baseball fans and some even tend to assume all ball players are using. And why wouldn't they? They have short careers, make as much money as possible and then ride off into the sunset, basking in glory. If only Barry Bonds would've been so lucky, right? Bonds is still responsible for a man sitting behind bars - a guy so unwilling to testify against Bonds, that he's in prison for not talking.


Truthfully though, it would be ignorant to not think someone of Braun's stature would be found innocent while holding a smoking gun. This is the American way and it's not different in your office or college sports or pro sports or any other business. Think of sports commissioners like traffic cops. Everyone speeds but what keeps someone from driving 90 mph in a 65 mph zone? The idea that they might face an infraction, right? The hard part is this: You can't catch everyone and some speeders are important people or cute girls who, of course, are getting away with a warning.

Manny Ramirez tested positive for a banned substance and got a 50-game suspension. Already this spring a minor leaguer tested positive and got the 50-game penalty too. Ryan Braun tested positive and was then told he didn't have to serve any suspension. All these guys tested positive. All these guys immediately said "wasn't me!". But who do you believe? And what makes an arbitrator overturn a positive drug test?

Sounds like it's just a name tag with the weight of an MVP.


  1. So you think Braun may have been given a free pass by the arbitrator BECAUSE he's the MVP?

    1. Perhaps, yes. Nobody cares about the minor league player testing positive and everyone believes Manny is crazy enough - none of these things make baseball look bad. But their Most Valuable Player testing positive? That's a black eye and a huge slap in the face to fans - especially fans who are on the fence about the sport to begin with.

  2. Braun is going to deny he took anything he shouldn't have for obvious reasons and Laurenzi is going to swear up and down he followed protocol because he doesn't want to look like he was the reason a guilty player got off. The whole thing is a big question mark.

  3. I really wanna believe Braun because he seems like a good guy, and it's hard for me to believe that he would be dumb enough to try and take something knowing how strict MLB's drug testing has gotten. Having said that, guys will still try anything to gey an advantage, no matter what the risk, so nothing really surprises me anymore.

  4. This is a prime example of why baseball is no longer America's favorite sport. Steroids have ruined the game.

  5. Look at it this way, Braun still got punished. After all, now the whole world knows he's VD infested. That's the punishment that keeps on giving. Lol