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December 12, 2011

Prospectus Hit and Run

Braun Banned for PEDs [Version 9]

by Jay Jaffe

This story was initially published around 8:30 PM ET on Saturday night and has since been revised several times as new information has emerged. Please scroll down to see updates.

The baseball world was rocked on Saturday with an ESPN "Outside the Lines" report that Ryan Braun tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug during the playoffs. Braun was initially found to have an elevated testosterone level, and a subsequent test (presumably via the "B" sample" taken from the same specimen) revealed that the testosterone was synthetic. The actual identity of the substance hasn't been revealed.

Braun is disputing the result, which was not announced by Major League Baseball because the appeal process had not been completed; instead, information on what is designed to be a confidential process was leaked to veteran steroid beat reporters T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada, either by someone involved in the testing process or inside the commissioner's office. According to the report, immediately upon being informed of the positive, Braun requested a retest. That second test, says a source close to the case, was not positive. But what ESPN's story doesn't say is whether that second test was a test of the "B" sample — another portion of the original sample taken at the same time, a common drug testing protocol — that turned up negative, or whether it was a new sample, collected at a later date, that was tested.* This is such a critical piece of information that I'm surprised at the lack of clarity on the parts of these well-versed reporters and their editors; via the Twitter accounts of Quinn and Fainaru-Wada I have requested a clarification.

Braun's camp has expressed some optimism that their appeal may carry the day. A spokesman from Creative Artists Agency, which represents Braun, has issued a statement:

"There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program. While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated."

While it is believed that no positive test finding has been overturned in the short history of MLB's drug testing program, it is more accurate to say that no positive test finding that has been made public has been overturned. The possibility exists that there have been situations where players were exonerated via the appeals process — due to false positives or other anomalies — without news of the original positive becoming public. If the finding is upheld, Braun will face a 50-game suspension, severely denting the chances of a Brewers squad already scrambling to replace the likely loss of Prince Fielder to free agency. The appeals process could take several weeks.

It's bad enough that a well-liked star is getting hit with a PED suspension, but what makes this one particularly awkward is that just weeks ago, Braun was named the winner of the National League Most Valuable Player award. He enjoyed a fabulous season, hitting .332/.397/.597 with 33 homers for the Brewers while helping them to their second playoff appearance in the past four seasons and their first division title since 1982. His .340 True Average ranked second in the league behind Matt Kemp's .350, his 6.4 WARP fourth behind Kemp (8.9), Joey Votto (7.0), and Clayton Kershaw (6.5). There's no precedent in baseball for an awards vote being overturned, and nothing in the language of the league's policy on the matter; note that the award is given by the Baseball Writers Association of America, not MLB. Given the soapbox derby that the subject often generates in the mainstream media, it's not a surprise to see at least some faction move to do so, but remember that nobody asked Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, or Roger Clemens to give back awards won when they were allegedly using PEDs. BBWAA secretary/treasurer Jack O'Connell, who administrates the awards confirms that there are no plans to move for a re-vote. ""The voters used the infomation they had at the time of the election. I don't see how we can change that," he told the L.A. Times.

Braun's positive test is just the third among major leaguers in 2011, following Manny Ramirez's positive test back in April and Eliezer Alfonso's in September; ironically, both were second offenses resulting in 100-game suspensions, suggesting that the gap between those who get it and those who don't is widening. Ramirez's positive test forced the slugger into retirement; he has just successfully applied for reinstatement, along with an agreement to reduce the ban to 50 games once he signs, given that he sat out all of last season. His previous positive, in May 2009, ranks as a better parallel to Braun's in that it was the first time MLB's testing program caught a star at the top of his game, and also one in which an initial test of elevated testosterone levels empowered MLB to to take a closer look.

Aside from a hideous clothing line, the 28-year-old Braun is a likeable player who symbolizes the Brewers' renaissance; back in April, with Fielder poised to make his last lap around the league in Milwaukee colors, Braun signed a contract extension that will keep him in town through the 2020 season. He has been cited by Bud Selig as an example of what's right with the game. One hopes that there's some reasonable explanation that will explain the positive result away so that we can forget this ever happened. The odds on that may appear longer than those of Fielder reupping, and the damage to the public perception of Braun won't easily be undone even if the result is rolled back.

Still, as the news cycle has continued to roll, it's shed light on a situation about which the public should have some doubts, because word of Braun's positive broke before the appeals process could be completed. If the tests were indeed contradictory, one would have hoped that a process that is supposed to be confidential remains confidential until the league and the labs get to the bottom of this. That's not the case, however, and while it's important not to rush to judgment about whether Braun is guilty, either way this appears to be a very dark day for baseball.

Update (1): It's worth noting a pair of tweets from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt. First, "Braun cannot give his side of the story because he is not allowed to talk during appeal process," and second, "Just spoke to someone familiar with the details of Braun's test and was assured he will be found innocent. If so, horrible this leaked out." As bad as this looks right now, there does appear to be a glimmer of hope that this is all going to go away.

*Update (2): The ESPN article has been revised, but the wording is still frustratingly vague:

Since being informed of the results, Braun has been disputing his case. A source close to Braun said that when he was told about the positive test, he immediately requested to be tested again. That second test, using a different sample that was tested by Braun's camp, the source said, was not positive. Those close to Braun believe that the difference between the two tests will show that the first test was invalid. Although Braun's representatives acknowledge that a non-positive test would not negate a positive one, they believe the second test shows certain anomalies that will suggest problems with the first. They declined to specify.

Huh? If the test was indeed taken from a new sample, then the interval at which it was collected would be an issue; different drugs stay in the system for different lengths of time, and even if it was collected just "a couple of weeks later," as Haudricourt's blog entry suggests, that could compromise the appeal. Also troubling is the use of the phrase "tested by Braun's camp," which suggests the introduction of bias into the proceedings, since all testing is supposed to be done by an independent third party, not someone with a vested interest in sides or camps. You'd think reporters who have been covering this stuff for the better part of the decade would be able to produce more precision, but they have not, and it only raises more questions about what's already a very curious case.

Update (3): This story won't sit still. Haudricort reports that a source from the Braun camp says that it's not a PED for which Braun tested positive:

But my source -- and again, this is from Braun's end and not MLB -- familiar with the test's findings says the "prohibited substance" was not a performance-enhancing drug or steroid of any kind. And the source says there has "never" been a result like this in the history of the MLB testing program.

Fox's Ken Rosenthal tweets that has a story pending with words to the same effect, that the positive test was for a prohibited substance, not a PED. In a follow-up, Rosenthal tweets, "What he did triggered violation of #MLB steroid-testing policy. Source says substance was prohibited, but not PED." I'm not an expert enough to speculate as to what substance that might be, but it's worth remembering that in 2009, Ramirez's positive test was for human chorionic gonadotropin, a female fertility drug that steroid users often take in order to kick-start testosterone production following a cycle. Furthermore, it's important to note that the Joint Drug Agreement (PDF here) defines "Prohibited Substances" in three classes: "Drugs of Abuse," "Performance Enhancing Substances," and "Stimulants."

Update (4): Rosenthal's story corroborates Haudricourt's:

The source described the test result as highly unusual, “never seen in the history of (baseball’s) drug-prevention program.”

“When it happened,” the source said, “everyone was just scratching their head.”

Another source, however, said that the substance in question triggered a violation of baseball’s steroid-testing policy, even if it is not technically listed as a PED.

Update (5): As I said above, the assertion that no positive test finding has been overturned is inaccurate; there have apparently been cases overturned before the result of the initial positive was publicly reported. Various reporters hinted as such on Saturday night; as Haudricourt pointed out, "No player is known to have had positive drug test overturned on appeal but details would not be released in that event." A source with knowledge of MLB's testing program corroborates the existence of overturned cases, Kevin Goldstein has talked to people in front offices who corroborate that, and at least one player does as well. On Saturday night, Jimmy Rollins tweeted, "[N]ever been overturned is "technically" correct. I know of a case that no one will hear about."

This story just gets weirder and weirder.

Update (6): The weirdness continues. The New York Daily News's Teri Thomson reports that the level of Braun's testosterone in the first test was "insanely high, the highest ever for anyone who has ever taken a test, twice the level of the highest test ever taken," according to a source familiar with the case. That ratio is one of the "highly unusual circumstances" to which Braun's handlers have referred. The same source also says that there were chain of custody issues involving the test, which was sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Montreal to undergo carbon isotope ratio (CIR) or isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) testing. Those tests revealed that the levels were caused by exogenous or synthetic testosterone. The report includes this rather cryptic statement from the source:

"The argument before the appeals board won't be that the original ratio was so high and doesn't make sense," said the source, "but there will be a defense. It's not something he knew or should have known about."

Is the source suggesting that Braun's sample had been tampered with? That he had an undiscovered condition that boosted his testosterone? It's unclear.Thompson also reports that MLB is 13-0 in its appeals process, a record that contradicts the information both I and Kevin Goldstein have received. Both Haudricourt and Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan report sources telling them that MLB has not lost a PED-related arbitration case case.

Monday Mega-Update (7): As expected, Monday morning brings several interesting articles on various fronts.

• On Twitter, many people, including our own Colin Wyers, spent time on Sunday discussing the possibility of a false positive in the testing; one scientific journal article Wyers came across suggested that the false positive rate of the initial urinary testosterone/epitestosterone (T/E) test could be as high as nine percent.

Under MLB’s testing process, any player's sample where the T/E ratio is higher than 4/1 undergoes a second test that is considerably more accurate. Will Carroll, who discussed the process and logistics of testing at SI.com, weighs in at his Tumblr with a note about the misconception of false positives once the second round of testing is complete:

The ratio test isn’t very accurate, which is why it is no longer used as a standalone. It used to be, until the secondary test (gas chromatography and isotope ratio) became widely available. But having a high ratio proves NOTHING; it simply triggers the more accurate test.

So why do the ratio test at all? The GC-IRMS test is expensive and time consuming. You (and the lab techs in Montreal) don’t want to do hundreds of them. The ratio test is simply a way to spend time and resources on the cases that need that kind of time and attention. 

So to summarize: T/E ratio is pretty accurate, but not to be relied on. Good enough to use as a trigger. Second test? Very, very, very accurate. False positives, like masking agents, remain one of the red herrings of drug testing.

As accurate as the second test may be, the sheer volume of the testing still creates the possibility of false positives. According to the Associated Press' Ronald Blum, MLB conducted 3,868 in-season tests in 2011, up from 3,747 tests in 2010. Supposing a nine percent false positive on the first test, that would be 348 false positives in 2011. If the false positive rate of the GC-IRMS is even one percent, that's still roughly three players per year getting popped. If it's 0.3 percent, that's one player per year — one unlucky SOB. Braun and company aren't claiming that's what happened in this case, but in the general discussion of the process, it's worth bearing that in mind.

• Noting that MLB policy requires a player to "provide objective evidence in support of his denial," Andrew Keh of the New York Times sheds some light on the Braun camp's defense strategy:

To that end, Braun’s defense team is in the midst of systematically gathering evidence of everything he ingested in the days leading up to his test before the playoffs began. The team is cataloging the contents of his locker and his medicine cabinet at home, anything provided by his trainers and so on. The substances will be tested by labs approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

“Because Ryan doesn’t know what caused the positive result, we’re still doing our analysis,” said a person with knowledge of the tests and appeal. The positive test did not show he ingested any steroid or performance-enhancing drug, that person added.

…Braun has not been suspended because his case is still being appealed, which raises the possibility that he could report to spring training not knowing his fate. The panel that will hear his case will include a representative of M.L.B., a representative of the players union and an independent arbitrator chosen by the two sides. The case will most likely be heard in January, and the arbitrator will rule 30 to 45 days later.

In other words, it's quite possible—even probable—that Braun will report to spring training with this unresolved. The angry mob renting nooses and pitchforks by the hour is going to run up some serious charges.

• As noted above, multiple sources have contradicted what we at Baseball Prospectus have heard from insiders regarding MLB's record in the appeals process. Passan, who was one of the sources reporting MLB's spotless record, appeared to acknowledge some wiggle room in a tweet this morning: "No player has won in arbitration, the official appeal. Have cases been dismissed? People say yes. No source told me explicitly." In his column today, Passan appears to provide a mechanism for that:

Indeed, MLB had its chance to dump the Braun case. Part of its joint drug agreement with the players’ union calls for a meeting after the confirmation of a positive from the second sample. If both parties agree there is no reason to proceed – whether because of a chain-of-custody problem or another circumstance – they can overturn the suspension.

Further down, Passan mentions the aforementioned Rollins tweet in passing but files it as a conspiracy theory rather than a situation that may fit the parameters of what he's just outlined! It's an odd juxtaposition in a piece that's tone, I must admit, I generally disagree with; Passan has done some good legwork on this story—he's an excellent reporter in general—but much of the piece seems to equate Braun's dispute of the test results as being as bad as testing positive. I don't care for that tack at all, particularly in a situation where the process has been thrown open to the public as it never has before.

Update (7.1): On the Brewers Fandemonium bulletin board (scroll down to post #471), someone posting under the name of “Mass Haas” dug up a 2007 Huntsville Times article regarding minor league outfielder Brendan Katin, who was briefly suspended and then unsuspended: “Katin's initial test showed a higher level of testosterone than normal. Upon further review, the lab guys "determined that my high level did not constitute a positive result (for steroids)," he said.” The article doesn’t include much more detail than that, though a follow-up that ran today includes this:

Former [Huntsville] Stars first baseman Brendan Katin, a teammate of Braun at the University of Miami, was briefly suspended in 2007 when a test revealed a higher level of testosterone than normal.

Katin entered an appeal and was allowed to play while the decision was pending. The findings were reviewed and, more than three months later, it was "determined that my high level did not constitute a positive result (for steroids)," he told The Times in September 2007.

Because Katin was a minor leaguer at the time, his result is likely not included in MLB’s supposedly spotless record of appeals, but it’s apparent that such a record is a very carefully qualified statement. It would be great if a reporter digs into the Katin angle to provide more detail.

Update (8): The aforementioned Mass Haas came forward and identified himself as Jim Goulart. He swapped e-mails with T.J. Quinn over the Katin case. Quinn didn’t seem terribly interested. Her has published the response, which is basically a 104-word yawn:

I'm not sure what similarities there are, other than the fact that Katin initially tested with elevated testosterone levels and he denied any wrongdoing. I don't know if Katin subsequently tested positive for the synthetic test, as Braun did, or what the circumstances were, or any details about Katin's initial positive test. It also appears MLB never proceeded with his case, for whatever reason, which would also make it different than Braun's. But Braun is engaged in an active defense, and an initial positive test does not automatically mean someone has violated the policy. He'll have a chance to make his case in arbitration.

Quinn has the connections to follow this thread, but is apparently disinterested, probably because it’s not going to grab any headlines.

Meanwhile, Passan tweets the following, “While no major leaguer has won a PED appeal, one official told me of a minor league positive overturned because of chain-of-custody issues.” This is a case separate from Katin’s, in a different organization, adding to the notion that while MLB may be 12-0 or 13-0 in cases that have gone to arbitration, cases have been dismissed before getting there, either at the minor- or major-league level. Also, note that the Braun defense brought up chain of custody issues in the New York Daily News article.

• Quinn may be disinterested, but MLB Network Radio host and friend of BP Mike Ferrin, on the other hand, will have Katin on his show on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, with Passan on at 9:30. If you have SiriusXM, check it out—and take notes for me, because I don’t at the moment.

• While we’re at it on the media front, I’m going to be on Tuesday’s “Clubhouse Confidential” discussing this case. Show airs at 5:30 Eastern and re-runs at 7:30 and then several other times around the clock. I’m delighted to be invited back.

• I said this below in the comments, but I’ll add it here in the main article. I don’t have any particular opinion or stake as to whether Braun is guilty. It’s not so much that I feel compelled to defend him, it’s that I want to know moreabout this process. This leak has created an unprecedented event in the annals of MLB's testing program, a peek into the sausage factory of the testing and appeals process, which hasn't been completed, which is why this case differs from all other cases. The fact that it's a star, an MVP (though FWIW, I supported Kemp), or a Jewish ballplayer (given that I'm Jewish myself) actually doesn't interest me all that much, and I say that as somebody who's long had a soft spot for the Brewers and Braun. I'm mostly curious as to why this case is so curious.

Because the process hasn’t completed, I’m willing to grant Braun the benefit of the doubt; he’s innocent until proven guilty. The “benefit of the doubt” phrase has been thrown around a fair amount since this story broke, with questions as to why certain other stars such as Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez weren’t given the same. I don’t think that race is the primary answer here, because when David Ortiz’s name was leaked along with Manny’s as being among the positives from the supposedly anonymous survey test, he seemed to get the benefit of the doubt in many quarters thanks to the force of his personality.

In my mind, this has to do with the unique intermediacy of the process. With Rodriguez, as the highest-paid player in the game’s history and as someone whose public relations instincts are awkward at best, there’s an angry mob with pitchforks on call 24-7; he didn’t even get the benefit of the doubt from some when he saved a child from getting hit by a truck in downtown Boston. When news of his presence on the survey list broke, that test was six years old, and Rodriguez quickly admitted to wrongdoing. When we learned of Manny’s positive, he had already appealed his case and lost; there was little to doubt. With Braun, the process hasn’t played out yet, and I’m trying to keep an open mind until it does.

Jay Jaffe is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jay's other articles. You can contact Jay by clicking here

107 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

larry

You should clarify that the re-test was not of the original sample but was a later test done on a new sample taken when he learned of the positive, weeks after the initial test.

Dec 10, 2011 17:54 PM
rating: -2
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

While that implication is there, the ESPN story doesn't make clear that it was a new sample:

"A source close to Braun said that when he was told about the positive test, he immediately requested to be tested again. That second test, the source said, was not positive. Those close to Braun believe that the difference between the two tests will show that the first test was invalid."

Dec 10, 2011 17:59 PM
 
larry

Then make it clear that it's not clear. ;)

Dec 10, 2011 18:09 PM
rating: -2
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

I have made clear that it's not clear, and attempted to get a clarification from Quinn via Twitter.

Dec 10, 2011 18:11 PM
 
larry

What's worse about this lack of clarity is that the joint drug agreement isn't clear about what an A sample positive with a B sample negative means. In most (all?) sports, at least the ones I can think of, that isn't considered a positive test. No need to arbitrate, go to a hearing, whatever. It's just not positive.

Dec 10, 2011 19:25 PM
rating: -1
 
Behemoth

The standard across other sports is that a positive A test and a negative B test is a negative test, presumably on the basis that the result cannot be duplicated and is therefore unreliable. It should also be said that a positive A and negative B test is so rare as to be virtually unheard of.

Dec 11, 2011 01:25 AM
rating: 2
 
R.A.Wagman

The worst part of this whole ordeal is that it led to a huge bout of Jewish jokes throughout Twitter. I find that to be more disappointing than a top athlete allegedly taking illegal substances.

Dec 10, 2011 18:00 PM
rating: 0
 
Scott44

Well that's refreshing. I've been getting pretty tired with the Rabbi and Catholic Priest jokes.

Dec 10, 2011 19:26 PM
rating: 3
 
brooksp

This is a shonda for the goyim and I would think 99% of the Jewish jokes are being made by Jews to ease our pain. (This is also in part because 84% of all jokes are made by Jewish people in the first place....whereas only the occasional Jewish person wins an MVP. award. I digress....)

Dec 11, 2011 18:44 PM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Oy vey.

Dec 11, 2011 18:51 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

Something about this whole Braun situation isn't kosher.

Dec 11, 2011 22:42 PM
rating: -2
 
amazin_mess

Another black eye for MLB, newly-crowned MVP cheated. These clowns just don't get it.

Dec 10, 2011 18:20 PM
rating: -3
 
bheikoop

I have to disagree. The unfortunate news is that MLB is pretty much the only professional sport that takes its testing seriously.

Dec 11, 2011 02:35 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

MLB takes its testing seriously, but even so, they weren't able to prevent a leak like this, before the appeal process was completed. It's unclear where that leak came from - someone involved in the testing process, or someone inside the commissioner's office. Either way, such conduct violates the confidentiality of the Joint Drug Agreement and is no less dirty and disappointing than the use of PEDs.

Dec 11, 2011 07:49 AM
 
PeterBNYC

Thank you, Jay. I think both MLB and the WADA lab in Montreal need to come up with convincing demonstrations that the leak did not originate there, or suffer the consequences. Also, where is the MLBPA on this? Not a word from them. This also appears in a week when Bonds is to be sentenced for his "conviction", which I very much doubt will withstand the appeals process- is someone trying to influence the court? Oh yes, the same reporters for ESPN were on the Bonds case too, weren't they? Made their careers, didn't it? Hmmm.

Dec 12, 2011 09:40 AM
rating: 5
 
kcheaden

Bingo. That's my biggest problem with the entire thing.

Dec 12, 2011 10:19 AM
rating: 0
 
BillJohnson

Wasn't it Haudricourt who turned in the unspeakably bad MVP ballot in 2008 that he then tried to justify in the press? His credibility is not high with me.

This said, I'm waiting with bated breath for the next shoe to drop on this one.

Dec 10, 2011 19:11 PM
rating: -2
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

I don't recall Haudricourt's ballot, but it's important to note the distinction between one man's opinion/analysis regarding player value (the vote) and his reporting (the aforementioned quotes). Two very different skill sets can produce very different levels of credibility in the same way that a good hitter can be a lousy defender.

Dec 10, 2011 19:20 PM
 
BillJohnson

A fair point, but one of the objectionable things about Haudricourt's ballot was its preposterously blatant homerism. That's the thing that leaves me disinclined to take him seriously in this case, not his bizarre views of what constituted "value."

Dec 10, 2011 19:31 PM
rating: 0
 
Shkspr

A couple of notes:

"Being tested by Braun's camp" in reference to a second sample being taken need not indicate bias. There are lots of clean reference labs out there that will report accurately; if Braun's agent found a dirty one, WADA probably recognizes it from previous battles.

The specific compound being mentioned in reports, methenolone, apparently remains detectable in the body for 4-6 months. My guess is that the timetable between the two samples makes it reasonably unlikely that the substance would have time to naturally dissipate between tests.

My wife, an MT in a medical lab, suggested that the response from Braun's camp was plausible in two ways. First, the results from the later sample might call into question whether the machines testing the first sample were properly calibrated. There are a reasonable number of measurements taken that should remain homogenous across both samples, and variances in those metrics would indicate improper QC on one or both machines performing the test. Second, my wife explained that there is more than one way that samples can be tested to reveal their composition. It is plausible that the lab Braun's camp asked to test the second sample used a different method of inquiry to arrive at their conclusions and believe that, for example, a gas chromatography test might uncover a different profile than would, say, a qualitative test.
Ultimately, that "B" sample will get tested. What Braun's camp may have been able to do with the results of the second sample is determine whether they are going to appeal the type of test or the venue of test to control for that eement when the "B" sample is tested.

Dec 10, 2011 22:08 PM
rating: 12
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Thanks for your insights.

The methenolone that's being mentioned in reports is actually in connection with Alfonzo - the substance for which Braun tested positive has not been publicly identified.

Dec 11, 2011 07:40 AM
 
Shkspr

Oops. An addendum to the note above: generally, methenolone remains detectable in a regular sample for days, not months. The test used almost certainly detected use in the last few days.

However, there are apparently more specialized tests that can detect very low levels long term (over the four-six month period). My wife suggested that if Braun's camp used this specialized test, he should have come up positive under it long after the first test was done, and a negative test on that sample would indicate that the first test should have come up similarly negative. Apologies for my confusion, and of course, we won't know what Braun's angle is until later.

Dec 10, 2011 22:16 PM
rating: 12
 
Scott44

This is really good stuff, and potentially important too, thanks for sharing.

Dec 11, 2011 07:34 AM
rating: 1
 
bflaff1

Doesn't every single guy who ever got a 50 game suspension say some variation of, "Wow, I can't believe I tested positive! That's just the strangest thing! My body must have had a one in a million reaction to lasagna and Red Bull."

MLB isn't going to fry the reigning MVP on a borderline case. Everything these guys say after they're caught is sound and fury.

Dec 10, 2011 22:56 PM
rating: 5
 
Adrian

"MLB isn't going to fry the reigning MVP on a borderline case. Everything these guys say after they're caught is sound and fury."

Yeah, except that MLB isn't frying anybody right now - the information was leaked before the entire process was completed. If the entire process had finished and MLB then announced that Braun had tested positive, that would be one thing, but that isn't what's happened. We can't consider MLB's conclusion and stance on this definite until the appeals process has ended.

Dec 11, 2011 10:19 AM
rating: 4
 
bheikoop

Fainaru-Wada always seemed like more of a snitch then a reporter to me. Any time I heard him talk or read his stuff it always reminded me the people from TMZ. That he is being vague (and now unresponsive) should come as no surprise. We also haven't heard him talking about Barry Bonds recently.

I'm guessing that he does have some sort of inside information, and the reason we haven't heard of any other positive tests that ended up being overturned is because writing about Micheal Brantley isn't going to pay the rent, but Ryan Braun will.

Dec 11, 2011 02:31 AM
rating: 6
 
Sharky

What is the supposed impact of this drug?

Dec 11, 2011 05:17 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

The identity of the drug has not been revealed - the methenolone cited above was in connection to Eliezer Alfonzo's positive test, not to Braun's.

But one way or another, all of the anabolic steriods are synthetic derivatives of testosterone that can mimic its function in the body. They interact with the androgen receptors found in muscle cells, stimulating those cells to increase protein synthesis (anabolism), which results in the building of muscles and bones as well as the maintenance of secondary sexual characteristics. The binding of the steroid to the receptor also inhibits the breakdown (catabolism) of old proteins. The various drugs — Dianabol, Deca-Durabolin, Winstrol, etc. — differ in terms of the level of androgenic effects (the "side effects").

Dec 11, 2011 08:25 AM
 
jj0501

I will be interested how Braun handles his first public statement. Anyone can slip and fall, it's how you get back up that counts. Angry ? Defiant ? Humble ? Ashamed ? A mix of any or all of the above ? It's not like he is a Manny with repeat violations. He has a chance to turn this around, no matter how bad it is.

Dec 11, 2011 07:16 AM
rating: 1
 
Scott44

Everyone is already rushing to judge the guy as guilty. Let's let the process take it's course before running around saying MLB should strip him of the MVP and enforce the suspension. There already are things coming out that are throwing doubt into the accuracy of the first test.

Dec 11, 2011 07:36 AM
rating: 2
 
BillJohnson

Agreed, and let's try to extend the same courtesy to others in the same situation. Due process is important here. (And I say this despite being no fan of Braun or the Brewers; I am, however, a strong fan of the concept of not seeing people screwed by the system, ANY system.)

Dec 11, 2011 10:59 AM
rating: 4
 
Ankiel66

The initial report mentions an increased level of testosterone and goes on to say it tested as synthetic testosterone.

Testosterone is a PED.

Are we supposed to ignore this part of the report?

I am so confused right now.

Dec 11, 2011 11:59 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

There are contradictions between what the ESPN report said, and what Rosenthal and Hadricourt have written. I pointed out some of the holes in ESPN's story when it first went up, and since then some but not all of them have been filled in. Best not to treat any source as gospel.

Dec 11, 2011 12:08 PM
 
Ankiel66

Thanks Jay! I just hope it gets resolved soon enough.

Dec 11, 2011 12:31 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Don't hold your breath. It has been suggested that this could take until January or even February to resolve. It's not Barry Bonds' trial, but it won't be over tomorrow.

Dec 11, 2011 12:58 PM
 
BillJohnson

The link to the Goldstein tweet seems to be busted. I'd love to read it; can it be fixed?

Dec 11, 2011 12:04 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Fixed

Dec 11, 2011 12:17 PM
 
amazin_mess
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Well let's see. He tested positive and appealed, but no positive test has ever been overturned, right?

Sounds guilty.

Dec 11, 2011 13:15 PM
rating: -8
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

It is inaccurate to say that no positive test has been overturned. Please see update #5 for the details.

Dec 11, 2011 13:21 PM
 
Ankiel66

Jess Passan posted this on twittter:

http://twitter.com/#!/JeffPassan/status/145977826351394816
"Source also confirmed that MLB has not lost an arbitration case with PEDs."

I do not know what "losing" an arbitration case entails to make much sense out of this. But I think it is worded to purposefully discredit the previous Jimmy Rollins tweet(maybe I am reading too much into it).

Dec 11, 2011 14:00 PM
rating: 0
 
Ankiel66

Err, Jeff.

Dec 11, 2011 17:21 PM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess

Ok...then why did this even get out to the media then? Who or what has something to gain by this getting out, other than possibly some (non-BP) media outlets?

Weird is right.

Dec 11, 2011 13:24 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

As the history of the game's battle with steroid usage has shown, some insiders have had no hesitance to leak information regarding users to the media, mainly as a way of publicly shaming alleged PED users. IRS agent Jeff Novitzky, who investigated the BALCO case, is believed to have been responsible for the illegal leak of grand jury testimony, and federal agents are also believed to be responsible for the leaks of the names from the 2003 survey list. On the other hand, it's also worth noting that Troy Ellerman, who served 16 months for BALCO leaks, was actually a lawyer for the defense, albeit one who didn't exactly have his clients' best interests in mind (see http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/otl/news/story?id=6229509).

Dec 11, 2011 14:06 PM
 
eighteen

This is why the players union should never have agreed to a testing regime they didn't completely control. There's no such thing as "anonymous" testing under the current system, because anyone can be outed at any time.

"Anonymous" testing puts the players at MLB's mercy - MLB uses it as a PR and legal stunt to protect itself; and periodically leaks results to the media to get a negotiating edge by making the players look bad.

When testing was first proposed years ago, the union should've told MLB, Congress, and the media to go F themselves.

Dec 12, 2011 10:11 AM
rating: 2
 
Richard Bergstrom

Um, if the union could control the testing procedure, then how could it be unbiased?

Dec 12, 2011 11:37 AM
rating: 4
 
BillJohnson

OK, so what we're hearing now is that "substance was prohibited, but not PED" -- and also that testosterone levels were "insanely high."

Is there any imaginable set of circumstances under which both of these statements can possibly be correct?

Dec 11, 2011 15:06 PM
rating: 5
 
CRP13

Thanks for the ongoing updates, Jay. Nice work.

It's possible that Braun's body naturally creates elevated levels of artificial testosterone...

Dec 11, 2011 15:18 PM
rating: 0
 
Mike V.
(596)

The possibility exists that he's a cybernetic organism. His creators were smart by programming him to start a fashion line and to occasionally do hilarious stumbles toward home plate. It almost makes him seem even more human than a lot of us.

Dec 11, 2011 15:33 PM
rating: 13
 
Richard Bergstrom

On another note, hasn't it been a real long time since someone got suspended for a real drug like cocaine?

Dec 11, 2011 16:03 PM
rating: 4
 
thegeneral13

If I'm not mistaken these results could easily be caused by the right combination of Dos Equis and Old Spice.

Dec 11, 2011 17:59 PM
rating: 19
 
WaldoInSC

Stay muscular, my friend.

Dec 12, 2011 18:26 PM
rating: 2
 
Scott44

Jay - Thanks for these updates.

I'm curious, if he's twice as high as the highest ever test in MLB how much of a testerone substance would one have to take? I mean, does this make much sense, at all? You would have to be some kind of absolute moron to think you could take that high an amount and get away with it. To some extent that makes me think that either the test is wrong or there is some other explanation to vindicate him.

Dec 11, 2011 18:15 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Agreed. At this point, that Braun failed a test that dozens (hundreds?) before him have failed isn't as interesting as the report that he's an outlier in terms of how he failed the test. Those who aren't so busy rushing to their soapboxes to ask whether someone will think of the children would like to know why that is, or how/why any of this information was leaked mid-process, or why the contradictions about what we're hearing about Braun's test start with the opening line of Fainaru-Wada and Quinn's story (the PED vs. prohibited substance distinction).

Maybe this can be chalked up to a tremendous amount of spin by the Braun camp, but anyone who thinks that they're the only ones with an interest to protect is giving MLB far too much credit. Casting doubt on the accuracy and efficacy of the testing procedure and the appeals process would be a huge PR blow for MLB.

Dec 11, 2011 18:51 PM
 
Scott44

Makes me wonder who were some of the other names that were never (yet) leaked.

Dec 11, 2011 19:05 PM
rating: 0
 
Ankiel66

If it's true that no one has appealed and had their suspension overturned, then we know everyone who has appealed. We just don't know specifically, aside from Rafael Palmeiro who appealed by throwing Miguel Tejada under the bus.

Dec 11, 2011 20:37 PM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

I think the high levels will turn out to indicate he's guilty as hell.

Dec 11, 2011 18:44 PM
rating: -6
 
amazin_mess

I hope he's innocent though...I just doubt it.

Dec 11, 2011 19:21 PM
rating: -1
 
richardkr34
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Scum

Dec 11, 2011 19:33 PM
rating: -33
 
sjfore
(974)

I'm not interested in the contents of Ryan Braun's urine. Or anyone else's, for that matter.

Dec 11, 2011 21:20 PM
rating: -1
 
Mike V.
(596)

I miss the innocent days of yore when players like Moises Alou could pee all over their hands instead of into cups.

Dec 11, 2011 22:11 PM
rating: 19
 
therealn0d

Interesting to note this part of the press release from Braun's camp:

" there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program"

Soooooo, there was no _intentional_ violation, but a violation nonetheless? That's an admission. Are we going to hear the "never knowingly took them" line next?

Dec 11, 2011 22:45 PM
rating: -2
 
harderj

One possible explanation, if true (2003 citation):

"Testosterone Rises with Treatment for ED

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Men who use Viagra or Cialis for erectile dysfunction (ED) have increases in levels of testosterone, Italian researchers report.

"We are now demonstrating the sexual and hormonal effect of two popular oral treatments for ED," Dr. Emmanuele A. Jannini from University of L'Aquila told Reuters Health. "Both were efficacious and able to increase testosterone levels after 3 months of treatment."

Jannini team studied 74 men with erectile dysfunction and found that free and total testosterone levels rose, overall, by about 50% after treatment.

The testosterone increases were more marked in the group that took Cialis than in the Viagra group, although the drugs were equally effective in restoring sexual potency, the investigators report in the medical journal."

full text at http://www.steroidology.com/forum/anabolic-steroid-forum/56359-viagra-cialis-increase-testosterone-levels.html

Dec 12, 2011 07:50 AM
rating: 2
 
Richard Bergstrom

I bet Palmeiro wished he heard this five years ago.

Dec 12, 2011 08:54 AM
rating: 4
 
T. Kiefer

My initial suspicion was along these same lines--namely, that Braun was involved in some non-baseball extracurricular activities that might prove embarrassing, i.e., he had been using some performance-enhancing drugs of a different sort.

Dec 12, 2011 11:22 AM
rating: 0
 
craigburley

Perhaps but I remember the sprinter Dennis Mitchell appealing a positive testosterone test about ten years ago. His story was that he'd had sex four times and drank five beers the night before the test.

The IAAF allowed his appeal!

Dec 12, 2011 17:08 PM
rating: 2
 
KaiserD2

I do not know if BP has ever discussed this at length, but today's New York Times story on the case, which fills in more blanks, highlights something of which I have long been aware but is hardly ever discussed publicly--the gigantic loophole in the MLB drug policy.

Detecting illegal testosterone is tricky (although not impossible) because of course we all make testosterone. So testers measure the ratio of testosterone to a related hormone, epitestosterone. A normal ratio is one to one. To trigger further investigation, A PLAYER'S RATIO HAS TO BE 4 [SIC] TO 1. Braun's was above 4 to 1 and further tests showed synthetic testosterone.

A clever player and doctor could keep the player's testosterone at triple a normal level and never fail a test. It would be awfully naive to think that is not happening.

Dec 12, 2011 07:55 AM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Colin Wyers
BP staff

There are other screening tests that look for suspicious amounts of epitestosterone.

Dec 12, 2011 08:54 AM
 
greenfrog

If the batting glove don't fit, you must acquit!

Oh wait, sorry...wrong trial.

Dec 12, 2011 08:15 AM
rating: 7
 
Richard Bergstrom

If the urine test don't speak, an "unnamed source" will leak.

Dec 12, 2011 08:53 AM
rating: 7
 
Randy Brown
(189)

The best part about this? I think you could have switched "speak" and "leak", and your sentence would have the same meaning.

Dec 12, 2011 10:49 AM
rating: 12
 
Richard Bergstrom

I thought about it that way too except I wasn't sure what "a urine test don't leak" would mean except someone without full stream control.

I originally tried "If a cup of urine wasn't properly filled, an anonymous source will somehow spill"

Dec 12, 2011 11:41 AM
rating: 0
 
gtgator

Floyd Landis:

Tested after Stage 17. Abnormally high T/E ration (11:1). Subsequent tests showed synthetic testosterone.

Tested after Stage 19. Tests were negative.

He denied allegations for years and, eventually, admitted he had doped.

I am not saying Braun is guilty. But, to date, Braun's story is eerily similar.

Dec 12, 2011 10:53 AM
rating: 4
 
jerrykenny

So what? Any innocent person's story would sound the same. The question is not whether a true statement by an innocent person is the same as the lie told by a guilty person but whether the evidence in each case independently supports the allegation against the corresponding party.

Dec 12, 2011 13:01 PM
rating: 6
 
dodgerken222

I'm willing to assume this guy is innocent until proven guilty...but why were some comments by amazin mess deemed "inappropriate" because they alleged guilt? Some of the self-appointed censors of this blog should respect free speech a bit more.

Dec 12, 2011 12:13 PM
rating: -3
 
NoHRTyner

I do not think those who are clicking the negative are always attempting to censor, after all anybody is free to read the comment. Often a negative click indicates disagreement with either the statement itself or the way the opinion is presented.

Dec 12, 2011 12:43 PM
rating: 10
 
thegeneral13

Please help me understand how his free speech was impeded. As far as I can tell, he exercised his right to free speech and others did the same by expressing their disagreement via the minus button. Free speech doesn't entitle you to an audience.

Dec 12, 2011 13:32 PM
rating: 5
 
amazin_mess

I don't take any offense to the plus/minus, nor do I think free speech was impeded. My personal opinion on the matter is people want to believe Braun is innocent because he's a "good guy", which he seems to be. I just can't imagine a test coming in with elevated synthetic testosterone being a false positive. It could happen, but I doubt it.

Dec 12, 2011 13:39 PM
rating: 2
 
thegeneral13

My take is that thoughtful writers and fans feel an onus to defend Braun to counterbalance the reactionary mainstream. I don't think they feel loyalty to him, but to the idea of due process. The problem is that, in arguing vehemently for due process, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that Braun probably is guilty. I mean that literally, i.e. > 50%, so if I was putting my life savings on the line I would not take even money on his innocence. If you turn these arguments into real-money wagers people would check their hyperbole at the door. My own view is he's probably guilty, though not necessarily, so I'll just wait to see what happens. But it's easy to have boring (if rational) opinions when you don't have to sell them.

Dec 12, 2011 14:02 PM
rating: 7
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Was going to add something on this to the next update but I'll add it here first.

It's not so much that I feel compelled to defend Braun, or particularly believe that he's innocent, as that I want to know more about this process. This leak has created an unprecedented event in the annals of MLB's testing program, a peek into the sausage factory of the testing and appeals process, which hasn't been completed, which is why this case differs from all other cases. The fact that it's a star, an MVP (though FWIW, I supported Kemp), or a Jewish ballplayer (given that I'm Jewish myself) actually doesn't interest me all that much - and I say that as somebody who's long had a soft spot for the Brewers and Braun. I'm mostly curious as to why this case is so curious.

And yes, I want to see due process upheld, though that phrase is actually a misnomer, since it applies to the actions of the state, which isn't in play here. My law degree from Wikipedia University tells me that the term is "fair procedure." Regardless, I am willing to withhold my opinion of Braun's innocence or guilt until the process is played out, while taking advantage of the chance to learn more about the process and its loopholes.

Dec 12, 2011 14:58 PM
 
BillJohnson

I think you've homed in on the key point here. When a weird result is reported -- and this is as true in the hard sciences, where I work, as in news reports about PEDs -- the analytical mind starts by saying "gee, this is weird, what's going on?" rather than jumping to an immediate conclusion. The scientific woods are full of "bad science" that resulted when that question wasn't asked -- cold fusion, polywater, thorium halos that were interpreted as arguing for a young earth, I could go on like this for a long time.

The solution to that problem, which in the real world is essential to the scientific method, is to try to DISprove the weird result and the ensuing "theory," not by name calling but by experimental tests. If the weird results withstand the tests, then people begin to take them seriously. Unfortunately, while scientists routinely share data (or at least experimental details) with each other so that those tests can be conducted, the drug testers certainly don't share comparable things with the media or fans. There is consequently a credibility problem when a "gee, this is weird" result crops up, as may or may not have happened here, depending on these leaked news reports.

Jay, I love your "I'm mostly curious as to why this case is so curious" line. In my opinion MLB owes it to us to clarify some of those curious things. To continue the science analogy, we fans are the "funding agency" that, by way of buying tickets and other MLB commodities, pays for the "experiments" of players using or avoiding PEDs, and of testing labs that try to catch them cheating. A real-world funding agency would be very unhappy about one of its researchers asserting or refuting a weird finding based only on little bits of information that dribble out via leaks. We the public, IMO, are entitled to have our "curiosity" -- which really means "suspicion" -- resolved on this one, as long as we're buying tickets to games.

Dec 12, 2011 15:16 PM
rating: 7
 
Pat Folz

I'm just posting to commend you on a fantastic post. I agree completely.

Dec 12, 2011 21:59 PM
rating: -1
 
brooksp

There are thoughtful opinions and well-intentioned jokes and then there's the opposite. I only click the minus when the writer seems to be saying something a drunk at a bar might shout.

Dec 12, 2011 18:38 PM
rating: 0
 
richardkr34
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

He is scum.

Dec 12, 2011 13:00 PM
rating: -24
 
richardkr34
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

scum

Dec 12, 2011 14:14 PM
rating: -21
 
Behemoth

Have you managed to make a post that hasn't been hidden yet?

Dec 12, 2011 14:50 PM
rating: 0
 
richardkr34
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

He is a cheater. Cheaters are scum

Dec 12, 2011 19:53 PM
rating: -5
 
Scott44

We get it Richard, we get ittttttttttttttt!!!!

Dec 12, 2011 20:12 PM
rating: 2
 
Mike V.
(596)

Not so fast Scott. I'm still curious where he's going to go with this.

Dec 12, 2011 20:20 PM
rating: 17
 
richardkr34

Cheaters are scum

Dec 13, 2011 20:51 PM
rating: -3
 
Mike V.
(596)

Damn it richardkr34, you were trending so positively there having gone from "scum" to "he is scum" but now you've regressed and are on pace to write "sc," which will actually probably get you your most favorable response thus far.

Dec 12, 2011 15:05 PM
rating: 4
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Just wanted to note that I'll be on Clubhouse Confidential discussing Braun on Tuesday at 5:30 ET, with reruns at 7:30 and several other times throughout the next day. Big thanks to those of you who have kept coming back with interesting insights and tips, which has been one of the big reasons I've stayed with this story.

Dec 12, 2011 15:20 PM
 
dodgerken222

Maybe free speech wasn't impeded, but censorship by moral guardians is just as bad. You've seen a comment, you don't like it, therefore you don't want others to see it. I'm not talking about somebody cursing, or somebody engaging in personal attacks...just an opinion that you may find inconvenient. I've just seen too many comments "below the viewing threshold" lately, and I'll decide my own viewing threshold, thank you very much.

Dec 12, 2011 16:25 PM
rating: -2
 
comeonletsgo

well said dodgerken222, i agree. whatever the reason for implementing this plus or minus feature on this site originally was doesn't matter anymore at this point as it has lent itself to abuse. there's too many posts that are legitimate that cannot be viewed just because a certain number of people think it doesn't belong in their group think tank. its unfair to the "offending" party and i suspect decreases their desire to even post.

Dec 12, 2011 17:23 PM
rating: -2
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Ours is an imperfect system but the idea is that this is supposed to be meritocratic, in that a comment that several people believe adds no value or negative value (such as the three "scum" posts. I mean, really?) can be temporarily hidden from view for those of delicate sensibility.

Even then, it's not that the comments can't be viewed, it's just that they take an extra step to view. It's not that hard to implement and it's not censorship - the comments haven't been erased. We've made no law abridging anyone's free speech.

I don't think the system should be used to pile on in the case of legitimate disagreements of substance. To me, that's an abuse of the system.



Dec 12, 2011 17:34 PM
 
amazin_mess

Another thing.....half the time guys click on the blocked posts first, lending an opposite effect to the original intention.

Dec 12, 2011 19:08 PM
rating: 4
 
Richard Bergstrom

I've seen instances where a "someone" or unknown "someones" minus every comment I make for a few days. People minus because they disagree, or they minus because they just dislike the tone. In any event, I don't consider it censorship since you can always read the comments.

Dec 12, 2011 22:44 PM
rating: 0
 
GoTribe06

Richard, although I often disagree with your comments I have never hit the minus on you because I feel that you are providing a weighed and considered opinion. Without opposing views, the comment board offers little real value.

Oh yeah...I did minus you on this comment.

Dec 13, 2011 09:43 AM
rating: -1
 
Patrick

The complaints about "censorship" and "lack of free speech" on these comments are as tedious as moral outrage over alleged PED speculation and have been going on just as long. Nobody is actually censoring anything. Think of it as a warning saying, "The following comment is likely off-topic, pointless, and/or a waste of your time. Click here to read anyway." If you can find a well-written comment that contributed to the discussion yet was voted below the viewing threshold, I'd love to see it. In the meantime, I'll continue clicking on and reading those "censored" comments for the fantastic unintentional comedy they provide (while simultaneously wondering why anybody would take the time to type such lame crap in the first place).

If you find that a high percentage of your comments have been voted below the threshold, it might be a good idea to step back, reflect on what you've written, and consider the possibility that maybe it's not WHAT you've been saying, but HOW you've been saying it. To me, that sounds like a better way to rectify the situation than whining about it. The other option is to just not care if four or more people didn't like your comment, this being just an internet message board about baseball. No need to be so thin-skinned about it, you know?

Dec 12, 2011 19:43 PM
rating: 11
 
Behemoth

The only problem, of course, is that the site is set up to allow you to determine your own viewing threshold. If you want to see the post, you just click on it. That kind of makes most of your points irrelevant, although I would agree that people do minus things too readily if they disagree with them, rather than if they are in some way objectionable.

Dec 13, 2011 13:10 PM
rating: -3
 
Dennis
(749)

Can you explain what "chain-of-custody issues" could mean?

If it means what I think it means, I would have to believe that the results from the sample would have to be thrown out, right? If it was misplaced, or given to the wrong person, or anything along those lines, the results from the test couldn't be trusted.

Dec 12, 2011 17:50 PM
rating: 0
 
k3o3r9n0

Yes, I think you're correct.

Approaching this from a legal aspect (not sure if the same standard applies to the drug testing program), but chain of custody means that the sample is properly accounted for at every stop between collecting the urine from Braun through the testing process.

If at any point from the collection through testing, the location of the sample cannot be verified or an unauthorized person had access to it, then chain of custody has been broken and the sample may no longer be pure/valid.

Dec 12, 2011 19:38 PM
rating: 0
 
Scott44

Jay - I just wanted to pass along thanks for this coverage. As far as I'm concerned, some degree of the truth will eventually come out through this process and everyone will be able to take from it what they want. Until then, I'm with you that people should exercise pre-caution in coming to foregone conclusions about guilt, or innocense for that matter, without allowing the process to take it's course.

Dec 12, 2011 20:16 PM
rating: 1
 
Hudson Belinsky

I'm relatively new to BP, but articles like this and the comment sections that accompany them are truly awesome. One smart person delivers an idea, opinion, or story then dozens of other smart people offer their responses to the idea, opinion, or story. In most places the dialogue never advances further than that, but at BP the conversation develops over a few days and when it's all said and done we're left with pages of knowledge.

Thank you, Jay and the rest of the fine crew at Baseball Prospectus.

Dec 12, 2011 23:57 PM
rating: 1
 
KaiserD2

This article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/braun-faces-strict-mlb-drug-rules-mp3dpt4-135483898.html

makes clear that players cannot claim innocence based on the idea that they unwittingly ingested the substance. It also indicates that Braun's team may argue that the testosterone level found was so high that the test must have been wrong. However, if in fact molecules of synthetic testosterone were detected, that would seem to close the case.

Dec 13, 2011 06:32 AM
rating: 0
 
Marycontardi

Honestly, I don't have a strong opinion on the "steroid/ped" issue. There will always be cheaters and those who play for their own physical accomplishments.

What I do enjoy is the discussion and the hard work that goes into such endeavors. BP provides me with an alternative to the numbness of the ESPN ticker etc.. FWIW, thank you for the insight and opinions I have come to expect from BP and the community who follows these talented individuals.

Jay Jaffe stole my heart with "Aside from a hideous clothing line..."

Dec 13, 2011 17:56 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

The latest thing I've heard going around on the ESPN boards is that Braun's testosterone spiked from some form of herpes medication. Supposedly it was reported by the MLB Network, but I can't find a name so... *shrugs*

Dec 15, 2011 21:07 PM
rating: 0
 
jnossal

Quinn is not disinterested, but uninterested. Disinterested would imply no stake in the outcome, not the lack of curiosity demanded by context.

I know, somewhat nitpicky, but you said it twice and that particular error always bothers me.

Dec 24, 2011 14:13 PM
rating: 0
 
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