It's been a rather full winter of things happening that should never have happened. Let's review, shall we?
Things that Should Never have Happened Since the Regular Season Ended
Ryan Braun fails a drug test: Whether it was Braun's fault or the fault of a poorly processed test or even the Miller Park poltergeist, it doesn't matter. A test that should have come back clean did not.
NBC airs episode 3 of Whitney: And episode 4 and episode 5 and episode…
TBS and Fox use "Written in the Stars" as part of the MLB Playoffs commercials: A million miles away!
Lady Mary gets engaged to Sir Richard Carlisle: What was she thinking? We all know that she and Matthew are destined for each other, scandal be damned!
Nelson Cruz allows a potential World Series-saving ball to go over his head: Yes, it's Nelson Cruz, but, man, that ball is caught nine times out of ten in the Major Leagues.
Google Reader shuts down sharing: They try to pretend that sharing still exists, but Google+ is a poor, poor substitute for one of the simplest and best social networking platforms available.
Ryan Braun's test results are leaked to the press: As I've said before, the most important part of the drug testing procedures is the confidentiality of its test takers. No one – whether they were from MLB, the MLBPA, the testing center or even from the trash dump behind the Remetee headquarters – should ever have spoken to ESPN's Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn about the initial results of Ryan Braun's test.
Community is put on mid-season hiatus: What was NBC thinking?
The public spends two months speculating about Braun's guilt: The battle of public opinion in a case like this is a near impossible one to win in normal circumstances. It's exponentially tougher to win when one is legally prohibited from speaking out on oneself's behalf for months at a time.
Jonah Hill receives an Oscar nomination for Moneyball: I really enjoyed the film, but, come on…
A press release announces that Ryan Braun won his drug test appeal/Ryan Braun addresses the media detailing his winning appeal case: The Joint Drug Agreement was written in a way that a player who wins his appeal should never have to speak to the press about it because they would never know about it.
Major League Baseball releases a statement saying that they "vehemently disagree" with the Braun decision: It is in the best interest of baseball for fans to know that MLB believes in its drug testing process. It helps foster trust that all parties are looking for the truth in the procedure, and not just trying "to get their man." Such strong language coming from MLB does none of this.
The name of the drug collector responsible for handling Ryan Braun's sample is released to the public by Yahoo! Sports: Releasing the collector's name does nothing but put the man in danger of harassment and worse. The only one who benefits from this news is Yahoo! Sports itself.
It's been a busy winter – and it could only get worse. Now that the collector's name is out in the public, he'll almost certainly make a statement to the press that should never have happened. Hopefully that statement won't have anything to do with harassment from Brewers fans. Braun will take a public relations hit that his successful appeal should have been enough to halt, and the Commissioner's office will now have to worry about, among other things, charges of favoritism. And those are just the easy ones to call. The ramifications could be felt for years. It's been a sad winter.
Personally, I blame Whitney.