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  1. Perhaps the player grumbling is partially out of a sense that a star player is getting away with something that a marginal player (or one trying to break in) would not get away with?

    Comment by John Thacker — March 1, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  2. There have been previous cases in which a player has beaten a steroid rap — but none of those players’ names have been released publicly, which is why MLB was able to claim that no player had ever done it before.

    esplain plz? Which “side” is claiming the existence of prior beaten raps? It seems reasonable to claim that there are such things, and given that it would seem silly and self-defeating for MLB to say there aren’t any. All it takes is one such cleared player stepping forward to make them look like fools. Again.

    Comment by Ben — March 1, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

  3. “There have been previous cases in which a player has beaten a steroid rap — but none of those players’ names have been released publicly, which is why MLB was able to claim that no player had ever done it before”.

    What? When did this happen? I thought that no Major League Baseball player had won a steroid/PED arbitration panel before. That the only times anyone had won were in the minor leagues under a different program.

    Comment by Joey — March 1, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

  4. FWIW…

    Comment by hk — March 1, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

  5. i don’t think you can get dna out of urine. so it was a bluff, that would have been moot or inconsequential.

    Comment by karreemofwheat — March 1, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  6. “Collectively bargained scientific process”… lol seriously is it so hard to write up a short retraction of a stupid article?

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

  7. oh unless braun had a urinary tract infection.

    Comment by karreemofwheat — March 1, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

  8. Until more info comes out there is no way to know what happened. If the stuff Will Carroll has said is true then I think Braun will get his name mostly cleared. Just too early to tell at this point.

    Comment by Ender — March 1, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

  9. Thank you for the article. And an apology on my part for my preconception that it was going to be just another ‘boo owners/pity poor persecuted players’ article. You proved me wrong.

    I would like confirmation on two things in it. First, I’ll echo Ben above in that I’d like to hear how we know there are previous raps that have been beaten. Second, the BP writer (Maury Brown, I think??) wrote that he’d been told that Braun’s reps pulled back the DNA offer. What and when was the last we heard about it from Braun’s reps, and from (if ever) MLB?

    Comment by Richie — March 1, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

  10. Except Will Carroll had nothing specific and thus nothing of substance to add.

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  11. Would a DNA test of his urine even be allowed under the CBA? I wonder if that wasn’t an empty offer from Braun that the union would never actually allow.

    Comment by Brent — March 1, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  12. There has been nothing of substance in any of this. Even the comments about synthetic testosterone only came up in the leak. I haven’t seen one shred of concrete info released by anyone other than he tested positive for something and MLB didn’t handle the sample properly. The rest is sources say this sources say that.

    Comment by Ender — March 1, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  13. No harm done with a little juice.

    Comment by Barry Bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

  14. If the stuff Will Carroll has said is true, Ryan Braun will win a Nobel prize for demonstrating cold fusion.

    Comment by cpebbles — March 1, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  15. too bad we can’t go back and see how many edits there were AFTER it was posted

    Comment by Kellin — March 1, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  16. Except shrunken balls!

    Comment by A-Rod — March 1, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  17. I don’t know the names of any players who beat a rap through the confidential process. But I’ve read enough — including the post by Maury Brown and the Rollins tweet — to believe that Braun is not the first to beat the rap, just the first to do it publicly.

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 1, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

  18. Are you really putting Will Carroll’s “information” on par with, say, peer-reviewed scientific knowledge, or official WADA procedures, or the exceptionally specific statements by the sample collector that alleges the sample was collected, sealed, and handled in the proper manner?

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

  19. And all it took was a bit of urine. Who would’ve thought.

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

  20. Yes I will put more weight into someone like Will Carroll who doesn’t have a vested interest in this than something said by a guy who is trying to save his job and a company that is trying to defend the very process that generates them money.

    Just like I don’t put much weight into what Braun says. I’ll put a lot of weight into whatever the arbitrator puts in his report and that is what I’m waiting for.

    Right now you have a bunch of spin put on everything from both sides trying to protect themselves and very little of substance.

    Comment by Ender — March 1, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

  21. Will Carroll is the biggest steroids apologist in the biz, he based that opinion on absolutely nothing.

    Comment by West — March 1, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

  22. Just because something is asserted by an anonymous source doesn’t mean that it’s false. Many anonymous sources have a vested interest and possibly even an axe to grind, but that doesn’t mean that what they say isn’t true. Ultimately, it’s up to the writer to represent it fairly. So you have to trust the writer. And some are obviously better than others.

    I wrote about anonymous sources a year ago, here:

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 1, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

  23. How does Will Carroll not have a vested interested in being the first guy to break the story based on inside knowledge?

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

  24. Yes you can get DNA out of urine. I’ve done it many times. Cells slough off the inside of the bladder and the urethra into the urine. Here is a commercially available DNA extraction kit that contains a urine protocol:

    Comment by Jason — March 1, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

  25. Alex,
    Why didn’t you mention the Braun lawyers’ coup de grace, that they were able to take a normal urine sample, subject it to the same conditions that Braun’s went through, and were able to replicate a false positive? Isn’t this really where the case turned? Or have you not heard Will Carroll’s interview yet?

    Comment by bstar — March 1, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

  26. There are specific tests available for getting DNA from urine, and I am sure they are available in the US. I was actually surprised that MLB did not agree to the challenge the claim of Braun’s lawyers for the test results could have helped them with the arbitration.

    Comment by MalinsDad — March 1, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

  27. Sorry — I misspoke, shouldn’t have said Maury. The Disciples of Uecker post linked above, with the Rollins tweet and the Kevin Goldstein tweet, is what I saw that convinced me.

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 1, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  28. @Alex, yes, we get it. Fangraphs thinks the only reason some of its readers doesn’t agree with the science freed Braun stance is because we are slow and we don’t understand big concepts like confirmation bias.

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  29. I haven’t heard the Carroll interview, sorry — can you link?

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 1, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

  30. I’m not trying to be patronizing. Obviously, if anyone on the internet understands confirmation bias, it’s Fangraphs readers — that’s why I linked to the Cameron article. I just think that there’s an anti-media bias that a lot of people have these days, which leads a lot of people to reject anything asserted by an anonymous source out of hand.

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 1, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  31. I’m sure Braun’s lawyers put a stop to the DNA test because if it was the degradation of the sample that caused the spike, as posited by some, then proving it was his urine did nothing for the defense. I’d assume(wrongly most likely), that they offered the DNA, then got their “repeated results” and then turned down MLB when they changed their minds.

    Comment by deadhead — March 1, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  32. Absolutely. It’s pretty convincing, and I’m stunned that it wasn’t front page news. Why do so few people know about what really happened during the case yet are just assuming Braun is guilty? Anyway:

    Comment by bstar — March 1, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  33. Maybe Braun used a whizzinator in the original sample and knew he could offer a real sample that would differ. I like that theory, maybe I’ll write an AP column.

    Comment by Steve Balboni — March 1, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

  34. It’s on WEEI from Boston.

    Comment by deadhead — March 1, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

  35. Alex,

    I didn’t read all the comments so I apologize if this has been mentioned, but apparently the leak came from Braun’s side, not the MLB. I believe the leak was first reported by a 16 year old blogger who knew a close friend of Braun. The other point is that if you read MLB’s drug testing policy, specifically on collection and processing, I’m not sure they deviated from it. The drug collector appears like he followed the literal letter of the law here.

    Comment by Andrew — March 1, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

  36. ESPN’s mike and mike cooled their whole sanctimonious, indignation this morning which led me to put more faith in the Will Carroll story. There was a seismic shift in tone overnight.

    Comment by deadhead — March 1, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

  37. Andrew, where’d you get the 16 yo blogger story? I haven’t heard that.

    Comment by deadhead — March 1, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

  38. That wasn’t the leak that he tested positive, Andrew.

    Comment by deadhead — March 1, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

  39. A couple other MLB beat reporters were talking about it. I’ll try and find an article or the blog itself.

    Comment by Andrew — March 1, 2012 @ 6:07 pm


    Comment by jcam — March 1, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

  41. You’re right, sorry. It was the leak that the sample was mishandled.

    Comment by Andrew — March 1, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  42. Will’s report opens up with “I was told”. So his report still is only as good as whomever his sources are (Braun’s people?).

    Comment by Richie — March 1, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

  43. Its pure hearsay. And if Braun’s side was able to do that, then why didn’t Braun actually mention it?

    There’s also the issue that they don’t actually know what conditions the sample was subjected to when at the collector’s house.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 1, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

  44. They must’ve finally heard the Will Carroll interview. Was growing really tired of Greenberg especially launching into Braun for “attacking” the sample collector. If your reputation had just been demolished and you were innocent, wouldn’t you be pissed too? Braun’s obvious simmering anger over the whole thing was one reason I though his statements had so much credibility.

    Comment by bstar — March 1, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  45. And he didn’t even know for sure that other guys were tested that day? Then of course there’s the question of why the other samples, in the exact same container, didn’t undergo the same changes.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 1, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

  46. Andrew, no, that isn’t what happened. ESPN writers Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn (the guys who wrote “Game of Shadows,” the Barry Bonds BALCO book) broke the story in December, when they wrote:

    “National League MVP Ryan Braun, who last season led the Milwaukee Brewers to their first division title in nearly three decades, has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and faces a 50-game suspension if the initial finding is upheld, two sources familiar with the case told “Outside the Lines.”"

    “Sources familiar with the case” is unclear, but it almost certainly wasn’t from Braun’s side. Most people think it was someone on the MLB side.

    The 16-year old blogger is Curt Hogg, who reported on February 14 that the sample was mishandled, using a source close to Braun. Hogg explained to Deadspin who the source was:
    “I was a wearing a Braun jersey one day, and the person who my source was, we were just talking, and he said, ‘Oh, you know what? I know a guy who works out with Braun’s ex-college teammate.’”

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 1, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

  47. Almost all stories rely heavily on sources, much like most criminal cases rely heavily on testimony and confessions. Obtaining documentary evidence is much, much harder than finding people who are willing to talk.

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 1, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

  48. It never takes long to see a post from a “when I had my pet Llama” person.

    Comment by Gregory H — March 1, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

  49. Will Carroll talked only about testosterone ratios and made no mention of whether they also could replicate the failure of the CIR test which detected a BANNED testosterone. He also provide little specific detail about what was actually done to reproduce the result.

    This is yet another case of Braun’s team leaking the half of the story which is technically true (or at least can’t be proven false), and letting the media transform it into a full account.

    It’s just like “FedEx was open to 9pm”….just don’t tell anyone that anything dropped off after 4 pm wouldn’t have been shipped until Monday (and the tester knew this so decided to take the sample instead of letting it sit at FedEx over the weekend). Of course when the mainstream media hears Brauns account. why would they check the facts around it and mention that the argument is a bit disingenuous.

    Comment by Joe — March 1, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

  50. greg lets leave your love interests out of this thread.

    Comment by karreemofwheat — March 1, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

  51. there is still bias here

    “Braun’s lawyers outflanked MLB not once but twice:”
    -theDNA proporsal is a significant deviation from the CBA agreement. If the Collector is faulted for his minimal deviation from protocol, there is no way MLB accepts this. Also, it might be possible a player to easily deliberately contaminate
    his urine with skin cells from another person, ergo contamination, ergo, get out of jail free card.

    Thank goodness the players’ attitudes have changed and the rules are in place. If not, any baseball player at some point would be faced with a moral/legal/health issue—do i take PEDs or not.

    No, the scientific evidence supports MLB. Braun beat the rap on a technicality. Braun had FOUR months to find a biochemist to stand with him last friday, and didnt get one. WADA says Braun would be guilty, the highly reputable MTL lab says there was no evidence of tampering or degradation. the collector is highly reputable and such handling of other specimens produced no such problems. Why didnt Will Carroll’s anonymous friend stand with RB? It is simply preposterous to assert spontaneous generation of synthetic testosterone. Carroll’s friend whould post all this on a blog somewhere and let WADA and the MTL look at it.

    Comment by Pennant — March 1, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

  52. Please show me where they were able to replicate the failed CIR test which detected the banned substance.

    Or like Carroll, are you forgetting that TWO tests are done on the sample and it’s not simply just testosterone ratios that failed.

    Comment by Joe — March 1, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  53. In saying that Braun’s lawyers outflanked MLB, I’m paraphrasing Lester Munson’s analysis. According to Munson, both of those maneuvers by Braun’s legal team were important in him winning the case before the arbitration panel.

    That’s not bias, it’s analysis, and makes sense to me.

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 1, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  54. Please show me where they were able to replicate the failed CIR test which detected the banned substance.

    Or like Carroll, are you forgetting that TWO tests are done on the sample and it’s not simply just testosterone ratios that failed.

    It’s not front page news for several reasons:
    - What independent body has seen the data and signed off on the validity of it
    - Does it replicate failing both test or just one? (they only vaguely talk about one)
    - Why hasn’t this happened many times in the past?

    Comment by Joe — March 1, 2012 @ 7:09 pm

  55. The interview is literally nothing but Will Carroll repeating “they were able to replicate the results.” Exactly what results? What conditions did they subject the sample to? Who are they? I expect more from my self-annointed medical experts.

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

  56. Or why other samples in all other tests, handled according to the same standard procedures, did not undergo the same changes.

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

  57. I’m not surprised Olney reports a story that supports his personal angle. I’m also not surprised that players say those things to him. Players used to tell Peter Gammons things he liked to hear too. All the time. It is currently very valuable currency to tell Buster your mad about cheating. Just like in other circles it’s valuable to argue about liberal bias in the media.

    Personally I think Braun did take something that had the very effect he got in trouble for. And I don’t really care. I think the amount of misinformation is interesting to think about. I also think the amount of time being wasted on this interesting. Does baseball really want to go down the path of professional bicycling?

    For a while we heard about it being something for combatting an STD, but then that disappeared. That was a good reason, but also just another out that MLB would never stand for. Because MLB doesn’t stand cheaters damn it!

    Comment by Fiery Furnaces — March 1, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

  58. The false positive results, Jeff.

    Comment by bstar — March 1, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

  59. Isn’t it great how so many commenters “know” Braun is guilty?

    Comment by Why do you call me Mr. Tibbs? — March 1, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

  60. Which one? There were two positive results.

    The point is, Carroll isn’t giving us the details necessary to evaluate the supposed claims of Braun’s team. And if we were talking about results that would actually be accepted by the scientific community, then why in the world did they never mention it in the aftermath of the arbitrator’s decision?

    With everything Braun did say, you don’t think he would have added that they conclusively proved it was possible to exactly reproduce the results?

    And why in the world did the other samples in the same container not lead to the same false positives?

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 1, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

  61. Alex, you are a stunning exemplar of level-headed reasoning. I always enjoy reading your articles. Thanks.

    Comment by LTG — March 1, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

  62. Don’t forget the whole ratio being 3 times than anyone has ever tested, without really making it clear they were only talking about MLB testing. As Don Catlin said, a 20:1 ratio isn’t at all out of the ordinary for a positive test and he has personally done tests where the ratio was in excess of 100:1.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 1, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

  63. Why are you saying that MLB leaked when MLB, the Players Union, and the testing company all have categorically denied, and mutually agreed after investigation, that none of them were the source of the leak?

    Comment by tomjef — March 1, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

  64. His sample, which was triple sealed with forensic tape, had exogenous testosterone in it. Sure, we can’t say it with 100% certainty, but then again we can’t say anyone who didn’t admit it used with 100% certainty. Barring a major scientific discovery by Braun’s team that they apparently haven’t mentioned to anyone outside of Will Carroll, the only reasonable conclusion is that Braun tested positive because he used PEDs.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 1, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

  65. Because I honestly can’t think of anyone with a better reason to leak. The Players Union wouldn’t want to leak: it puts a player in a really bad light. Braun wouldn’t want to leak: it has forever stained his reputation. The testing company wouldn’t want to leak: if they were ever discovered as the source of the leak their relationship with MLB would be terminated. That leaves MLB. If MLB catches Ryan Braun, then it proves their program is effective. It’s a bad reason, but it’s more plausible that that of the other stakeholders.

    I have no idea who did the leak or why, or what affiliation the leaker has to the case. Many people have speculated that MLB is behind the leak. I’m joining the speculation, just because I can’t think of who did it. Even if MLB wasn’t the source of the leak, it’s their policy and testing process. They’re going to have to fix the leaky ship one way or another. This whole episode makes them look terrible.

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 1, 2012 @ 8:11 pm

  66. To spell out what I hinted at earlier, for Braun’s team to have duplicated the results of the mass spectrometry, which is THE definitive, confirmatory test that was positive, they would have to show that leaving the urine in the container for 44 hours would have had to turn carbon-12 into carbon-13.

    Now, it’s possible to do so, and this is the primary fuel source of larger stars, but it requires temperatures of 15 million degrees Celsius to get going.

    Comment by cpebbles — March 1, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

  67. “MLB clearly screwed up…by leaking Braun’s name so that a normally secret process was carried out in the open.”

    That’s not speculating IMO. That’s stating it as if it were a proven fact, which you readily admit its not. That just piss poor journalism.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 1, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

  68. Alex,

    What were your impressions of the Will Carroll interview? Since you hadn’t heard that yet, I’ll go ahead and ask if you’ve heard another very strangely under-reported part of this story: Do you know that Ryan Braun passed a lie detector test claiming his total innocence?

    Comment by bstar — March 1, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

  69. Or maybe it was Fangraphs that jumped to conclusions with maybe something like science rescues Braun headliner and commenters are pointing out the massive flaws in all arguments in Braun’s favor?

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

  70. Its not hard to pass a lie detector test, especially when you’re the one paying the polygrapher.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 1, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

  71. Bstar, there is nothing the polygraph can tell us that a CIR test and T/E ratio test on Braun’s properly handled sample haven’t already told us. Why would you subject the more reliable tests to a secondary testing by less–much, much less-reliable tests? Not to mention you can “beat” the polygraph through preparation.

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

  72. Maybe rather than do urine drug testing, maybe we should just skip it and give all MLBers a polygraph test.

    Myself, i would much rather pee in a cup, give it to the mlb collector, whotriple seals it, leaves it in his fridge, and then brings it to fedex for delivery next business day, than ever count on passing a lie detector test

    Comment by Pennant — March 1, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

  73. BTW, the polygraph is not quite as much a junk “science” as the crap that Will Carroll is parroting, but it’s still garbage. It takes very little training (About 30 minutes, according to a study at the University of Utah) to beat a polygraph and while the examiners always claim that they can detect that training, the controlled studies say otherwise.

    Comment by cpebbles — March 1, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

  74. I hope we find out more about this because Will carroll will lose a lot of credibility if he is just mindlessly shilling, if he hasnt become irrelevant already. Cant WC see he needs to get this POSTED on the internet for everyone to read.
    Let’s see a biochemist PHD tell us how all this happens.

    Why didnt RB have one with him at his speech? he had 4 months to find one, and millions of dollars to pay one?
    Maybe it will be embarassing because no one will?

    Comment by Pennant — March 1, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

  75. Maybe Braun had a better chance of getting off by leaking the news.

    The arbitrator might enjoy the limelight and enjoy controversial rulings. This is the same arbitrator who ruled in favor of Kenny Rogers. In the 12 previous arbitration rulings on steroids, with the public unaware, this arbitrator ruled in favor of MLB each time.

    What was MLB’s hurry anyways, the could have just waited to announce the suspension.

    Anyways, no evidence MLB leaked, or Brauns side. People talk, I am sure Brauns side talked to a lot of people trying to figure out the best defense, so lots of people probably knew.

    The leak is a violation of HIPPA, a grand jury should be convened and get ESPN to disclose it’s source or spend time in jail.

    Comment by pft — March 1, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

  76. “Did Major League Baseball follow the collectively bargained procedures to prove that Ryan Braun used a banned substance?”

    MLB clearly screwed up”

    More nonsense from a biased reporter. MLB and MLBA agreed in the JDA to use CDT for collection. CDT violated the JDA protocol (they also do work for DOJ) and followed their own protocol, probably because the JDA protocol was stupid (why is a sample more secure sitting in a Fed Ex storage than a vetted collectors home).

    So if CDT messed up, then both MLB and MLBPA have an equal share of the blame.

    Comment by pft — March 1, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

  77. Fair enough, guys, fair enough. I still think over half the general public and even half of MLB players are aware that this test was even done, so I’m going to continue to put it out there.

    Comment by bstar — March 1, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

  78. Edit: “are NOT aware”. Sorry.

    Comment by bstar — March 1, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

  79. Nitram,

    You’re aware that it was MLB paying the arbitrator in this case, right, and they still lost?

    Comment by bstar — March 1, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

  80. Interesting article here.

    “… the argument made by the founder and president of the now-defunct Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), Victor Conte, that there’re still plenty of ways to beat the testing…………

    Apparently there are literally numerous patches, gels, creams and oral medications that contain synthetic testosterone and/or human growth hormone (HGH) that can be used by the player the night after they’ve played in a game, and that by the following afternoon-when the player could be forced to be tested by MLB-would have dissipated enough to be under the 4-to-1 ratio necessary to trigger a positive test.

    As Conte puts it, there are many fast-acting testosterone treatments that could be used and that would leave a person’s system within hours. So, the player would get the benefit of having increased muscle recovery, but not be vulnerable to testing positive the next day under the current testing regimes; even the ones used in Braun’s case.

    “It’s a loophole you could drive a Mack truck through,” Conte said.”

    What went wrong in Brauns case? Maybe he forgot to remove the patch in time.

    Comment by pft — March 1, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

  81. Maybe his samples were sealed with those patches.

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

  82. Alex, do your homework, I agree with the piss poor journalism comment, not something I would expect from fangraphs.

    Reminds me of a fact, that individuals believe what they feel based on many factors, then filter the facts to conform to their belief, disregarding other evidence.

    Comment by tomjef — March 1, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  83. cpebbles… how dare you bring science into this?

    Braun’s team would rather have you worry about T/E ratios because it is a bit more intuitive for Joe Public and the Braun apologists to suggest that testosterone levels could vary with time or possibly with temperature conditions.

    However even people without a scientific background would scratch their head trying to understand how they were able to generate a non naturally occurring metabolite in the body appear out of thin air in a “clean” urine sample.

    As a result, Braun’s team has been very smart on this… they dispute ONE of the tests and let folks like Will Carrol and bstar think it puts ALL tests in dispute. They let others make the claim because at this point the suspension has been dropped so it’s about winning the PR war, not proving the sample was actually clean. Nothing they are saying is potentially wrong, they are just letting other expand their claim and draw mistaken conclusions off of it.

    I’m still looking for Carroll’s confirmation that they replicated the CIR test, my guess is I’ll be waiting for a while.

    Comment by Joe — March 1, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

  84. Everything that has been released is pure hearsay, except that Braun tested positive and that he was acquitted. What makes any other random information more valid than Carrol’s?

    Comment by wilsonm24 — March 1, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  85. Please show me where his defense team said they didn’t duplicate the results…

    You don’t know what did or didn’t happen in the arb hearing anymore than the next guy.

    I am really loving the “Carrol is wrong because he has no proof of his hypothesis” camp when there is no proof of any of the hypothesis’ that have been printed. There are just a bunch of random reports printing articles from random anonymous leaks with zero shreds of proof of anything.

    What proof do you have that it was synthetic testosterone that was elevated? What proof do you have that it was 3x the normal level? Please show me the failed CIR test that MLB said Braun took…ohh wait you can’t show me that any more than anyone here can show you a failed CIR test that Braun’s lawyers supposedly provided because none of that information has been made available.

    Comment by wilsonm24 — March 1, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

  86. That’s true but criminal cases rely not just on witnesses, but reliable witnesses, there are many witnesses whose testimony is either not permissible or inconsequential. In sports writing it should be the same, not all sources are equal, and a person’s bias can lead them to use sources that are not reliable. Without knowledge of the source we, the public, can’t judge its credibility and it shouldn’t carry the weight of assuming it’s 100% accurate.

    Comment by Yeah — March 1, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

  87. It’s only been reported about 9 billion times, as it is THE test that a final verdict is reached on. Do you need Ryan Braun himself to acknowledge this fact before you believe it, or would Will Carroll do?

    Comment by cpebbles — March 1, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  88. Polygraph tests are notoriously unreliable, many courts in the United States won’t even accept them as evidence. They can be fooled through many methods including medication, or simple mental manipulation. If you know that you are going to undergo a Polygraph you can easily practice your answers and prep. for the test. A passed Polygraph may be some evidence in his favor, but it doesn’t clear his name, or even tilt the scales in his favor, in my opinion.

    Comment by Yeah — March 1, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

  89. Actually, for someone who has seemed so adamant I’m impressed by the open mindedness toward the Polygraph, and you’re right it has been really skimmed over in the coverage, it is evidence, even if its not definitive or unflawed.

    Comment by Yeah — March 1, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

  90. Stupid or not, I see this case as a violate of contract more than anything else. The arbitrator’s decision is pretty much clear of judgement, and is pretty much based only on the idea that MLB violated its contractual agreement with the players union, not that Braun’s sample was not legitimate.

    Comment by Yeah — March 1, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

  91. I should add that it can be even easier than that. By controlling your breathing on “test” questions and purposefully elevating your heart rate on control questions you can skew your base line, which your questions are compared to, and skew your non-control answers. The effect is that your “lies” appear lower and your baseline answers appear higher, making your lies and your truths much closer together.

    Comment by Yeah — March 1, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

  92. “isn’t definitive or unflawed”,………kind of like a drug test result, huh.

    Comment by bstar — March 1, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

  93. It’s not hearsay that the human body cannot create synthetic testosterone. Likewise it’s not hearsay that storing a sealed sample in a cool basement has no effect on the test results. Or, it’s no more hearsay than, say, the existence of electrons is.

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

  94. LOL! nice.

    Comment by bstar — March 1, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

  95. Good find, pft (dammit). The flag I was flying for Braun’s innocence just went down a quarter of the way. It’s interesting in the article (dated December 13) that they mention that MLB DOESN’T use CIR tests, when they actually did in Braun’s case.

    Comment by bstar — March 1, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

  96. Nope, the agreement gives MLB the right to make the length of suspension and the category of substance for which he was suspended public as soon as the commissioner makes the ruling. Appeals through the arbitration board follow that step. Ergo, Braun signed off on this disclosure.

    MLB’s legalese worked for them this time!

    Comment by cpebbles — March 1, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

  97. A positive drug test, in fact, two positive results, is much more reliable than a Polygraph. Very few things are 100% perfect, but some evidence is much stronger than others, and shouldn’t be discounted on the mere possibility that something could be flawed.

    Comment by Yeah — March 1, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

  98. The carbon isotope ratio is just the specific version of the mass spectrometry mentioned earlier in the article, which was performed. Conte is just saying they should skip the easily-bean T/E ratio and jump straight to the better test, and if they really care about stopping steroid use he’s right.

    Comment by cpebbles — March 1, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

  99. Except that now if you buy Conte’s story, the argument is that if it’s so easy to dupe the test, all players are suspect and Braun is just the poor sap who got caught. Used to be you had to find some a-hole to stick a 12 inch needle in your ass. Now you can just pop on the nicotine patch for a couple hours and take it off at bedtime, and we’re all good. No hassle, no witnesses.

    The ease of it all makes the argument to skewer Braun quite unfair, no? Because wouldn’t any reasonable person believe that if it is that easy, he certainly is not the only one doing it?

    Comment by Paul — March 1, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

  100. But that’s what it is. A sample that exceeded a holding time (something that didn’t even happen here) in the real world would not be rejected. At most, the result would have been qualified in the validation process and considered usable.

    Comment by sklandog — March 1, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

  101. Bottom line is Braun is a cheater who got off on a technicality. The court of public is all that matters. His career will always be tarnished IMO

    Comment by public opinion — March 1, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

  102. His lawyers should be contacting the Nobel committee because they’d be just about the first group in recorded history to get an organic compound to spontaneously increase in concentration during sample shipment. The entire sample shipping world is so worried about compound degradation it adds preservatives, cools or freezes samples, and sets holding times in the field and lab. But these guys, who are presumably all tied up with practicing law, have it all figured out. All those chemists who collectively worked years to develop, draft, and refine analytical methods apparently wasted their time.

    Comment by sklandog — March 1, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

  103. Or test them right after games. Or between innings. Or draw some blood while Braun’s playing outfield. There are ways to make the testing system more of a deterrent.

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 1, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

  104. I apologize for the sarcasm. It’s highly unlikely that they managed to get an organic compound to increase in concentration merely by storing it in a sealed container.

    Comment by sklandog — March 1, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

  105. Even more unlikely, that they got an inorganic (synthetic Testosterone) compound to spontaneously appear in a sample though any storage methods.

    Comment by Yeah — March 1, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

  106. Could someone lace an empty specimen cup with a substance from one of those gels or patches in order to set someone up to fail a drug test?

    Comment by willis — March 2, 2012 @ 12:26 am

  107. As long as Braun is okay with it, yeah.

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 2, 2012 @ 12:27 am

  108. Maybe you misunderstood, being kind here, but what I wrote shows MLB was not in violation of anything. MLB and MLBPA jointly contracted with a 3rd party named CDT. MLB is no more responsible than MLBPA for the breach of protocol.

    Comment by pft — March 2, 2012 @ 12:30 am

  109. Paul – it’s not about duping the system, it’s about playing the odds that the 3 or 4 times a year you get tested won’t just happen to line up right after you use something… there’s a pretty good chance on any given test you don’t get “unlucky”, but do you continue to take the chance? (By the way this also explains the ridiculous of “I’ve tested clean ‘X’ times in the past” defense.).

    I think one step MLB should consider is at least randomly spot checking tests that pass the epi ratio test with the CIR test which can still catch banned substances even if the testosterone ratios are at an acceptable level. I don’t have the expertise in the area to know how long the substances will remain in the system, but I imagine it is longer than the duration of the elevated testosterone levels.

    The test is more costly and more time consuming (which I assume is why it is not done on every sample) but even the threat of randomly checking epi ratio samples that are deemed clean is another potential deterrent if some players are playing the odds that their T levels will drop quickly enough that they won’t get caught by the 1st test.

    And I don’t agree with it affecting the opinion of Braun.. he still failed the test and still had the banned substance…. it’s not about Braun being “unlucky” it’s about the others being “lucky”…. getting caught for taking something that is banned should not be considered unlucky. He’s getting skewered because a banned substance was found in his body, that was explicitly prohibited by MLB and the MLBPA.

    Comment by Joe — March 2, 2012 @ 12:32 am

  110. The test measured the metabolized products of the substances… not the substance itself; I’m not sure doping it with a non-metabolized.version would actually matter.

    So to follow the conspiracy theory he would to have had to lace the cup with an already metabolized sample…. either a previous dirty sample or the tester would have to take the substance and use his own urine.

    Of course since the samples are sealed he’d have to trick that part of the process or put it in BEFORE Braun’s test…. and at that point would Baun notice that there was urine already in the cup? Or notice a smell?

    I guess it’s possible… but it would be difficult and not as simple as getting access to the substance and putting it in the cup before hand. There’s also the issue of high testosterone ratios…. and not simply just finding the substance itself.

    Comment by Tom — March 2, 2012 @ 12:47 am

  111. I’m so amazed at how much you added to this subject. Piss-poor commenting, if I say so myself.

    Comment by John — March 2, 2012 @ 12:48 am

  112. Throwing a trick pitch (spit, scuff, etc) is obviously not the same thing as gobbling down PEDs (which can effect one’s mental health).

    Comment by cwj — March 2, 2012 @ 1:04 am

  113. Is this the same Will Carroll that wrote about DiceK’s gyro ball?

    Well at least Brauns team picked the right guy to leak to…. give a guy with a preformed opinion a reason to strengthen that opinion and why would he ever question it?

    Comment by joe — March 2, 2012 @ 1:06 am

  114. By blaming MLB for the leak you’re sinking to the same low level of journalists that write as if they know Braun used PEDs. Pathetic, because you act as if you’re above such reckless journalism. One version I’ve read (which I don’t necessarily assume to be true because it aids my bias) is that the leak came from the Braun side while they scoured the legal and scientific community for people/information to help Braun beat the rap.

    Comment by Rusty — March 2, 2012 @ 2:12 am

  115. Journalists have gone to jail before to protect their anonymous sources, and until a shield law is passed, they will continue to do so. But I can think of no story less deserving of a journalist being sent to jail than this one.

    Seriously, why would you want to imprison an ESPN reporter just to try to find out who leaked?

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 2, 2012 @ 2:14 am

  116. I’m not a reporter here, just an opinion columnist, and my bias is not in favor of any of the stakeholders in this case — my only general bias is toward good baseball and the Braves winning.

    You challenge my assertion that MLB screwed up and then concede that “both MLB and MLBPA have an equal share of the blame.” That’s as may be, but MLB is the one with egg on its face. So it’s possible that they both screwed up — but MLB’s screwup is by far the more salient at the moment.

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 2, 2012 @ 2:17 am

  117. Okay, what you’re doing is saying that because you have read that one person — whom you admit you don’t necessarily believe — thinks that Braun leaked it, that means it’s equally likely that Braun leaked it as that MLB leaked it. That is fallacious reasoning.

    I blame MLB for the leak for two reasons: one, I believe that the leak is likeliest to have come from someone affiliated with Major League Baseball; and two, because regardless of who leaked it, it is MLB’s drug testing process, the process that Bud Selig fought hard to get and that Selig considers part of his legacy, and anything that reflects badly on that process reflects badly on him. MLB has a responsibility for the process, and for keeping its proceedings secure. No matter who leaked, the very fact of the leak is a failure on the part of Major League Baseball to protect the process.

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 2, 2012 @ 2:29 am

  118. Based on what we currently know there are four ways to explain Braun’s positive test.

    1. Braun knowingly used PEDs
    2. Braun’s sample was tampered with
    3. Someone rubbed Braun with a cream or gel without his knowledge
    4. The Will Carroll: Braun’s natural testosterone in both samples grew in size and also turned into synthetic testosterone while hanging out in a basement, while none of the other samples morphed like Braun’s. So really there’s three possibilities.

    Given that neither of Braun’s samples appeared to be tampered with, and if there was evidence of tampering the authorities would be involved, one must believe in some pretty freaking sweet conspiracy theories to believe Braun is actually innocent. I think we’ve found MLB’s answer to truthers and birthers.

    Comment by Rusty — March 2, 2012 @ 2:29 am

  119. “No matter who leaked, the very fact of the leak is a failure on the part of Major League Baseball to protect the process”

    How does the joke go? This pot, which you accuse me of giving back to you with holes in it, you never lent to me, but even so, when I gave it back, there was nothing wrong with it, and moreover, when you lent it to me, there were already holes in it.

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 2, 2012 @ 2:51 am

  120. In the article you say “MLB clearly screwed up…by leaking Braun’s name” I guess maybe you’re just guilty of poor wording or I’m guilty of poor reading comprehension (very possible), but it reads as if you’re asserting MLB leaked the info directly, without evidence.

    Comment by Rusty — March 2, 2012 @ 2:55 am

  121. Its like they say, the best criminals are always a step ahead of the people who try to catch them. As soon as you remove one avenue of beating the system the criminals move on and adapt, and so on and so forth.

    Comment by SF 55 for life — March 2, 2012 @ 4:42 am

  122. A lot of mid- or low-level employees working for any of these entities (MLB, the union, or CDT) may not have identical motives and interests as those at the top of the organizations they work for. So while it’s true the head of the player’s union would have no interest in leaking such news, that may not be the case of someone else who may work there in some other capacity — ie, such as a secretary or paralegal who may have told a friend who then leaked the info to someone else.

    You just can’t say for sure who leaked this stuff. It could be anyone, and it’s too rash and speculative to say it came from MLB. As some pointed out, they had such solid evidence that there was no benefit to leaking it since one would think such evidence would never get overturned and Braun would be suspended anyway.

    Remember, when the BALCO grand jury testimony leaked, many said it must be the government, right? Well those speculating that way ended up to be totally wrong. It ended up to be an attorney for one of the defendants.

    Comment by caseyB — March 2, 2012 @ 4:54 am

  123. MLB has egg on its face only so far as any discrepancy between what’s mandated in the CBA and what’s mandated in their contract with CDT. That is not clear at this point.

    From what I’ve heard so far, it appears to me it’s the arbitrator who cast the deciding vote who has egg on his face — along with Braun as he so far has not been vindicated and is still looked upon as a cheater by a large segment of baseball. Braun also appears to be totally in the wrong for going after the collector. If the collector decides to sue Braun, that will be his worst nightmare.

    Comment by caseyB — March 2, 2012 @ 5:04 am

  124. I’ll repeat what I wrote above:
    A lot of mid- or low-level employees working for any of these entities (MLB, the union, or CDT) may not have identical motives and interests as those at the top of the organizations they work for. So while it’s true the head of the player’s union would have no interest in leaking such news, that may not be the case of someone else who may work there in some other capacity — ie, such as a secretary or paralegal who may have told a friend who then leaked the info to someone else.

    You just can’t say for sure who leaked this stuff. It could be anyone, and it’s too rash and speculative to say it came from MLB. As some pointed out, they had such solid evidence that there was no benefit to leaking it since one would think such evidence would never get overturned and Braun would be suspended anyway.

    Remember, when the BALCO grand jury testimony leaked, many said it must be the government, right? Well those speculating that way ended up to be totally wrong. It ended up to be an attorney for one of the defendants.

    Further, you say whether MLB leaked it or not, it reflects badly on them. Oh really? If a low-level employee working for the players union leaked it, it’s still MLB’s fault? Wow. There are also lots of other parties who could have been privy to this news besides just CDT, MLB, and the union.

    Comment by caseyB — March 2, 2012 @ 5:13 am

  125. I’ve really lost a lot of respect for Will Carroll for allowing himself to be a shameless PR mouthpiece for the Braun side. It’s incredibly weak to come out and proclaim the results have been replicated without giving any details or substantiation — and despite the opinion of many experts who say that it’s impossible for urine samples to become corrupted in that way in such a short time span.

    The lab knows if such samples are corrupted because then all the other metabolites would be out of whack too — not just testosterone levels. And apparently that was not the case, as they proceeded with the testing on Braun’s samples. Even if one were to assume the lab people was so stupid they couldn’t distinguish corrupted urine samples from normal ones, then that still wouldn’t explain the presence of synthetic testosterone in his sample.

    I understand why MLB was so mad. Here was a seemingly slam dunk case, but the cheater gets off scott free because of an exaggerated and inconsequential technicality.

    Comment by caseyB — March 2, 2012 @ 5:25 am

  126. One other point about Carroll — it’s no surprise to me that his hearsay claim has not been independently reported by a single established news outlet so far. Nor has Carroll put it in writing himself, as far as I know.

    Sounds like he was just taking BS from Braun’s attorneys or PR people and passed it on to anyone who would listen. A defense attorney will say anything. Especially when it’s off the record and not in a court of law.

    Comment by caseyB — March 2, 2012 @ 5:32 am

  127. It is hearsay that there was synthetic testosterone in the sample, or have you seen his actual test results showing that there was synthetic testosterone in his urine sample?

    Comment by wilsonm24 — March 2, 2012 @ 6:53 am

  128. where did the information that has been reported 9 billion times come from? Are they all from the, as yet, unrevealed source? What makes this anonymous source any more credible than what Will Carrol is saying?

    Comment by wilsonm24 — March 2, 2012 @ 6:55 am

  129. @Joe: I couldn’t care less about the testing regime issue. I guess we can have a semantics debate that playing the odds to beat the system is different than trying to dupe the system, but in the end players will always try to dupe the system, whether there are odds to beat like now, or in other ways down the road once some suggested overbearing and invasive testing regime is put in place (a fantasy since the players would never submit to it).

    Really not understanding the logic though, of saying other players were lucky and he was unlucky, so that shouldn’t have any bearing on Braun. It’s not a math problem. You are sitting in judgment of someone. Do you really think it’s appropriate to base “skewering” someone on luck? I think that’s kinda the argument folks defending Braun have been making.

    Comment by Paul — March 2, 2012 @ 7:11 am

  130. You could have just stood on a very sound argument, Rusty. Instead you pulled the neat trick of casting those defending either Braun or the result as lunatics. Nice try, but the fact that you made the attempt reflects pretty poorly on your argument.

    I don’t know what the evidence is because it was agreed between the parties that the process be confidential. Even if every single party to this episode comes out after the fact and testifies before the court of public opinion, the fact is that Shyam Das is the only person who has considered all the evidence (unless MLB withheld vital information for some reason). And Shyam Das, an impartial arbiter who was agreed to beforehand by the parties, overturned the suspension. This is not like the O.J. case where every moment was televised for all to see. I don’t remember Ryan Braun leading police on an hour long chase in a white Bronco. I don’t know all of the evidence THAT WAS PRESENTED TO THE ARBITER and neither do you.

    Comment by Paul — March 2, 2012 @ 8:23 am

  131. I know for a fact that any lab expert who testified in court that it is “impossible” for one sample out of X number to have screwy results, regardless of the cause, whether it be suspected tampering or storage discrepancies or equipment malfunctions, would be so completely decimated by a defense attorney by way not only of cross-examination, but by the testimony of another lab expert and statistician, who would make the obvious case that indeed some percentage of samples, albeit very tiny, will have some screwy result. And the only thing that is “impossible” is to assign some reason for it.

    I find it odd that we are talking about “impossibilities” and not allowing for random variation and error on a statistics site.

    Comment by Paul — March 2, 2012 @ 8:29 am

  132. Regardless, Braun’s reputation is now tarnished. Assuming that he eventually retires with HOF numbers, he won’t get voted in. A shame if he truly is innocent.

    Comment by cwj — March 2, 2012 @ 8:39 am

  133. Nope. Read exactly what I wrote again. In its full context. Again, “many experts who say that it’s impossible for urine samples to become corrupted in that way in such a short time span.” Meaning, in the way being referred to in Will Carroll’s hearsay statement that the test results have been replicated.

    If you read/listened to the claim of Will Carroll, Braun’s side is saying they replicated the test results using the same exact procedures the urine sample underwent according to what the collector said. Just sitting around for 48 hours in either a cool or room temperature environment. Experts will tell you under those circumstances it will be impossible for a normal sample to spontaneously end up with a massive ratio of synthetic testosterone. Impossible — especially when the other two samples stored alongside it remained normal, LOL!

    We’re not even talking tampering here. Of course, with tampering anything is possible, but 3 levels of tamper-resistant seals were put on the samples and the labs received them with the seals intact.

    Comment by caseyB — March 2, 2012 @ 9:21 am

  134. No PEDs testing is ever going to be perfect. Does that mean it should be abandoned? Of course not. It’s still immensely better than nothing. And it’s still probably 95% effective in keeping athletes clean. We don’t catch all law-breakers. Should we thus abandon attempts to regulate murder and robbery?

    Further, I highly doubt that if the likes of Bonds,Clemens and McGuire were limited to the shorter acting transitory PEDs mentioned by Conte, they would have ever reached the athletic heights they did. I doubt they would have come remotely close in their latter years.

    It’s the heavy-dosing anabolic steroid regimens which stay in the body longer and which combine with weightlifting for their maximum impact which are the most egregious forms of PEDs usage.

    Comment by caseyB — March 2, 2012 @ 9:35 am

  135. Go back and watch some of the footage of nuclear experts shouting from the rooftops last March and April about how various things that wound up happening at Fukashima did in fact wind up happening, or that certain levels of airborne radiation were “impossible,” etc., when in fact those things happened in reality.

    You’re just missing the point that science does not deal in absolutes like you claim. Braun’s attorneys are not arguing that they replicated the results. They are arguing that it is unreasonable to hold someone accountable for an offense that can be called into question. Their only job was to critique the evidence against their client. The questions they raised were persuasive enough to convince an arbiter that the punishment should not stand. End of story.

    Comment by Paul — March 2, 2012 @ 9:51 am

  136. meant “various things that could not happen or were physically impossible” did happen.

    Comment by Paul — March 2, 2012 @ 9:53 am

  137. “Braun’s attorneys are not arguing that they replicated the results.”

    According to Carroll, that is exactly what they are claiming. Do you think you can bother to listen/read up on what Carroll claims before commenting on this? Carroll’s claims are the crux of my comment which you responded to.

    Comment by caseyB — March 2, 2012 @ 9:58 am

  138. Braun could have and can still very easily tell us in some detail what his version of the story is. But when he does hold press conferences and speak to the media, his version of the story is curiously empty of any substance. Why is that?

    Comment by jeff_bonds — March 2, 2012 @ 10:14 am

  139. Disagree. Days ago, MLB, the players union, and the testing company released a joint statement that they had investigated the leaks, and all agreed that none of them were the source of the leak, (leaving Brauns’s defense team or experts consulted by them). If the players union is agreeing with MLB that MLB wasnt the source of the leak, that is a pretty strong statement in this environment. Not to mention the fact that Brauns team leaking the information based on their defense work is totally uncontrollable by MLB.

    Comment by tomjef — March 2, 2012 @ 10:22 am

  140. Baseball has 130 pages of official rules so you can’t cheat within the game. I suspect that this complexity is one of the things that makes this game so attractive to the fans, certainly fans on this site. Do we now need 130 pages of
    rules about how to collect a fricking urine sample?? As always, it’s all about the money.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — March 2, 2012 @ 10:58 am

  141. Is this a serious question? His test wouldn’t have been considered positive if the testosterone wasn’t shown to be from a exogenous source. That’s not hearsay, that’s just how drug testing works.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 2, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  142. Did you really just compare IRMS to a polygraph? There’s a reason the results from one could be used in court while the results of the other cannot.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 2, 2012 @ 11:35 am

  143. A big part of the problem is that this entire issue should have been handled by the Players Association. Owners and fans seemed to prefer more offense regardless of how it was achieved (smaller parks, harder balls, smaller strike zones…). It is why it was ignored for so long.

    Defining disallowed substances is more of a medical concern revolving around what some might do and some might not. A real PA looking out for all players would have produced the pros and cons and recommended a policy for the players.

    Comment by Dennis — March 2, 2012 @ 11:35 am

  144. You realize its the MLBPA that can fire the arbitrator, right? I’m pretty sure MLB doesn’t have any recourse against the guy giving Braun a polygraph. The fact that you have to turn to such weak analogies really just shows how untenable your position is.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 2, 2012 @ 11:37 am

  145. Odd, last time I submitted a medical sample and it went too long (less than two months ago, the sample sat over a weekend and wasn’t supposed to), they THREW OUT the old sample required me to come in and resubmit for the test.

    That’s what you DO when protocol for a medical test is violated, you dispose of the sample WITHOUT TESTING, and get a new sample. SOP at every lab I’ve ever heard of, why test an invalid sample?

    Having tested an invalid sample why leak the test result?

    MLB and the lab screwed up.

    Comment by Doug Lampert — March 2, 2012 @ 11:37 am

  146. Well, its also possible that two, non-identical twins have the exact same DNA. Somethings are just so unlikely (like getting false positives from both a T:E and IRMS test) that unless there is substantial evidence of a flaw in procedure, we just assume they are true.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 2, 2012 @ 11:41 am

  147. Yes, the Players Union really circled its wagons around the issue. Their contention that it was a simple matter of privacy was self-serving in the extreme. Had they been more forward-thinking, they might have tried to adopt a more intelligent policy. But for a long time the union seemed to regard steroid testing as nothing more than a concession to be resisted.

    But that’s all in the past. We have the system we have, and it appears that many players are comfortable with steroid testing — and that many players are angry at someone who may try to buck the system.

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 2, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  148. Except it wasn’t invalid. How many times do the people involved in the process have to state that the collection process was perfectly in keeping with the lab’s policies?

    MLB had a different policy. It was a bad policy from a legal standpoint, and there was zero evidence in the literature to support that procedure over the lab’s.

    Seriously, do we need the same three arguments in support of Braun repeated over and over and over when they’ve been refuted a dozen times?

    Comment by cpebbles — March 2, 2012 @ 11:48 am

  149. You are incorrect. You don’t know what popped off his initial positive. It could have been elevated levels of Nandrolone, which can be present naturally in the human body.

    Comment by wilsonm24 — March 2, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

  150. No, that’s not how drug testing works. They test for the T:E ratio, and if that is above the 5:1 cutoff, they move on the IRMS to see if the testosterone is from a exogenous source or not. This clearly isn’t disputed by any of the parties involved, while only one person has said anything about the replication of the tests, and he hasn’t even gone as far as writing about it. If you don’t see the massive divide between those two things, you’re just blind to the reality of the situation.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 2, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  151. Nandrolone is only flagged as positive if it’s well above any naturally-occurring levels. Regardless, natural nandrolone would not have increased the levels of carbon-13 in Braun’s testosterone.

    This information is freely available. Go read up on drug testing and then argue your care.

    Comment by cpebbles — March 2, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

  152. case*

    Comment by cpebbles — March 2, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

  153. While it would be interesting, I don’t think the collector will sue Braun. I honestly don’t think he even could, as his identity is anonymous Braun could say anything about him and still have it not be libelous, slander, or defamation because no one knows who he is.

    Comment by Yeah — March 2, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

  154. Since Nandrolone (or nortestosterone) in excess of 2 ng/ml is considered positive for the types of testing that MLB is conducting and Nandrolone is a naturally occurring substance in the human body they are not just using the IRMS to look for testosterone from exogenous sources.

    Especially, since research has shown that heavy workouts when combined with protein shakes (that have no banned substances in them) can produce levels of Nandrolone in the human body that exceed the levels considered acceptable by MLB (research conducted by Aberdeen University if you are curious).

    If you can’t understand how Nandrolone can be produced in the human body, and therefore is not necessarily an exogenous substance, but yet at certain levels still show a positive urine test then you are the one that is clearly blind to the situation.

    Comment by wilsonm24 — March 2, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  155. and were did you get the information that it was Carbon 13 that was raised in his urine? Unless you have access to the IRMS results the information you have about elevated C13 levels is purely speculation and hearsay from unnamed leaks and non-verifiable sources.

    Which is the point I have been trying to make. People are discrediting what Carrol says because “it is hearsay”, the fact is that all the “information” we have is hearsay.

    Comment by wilsonm24 — March 2, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  156. If you didn’t watch every second of the OJ trial, you’re not allowed to have an opinion on it.

    If you haven’t read the entire Bible, you can’t have an opinion on whether Jesus died for your sins.

    If you haven’t counted to infinity, you can’t say for sure what 2+2=

    Comment by TK — March 2, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

  157. Because that is the test on which suspensions are handed out. Jesus, how many times do you have to hear this? The T/E test is a SCREENING TEST. Abnormal values trigger a definitive test, and as has been reported by almost everyone and denied by absolutely no one, the definitive test used by MLB’s lab is the carbon isotope ratio.

    This is absolutely ridiculous. The pro-Braun camp has spent a week blithely refusing to educate themselves on the subject and just yammering that there is no credibility to every reported, unrefuted fact that is inconsistent with Braun’s story.

    Comment by cpebbles — March 2, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  158. You really are kind of special aren’t you….

    First off, Nandrolone is a steroid hormone present in the body in minute quantities. We both agree on this…good.

    Now to quote….

    “The structure of nandrolone is very similar to that of other steroid hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Unlike testosterone, however, nandrolone has a hydroxyl group (-OH) attached to carbon 17 (where carbon 1 is the carbon at the apex of the first ring starting from the left). Moreover, nandrolone has a methyl group (-CH3) on carbon 13, adjacent to carbon 17, and the methyl group on carbon 10 has been replaced by a hydrogen atom”

    So what this is stating is that Nandrolone is naturally occurring and contains Carbon 13… So what we can conclude from this, is that even if carbon isotope ratio was used, it could easily have detected elevated levels of a naturally steroid that is normal in the human body at miniscule levels. Further, there has been research conducted that shows that combinations of both heavy workouts and dietary supplements (with no band substances) can produce elevated levels of this naturally occurring steroid.

    So, unless you have access to the test reports that state exactly what was found in Braun’s urine, you don’t know that it was a synthetic steroid, we don’t know that it was from an exogenous source. We do know that something showed up wrong on his test, that he fought it, and that evidence he provided in the arbitration hearing found him innocent. You don’t know what that evidence was, you know what has been reported, but you don’t know what hasn’t been reported. Until you do know all of the evidence provided in the arbitration hearing and what was actually found in his test stating that he took steroids, or that he got off on a technicality is hearsay and simply uninformed.

    Comment by wilsonm24 — March 2, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  159. Haha, no. That “carbon 13″ refers to the position of a specific carbon in the molecular structure. The “carbon-13″ in the isotope ratio is carbon with an atomic weight of 13. In other words, one that has an extra neutron.

    And yes, those occur in natural testosterone too. But they occur more in synthetic compounds.

    Comment by cpebbles — March 2, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

  160. well it was a valiant attempt ;)

    Comment by wilsonm24 — March 2, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

  161. Where have you been? A few days ago the collector identified himself in order to set the record straight. While one might say he was essentially anonymous at the time Braun inferred the “collector” was at fault, it could easily be argued that many knew who this man was and it had the impact of putting his job and reputation in jeopardy.

    But the collector and his lawyer are smart. What they’ve done is essentially shut Braun up from uttering anything further that is negative about him. Because if Braun did, then it could no longer be argued he trashed an anonymous man. Braun will be unable to give interviews in the near future and assert that the collector was at fault. He can try to blame anyone else, but the collector is now off limits.

    Comment by caseyB — March 2, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  162. …and/or it appears that Braun thinks his reputation has been unfairly besmirched and should be above reproach, and then proceeds to…unfairly besmirch someone else’s reputation in a similar manner. A person who didn’t cause or create a positive test, nor was responsible for the leak of the failed test.

    But hey, as long as you scatter fire indiscriminantly at everyone around you, that means you’re probably receiving less fire yourself. Mission: accomplished.

    Comment by Jason B — March 2, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

  163. There is uncertainty in every test. Are you saying anyone who tests above the legal limit for blood alcohol should be presumed innocent because there is a chance the test might be incorrect?.

    In this case, Braun failed not 1, but 2 separate tests. It is likely each test has been conducted several times per standard LOP.

    This is an accredited lab, which means they have been assessed
    and shown to be competent in doing the test by professionals, and have demonstrated their proficiency.

    The test methods used have all been evaluated by scientists and an estimate of the test methods uncertainty of measurement made and it’s precision and accuracy undoubtedly published as part of the test method and found acceptable.

    You have created a straw man in that no scientist would ever use the word impossible, they express themselves in terms of probability.

    The probability is very low that both test results are in error, and it is very low that the samples storage had anything to do with the positive result, or that the samples were tampered with.

    Braun got off on a technicality. Barring further evidence, the probability he used PED’s is high.

    Comment by pft — March 2, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  164. That’s fine. I freely admit I’m losing this battle, Nitram. One other point: wouldn’t the fact that the arbitrator could lose his job if he ruled against MLB give his decision even more credibility?

    Comment by bstar — March 2, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

  165. Or gulping down some speed before the game to help with your hangover and boost your performance, like they did in the sixties and beyond, I’m sure.

    Comment by bstar — March 2, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

  166. Rusty, your #4 point should be that it isn’t Will Carroll’s opinion, he was simply relaying information of why Das ruled the way he did.

    Jeff, what if there is nothing to the story except “I didn’t do it, dammit”? What other details would an innocent man even have to offer?

    Comment by bstar — March 2, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

  167. I’m not exactly sure MLB does have the right to fire him. I know the MLBPA is given that authority, but I haven’t heard a thing about whether MLB has the same right. Either way, my main point was that there is no reason to think who is paying him or who could fire him had anything to do with the decision.

    From what I’ve heard, I can understand why he ruled the way he did. The joint agreement didn’t explicitly say what to do in the situation of FedEx being done with shipping for the day. In light of that, the language about shipping it out the same day except in unusual circumstances comes into play. The arbitrator didn’t think being done delivering qualified, so he ruled in favor of Braun. I can understand the logic, but it doesn’t change the fact that Braun almost certainly had PEDs in his system.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 2, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

  168. Good thing it wasn’t in a tamper proof container, then you might have a point. You can wrap something 4 times in tape, but given two days alone with it anyone clever could undetected tamper with its contents.

    Comment by ValueArb — March 3, 2012 @ 2:18 am

  169. Or he’s not. We really don’t know, given his samples were never anonymized.

    Comment by ValueArb — March 3, 2012 @ 2:22 am

  170. The lab had a policy that samples would not be anonymous and that’s the better policy?

    Comment by ValueArb — March 3, 2012 @ 2:25 am

  171. Except the collector violated the MLB policy to keep samples in his house that he could connect to the donors when he coukd have easily dropped them off for temperature controlled anonymous storage at FedEx.

    Apparently the drug testing world marches along to the beat of the WADA Nazis, who insist that privacy and anonymity is not important because none of the Collector Youth would ever tamper with samples in non tamper proof packages, no matter how many days they had them.

    It’s just like the NBA, where no referee would ever be susceptible to bribes or throwing games for gamblers, no matter how easy we allow it to be for them.

    Comment by ValueArb — March 3, 2012 @ 2:33 am

  172. How? The tape leaves residue if its removed. There is no way to remove the vials without removing the tape. You do the math.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 3, 2012 @ 9:46 am

  173. What are you talking about? They’re anonymous once they make it to the lab. Only the collector and the players know which one belongs to who.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 3, 2012 @ 9:47 am

  174. ValueArb, you seem to be missing some critical points in this story. For one thing, the samples were triple-sealed and each seal WAS tamper-resistant. Why you would say the opposite when it’s been clearly stated in a thousand places already is beyond me. Just read.

    Second, urine samples do not need temperature-critical storage or shipping, and these samples had they been dropped off immediately to Fedex would not have been in temperature controlled storage.

    Third, there is nothing in MLB’s drug testing policy against a collector storing urine samples in the home. As far as I know, the only thing that conflicted with the policy was the amount of time that passed before the samples were shipped to the lab.

    Comment by caseyB — March 3, 2012 @ 10:11 am

  175. Huh? What are you talking about???

    The samples are anonymous. Only the first tamper-resistant seal has the player’s signature on it. The second and third tamper-resistant seals have no indication who the pee belongs to.

    Comment by caseyB — March 3, 2012 @ 10:16 am

  176. ValueArb, you seem to have completely missed the fact that there were three seals on the urine samples, and EACH seal was tamper-resistant.

    Comment by caseyB — March 3, 2012 @ 10:20 am

  177. Look at the average players salary today and compare it to the pre-steroid era. Case closed.

    The MLBPA represents the players. The players wanted no part of drug testing. Nobody spoke out except Rick Helling. Nobody wanted to change anything.

    Steroids were very prevalent. If it was only a few players gaining an advantage, then the players would have taken action. Most of them were likely in on it. For every player caught with steroids, there where 20 or more using. Some players likely could not use because of the side effects, so stopped after trying it, and a few others might have felt it hindered their game (speed, quickness).

    Comment by pft — March 3, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

  178. MLB was happy with it as well. During one owners meeting in 1998 the MLB put on a presentation with a couple of doctors showing how steroids improved performance (from the book A game of Shadows).

    It was only Congress threat to legislate a testing program that forced MLB and MLBPA to agree on a program. I am sure there are more holes in this program than needed to sink a boat.

    Brauns testing positive and then getting off works for everyone. Braun, Brewers, and MLB. It works for MLB because they finally caught a star player testing positive to show Congress the program works, but they and the Brewers did not lose him and the revenue he generates for 1/3 of the season. The fact he did not get suspended they can blame CDT and due process. Congress has to respect due process, and the DOJ uses CDT, so they can not say anything.

    Comment by pft — March 3, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  179. It takes many fewer leaps of faith to believe that Braun was guilty than to believe that Laurenzi 1) had a motive to, and 2) successfully managed to bypass the tamper-resistant seals in such a way as to taint the sample undetected. Or that the storage conditions somehow produced a false positive in Braun’s two samples, but not in the other samples stored under identical conditions.

    Is the later scenarios possible? Sure. It’s just that, with the current evidence available, Occam’s razor cuts them to shreds.

    Comment by Bhaakon — March 3, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

  180. I find it completely unfathomable that Braun’s team would leak the info on purpose or as a defense strategy. No one was supposed to know about this at all, and it’s ruined Braun’s reputation. I just don’t see it as an intentional leak. Someone close to Braun’s team? Very possible.

    Comment by bstar — March 3, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

  181. Sure he will, if he’s worthy. It may take a lot longer, but, you never know, every one of us may be taking HGH in ten years. Attitudes will eventually change; all of the deserving “cheaters” WILL eventually get in.

    Comment by bstar — March 3, 2012 @ 11:18 pm

  182. “For every player caught with steroids, there were 20 or more using”. Are these just random guesses on your part? Do you have a source for your claim?

    Comment by bstar — March 3, 2012 @ 11:20 pm

  183. Wow, an incredible amount of intellectual posturing on both sides, when really, none of you keyboard jockeys knows what happened. You can all back up your opinions with all of your big words, but you don’t really know anymore than the next guy what really happened. You all use facts to back up your opinions, but that doesn’t change the fact that all you are standing on is opinion. Shut all your hyphiness down, wait until some concrete evidence comes out and stow away your bitterness at losing the debate team city finals when you were in high school. At this point, the rules are the rules and both MLB and MLBPA agreed to go by an arbitrator’s ruling and the arbitrator ruled in Braun’s favor and that my poor wasted intellectual talent friends, is all that matters.

    Comment by Train — March 4, 2012 @ 1:41 am

  184. “every one of us may be taking HGH in ten years.”

    This is the crux of Bill James’s argument for why, in the future, the steroid controversy will blow over. As he puts it:

    “Steroids keep you young. You may not like to hear it stated that way, because steroids are evil, wicked, mean and nasty and youth is a good thing, but. …that’s what it means. Steroids help the athlete resist the effects of aging.

    Everybody wants to stay young.

    If we look into the future, then, we can reliably foresee a time in which everybody is going to be using steroids or their pharmaceutical descendants.”

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 4, 2012 @ 10:57 am

  185. Carroll said nothing novel, scientifically speaking. He isn’t saying that leaving it out a desk could create synthetic testosterone. He is saying that Braun’s attorneys showed that is possible to get the ratio from a permissible level to a red flag level by leaving it out for as long as the collector did.

    Comment by Benign — March 4, 2012 @ 11:32 am

  186. He isn’t forgetting that two tests were done. But if the “technicality” is able to cause a red flag to go up to get the second test it isn’t just a “mere” technicality.

    Braun’s attorneys were probably trying to show that leaving it out can affect tests. That was enough to get the arbitrator to agree that the collector’s actions weren’t inconsequential. (Obviously this is just speculation on my part).

    Comment by Benign — March 4, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  187. Carroll is not saying that they showed that leaving it out can create synthetic testosterone. He is talking about the ratio test that is done first.

    Obviously whether this points to actual innocence depends on whether they really found synthetic testosterone or not (we will have to wait for the decision to find that out). But if Carroll is right it does show that leaving it out isn’t just a technicality because even if Braun is guilty some future guy could be innocent and still get in trouble (with possible leaks getting his name out there).

    Comment by Benign — March 4, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  188. We don’t know for sure that it had exogenous testosterone. That is just known from a leak. It’s not like leaks have never been wrong. The certainty of Braun’s guilt depends on that fact.

    Comment by Benign — March 4, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  189. So now we learn one more fact, that assumptions Brauns positive test was leaked by MLB was incorrect. It was leaked by someone the Braun defense team dealt with in preparing their defense.

    We also know that MLB does not handle the collection, but that MLB/MLBPA

    Furthermore, we know there was no evidence of tampering and that the collector followed CDT’s protocol to keep the samples in his home since Fed Ex did not ship after 5 pm (even if they did receive). We also know the other 2 samples held by the collector did not test positive.

    We know Braun tested positive, and that storage could not affect the CIR results, even if as Will Carrol claims, storage conditions somehow affected Brauns T/E results.

    Unless there is a challenge to the validity of the CIR test, we have to conclude that Braun likely used PED’s, notwithstanding the arbitrators ruling he should not be suspended due to CDT following a different protocol than the MLB/MLBPA JDA (meaning the samples sat in the collectors home for 44 hrs rather than a Fed Ex storage facility).

    That’s all most people (except Train) really want to know, right? Did Braun use PED’s or not? Nothing is ever 100% certain, but the evidence seems to suggest he did.

    Comment by pft — March 4, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

  190. “We also know that MLB does not handle the collection, but that MLB/MLBPA ”

    Somehow this got cut-off, should read

    We also know that MLB does not handle the collection, but that MLB/MLBPA agreed to contract this out to CDT as outlined in the JDA.

    Comment by pft — March 4, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  191. Thanks, pft. I have updated the story to reflect this.

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 4, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  192. Turns out my “fallacious reasoning” was spot on.

    Comment by Rusty — March 4, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  193. Well then they really couldn’t replicate the important part, could they?

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 4, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

  194. Well, no. Your explanation was closer to the truth, but your reasoning didn’t make sense. You reasoned that because two explanations were possible, that meant that they were equally likely.

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 4, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  195. No, we know he failed that test, because if he hadn’t he never would have been suspended. You don’t get suspended just for a raised T:E ratio because there can be a natural explanation for that.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 4, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

  196. 1. Steroids are still illegal unless prescribed for a medical reason

    2. The issue isn’t necessarily steroids, but using them in amounts and combinations that cause much more severe side effects.

    3. This misses the problem of players being essentially forced to take steroids if they want to make the majors. That’s a primary reason players want them banned. Not everyone wants to take them, but if they’re not banned it basically becomes a job requirement.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 4, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  197. I’m sorry Alex, but the update never should have been necessary. I respect that you didn’t just edit what you wrote, but it was a ridiculous thing to write in the first place (its something I expect on personal blogs, not a respected site like Fangraphs). I hope you learn from this and don’t make the same mistake again in the future. I think we all know the old saying about what happens when you assume.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 4, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

  198. Sure, my reasoning that two plausible occurrences were equally likely was fallacious. Can I ask what reasoning you used to determine the leak came from MLB? Biased, lazy, or careless reasoning, maybe?

    It’s not like the possibility of the leak coming from the Braun side was 1 in a 100 and I just got lucky. There wasn’t any reason to favor MLB as the culprit, especially since at the time of original printing the MLBPA had already stated they didn’t think the leak came from anyone inside MLB or the testing program. When the association that represents Ryan Braun and the rest of the players gives MLB a very public thumbs up like that, there’s at least a decent chance MLB is in fact not responsible for the leak. And that turned out to be the case.

    Comment by Rusty — March 4, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

  199. So Alex is ballsy enough to update his story, and Nitram you go to lengths to further insult him. Classy.

    Comment by bstar — March 4, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

  200. Fair enough, Nitram. I’m hoping your namesake has a better season this year, too.

    Comment by Alex Remington — March 4, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

  201. Seconded.

    Comment by bstar — March 4, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

  202. Not really sure how I was insulting him. I said when he first published the piece that I thought it was a bad decision to include and I still feel the same now. I think Alex would agree now that we’ve found out the source of the leak. Like I said, I respect him for not trying to erase the mistake (I don’t however think he’s ballsy for updating it…I think that’s just a basic expectation on a site like this), but its still a mistake that shouldn’t have been made in the first place. Like I said, I just hope he learns from it as I generally like his writing (plus he likes the Braves which is a major plus).

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — March 4, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  203. Alright, then. Retracted. I also am a fan of the Braves and Alex.

    Comment by bstar — March 4, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

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