Has Your View Of Ryan Braun Changed?

On Saturday night, news broke that Ryan Braun failed a drug test during the playoffs, and unless he becomes the first player to successfully win an appeal, he’ll be suspended for the first 50 games of the 2012 season. Braun’s camp has issued a statement claiming he’ll be exonerated, saying:

“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.”

Since the news broke, we’ve heard reports that the failed drug test was for a banned substance, not a performance enhancing drug. We’ve also heard that his testosterone levels were “insanely high“, and that a second test showed that the extra testosterone in his system was synthetic, not natural.

Despite these reports, we don’t really know what happened. We don’t what Braun took that caused the failed test, nor do we know whether he took it intentionally or not. Nearly every player before him who has failed a test has also claimed innocence, but in the end, all have still been suspended, as they have been unable to cast enough doubt on the conclusions of the testing process. It is likely that Braun, too, will end up serving the 50 game suspension, and that this positive testing result will follow him for the rest of his career.

In fact, there have already been calls for the BBWAA to revoke his 2011 NL MVP award, which is an action they thankfully do not seem to be interested in performing. Unless he actually is exonerated, this positive test is going to be a stain on Braun’s career, but in looking at what we know today, I’m not sure my view of him has actually changed much at all.

Perhaps I’m naive, but I have yet to see any compelling evidence that Braun intended to cheat the system, and for me, intent is key. I understand why Major League Baseball’s policy specifically leaves intent out of the question – trying to prove what a player meant to do or not is really quite hard, after all – but in terms of whether a player is viewed as a “cheater” or not, intent is perhaps the most important variable. If Braun simply screwed up by not being diligent enough in understanding what he was putting in his body, that’s quite a bit different than if he was trying to gain a physical advantage through using a substance that he believed would enhance his performance.

Baseball has cast a wide net in the hopes of creating disincentives to breaking the rules on taking banned substances, and no matter how you feel about the effectiveness of steroids, the game is probably better off for the efforts to remove them from the sport. However, in casting such a wide net, it is likely that MLB is going to end up punishing players for ignorance or carelessness, and lumping them into the same category as those who were actively trying to circumvent the rules.

We don’t know that Braun’s positive test result was indeed the result of carelessness, but it seems at least plausible, and it is perhaps the explanation that I most want to believe. Personally, I would view a failed test due to a lack of diligence to be significantly better than one where Braun was actually taking something in an attempt to bolster his on-field performance. Intent is the driving force on how whether or not this failed test will change my view of Braun going forward.

I hope we find out it was some kind of mistake, and he simply took something that he did not mean to take. If that is the case, then even Braun’s suspension won’t change my view of Braun much at all. If it comes out that he was trying to circumvent the rules and got caught, however, it’s going to be hard to view him as favorably as we did before. Whether steroids are effective or not, using them is against the rules, and those who try to get around them for their own personal gain deserve legitimate punishment, both from the league and through public perception.

I want to believe in Ryan Braun, however. I want to believe that he’s not a cheater. Even if the suspension holds, for the sport’s sake, I hope we find some evidence that this failed test was a one-time accident.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


222 Responses to “Has Your View Of Ryan Braun Changed?”

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  1. Oliver says:

    I think none of it makes sense right now, so I’m trying to roll back my snap judgement until we know more.

    +30 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Ditto. I’m particularly perplexed by the “banned substance, not a performance enhancing drug” claim, considering that the only substances that carry a 50-game penalty are PED’s. Stimulants and drugs of abuse carry lesser penalties.

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      • AK707 says:

        Fertillity Drugs? Those are banned, not PEDs – but probably aren’t it since they carry the same 50 game penalty. I didn’t know about the variable penalties, I thought that MLB was draconian enough to ban players 50 games for weed.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Weed isn’t even tested for among players on the 40 man roster

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      • Vegemitch says:

        The only use for so called “fertility drugs” in a male is to coordinate/enhance PED use. Hence, when they are found, we know that the player is using PED’s.

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      • Jason says:

        Vegemitch,

        “fertility drugs” are not always used in conjunction with anabolic steroids. Fertility drugs are used to reduce estrogen production by promoting progesterone production. When a male uses these drugs he can increase testosterone production slightly, but sees the biggest gains due to the increased delta between estrogen and testosterone. So, “sky high test” might actually be “sky high test:estrogen”.

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    • cpebbles says:

      It makes plenty of sense, Braun’s camp is just exploiting the fact that the media has been too busy screaming about PEDs to actually familiarize themselves the least little bit about them.

      If Braun took a substance that increased his testosterone level significantly, he took a performance-enhancing drug, period. They are probably playing semantics with the fact that Braun did not test positive for one of the classic anabolics that they specifically test for.

      The media has parroted the fact that Braun took a second test which came up clean, without noticing that it was Braun and his agent who apparently arranged for this second test at a later date.

      I expect a lot of Brewers fans to accept the spin coming from his camp, but the degree of the media’s ignorance on a subject they’ve been hysterical about for a decade is astounding.

      +40 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Maverick says:

        Exactly. I read a comment, maybe on here, that it may have been “Epistane”. Epistane is a pill that any one of us can buy “legally” from any number of weightlifting websites. It is not technically a steroid, but only because it falls through a legal loop hole because of the way it is made. They take a known oral steroid and add a molecule, no longer making it fit the structure of a steroid, while still providing the increased testosterone like the steroid it was modeled after.

        While that may or may not be what it was that caused the failed test, it sounds like the type of spin his people are trying to put on the situation. Not a common PED, but trying to make it seem like an over the counter supplement that happened to raise his testosterone to insane levels.

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      • Socal Baseball says:

        The fact that he is a smart, clean-cut, white kid from a good and financially secure family in Southern California does not make him any less likely to take PEDs (I witnessed many Ivy League athletes in different sports take PEDs). It just means that he probably has the access and intelligence to do it in a manner that decreases the likelihood that he gets caught.

        I don’t think Dominican or Latin American prospects/players use PEDs at any higher rate than American born players. They simply do them in a manner in which makes them more likely to get caught.

        I know players who saw Braun and another player inject steroids in the locker room when he played for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod league. One of the coaches even chewed him out for doing it so openly and stupidly. He was not “clean” then, he probably hasn’t been since.

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      • Rob says:

        Agreed. Everyone who gets caught makes some kind of excuse, says their case is different, says they didn’t violate on purpose..so far, this is nothing out of the ordinary.

        That said, I won’t judge until there’s an officials announcement and I hope he didn’t knowingly violate.

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  2. Ben says:

    We haven’t even heard an explanation from either party. It’s entirely premature to pass judgement. Perhaps something obscure that hasn’t been attributed to these tests before triggered a high positive test, something that isn’t even related to physical augmentation.

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  3. mabel says:

    I think its remarkable (in neither a good or bad way) how we approach this whole thing because he’s ryan braun.

    +11 Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Neal says:

    Where is the poll option “dont care about people’s arbitrary line of what is performance enhancing and what isnt”

    +18 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • davisnc says:

      Probably a sub-option under “Incendiary Baylessian Dreck.” The current regime of drug testing was developed and agreed to by both MLB and MLBPA. It is in everyone’s interest to have a clean game, and both sides got to contribute to the framework that is currently in place. It’s a condition of Braun’s employment as a Major League Baseball player to follow those rules.

      Talk about “arbitrary line” all you want. Human beings produce testosterone and epitestosterone in a ratio of roughly 1:1. A positive test isn’t triggered until it’s 4:1. That’s a pretty charitable benefit of the doubt. Braun exceeded that 4:1 ratio. Apparently, 4:1 or higher can be normal for some individuals, but given that Braun passed when he demanded a second test, that is seemingly not be the case here.

      Either he’s being framed by someone with access to the chain of custody of that first sample, or he did something he wasn’t supposed to do. I think one of those options seems slightly more believable than the other.
      I’m glad he’s getting to appeal, and maybe it will come out that there was some kind of screw up. Stranger things have happened. But I’d say it doesn’t look good for Braun, right now.

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      • davisnc says:

        It occurs to me that you may be referring to the distinction being made between a banned substance and a performance enhancing drug, in which case I guess I mostly agree with you. The Rosenthal tweet changes nothing for me.

        The way I originally read your comment was that you don’t care about the steroid issue in baseball, who’s to say that steroids are performance enhancing, etc.

        Sorry for any misinterpretation.

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      • Neal Roberts says:

        The comment can be read both ways for sure. I think steroids are performence enhancing. However the extent to which HGH is performance enahancing (improved recovery allowing you to perform at a higher level after injuries or in old age) can be said about cortizone shots (a steroid) and nobody complains about that. Or about icing after a game, or a reliever taking anti inflamatories to bounce back on back to back to back days. All of those are drugs, the help performance in their own ways. Its a spectrum. Everybody has a line on the spectrum somewhere. I dont care what MLB’s line is. They set the rules so he should be punished because he knew them but why should that effect an idividuals personal opinion unless they like having MLB or organizations forming opinions for them.

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  5. siggian says:

    I’m not buying the old “took something by mistake” excuse anymore. Every professional athlete needs to know exactly what they are taking. If they are not sure, they need to ask their team or the league, who have lists of these things. It’s part of the package of being a professional athlete.

    I’d be more sympathetic to this excuse if this was year 1 of drug testing, but it’s not.

    This all being said, I’m waiting for the official announcement before I pass judgment. The timing on this one is a little strange.

    +25 Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Brad Johnson says:

    My opinion of him isn’t likely to change regardless of the outcome, but we need to at least wait until that outcome is apparent before viewing him differently. Right?

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  7. JSprech says:

    Innocent until proven guilty. Everyone needs to slow up and wait for the FULL STORY to come out.

    -6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Anon says:

      He failed a drug test. He is guilty now. If Braun wants that to change, he needs to prove his innocence.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        No, he’s not. The failed drug test isn’t the be-all-end-all. That’s not how the policy works. The player can elect a hearing, and the failed test is merely evidence at the hearing.

        I can imagine a number of defenses that should get him off the hook. He could show that: a) he took a legal supplement approved by MLB that actually had a PED in it, or b) it would be physically impossible for a human being to have that much testosterone in his body without turning into a Werewolf, or c) it would be physically impossible for that amount of testosterone to normalize by the time he passed the second test, or d) the sample got switched and it wasn’t his urine.

        None of those is the silly “I didn’t know what I was taking” excuse.

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    • chuckb says:

      I hate to be THAT GUY, but this standard only applies in a court of law. He failed the test twice. At best, he’s guilty of accidentally taking a banned substance. I’m sure that happens and it might have happened here; I really don’t know. But every sport’s governing authority has the standard that athletes are responsible for the substances they put into their bodies.

      I’m not sure my opinion of him has changed and I think Dave’s point about intent is relevant. However, he appears to be guilty of taking the banned substance, regardless of intent. So this “innocent until proven guilty” meme simply doesn’t apply here. The evidence is there. Whether he did it intentionally or not seems to be the only thing that’s uncertain at this point unless the Braun camp can provide some evidence that BOTH of the tests were flawed in some way.

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      • KidA says:

        It may be semantics, but chuckb, you should know that he had one sample which was tested in two different manners. He did not fail the test twice.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        He did not fail the test twice. He failed once, and then asked MLB to perform another test, and the second sample tested clean.

        I agree with you that “athletes are responsible for the substances they put into their bodies”. But if he’s arguing that the test results were flawed and nonsensical, then I disagree that he’s been proven guilty and all we’re discussing now is intent. There’s a legitimate question as to whether there were any PED’s in his body. Let the arbitration hearing clear that up before we pass judgment.

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    • DownwiththeDH says:

      Tell that to Jerry Sandusky

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Geoff says:

    Apparently he wouldn’t be the first person who failed a test but got it overturned. It will just be the first time he failed a test and it leaked out before the appeal process went through. Jimmy Rollins tweeted that he knows of another player who had a test overturned. Why would he lie about that?

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  9. kingstephanos says:

    Hmm…likeable, clean-cut American boy gets the benefit of the doubt with a mostly Caucasian media and fan base. Color me surprised.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Geoff says:

      Well, considering he didn’t go from 6′ 200lbs. to 6’4 250lbs., yes he gets the benefit of the doubt.

      -21 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Evan says:

        Yes, because examples of adult athletes gaining 4 inches in height due to PED abound.

        This post is representative of the amount of eye-watering ignorance that surrounds this issue.

        +33 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Feeding the Abscess says:

        Steroids make you grow in your mid 20s? Holy shit, I need to start needling. I could go from 6’4″ to 6’10″ and make the NBA!!!

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      • Spark1643 says:

        http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/116578573.html

        First off, Geoff, how do you gain HEIGHT from steroids? Second, proper use of PEDs isn’t always intended to lead to massive muscle growth but sometimes focused strength. He did put on significant mass, as Weeks did, this offseason.

        I agree with chuckb. This isn’t a courtroom. It’s a discussion of our opinion of his innocence or guilt. I think he’s guilty.

        -Positive test
        -Adding mass this offseason
        -Irregular muscle pulls in the last year.

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      • Geoff says:

        The height was a joke, next time I’ll add a smiley.

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      • Spark1643 says:

        And mine was a joke, too. Your entire point is that one has to transform like Barry Bonds did for PEDs to lose the benefit of the doubt. Failing a test invites due skepticism.

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      • DCN says:

        HGH can make you grow in height if you take it in your teens, although whether it does anything significant for you once you’re older is debatable.

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    • Phrozen says:

      So, what? You want him lynched first and ask questions later?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • www.thehotteststove.com says:

        The QUESTION was the drug test…..and we got the ANSWER. Now all that is left is the lynching, instead of circling back for more questions.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Phrozen says:

        Yeah, and that’s hard and fast and 100% accurate, right? There’s no chance that there’s nothing else at play? Especially since the process hasn’t concluded yet?

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    • steven says:

      this.

      i admit that i’m surprised , too, but a jump in statistics is does not mean ped’s are involved, and, on the other side of the coin, consistent performance doesn’t exonerate. braun became the media poster boy of the brewers’ pennant run, and this throws things off a little bit in that regard.

      the question we should be asking ourselves, honestly, is: if matt kemp were the one who got caught, would be saying the same thing?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • PiratesHurdles says:

      Likeable? Have you watched him play? He is an arrogant, immature jerk on the field most of the time. He’s easily the most hated opponent in the NL Central, well maybe second to Tony Plush.

      Pirate fans are dancing in the streets over this, as sad as that is.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Didn’t Ortiz get the benefit of the doubt from fans/media despite a failed test? Didn’t Jose Canseco and Jason Giambi get lambasted for their admitted use?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. JT Grace says:

    If he is found guilty then I don’t see a problem with the BBWAA rescinding his MVP award. In fact, they SHOULD take back the award.

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  11. BDF says:

    I’m strangely unmoved, and I tend to be on the hysterical side of the steroids issue. I guess I no longer have the sense that steroids are rampant and fundamentally altering the game, which is what so incensed me before. The occasional incidence of cheating followed by a really strong punishment doesn’t get my Dutch up so much. I’m surprised to find myself feeling this way.

    Your poll surprises me. I thought it would be a poll about how readers’ perceptions of Braun have or have not changed. That would make sense to me. A poll about facts about the world on which your readers have no basis for opinion does not make sense to me.

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  12. Craig says:

    Braun’s statement isn’t exactly an unequivocal denial. It doesn’t sound that convincing.

    Regardless, setting aside Braun’s guilt or innocence, there is no excuse – none – for a professional athlete in 2011 to not know exactly what is going into his body. “Intent” can be narrowly interpreted as premeditation of cheating or it can be more broadly defined as being willfully ignorant of the ingredients of what you are taking. “I never read the label so I had no intent of taking a banned substance” is plausible deniability and is the new popular defense for cheating athletes. Not reading the label or not asking what the trainer is injecting into you is intent to cheat in my opinion.

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  13. Paul Wilson says:

    ” I understand why Major League Baseball’s policy specifically leaves intent out of the question – trying to prove what a player meant to do or not is really quite hard, after all”

    Barry Bonds taught MLB this lesson.

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  14. Eminor3rd says:

    I think I always assumed he was juicing anyway.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. Randy says:

    Perhaps he took something that falls into the category of a banned substance (not PED), but that is for a legitimate off the field medical condition. That’s all I speculate. It doesn’t mean he won’t get the suspension, but it will be interesting to see what it is and and if it impacts the policy going forward or not. Or this is BS. He has played through an injury in multiple seasons.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Yirmiyahu says:

      There are provisions in the policy for players to get exemptions from MLB for legitimate medical treatment. For instance, a player could take a prescribed stimulant as treatment for ADD. If Braun had some hormonal or glandular issue that he was getting treated for, he should’ve applied for an exemption from MLB.

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    • Joe says:

      Yeah, if there was a doctor involved.. I’m pretty sure that’s the first thing Braun and his lawyer mention publicly to get out in front of the PR war… and as Yirmiyahu mentioned MLB would have to have been informed (especially something that will impact T levels and introduce synthetic T into the system)

      Also people are putting way too much stock into the substance not being a PED and simply a banned substance. A player can be caught with masking agents (which technically aren’t performance enhancing either)… that really means nothing, especially if it is coupled with finding abnormal T levels (or ratios).

      I’m pretty sure Manny’s female fertility drug by itself was not performance enhancing……

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  16. Anon says:

    However, in casting such a wide net, it is likely that MLB is going to end up punishing players for ignorance or carelessness, and lumping them into the same category as those who were actively trying to circumvent the rules.

    If people break the rules through ignorance or carelessness, the rules still got broken. It may change public opinion about someone, but it should not change the punishment.

    If an unintentional ‘highly unusual circumstance’ or a false positive or a lab mistake was the cause, the information will come out eventually. Right now, I’ll believe the failed test.

    +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Feeding the Abscess says:

      If someone unwittingly eats a brownie given to them by a co-worker that contains marijuana, he is a criminal and deserves punishment to the fullest extent of the law.

      -7 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • James Lewis says:

        It’s not a crime to consume marijuana so obviously no. It is a crime, however, to possess marijuana, and you would be arrested and charged if you accepted a bag of “oregano” (read pot) from a friend and you were ultimately caught with it. Just as in baseball, nativity is not an excuse for breaking rules/the law – ask the necessary questions and you won’t face that situation.

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      • Anon says:

        Just as others have said many times, professional atheletes should be very aware of what they put in thier bodies. Carelessness is no excuse, and ignorance is a poor excuse.

        +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • not sure if srs says:

        Really?

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      • B N says:

        “possess marijuana, and you would be arrested”

        Which is why, when the cops plant drugs on you, you’re automatically guilty! After all, you DO possess them at that point…

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      • Mike Green says:

        “Just as in baseball, nativity is not an excuse for breaking rules”

        Jesus Christ, it’s that time of year again.

        +26 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Mike wins best comment of the day.

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      • Slartibartfast says:

        “If someone unwittingly eats a brownie given to them by a co-worker that contains marijuana, he is a criminal and deserves punishment to the fullest extent of the law”

        I wanna party with this guy!!!!!!!!!

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  17. performanceenhancement says:

    Ryan Braun was caught with synthetic testosterone in his urine. It was checked by multiple laboratories and the world’s leading experts were called in to verify the results.
    Ryan Braun also competed on the highest level and for his performance he was awarded the league’s MVP award. I find it most likely the competitive advantage explains the performance.
    It is obvious that all sorts of synthetic and naturally produced anabolic agents (which testosterone is one of them) produce better athleticism, better and more sustained production and ultimately significantly enhanced statistics. Anabolic agents cause metabolism modification which preferentially leads to lean muscle mass formation.
    Ryan Braun literally makes me sick. Cheaters ruin the purity of our pursuit because metabolism modification is a hidden but significant variable. It acts to obscure and defy trends.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JJ says:

      The key is that after the initial high ratio of epiT to T was detected, the labs test whether the T is exogenous (synthetic) or endogenous. The results indicated that Braun had high levels of exogenous T, which is grounds for an automatic suspension regardless of what produced those high levels. The body does not naturally produce synthetic T. A false positive would only result from an error in the test itself and from reports it appears that the synthetic T result was replicated at least once.

      Also, Braun’s re-test after finding out about the positive result is meaningless because T levels can normalize within 2-4 weeks.

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  18. Kyle says:

    No matter what eventually comes out, I doubt my opinion will change much either way.

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  19. Evan says:

    Doesn’t change anything for me. He was a great player who peaked at a time when we expect athletes to peak. There was nothing out of the ordinary about his season.

    If he was using banned substances to gain a competitive edge, that makes him stupid, not a villain. Stupid for not realizing there’s no evidence they provide a competitive advantage in the first place.

    It’s just like if he was drinking rattlesnake urine throughout the season because of a ridiculous belief it’d help him. Whatever.

    T:E ratios can be off for lots of reasons, and false positives are a very real phenomenon. Until we have more facts, or the arbitrator decides his guilt, I’m withholding judgement.

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    • Phrozen says:

      Yeah, no evidence at all. It was totally natural and expected for guys like Brady Andersen to hit 50 homeruns. Totally normal.

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Evan says:

        You have some homework to do.

        http://steroids-and-baseball.com/

        Sometimes guys have great seasons. Sometimes really great. The Brady Anderson thing is tired.

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      • Phrozen says:

        That website made my eyes asplode. Holy crap, man. I mean, couldn’t you just have linked me to timecube.com and saved me a lot of trouble and eye strain?

        So explain Maris’ near 40-year old record being broken repeatedly in a short stretch, then not approached again now that players are being tested? And please don’t ask me to look at that website again.

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      • Trotter76 says:

        I read as much of that website as I could, and basically it says “Steroids don’t do anything for performance, and they should be legal, but no one should do them, because they don’t work. Oh, and the fact that all the power records fell was because they changed the ball.” I guess I have more homework to do, because I can’t find where they changing the ball back after they started testing for PEDs.

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    • Trotter76 says:

      When can we put the “Steroids may or may not be effective” line to bed? The author used it, and now Evan’s used it in the comments.

      I’m going to say it flat out:
      Steroids are effective.

      Ken Caminiti was no one’s MVP without it. Sammy Sosa hit more homers in a season than Roger Maris’ former record 3 times and NEVER LED THE LEAGUE IN HOMERS. They work, we know that, so let’s stop pretending we don’t know that.

      +18 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • B N says:

        And mysteriously enough, after they started testing and discouraging things, nobody seems to approach the record anymore- after 3 people broke a record that hung around for decades.

        But yah… so basically, either 1998-2001 happened to just feature some AMAZING coincidences with 3 players all of a sudden breaking a 40 year old record, or steroids and HGH are somewhat useful.

        +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Evan says:

        Well, that’s like, your opinion, man.

        There are reasonable explanations for the inflated home run numbers of the late ’90s/early ’00s. Diluted expansion pitching, tiny strike zones, etc. Just citing a few record-breaking seasons doesn’t prove anything at all.

        It’s also funny that people talk about Maris’s record–itself a total anomaly–being broken as evidence that something was amiss.

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      • Phrozen says:

        Evan, next year, if Halladay, Kershaw and Lincecum break Nolan Ryan’s record of 383 strikeouts in the same season, and then in 2013, Halladay and Verlander break it again, would you be a little curious? And then if you heard rumors of failed PED tests and other players started naming names, would you suspect foul play? Or would you simply write it off as, oh, Astros to the AL and bigger strike zones?

        *Those four names are, in my opinion, among the least likely to be connected with PEDs, but, then, I thought the same of Braun.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Evan,

        Can we please stop acting like we do not have mounds of medical evidence detailing what affect testosterone levels have on the body. As males, it might be the single most important aspect of our physical health. We know what increasing the levels do as well.

        It aids recovery. There’s simply no way that increased recovery cannot help performance …. any performance.

        If baseball fans really are this uninformed, then it’s our fault.

        But, let’s stop pretending that we don;t know they work or acting as if there’s something angelic about baseball where the perversive affects of PEDs are immune due to some inherent aspect of the sport which makes it unlike all of those other barbaric events other people watch.

        The stuff works as intended, and baseball players figured it out and along with the discovery, they erased decades of misinformed ideas of baseball, muscle, and strength. As it turns out increased strength and muscle doesn’t leave one dehabilitated via being musclebound.

        IMO, it is flat-out ridiculous to have an serious discussion about whether steroids improve baseball performance or not. Steroids primarily enhance recovery. Is there any possible way that better recovery can be a nuetral affect on performance in a long season? The only way it’s neutral is if everyone else is doing it … the bodybuilder’s justification, “If we’re all taking insane amount of drugs, how we can we cheating each other?”.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        So there must have been a steroid epidemic among pitchers in the late 60′s.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        .. and one in the dead ball era too. Don’t forget that one.

        There could be, and likely are, other factors that contribute to a higher run scoring environment other than PEDS.

        But, I was protesting the usage of those factors as negating PEDs as a contributor. I find that be dishonest.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • ausmax says:

        actually, Ryan Howard hit 58 homers in 2006 after testing started. Obviously he didn’t break the record, but it’s not quite accurate to say that no one has approached the record after drug testing.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Nitram Odarp says:

      False positives are essentially impossible in the carbon isotope test that they would have used to confirm the testosterone was synthetic. Unless you think Ryan Braun’s body suddenly started producing synthetic testosterone unlike any other human ever. I guess that could reasonably make a false positive possible.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. Skeptik says:

    Having spoken with individuals who’ve used steroids, it seems unlikely that he’d have an “insanely high” level of testosterone and be oblivious to it, or how it became so. It’s been my understanding that having highly elevated T does things to you (both short-term and long term), which is where the excuses are lost on me.

    Also, what sort of things does one have to put in their body in order to get these readings, and how does one do it unknowingly?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. Overbearing Jewish Mother says:

    My boy? My Ryan? My little Brauneleh? I don’t believe it.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. Joel says:

    I firmly believe that any professional athlete who steps into a GNC should be tazered on the spot.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • J!m Future says:

      This.

      The fact that I can walk into the nutritional supplement aisle pretty much anywhere and purchase something that could well land me a suspension were I a professional athlete boggles my mind. If it’s against the rules for competitive activity, why so readily available to anyone? And if I can grab it over the counter, why is it against the rules?

      Then again, I’m a 6′ 145lb beanpole no matter what I try consuming, so there’s that.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • mcneo says:

        I was there. I took proteins and creatine to gain weight. Only Optimum Nutrition brand worked for me. Helps to drink milk and have something to eat right before bed. It’s not hard for any athlete to gain weight, so the fact that a dude put on weight doesn’t mean anything.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  23. Rob says:

    Jonah Keri was rushing to Braun’s defense on Grantland and now Dave Cameron is shrugging it off here. It must be nice to be a clean-cut white guy. If this were Jose Bautista or Matt Kemp, I have the suspicion we wouldn’t be getting these cautionary tales about the dangers of overreaction. Braun cheated and got caught. Whether he had Roger Clemens jabbinb him in the ass with a needle or took a supplement that he bought at Wal-Mart, the only facts that we have to go on are the his sample failed multiple tests. That the default position should be to reserve judgment is ridiculous.

    -7 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Evan says:

      He didn’t fail multiple tests, he failed one. The second sample tested negative. Where are people getting this multiple-fails thing?

      Racism, both subconscious and overt, cloud the public’s response to these issues. No reasonable person doubts that. But to impugn Dave Cameron and Jonah Keri, two of the most sober and progressive analysts this sport has, is out of line. If anyone is going to give an athlete the benefit of the doubt due to skin color, it wouldn’t be Cameron or Keri.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Rob says:

        His original sample was subjected to more than 1 test and failed them. The sample he provided at a convenient time was clean, conveniently.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • John says:

      Indeed Rob. If this were a latino player, this article would not exist on Fan Graphs. There was no hesitation to rush to judgment when Manny was busted, but now that it’s Braun, we better be careful — don’t want to rush to judgment when a clean cut, All-American white ball player is involved.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • vivalajeter says:

        To be fair, Manny suddenly retired just before news leaked about his failed test. Why would we hesitate to rush to judgment when he acts like that?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ben says:

        Obviously the second time Manny was busted there was no doubt, but the first time he claimed a very similar defense to Braun and no one bought it.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CircleChange11 says:

      Shut Up, Dude. Mark McGwire was babied and defended when he refused to talk about the past in congress, right? He also has legions of supporters demanding he be in the HoF. No, he doesn’t. Sosa doesn’t really get any worse treatment than McGwire, No McGwire got the harsher treatment because he was the record holder.

      Bonds gets much harsher treatment because he’s a bigger jagoff and he broke bigger records.

      We don’t really get all that worked up about Canseco’s PEDMVP season, or Caminiti’s, or Giambi’s, or Big Papi’s usage, or even ARod’s usage. So, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that Ryan Braun has some “let’s wait for the facts” supporters out there.

      If anything it illustrates something we already know, NICE people get the benefit of the doubt. Braun has the reputation of being a great guy. Being a great guy and an intentional cheater don’t often jive. If Kirby Puckett tested positive there’d be some “that must be wrong”, if Albert Belle tested positive the response could have been “Well, no duh.” See how that works? People make assumptions about people, many times, based on their personality or reputation.

      So, one can either jump to conclusions about Braun’s real character, or they can wait for more certainty. Regardless, Braun isn’t going to get the venom that Bonds got, and it won’t be because of pigmentation.

      I’ll leave the issue about whether Jews (or half jews) are “white” to other people to decide. Seems that white people cannot reach a consensus on that one.

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • B N says:

      Sure. Because Clemens got so much benefit as a white, All-American ballplayer, right? ;)

      From my reaction, David Ortiz and Braun are in the same boat on this one. Both of them said straight out they don’t use steroids. They’re both really likeable guys that I WANT to be innocent. But with a test out there that says they aren’t, it’s a real bind. At least with this one, unlike Ortiz, we know what the substance was.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Yirmiyahu says:

      I would cry if Bautista tested positive.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. CircleChange11 says:

    The title of this article …

    Has Your View Of Ryan Braun Changed?

    The most important statement from the article …

    Despite these reports, we don’t really know what happened. We don’t what Braun took that caused the failed test, nor do we know whether he took it intentionally or not.

    On one hand, I’m informed that we don;t know all of the facts … including some important facts.

    Then, I’m being asked if my opinion has changed.

    Do I have a–hole written on my forehead or something?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  25. Brian says:

    I would be a little more inclined to suspend judgment had this news not come on the heels of a few articles during Spring Training noting that he had bulked up last off season.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • mcneo says:

      I’m not sure it’s fair to start labeling guys just because they put on some weight. You can put on weight fairly quickly naturally. A pound every week or two of muscle is a sustainable goal up to a certain ceiling.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brian says:

        I don’t think weight gain alone merits suspicion. However, showing up looking sufficiently different enough to make beat writers file columns about it (these guys see Braun frequently enough where the difference has to be really noticeable) does raise eyebrows after the failed test.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Doesn’t that happen every spring training? Everyone is in the best shape of their life every season.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Joe says:

        I do recall Damon commenting on Manny before the season how looked like he was in his 20′s and never saw him in better shape…

        Ooops, bad example…

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • DCN says:

      Not going to discount anyone strictly for strength or size. Today protein (both in protein-rich foods and supplements) is more widely available in the rich world than ever before, everybody knows the benefits of weight training, and pro athletes have access to the best physical trainers. You expect that people who play sports for a living, if they come into the league with any room to reasonably gain muscle mass, will do it. Hell, most guys who play sports on an amateur level get a lot stronger in their early 20s. And some people are going to be very strong – there have always been unusually strong individuals, and many of them are going to end up in pro sports (some of the extremes are ridiculous, but we’re not talking McGwire-size cartoon arms).

      That said, nobody produces synthetic testosterone naturally, and the kind of elevated testosterone that triggers that test in the first place is really hard to produce naturally

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. John says:

    I guarantee if the player was Miguel Cabrera, Dave Cameron’s article would have been radically different from this Braun apologist article.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Joe D says:

      If you could provide me a trip to your Imaginary Universe of Hypotheticals, that would be great. I’d love to see rain fall up and cars drive people.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JG says:

      Just a tangent: If Miggy tested positive, I’d buy the “I didn’t know what I was putting in my body” excuse from him before I’d buy it from pretty much anyone else in the game. He’s clearly not an athlete with a strict regimen and a scrupulous list of substances not to be consumed.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. barry_kent says:

    It’s amazing how fair people are all of a sudden. Innocent until proven guilty? Just imagine if Barry Bonds had ever failed a drug test!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CircleChange11 says:

      Nice people get the benefit of the doubt.

      Is this your first day on the planet?

      We’re taught that at a young age. See, we humans are kinda screwed up. Some of us are only nice if there’s some benefit for being nice.

      As it turns out, being nice means you catch a break or get the benefit of the doubt here and there.

      It just so happens that if you’re an asshole and are rude to pretty much everyone else, they actually start looking for your mistakes so they can stick it right back to you.

      Someone, somewhere, said that people were like mirrors. They reflect what you project.

      Sounds like a bunch of crap to me, there has to be a more conspiracy or race based reason.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • barry_kent says:

        You do know that Bonds never officially tested positive in a PED test? It seems like it’s less “benefit of the doubt” but a witch hunt, if people who actually test positive are given all benefit of the doubt and Bonds who is never known to have tested positive is the “poster boy” for the steroids era.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        Bonds admitted to using the Cream and the Clear, but that he did not know they were steroids.

        To my knowledge he’s never tested positive. We have an admission of accidental cheating.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • PadresFuture says:

        I generally agree with your assertion that nice people get the benefit of the doubt for often. I also agree that we, as a society, are more likely to “look” for mistakes of the A holes. I do wonder though, why then do we look for mistakes in people that are too nice? People like Tim Tebow have half of society hating him. The only explanation I can come up with is either they are Raider/Chiefs/Charger fans or society doesn’t like people that are too nice.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        IMO, there’s too reasons …

        1. People feel he gets far more credit and attention that his real talent deserves (for various reasons).
        2. Some people go against the norm no matter what. Tebow is getting as much attention as any one player can get.

        Some people see it as their duty to “take him down a notch”.

        There are also cases of people being too nice and people eventually turn on them. Kurt Warner for example. The media built him up, tore him down, and then built him up again. Or phrased in another way, they jumped on his bandwagon, jumped off, and then jumped on again.

        I have this idea that media members often write about emotion-based aspects because it takes ZERO skill. It’s just opinion, from the gut, and it’s forgotten in a week.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        “two” reasons …

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • DCN says:

      “Tebow hate” is mainly backlash, some anti-Christian, some from studious football fans (including the football equivalent of this community). The media devotes a lot of time to someone who is not a particularly good football player, and then often discourages real analysis of the games as “nitpicking.” It’s a big story for people who view football emotionally, and it’s very frustrating to people who want to examine the game of football.

      If it was more about how the Denver Broncos are able to win close games with a ball control offense and a nontraditional quarterback, combined with an excellent defense, and the games were kept in perspective as being narrow wins against weakened teams, then I think a lot of people in my category wouldn’t mind Tebow stories. But the reductionist/mystical “he just wins” stuff is really getting in the way of more interesting football talk.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • DCN says:

        Even if you talk about comebacks, there’s a lot of interesting stuff. You could even support the “magical” argument with some good analysis of how unlikely that stuff is, or examine tape to see why he’s so much more effective in the hurry up or against late game defense. But that’s not part of the narrative.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  28. Bubba says:

    Didn’t care about Bonds, don’t care about Braun. Not my body, and I don’t share the moral repulsion to drug use that many have.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • J says:

      Thank you!
      Remember how AMAZING it was to watch Bonds play from 2001-2005? No one would dare get up to buy a hotdog if Barry was about to come to bat.
      Don’t you want to watch all of your favorite players keep playing well in their late 30′s and early 40′s? I wish Vladimir Guerrero had taken steroids, then maybe I’d get the great pleasure of continuing to watch him play – and play well – for several additional years.

      Who knows how much longer the great players would get to play. Bonds only retired b/c teams didn’t want him. The man could have been an above average DH probably until he was 45.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CircleChange11 says:

      The moral repulsion is a personal issue.

      Using a banned substance for a competitive advantage is different.

      Just because I think I should be able to kill people that annoy me does mean that for me, murder should be legal.

      You not caring, and something being legal are two different, and completely separate, issues.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • J says:

        What I’m saying is that the substance should not be banned and should not be illegal.

        The lines between legal and banned performance are completely arbitrary and make no sense.

        Would you prefer that Tommy John’s surgery was banned? That shit is mad Nazi science compared to steroids. If so, you would never see the Stephen Strasburgs of the world pitch.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Yirmiyahu says:

        I disagree, but I see the argument. On the field of play, where’s the line between stealing signs vs spitballs vs beanballs vs takeout slides vs corked bats vs maple bats vs those tinted contact lenses? Off the field of play, where’s the line between steroids vs cortisone injections vs Tommy John surgery vs elective LASIK surgery vs microfracture surgery vs altitude training vs vs stem cell injections vs HGH vs creatine vs greenies?

        The conversation doesn’t end with “it’s against the rules” or “it’s illegal”. You need to ask why certain things are banned but others are not. You can’t simply point to the fact that steroids are unhealthy and dangerous, because many legal performance-enhancing techniques are unhealthy, and many perfectly healthy performance-enhancing techniques are banned.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Phrozen says:

        But the argument does end with “it’s against the rules.”

        Now, whether it should or should not be against the rules is an entirely different argument, that bears nothing on the potential guilt of Braun or Bonds or whoever. If there are grey areas those need to be cleared up. If there are irrational rules, they need to be stricken. But rules are rules are rules. You don’t get to pick and choose which ones to follow.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        Like I said, I think I should be ale to kill people that annoy me.

        That I disagree with the law does not render it invalid.

        Whether you agree with the rule or not, by being in the league you agree to follow the rule. When you do not, you are punished.

        This really is early elementary stuff. Can’t believe there are some that are indirectly suggesting that you should only have to follow the rules you agree with.

        I disagree that I should be relegated to driving on the right side of the road. It’s a free country and what I do with my property is my own damn business. Watch out, here I come. BTW, yes, that is a semi-automatic weapon in my hand. Just another rule I happen to disagree with.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  29. Nathan says:

    Intent is very important, but I think Cameron is putting too much weight into it as it relates to this topic.

    Every player should know the rules, that’s pretty cut and dry.

    If a pitcher balks, is it ever a reasonable defense to say, “Oh well it isn’t so bad, he only balked because he doesn’t know the balk rule!”

    Uh, no. That’s crazy. The fans and so on should absolutely rip a guy if he admits he didn’t know the balk rule. It’s like the time in the NFL Donovan McNabb didn’t know the OT rule. Dude. You have to know the rules.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Nathan says:

      Let me clarify. In short, what I mean is, ignorance is not a defense on any level. Ignorance wouldn’t change the fact that the substance gave him a potential physical edge. If anything, if this came from ignorance, that’s almost worse…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        At this point, IMO, stupidity, naivety, or ignorance is worse than actually saying “Yeah, I cheated. I wanted to go to the world series more than anything, given our position in 2011. I was willing to cheat to win. You got me. I did it”.

        I think what most people are tired of is being treated as if we’re dumb and don’t know that steroids really aren’t in toothpaste, whiskey, whole milk, a $15 supplement, preparation H, and anything else.

        IMHO, the first baseball player that comes right out after a positive test and says “Goddam right I did. I want to win more than anything, and it was worth the risk.” is going to get some respect from quite a few fans. IMHO, it just makes baseball players look even worse, and make the situation seem more dark than it is, to avoid responsibility and accountability for their PED use.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Jamie says:

        Circle:

        Didn’t Bonds basically say that in the grand jury report? he said he saw mcgwire and sosa bombng the hell outta the ball and he got jealous. he knew he was a better player than them but they were getting the attention. so bonds juiced and was the greatest player to ever play the game

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nathan says:

        I agree with you CircleChange.

        To Jamie, I know people will want to play the “race card” as it relates to Bonds on this one, and I’ll be the first to say, there definitely were still undertones of racism related to the public attitude about Bonds. However, Bonds cultivated most of the dislike people had for him long before the steroid accusations.

        If a beloved player that was generally good with the media, fans, and strong in the community got caught and owned up to it, I think race becomes far less significant a factor and CircleChange’s point makes a lot of sense.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        Barry Bonds has ALWAYS been in favorable and entitled position in society. He’s not a kid from the ghetto. He’s like baseball royalty.

        Think about this …

        1. He is the son of one of the most talented baseball players in his generation.
        2. He is the godson of one of the top 5 players of all-time and a player, even as a black dude, is loved by everyone.

        Barry Bonds just developed into an ass because he’s so talented everyone needed him more than he needed them. Even his ASU coach put him back on the team after being voted off.

        Does anyone REALLY believe that the priviliged son of a major league and godson of an all-time great was treated as “second best” by people growing up?

        Barry Bonds may be black, but he is FAR removed from the situation that most black people grow up in. Bill gates and I are both white. We don;t get treated the same, for obvious reasons.

        People haven’t liked Bonds for a long time because of his arrogance and entitlement. I’m just stating what I believe to be reality. Geez, If I were Mickey mantle’s son and Joe Dimaggio’s godson, I might have been an even bigger arrogant jerk than I am now. I’m not saying how awesome I’d be if my dad was Bobby and mu godfather was Willie. I’m just saying most reports are that people have never been abloe to stand being around him. They “tolerate” him because they need him to win.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  30. Brian says:

    Hey Dave – Braun’s testosterone levels were 4 times as high as normal (the highest testosterone levels recorded since they began drug testing) and because MLB uses carbon-isotope ratio test, the chances of a false-positive are effectively zilch. But yeah, he’s white and one of the faces of the game so let’s cut him slack that nobody has cut previous offenders for.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Puffy says:

      So there is a point where the blatantly obvious bias in the saber community can be acknowledged.

      Quick, someone write an article about how Ryan Howard sucks!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CircleChange11 says:

      Okay, but he’s half-jewish … so why can’t we just say that being a selfish, cheater is in his genes. I mean Jews cheat to get ahead all the time right? From what I hear they can’t avoid it because well, they’re Jews … and Jews cheat, especially when it comes to money and awards.

      There’s some stupid stuff being said in this thread, as if white players like Caminiti and McGwire got away without ridicule or shame or tarnished images.

      At least the dumb crap I said in this thread wasn’t my real opinion and just exagerration to make a point.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  31. Craig says:

    Let’s just drop the racism discussion please. Let’s put ourselves above that.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Puffy says:

      “Above that”? This is an article about perception. Race is unquestionably the dominant factor that drives perception of every human interest story in America. Under circumstances where the slightest ambiguity exists, it is the only factor for most people.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Geoff says:

        The race card only works when it benefits the party playing it.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • mcneo says:

        You must live in a very racist environment. That’s not true for all.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Geoff says:

        I believe it’s very true. I don’t think racism is playing an issue here at all. People just throw it out there and it gathers steam.

        Where was all the outcry when Bryant Gumbel called David Stern a plantation overseer? Wasn’t much, and that was a hell of a lot more racist then me, as a white guy, thinking Braun needs his day in court.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Yirmiyahu says:

        Since when did accusing someone of unconscious racial bias become as bad as actually being racist?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Phrozen says:

      Well, lessee. He’s white, so we’re being too easy on him. But he’s also Jewish, so he must be a cheating bastard. But then he’s from Milwaukee, so he’s a ignorant cheesehead and is guilty as sin. And he got ‘A’s in college, so he’s a smart guy and is just being framed. And he’s named after a shaving company, so he must be a skinhead and you know how evil they are. But he wears number 8, so he’s just coasting on his luck…

      +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

  32. Ender says:

    I don’t have much of an opinion but I certainly don’t think the MVP should be given back if it wasn’t a PED. It all sounds really fishy and more like a tainted sample than anything but until the full details are out who knows.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • PiratesHurdles says:

      I love this tainted sample BS, people throw it around like there’s testosterone floating about in the air and it accidentally falls in the tube. The only way it would be tainted would be if it was purposefully spiked with exogenous testosterone. These assays are specific and accurate.

      Bonds, Sosa, Clemens, and McGwire are out of the Hall forever, but this little failed test shouldn’t change your opinion. Well I guess Dave’s right, I already hated him so my opinion won’t change much at all.

      +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        The only way it would be tainted would be if it was purposefully spiked with exogenous testosterone.

        Oh sure, blame it on LaRussa.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Husker says:

      A “tainted sample.” LOL
      I will never cease in my search until I find the tainter.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • PadresFuture says:

        Well said, OJ Simpson.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ender says:

        He showed up with 3 times the highest sample in history and it was clean 2 weeks later. It heavily points towards a mistake until further information is given. I won’t have an opinion one way or the other until more details come out but it all seems really fishy. They also said it wasn’t a PED it was a banned substance which if true means no reason to take away an award.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  33. Daniel says:

    “… no matter how you feel about the effectiveness of steroids, the game is probably better off for the efforts to remove them from the sport.”

    Dave, I do not know what you are talking about here. Probably? Can there be any doubt about that?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • cpebbles says:

      If you are a chick, you dig the long ball, and thus baseball is worse for the efforts to remove steroids.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Phrozen says:

        No. That website should never be linked to again. I’m typing this while blind because my eyes exploded when Evan linked to it above.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        Do the folks that link to that site read that information and check it against conflicting information?

        Or do we simply look for stuff that fits our preference and lower our expectations to accept it?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • J says:

      I think the game is better off with steroids. (See my post above.)

      So many of my favorite players – Bobby Abreu, Ichiro, and Vladimir Guerrero appear to have turned into pumpkins. I wish they all juiced and still played great.

      Don’t we all wish the greatest players stayed healthy and effective for another 10 years? How is it bad for baseball to have these guys in the game still performing like superstars?

      Really the worst thing about steroids was that it ruined the homerun records – but the damage is done now.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Nathan says:

        Uh, dude, Abreu, Ichiro, and Guerrero are old. The aging curve has caught up to them. I’m not saying they have or have not used PEDs. Just saying, if we assume innocence, there’s a perfectly standard, widely excepted reason they have slowed down.

        The only one that’s really shocking is Ichiro’s huge drop off last season — makes you think he may have had an injury that impacted his speed because all indicators of speed dropped for him. But lots of greats have bad seasons littered in between all their good ones, so I’m not ready to jump to conclusions. Even so, if Ichiro plays another couple years and hovers below 2 WAR, it wouldn’t be crazy given his age.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  34. Matt H says:

    This is kind of a silly poll. It’s like asking a jury whether they think the defendent is innocent before the trial happens. We know very little, and to say that we think anything but uncertainty is naive and rash. Seems like the poll should have reflected the title of the article, and asked whether we view Braun in a different light now. Or, whether we would view him in a different light if he was guilty, innocent, in between, etc. I said I have no idea what to think, as should everyone else, because we are not in a position to determine what Braun did and didn’t do.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Phrozen says:

      Except we’re not the jury. MLB is the jury. We’re the yokels in the gallery.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt H says:

        Yes, and we wouldn’t ask the yokels in the gallery whether they thought the defendant is innocent or guilty before the jury came to a decision. At least, whatever is equivalent to FanGraphs in this situation wouldn’t.

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  35. Puffy says:

    By the way, my opinion on Braun…..

    The scale of the business is such that PEDs will remain as much a part of the game as the curveball. Braun is currently one of the 10 best hitters in the game, and Bonds is the best hitter that ever walked the earth.

    Now someone please ask baseball to stop prostituting their sport to win our attention the way the NBA does theirs. Arod makes more per at bat than the majority of humanity does in years. Roids aren’t going anywhere.

    Can spring training start please?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  36. Husker says:

    There is some truth in the racial assertions. Of the big 3 cheaters–Bonds, McGwire and Sosa–which one is a major league hitting coach today?
    I must admit, my first reaction to the news was, “Ryan Braun? A nice Jewish boy? No way!”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Anon says:

      He is a hitting coach because of TLR. TLR wanted him as a coach, and TLR had huge influence in deciding that. Now that he has the job, his future will likely be decided by performance.

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    • Stryker says:

      Have the others ever APPLIED or interviewed to be a hitting coach? Seems unfair to say they haven’t gotten hired b/c they’re black when you have zero knowledge of them even implying they’d like to become hitting coaches..

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      • barry_kent says:

        Well considering Bonds was blackballed out of baseball while he was still a very good hitter, I’d say he’s probably got good reasons for not sending in his applications.

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      • PadresFuture says:

        @barry_kent: put a cork in the race based nonsense you are spewing. At this point I think most people, regardless of race, have about as much discontent with Clemens as they do for Bonds. People don’t like profane liars or A holes.

        It really is not that hard of a concept: People would give Tony Gwynn the benefit of the doubt because he is Tony Gywnn not because he is black or white. Content of character not the color of skin.

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    • Spark1643 says:

      I think the biggest reason for the difference in treatment between McGwire/Braun and Bonds/Sosa is ASSHOLE bias. Despite his press conferences of child-like joy, Sosa was not very cooperative with the media, particularly following his corked bat incident. We all know what a prick Bonds was too. On the other hand, McGwire and Braun always treated fans and the media with respect. Hence, the latter get the benefit of the doubt while the former are maligned.

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      • Spark1643 says:

        I’m not all agreeing with this double standard, just explaining it.

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      • doug K says:

        The whole racism angle for why people are reserving judgement just is ridiculous. The biggest name to ever admit to steroids will be seen in the future as A Rod and he has gotten 10% of the grief that Bonds / Mc Guire has gotten. Why? No idea, maybe the fact he admitted and didnt deny or hide behind the 5th. But it isnt racism.

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      • Nathan says:

        Mac was/is kind of an asshole too. Though I generally agree with your point. But it is naive to not acknowledge race is at least a very small part of the nationwide perception of Bonds. Sad as it may be.

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      • ben says:

        Huge Cubs fan here. While Sosa often came across as insincere, I never heard anyone call him an a-hole until the day after his last game as a Cub…

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  37. LRG says:

    This just doesn’t make ANY sense to me. Braun has had pretty much the SAME EXACT stat line his entire career, an elite stat line at that and I couldn’t see him risking his reputation and staining his legacy by purposely taking a banned substance. This is a guy that needs no performance enhancing drugs because his performance is already at the highest level. He’s no idiot and he must clearly know that if u take a banned substance in MLB, u will eventually get caught and him being one of the best players of this era and possibly a future hall of famer, I can’t see him putting all of that on that line. Can’t wait to see what the results of the test were and to hear what braun has to say because I just can’t believe this. He had absolutely nothing to gain from taking a performance enhancing drug. He’s already the best player in the league.

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    • Peter says:

      Clearly then, he’s always been juicing.

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      • LRG says:

        But never tested positive once until this year?? HIGHLY HIGHLY UNLIKELY ya fool.

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      • Peter says:

        You’re being a bit naive about the state of the art in avoiding detection. Simply reflect on Lance Armstrong, for instance. i can easily imagine Ryan monkeying with his drug schedule a bit, perhaps looking for a little extra in a time of stress. Note to Ryan: got to adhere to your “nutritionist’s” prescriptions!

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      • LRG says:

        Lance Armstrong for instance??? Like Lance Armstrong has ever tested positive for any kind of performance enhancing drug.. Please. The French just hated Lance because he dominated their precious Tour de France for the majority of a decade. Ryan Braun would have gotten caught during any one of the 5 seasons if he was taking performance enhancing drugs. I’m not saying that he didn’t take performance enhancers because it’s completely possible that he did but what I’m saying is that it just doesn’t make any sense to me. Why would he do such a thing?? He’s clearly been blessed with insane talents. Hall of fame status talents at that. Don’t hate on Lance tho. He’s a god and has never tested positive for anything.

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  38. Peter says:

    As a person who has taken perfectly legal ( at the time) supplements in order to boost testosterone levels, I think it’s highly unlikely Braun did not know he was under the influence of a powerful performance enhancer. And that probably applies to the groupies hanging around the team was well.

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  39. Barry Bonds says:

    That’s my boy.

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  40. Spark1643 says:

    I believe Ryan Braun released this information at this time, not anyone within MLB. If you read the initial responses from Tom Haudricourt, he does a poor job of hiding the personal pronouns, indicating his source is Braun himself.

    Why would Braun release this info at this point? Well, he gets ahead of the process and it’s more favorable for him in terms of public opinion. It’s easier to explain for a position prior to suspension than when the suspension is announced. Also, he can place plenty of doubt (erroneous test, mistake, etc), which I find all to be pretty weak, ahead of the announcement.

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  41. Nats804 says:

    I can’t get past the fact that the extra testosterone in Braun’s sample was proved to be synthetic. At that point, there are only so many excuses he can make.

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  42. joebrave44 says:

    I don’t think people should jump out to conclusions until/if we hear about the actual test results. If he tested positive for a banned substance, greenies or the whacky weed, my opinion of him doesn’t change. If he did indeed test positive for performance enhancers, well yeah my opinion of him does drop and deservedly so.

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  43. Ryan says:

    The “accidentally took something he didn’t understand” excuse really shouldn’t hold up. I’ve known varsity athletes who were paranoid about taking so much as an antihistamine because they were afraid of how it might show up on a test.

    A player like Braun has access to any number of professional nutritionists, trainers, and doctors. He knows there are serious penalties for banned substances; he has a duty to consider the implications of any drug or supplement he might take.

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    • Geoff says:

      Maybe his doctor is Dr. Nick from Simpsons. Who knows? The list of banned substances is pretty long, doctors aren’t perfect either.

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      • Brian says:

        But the list of things you are putting in your body isn’t long… I mean, how hard is it to check a supplement against the list before you decide to take it? especially when there are people who can do that for you… the argument is extremely weak that a professional athlete at such a high level would not have this checked.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        So what if he checked a supplement against the list, checked the ingredient list, and yet still inadvertently ingested a banned substance?

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  44. Barry Bonds says:

    Steroids are a helluva drug.

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  45. Anon21 says:

    I think, initially, we should indeed wait for the process to play out. I trust MLB to handle this well; they have absolutely no incentive to railroad Braun, and every incentive to make him look good. If they come back and confirm the first test finding, then that means they’re really sure.

    If that should happen, I’m not going to give Braun the benefit of the doubt. The guy’s a megastar. He has plenty of trainers, nutritionists, and related advisers that he consults in designing a regimen to maintain his physical condition. Knowing the very serious consequences of getting busted for PEDs, those are people who would not let Braun get anywhere close to the line unless Braun made it clear that that’s what he wanted. If the test results are confirmed, I think the high likelihood is that Braun either intended to violate the drug policy or was willfully blind as to the nature of what he was putting into his body.

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    • Seattle Homer says:

      The MLB may not have an incentive to go after Braun specifically, but now that the news is out, it does have an incentive to avoid the first successful appeal/reversal of a positive test.

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      • Anon21 says:

        I don’t agree. There’s a first time for everything, and why does it harm MLB’s reputation for “the process to work” and Braun to be exonerated on appeal? You seem to conceive of MLB in a sort of prosecutorial role, where it always wants the initial determination of a failed test to be upheld. I’m sure there are people within MLB whose job it is to test and defend those results, and I guess they do feel that way. Most of the people in the Commissioner’s office are probably more interested in getting things more or less right–that is, suspending those who deserve it, and not suspending those who don’t.

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      • Seattle Homer says:

        I’d like to think that the main goal of the process is to “get it right,” but a successful appeal has ramifications for all future cases. It can draw into question the validity of the first test for everyone, will probably increase the chances that all positive tests are appealed (though it seems they all are already), and to much of the public would decrease the credibility of the whole process.

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  46. Melkman says:

    Damn used to love this guy, oh well, he can go in the steroid hall of fame with bonds, arod, manny, papi, palmeiro, clemens, etc…

    The facts are not all out per se, but even as a wishful thinker this shit looks bleak.

    Brewers better pray to the baseball Gods that Aramis plays 150 games next season.

    ….as Padres GM Josh Byrnes rings Doug Melvin’s doorbell while dangling a miniature Mark Kotsay laughing and blurting out “looking for this???? I already signed him BATMAN… i mean DOUG.. hahahaha” at which point, the master plan is complete…..

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  47. Shrek says:

    “Well, that explains a lot”

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  48. DownwiththeDH says:

    I am against calling out players for “being better than the should be” due to a controversial substance, but Ryan Braun is the one baseball player I’ve always looked at and thought “a man of his size should not be able create such power” and suspected long term, illegitimate PED use, which I do not support.

    Note – I support regulated use of PEDs. Steroids have a great place in all professional sports, rehab. We would have our favorite athletes performing at the level we all pay to see them at, more often. My Doctor gave me steroids to come back from a bad ankle injury more quickly, why can’t Sheffield have the same? At this point PED policy is missing the point and has turned in to a political tool, a method of herding the sheeple.

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  49. Rich Mahogany says:

    Can we start calling him Ryan Brawndo?

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  50. vilhelm says:

    Look up Landis cycling. This is Landis redact. Same temporary spike to evoke a quick, peak peforamance during critical phase. In Landis’s case uphill climb during the Tour de France, in Braun’s case, playoffs.

    Same barking about false positive, knowing second test will be negative. The doping designed for TEMPORARY performance spike and lasts in the body for same amout of time.

    The bottom line fact is that testerone is SYNTHETIC. At the end, Landis had to confess because only realistic explanation for this stuff to be in one’s body is that it had to intentionally and artificially put there. Any other explanation tests the realm of fantasy.

    Braun methodically doped using a scheming and elaborate plan.

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    • Ender says:

      Only Landis had completely normal levels of testosterone and Braun had 3 times the normal level for a doper with none of the expected side effects from that type of results and that type of result wouldn’t have gone away in 2 weeks.

      He very well may be guilty but trying to deny that it all sounds abnormal just isn’t being honest.

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  51. Cooperstown2009 says:

    i just love going through the comments and imagining that whenever someone says “ped” they mean pedophile

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  52. DodgersKings323 says:

    A while ago i came to accept PEDers and realize it’s not that big of a deal. He still rakes!

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  53. Bip says:

    I feel naive voting anything besides “He tried to cheat and got caught,” but I voted for “I don’t know what to think” anyway.

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  54. Jamie says:

    SYNTHETIC TESTOSTERONE SPIKED 4 TIMES HIGHER THAN ANY OTHER TEST ON A COMPLETELY FAIL PROOF TEST.

    anyone who can defense braun is a scumbag.

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    • Science! says:

      Hey, you should try reading about me sometime. There’s no such thing as a “COMPLETELY FAIL PROOF TEST,” and anyone who can “defense” such a thing is a scumbag.

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  55. Robby says:

    My apologies for the forthcoming long post.

    Here are my thoughts on the subject (I’m an absolutely biased Brewers fan, so add your salt grains accordingly): There is a reason that this kind of information is not released until the actual suspension is announced. The only thing we can say about the situation with any degree of certainty is that Braun failed a drug test, since it’s been confirmed by Braun’s side as well. Every other bit of information about it is hearsay or conjecture at this point.

    There is no additional sources confirming what the positive result was for. The media reporting on the topic says it was a PED, Braun’s camp has stated it was a banned substance (maybe they are arguing semantics about PEDs vs other banned substances, maybe the positive test was for amphetamines and not synthetic testosterone…again, we don’t know yet). According to the current reporting, no one has beaten a suspension on appeal, but there have been cases where positive tests and subsequent suspensions were reversed for one reason or another, before the appeals process, and none of us ever know about it (which, by the way, is likely the point in time that we would be at right now without the leak).

    Despite claims to the contrary above, Braun has not presented a defense to this point. He has not stated that he accidentally ingested a banned substance, and he has not stated that he thinks the sample was tainted. Anyone trying to claim that he is an idiot for either argument are themselves the idiots because his camp has made no such claim either way. Yet. Again, maybe he makes this argument. If he does, feel free to destroy him for it. At least wait until then though.

    I’m not saying that Braun is innocent, and I’m not saying he’s guilty. I’m saying that this entire thread is a pretty good example of why it shouldn’t have been leaked. If it turns out that Braun is in fact innocent, his reputation is likely tarnished for the rest of his career without any cause. If he’s guilty, then he deserves that tarnish. Until more information is known, it is pretty silly of us to make any giant conclusions. And some of the editorials I’ve seen from some beatwriters are downright irresponsible.

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    • Robby says:

      One last point I’d like to make, and it speaks to the larger issue of PEDs – The one thing that cemented Jerry Sandusky’s guilt in the court of public opinion is that, when asked during the Costas interview if he had ever had sex with an underage boy, he hesitated and stumbled over his answer before finally saying no. “Surely if he were innocent, he would be screaming it from the top of his lungs” is the general sentiment. Why does this not apply to suspected PED users? Yes, the crimes (or in this case, rules violation) committed are obviously much different, but “every other player accused has denied guilt, so this one must be a lying too” isn’t a real argument.

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    • Greg H says:

      I disagree about whether the report should have been leaked. I heard some talking head (beat writer) on the radio use the analogy that Braun hasn’t been convicted of anything, just indicted. This analogy is completely false. If you are going to compare MLB’s drug policy process with the criminal justice system (which is a silly exercise), then the better analogy would be to say that Braun has been convicted and is now appealing his conviction. And just like the criminal justice system, a conviction pending an appeal in Major League Baseball should be a public record.

      People have a right to know whenever a MLB player fails a drug test. MLB players are public figures. Even those making the minimum salaries are among the country’s top earners. And when you have a person of Ryan Braun’s status and wealth, failing a drug test is newsworthy, even if he and his mouthpieces are challenging the results in a hearing.

      In these cases, there should be a policy of disclosure rather than concealment. The rules provide the player with a right to appeal and to be heard by an arbitrator, who like a judge is presumed to be able to disregard any “prejudice” from extrinsic sources, like reports in the media. But even after the so-called steroids era, and the Mitchell Report, and two of the all time greats either under indictment or convicted of a felony, there still is this policy of secrecy and confidentiality. It’s not good for the sport. It doesn’t give fans a reason to trust Bud Selig, the players, or anybody else involved in MLB. And it’s very unfair to the players who are not cheating, because their reputations are tainted by the ones who are.

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    • Greg H says:

      Under your argument, the public never should never know whenever a person has been charged with or indicted for a crime. Or, in Ryan Braun’s case, convicted and pending appeal. And yet, the founders of this country insisted upon having courtrooms open to the public and the press, because closed hearings are more likely to lead to injustices.

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      • Robby says:

        You first made the argument that it’s silly to compare this situation to the criminal justice system…and then you blatently try to compare it to the criminal justice system. Which is it? I am trying to make no comparison between this process and the criminal justice system.

        And I agree there should be a policy of disclosure…after the appeals process. This is not a public court. Again, there have been players who are in Braun’s exact spot, except the tests were found to be invalid for whatever reason (be it false positives, tainted sample, etc). Had that information leaked before the process was completed, those players would be branded cheaters without just cause. That in itself would cause more harm to the great game of Baseball, because we would all just presume guilt.

        This website is dedicated to not accepting what we are told at face value. We see batting average, RBIs, wins, etc. and we think “Something isn’t right here…this information isn’t telling us all that we need to know”. Quite frankly, I expected more from the SABRMetrics community.

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  56. Ryan "The Mighty Quinn" Braun says:

    I did not do it! I did not inhale! It was my teammates blood. I was worried about the biggest game of my life and did not want to give any of my blood to anyone prior to the game, so my teammate gave me his blood instead. Since that teammate is a marginal player fighting for his career, like nearly all steroid users, I do not want to reveal who he is and throw him under the bus.

    I did not do it!

    But, I did count to infinity twice

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  57. Buddy Redman says:

    I wouldn’t care if he was snorting lines of Jose Canseco’s dandruff. We need to get over this ignorant view of PEDs and learn to embrace them. The hysteria around steroids is near-”Reefer Madness” levels, and, similarly, we’re creating criminals where there are none by prohibiting it. Stop punishing the will to win!

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  58. gonfalon says:

    My opinion of Braun hasn’t changed… I still think he’s a douchebag :shrug:

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  59. Tim says:

    Fuck Braun. cheater and a scumbag. didn’t need to do it would have been a great player without it

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  60. Jon says:

    So many people are going the route of “maybe he took something by mistake” or maybe ate some odd brownies. Come on. How many things that you’d take by mistake cause your testosterone levels to skyrocket!? You’re not going to go out to Cheesecake Factory and comeback with the highest T-levels MLB has ever seen.

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  61. Llewdor says:

    I literally do not care what drugs Ryan Bruan may or may not have taken.

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