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Friday

2

March 2012

53

COMMENTS

An Open Letter to Ryan Braun

Written by , Posted in General

Hi Ryan.

Just a couple thoughts regarding your press conference last Friday.

First of all, you’re right, the confidentiality of your test results was breached.  There’s no denying that.  But maybe the way to deal with that would be to pursue the people who actually betrayed that confidentiality, rather than take a chest-thumping victory lap in front of the media?

You said early on in the press conference that you want to “continue to take the high road” and that you tried to handle the whole situation with “honor, integrity, class, dignity, and professionalism.”  Well, maybe not the whole situation.

But I think you may have confused your metaphors, because rather than actually take the high road, you flung someone else under a bus.

Your whole defense (although it’s really not a defense–it’s more like an excuse) is that there is roughly a two-day window when the collector, Dino Laurenzi Jr.*, must have tampered with your sample in some way.  And it seems since you were unfairly treated as “one hundred percent guilty until proven innocent” you’re OK with laying the same burden on him.  In fact, you say as much: “If we’re held to that standard, it’s only fair that everyone else be held to that standard.”

*You can read Laurenzi’s explanation and reaction to Braun’s accusations here.

So let’s get this straight–wild, unfair, and heinous accusations were made about you, so it’s fine for you to turn around and make similar accusations about someone else?  Except the accusations you’re making against Laurenzi are actually much worse than any leveled against you.

And make no mistake, you haven’t left a lot of room for interpretation when it comes to what you obviously think happened to your sample.  The kind of drastic chemical anomaly you’re describing isn’t the result of poor storage or accidental contamination.  You want us to believe that Laurenzi cracked the no-tamper seal on your  specimen and introduced some foreign substance with direct, malicious intent.  You want us to think this guy had it out for you, that he planned to ruin your character, your integrity, and your good name, and that he almost got away with it.

But why?  Why would anyone go to such great lengths to get you a fifty game suspension and a slap on the wrist?  What’s it to him if you’re accused of taking PED’s?  Or do you think he was manipulated by someone else–a shady financial backer, or someone with a vested interest in seeing you fail?  How deep does the conspiracy go?  Is the whole world out to get Ryan Braun?  If you really want us to believe this guy has an axe to grind with you, you need to show us the axe.

On Friday you also talked about the need for vindication because of what’s at stake.  Well fine, let’s think about what’s really at stake here.  If you’d been found guilty, the worst that would have happened would be a fifty game suspension, the loss of those game checks, and a smear on your reputation.  You’d still be the NL MVP, and you’d still have your “contract guaranteed for nine more years.”

I highly doubt Laurenzi–who has made his career in athletic training, physical rehabilitation, and health care–has any such nine-year guarantee.  In the course of your thirteen minute speech, you made this longtime medical professional out to be an incompetent, conniving liar.  Calling your integrity into question means people look at the back of your baseball card differently.  Calling his into question so publicly means he might soon be looking for a new job.

Finally, you said last Friday that you “won because the truth was on our side… the truth prevailed.”  Let’s be real clear–you’ve offered us no truth, and there has been no vindication.  The only truth here is that you won because the loophole was on your side.  You won because you identified and created a patsy–because you were willing to fling all kinds of accusations against the wall and just enough of them stuck.  You won because you were able to shift the blame onto someone else and completely dodge the burden of proof.

So congratulations–you got out of trouble with the MLB by creating just enough sketchy doubt about the evidence.  And you probably ruined a man’s reputation and possibly his career in the process.

So much for “honor, integrity, class, dignity, and professionalism.”

  • Doug Bagley

    Love it. Well done.

  • Doug Bagley

    Love it. Well done.

  • Brad Bradley

    Screw Braun… Not that he wasn’t there already, but he’s now Evil Empire Public Enemy No. 1… Only better if the SOB was in Yankee pinstripes.

  • mrbaseball2usa

    Screw Braun… Not that he wasn’t there already, but he’s now Evil Empire Public Enemy No. 1… Only better if the SOB was in Yankee pinstripes.

  • Eddie Von White

    Who keeps a urine sample on their desk for two days?

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      In this case, it was a guy who had been directed to do it as part of the procedure for his company.  And it was three urine samples, kept in his basement in conditions according to the directions he’d been given and followed on many other occasions.  It’s not his fault their procedures didn’t match up with the MLB’s standard.

      And really, would it have been any better if it sat in a Fed Ex office for those two days?

    • Buddy

      Sometimes I do, just for fun. 

  • Eddie Von White

    Who keeps a urine sample on their desk for two days?

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      In this case, it was a guy who had been directed to do it as part of the procedure for his company.  And it was three urine samples, kept in his basement in conditions according to the directions he’d been given and followed on many other occasions.  It’s not his fault their procedures didn’t match up with the MLB’s standard.

      And really, would it have been any better if it sat in a Fed Ex office for those two days?

    • Buddy

      Sometimes I do, just for fun. 

  • Gymjok

    I haven’t followed this story closely, but from the bits and pieces I’ve heard, the part I’d like to know is, was the person who ruled, required by the guidelines to rule in favor of Braun because of the time delay? If so, then to me, the problem with this situation is the guidelines. If not then the problem is the person who made the ruling. Because if time doesn’t effect the the samples and the seals weren’t tampered with then the ruling should be based on the test results alone.

  • Gymjok

    I haven’t followed this story closely, but from the bits and pieces I’ve heard, the part I’d like to know is, was the person who ruled, required by the guidelines to rule in favor of Braun because of the time delay? If so, then to me, the problem with this situation is the guidelines. If not then the problem is the person who made the ruling. Because if time doesn’t effect the the samples and the seals weren’t tampered with then the ruling should be based on the test results alone.

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      As I understand it, the results were thrown out because of the possibility the sample had been tampered with.  There’s no known evidence to suggest that they actually were tampered with–just the possibility of it because the collector didn’t turn it over right away, which is a violation of the MLB’s–not his company’s–policy on how the samples are handled.  It’s all innuendo regarding the collector.

    • Norm

      http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7608360/ryan-braun-wins-appeal-50-game-suspensionBraun didn’t argue evidence of tampering, didn’t argue
      anything about science being wrong but argued protocol had not been
      followed. A second source confirmed to ESPN investigative reporter Mark
      Fainaru-Wada that Braun did not dispute the science but rather
      questioned chain of custody/collection procedure.
      According to one of the sources, the collector, after getting Braun’s
      sample, was supposed to take the sample to FedEx/Kinkos for shipping
      but thought it was closed because it was late on a Saturday. As has
      occurred in some other instances, the collector took the sample home and
      kept it refrigerated. Policy states that the sample is supposed to get
      to FedEx as soon as possible.

      • Gymjok

        Wow. Sounds like our legal system. A guilty person goes free because protocol wasn’t quite right. If it doesn’t effect the facts then it shouldn’t be considered in the decision.

  • Gymjok

    I haven’t followed this story closely, but from the bits and pieces I’ve heard, the part I’d like to know is, was the person who ruled, required by the guidelines to rule in favor of Braun because of the time delay? If so, then to me, the problem with this situation is the guidelines. If not then the problem is the person who made the ruling. Because if time doesn’t effect the the samples and the seals weren’t tampered with then the ruling should be based on the test results alone.

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      As I understand it, the results were thrown out because of the possibility the sample had been tampered with.  There’s no known evidence to suggest that they actually were tampered with–just the possibility of it because the collector didn’t turn it over right away, which is a violation of the MLB’s–not his company’s–policy on how the samples are handled.  It’s all innuendo regarding the collector.

    • Norm

      http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7608360/ryan-braun-wins-appeal-50-game-suspensionBraun didn’t argue evidence of tampering, didn’t argue
      anything about science being wrong but argued protocol had not been
      followed. A second source confirmed to ESPN investigative reporter Mark
      Fainaru-Wada that Braun did not dispute the science but rather
      questioned chain of custody/collection procedure.
      According to one of the sources, the collector, after getting Braun’s
      sample, was supposed to take the sample to FedEx/Kinkos for shipping
      but thought it was closed because it was late on a Saturday. As has
      occurred in some other instances, the collector took the sample home and
      kept it refrigerated. Policy states that the sample is supposed to get
      to FedEx as soon as possible.

      • Gymjok

        Wow. Sounds like our legal system. A guilty person goes free because protocol wasn’t quite right. If it doesn’t effect the facts then it shouldn’t be considered in the decision.

  • Doug S.

    Too bad MLB can’t suspend Braun for being an a$$hole.

  • Jjkane

    Plain and simple….Braun gets a pass from MLB because he’s a huge impact player that sells tickets….bad for business having him sit for 50 games.  A player of lesser importance and name value wouldn’t have received the same treatment.  Not sure why this story isn’t being covered from this perspective.  Wonder if Selig’s ties to Milwaukee played a part in it.  Also, 9/11 was a conspiracy and it was not an airplane that hit the Pentagon.

  • Jjkane

    Plain and simple….Braun gets a pass from MLB because he’s a huge impact player that sells tickets….bad for business having him sit for 50 games.  A player of lesser importance and name value wouldn’t have received the same treatment.  Not sure why this story isn’t being covered from this perspective.  Wonder if Selig’s ties to Milwaukee played a part in it.  Also, 9/11 was a conspiracy and it was not an airplane that hit the Pentagon.

  • Jedi

    This is one of those that ESPN should be hosting on the main SweetSpot site.  It’s probably a bit too controversial for that – but still worthy.

  • mbg

    I haven’t had urine on my desk since St. Patty’s Day 2008…

  • mbg

    I haven’t had urine on my desk since St. Patty’s Day 2008…

  • Jedi
    • Jeremiah Johnson

      Bigtime.  Glad to see not everyone is willing to hang Laurenzi out to dry based on nothing more than innuendo.  Particularly glad it’s a couple Cubs speaking up.

      • Johnson’s point is firm regarding innuendo.  

  • Jedi
    • Jeremiah Johnson

      Bigtime.  Glad to see not everyone is willing to hang Laurenzi out to dry based on nothing more than innuendo.  Particularly glad it’s a couple Cubs speaking up.

      • Johnson’s point is firm regarding innuendo.  

  • BLPCB

    If they don’t want this happening again, they ought to collect the urine samples during the week when it can be sent off for testing right away.

  • AC0000000

    If they don’t want this happening again, they ought to collect the urine samples during the week when it can be sent off for testing right away.

  • Buddy

    I’m surprised ESPN covered this story at all, since it didn’t have anything to do with Jeremy Lin, Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, or Brett Favre. 

  • Buddy

    I’m surprised ESPN covered this story at all, since it didn’t have anything to do with Jeremy Lin, Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, or Brett Favre. 

  • I believe this is called “Getting off on a technicality”.

  • I believe this is called “Getting off on a technicality”.

  • Buddy

    This recent move made me chuckle (from MLBTradeRumors.com):

    “The Cubs signed left-hander Nate Robertson to a minor league deal…Robertson had a 7.14 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 18 starts with the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate last season.”

    • cap’n obvious

      he was probably terribly unlucky last season.

  • Buddy

    This recent move made me chuckle (from MLBTradeRumors.com):

    “The Cubs signed left-hander Nate Robertson to a minor league deal…Robertson had a 7.14 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 18 starts with the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate last season.”

    • cap’n obvious

      he was probably terribly unlucky last season.

  • Doc Raker

    Is that Ryan Braun or Marty Feldman?

  • Doc Raker

    Is that Ryan Braun or Marty Feldman?

  • Doc Raker

    Great job, I hope Braun or Marty Feldman give you an answer to your letter. Braun got off on a technicality and will now try to sell an ill-informed public he is innocent. He is not innocent, he was just let off, just like OJ. Anyone who believes Braun is innocent has an IQ of an OJ juror. 

  • Doc Raker

    Great job, I hope Braun or Marty Feldman give you an answer to your letter. Braun got off on a technicality and will now try to sell an ill-informed public he is innocent. He is not innocent, he was just let off, just like OJ. Anyone who believes Braun is innocent has an IQ of an OJ juror. 

  • Mark P.

    I agree that Braun has hardly been proven innocent–and his holier than thou attitude is disgusting–however, I cannot disagree with the ruling.  With so much at stake, there have to be systems in place to ensure there is zero probability (or as close to zero as possible) for tampering, mishandling, etc.  I’m sure the collector did everything as he knew to do it–however, the process was breached, due to a flaw in the system. Probability of tampering, etc. was added thereby invalidating the whole thing.  It may not feel “right” and it probably is in fact, not right–but without a valid process we are left with speculation only.

    • Doc Raker

      Not really Mark P., he got off on a technicality that didn’t effect the test results. No speculation, Feldman failed the test.

  • Mark P.

    I agree that Braun has hardly been proven innocent–and his holier than thou attitude is disgusting–however, I cannot disagree with the ruling.  With so much at stake, there have to be systems in place to ensure there is zero probability (or as close to zero as possible) for tampering, mishandling, etc.  I’m sure the collector did everything as he knew to do it–however, the process was breached, due to a flaw in the system. Probability of tampering, etc. was added thereby invalidating the whole thing.  It may not feel “right” and it probably is in fact, not right–but without a valid process we are left with speculation only.

    • Doc Raker

      Not really Mark P., he got off on a technicality that didn’t effect the test results. No speculation, Feldman failed the test.

  • Smitty

    I just hate how I haven’t heard a word from bud selig on any of this. Makes me a bit suspicious. Either way, braun is a douche. I hope this ends up doing some irrevocable damage to his image and his reputation.

    • BLPCB

      I hope he tests positive again

  • Smitty

    I just hate how I haven’t heard a word from bud selig on any of this. Makes me a bit suspicious. Either way, braun is a douche. I hope this ends up doing some irrevocable damage to his image and his reputation.

    • AC0000000

      I hope he tests positive again