Ryan Braun suspension revoked; Frank Coonelly arrested

The baseball world has been abuzz recently due to Ryan Braun’s suspension being repealed by an independent arbitrator.  In case you missed it, Braun tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and was facing a 50 game suspension.  His sample had ridiculously high levels of synthetic testosterone, a banned substance.  Braun and his lawyers argued successfully and won the first ever PED suspension appeal in MLB history.

The are two possible reasons for Braun’s positive test:
1)  Braun is a cheater and actually did take illegal substances
2)  Someone tried to frame Braun by tainting his sample and framing him.

Braun said he’d bet his life that it was #2.

The arbitrator agreed.  Because the collector took the sample on a Saturday and didn’t mail it to the lab until a Monday, it was argued that during the 48 hour that a third party tampered with his sample.  MLB disagreed because the seal on the sample wasn’t broken, making it thereby impossible that it was tampered with.

At any rate, Braun will be back in the NL Central in 2012 for the entire season, terrorizing pitchers.  Or will he?

Braun will face increased pressure to follow up his MVP season with a similar performance.  He has doubters all over the game right now.  If his performance trails off, everyone will assume that he cheated and got off – a la OJ Simpson.  Unfortunately for Braun, he no longer has Prince Fielder batting behind him, which helps him because pitchers may be more likely to pitch around him.  Also, Braun is going to be mercilessly tortured on the road.  Can you even imagine that insults that will be hurled at him in the left field bleachers.  Here’s some advice – if the Brewers are in town and you have children, don’t sit in left field.

Last season, Braun’s WAR – wins above replacement was a 7.7, so his suspension would’ve cost the Brewers about 3 wins – that’s a big margin for an NL Central that is going to be tightly contested between the Brewers, Cardinals, and Reds.

On another front, the Pirates organization was embarrassed when news that president Frank Coonelly was arrested on December 22nd for driving under the influence of alcohol.  His blood alcohol content was .16 – twice the legal limit.

The owner of the Pirates, Robert Nutting expressed extreme disappointment – but Coonelly isn’t likely to be disciplined.

To Mr. Coonelly’s credit, he did own up to his mistake and took all of the blame.  My problem with it is that he could’ve seriously injured someone else due to his lack in judgment.  It also doesn’t set a very good precedence for the president to be DUI, while young players would be disciplined for a similar infraction.

I’m hoping that Mr Coonelly learns his lesson and gives up drinking altogether.    I do not think he should be fired.

The main problem I have with his situation is that the Pirates kept it hush-hush for two months.

What are your thoughts on Frank Coonelly?  Should he be disciplined?

What do you think about Ryan Braun winning his appeal?  Do you think he was guilty and got off on a technicality or that he was actually clean?  I’d be interested in hearing.

There’s only 41 days until opening day, 8 days until the first broadcasted game on MLB TV (Yankees vs Phillies), and 3 more days to win a Phillies shirt.

Also, 35 consecutive days of postings!  (Just made it today – putting this one up at 11:50pm)



  1. Zac Weiss

    Here are my thoughts on Coonelly:

    1. Media failed- This happens right before Christmas and apparently Mr. Coonelly told Bob Nutting and the rest of the front office/management the next day and we hear nothing. Someone was not doing their job.

    2. Terrible PR move by Pirates- You knew about this for two months now and say nothing. Even more suspicious is that Mr. Coonelly leaves for Florida that day so only has to release a statement instead of facing media circus. Seems a little suspicious to me.

    Don’t get me wrong, I respect Mr. Coonelly and he has helped me a lot, but this whole thing was handled poorly.

    As for Braun, MLB failed and there are loopholes around their current drug testing. Obviously being Pirate fans, Pittsburgh sports fans and the rest of the country by large will find him guilty. I am still not sure what to believe, but I will give Braun the benefit of the doubt.

  2. bigbrownfox

    It’s BS that Braun got off. The test was sealed and it wasn’t tampered with. Someone should be able to overrule this decision. Let’s see how good Braun is off the juice.

  3. Griffin Emerson

    Braun is the staple for what is wrong with baseball in relation to steroids, Bonds is being blocked from the HOF while Braun wins NLMVP after testing positive then walks. Using steroids is forgivable if you brownose the media and are a good old boy.

  4. bloggingboutbaseball

    Erik, while it may be that Braun got off on a technicality, I believe that if players are guilty until proven innocent then the system to test them needs to be impossible to screw up. Somebody, somehow screwed up–and Braun is now getting to play the whole season. If you’re asking me–well, I believe him.
    As far as the DUI, what happened to him within the legal system? I don’t think a guy should lose his job due to a mistake–but I don’t think he should be off the hook, either. Is he paying a fine, going to rehab? Is his license suspended?