The baseball world has been abuzz recently due to Ryan Braun’s suspension being repealed by an independent arbitrator.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.
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.
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.
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)