Dang It Feels Good To Be A… Wisconsin Fan???

Right now around the world, Wisconsin sports fans are living their own version of the printer scene from Office Space. And I feel bad for that machine if Braun is the one swinging the bat.

Over the past few sport seasons, Wisconsin fans have had a lot to cheer for (at least more than they have had in the past 10-15 years). The Badgers have gone been back-to-back BigTen football champions and have appeared in back-to-back Rose Bowls (unfortunately, losing both). The Packers won the 2010 SuperBowl title and fell 1 game short of attempting to defend their title by losing to the 2011 champion Giants. In 2011, the Brewers won their first National League Division Title. They also won their first post season series since 1982 before losing to the 2011 champion Cardinals in their miracle post season run. Wisconsin even won the Miss America title in 2012. So Braun’s steroid verdict should come as no surprise to Wisconsin sport fans… when life is good, life is good.

The decision came down on Thursday February 23 while I was doing what Northern Midwesterners do best in cold weather… sitting on a frozen lake drinking beer catching fish (what else is there to do in the cold months?). I was in the middle of nowhere (this is why this post is delayed a few days) when my fishing partner and my phones wouldn’t stop making noises. The news came in via massive amounts of texts, Ryan Braun’s suspension was overturned and would be allowed the opportunity to play in every 2012 game. It’s only been 5 days since the decision and I’m already sick of all the comments.

That’s the main purpose of this post… the decision was made, deal with it and move on. No one will ever know what happened to Braun’s steroid sample for the 44 hours it sat in a fridge at the collectors house. I already feel bad for collector now that his name has been leaked to the media. Unless someone comes forward and says “Yes, I doped” or “Yes, I contaminated the sample”, no one should be blamed except for the MLB’s official statement about the results.

Braun didn’t find a loophole. Braun wasn’t proven innocent. Braun hasn’t cleared his name. Braun simply provided the facts and got his suspension lifted (see video below). Props to the young blogger who posted this news nine days before it went public.

The fact that the MLB used the sample after knowing the sample shipment was late is absurd. A starting pitcher can’t be late to their scheduled start and expect the game to wait for them. An umpire can’t delay the game because he has to stop and pick up his dry cleanings. The MLB made the testing policy guidelines and those were broken by one of their employees. The chain of custody was broken. Everything from when the news broke in December was broken. The samples should have just been discarded and new samples taken at a later date. Instead, they used a sample that sat in an unlocked fridge for 44 hours on a weekend. How many people come to visit on the weekend? How cool would it be to show a friend Ryan Braun’s sample that your father collected? What are the odds the collector went on vacation and a friend or relative who is a Cubs fan wanted revenge?

As I mentioned earlier, no one will ever know if Braun was actually doping or if someone tampered with the sample. The only things known are the facts. The fact that the sample sat unguarded for 44 hours. The fact that the MLB testing policy was neglected. The fact that Ryan Braun hadn’t gained an inch of muscle and remained consistent agility (both of which have been well documented since his minor league career) despite testing five times higher than the average testosterone levels. The fact that his test results were leaked prior to his appeal. The fact that Braun’s career is now tainted forever. He will never be a first year MLB Hall of Fame inductee. In fact if his numbers decline whatsoever over the next 3 seasons even if its due to injury or age decline, he will be accused of doping in 2011 by his critics. Braun had a lot to lose and he lost it. The MLB had a lot to lose and they lost it. No one won in this decision except Brewer fans. Their hope for the 2012 season has been restored and that’s what has some of the public upset. The fact that their team now has to contend against a fully rostered Brewer team. Because of the steroid era, it seems our generations have gone from being in awe of players’ abilities to being the ones to point fingers and yell cheater when the player doesn’t play for their team (see Jose Bautista’s recent power surge). Hopefully, some day the public goes back to admiring physical talent and not accusing of unfair advantage until the results are official.

In my opinion, the biggest problem with the Braun’s situation was that MLB took the wrong road by defending the tests results and disagreeing with the results of the appeal. That and the fact that the positive results were even leaked to the media (ESPN). But the physical competition in the media to be the first to report breaking news will always be a problem as long as people can’t keep their big mouths shut.

So people, let’s move on to baseball season and only bring up the Braun decision once there is evidence of what happened during that 44-hour period.

Category: Baseball News  Tags: ,
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