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And Another Thing

File / Associated Press


OK, first things first: The one guy in America you wouldn't want to be today is the guy who left Ryan Braun's pee sitting out.

He's the as-yet-unnamed collector who, because the weekend was coming up and he didn't think he could get to FedEx before it closed, took the American League MVP's urine sample home with him. He put it in a Tupperware container and then stuck it in his basement for the weekend.

(Which is a trifle weird, if you ask me. But, hey, that's just me).

Anyway .... in so doing, he violated Major League Baseball's protocols for drug-testing. And so when Braun's sample showed red for "exogenous" testosterone -- i.e., testosterone originating from outside the body -- and MLB suspended Braun for 50 days, he appealed.

And won.

And doesn't that open up a whole economy-sized can of worms.

Here's the thing: Braun never denied that the test showed elevated levels of synthetic testosterone in his blood. What he claims is it didn't get there because he used a banned substance. He even offered to take a DNA test when his sample came back positive.

MLB said, in essence, nah, no thanks.

Big mistake. Because when it came out that the collection protocols had been violated, Braun's offer to take a DNA test no doubt weighed heavily in his favor. And MLB's refusal to let him no doubt did just the opposite.

It might be furious about this, but it's got no one to blame but itself. It agreed to the protocols in good faith and the protocols were violated. Don't see much wiggle room there.

The problem with this, where Bruan is concerned, is that his reputation is sullied forever now. He may see the appeal as the first step in restoring that reputation, but the circumstances of his suspension being overturned undoubtedly doom that. He'll always be the Guy Who Got Away With It now; fans in opposing ballparks are no doubt already getting busy on their giant syringe artwork.

If Barry Bonds, whom no ever definitively pinned down as a user, was serenaded as a cheater, imagine how Braun and his positive test will be greeted.

Restore his reputation?

Sorry, Ryan. Unless you can come up with a plausible explanation for the positive drug test, the haunting strains of "cheeeea-ter, cheeea-ter" will be the song of summer for you now.

Ben Smith's blog.