Monday, July 22, 2013

Braun suspended for remainder of season

By Jeff

Another big name has fallen in Major League Baseball. According to a report on ESPN, MLB has suspended Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and former NL MVP Ryan Braun for the remaining 65 games of the season. The official reasoning was "violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program."

Braun, as you may recall, escaped a 50-game suspension last year for using performance enhancing drugs. He did not get off because the another test game back negative or anything, but because the drug tester apparently did not follow the proper procedures when mailing in the test sample.

The suspension was not surprising. Braun was listed in the Biogenesis scandal. What was a little surprising is that the suspension is 65 games. If players test positive for steroids or other PEDs, they receive an automatic 50-game suspension. Technically, Braun still hasn't tested positive for steroids. There is evidence that he did indeed use sort of banned substance, but not positive tests that did not get overturned.

Those facts lead to another surprise. Braun is not fighting the suspension. MLB must have quite a case against Braun, and probably others mentioned in the Biogenesis scandal like Alex Rodriquez, if Braun and the players' association isn't appealing the suspension.

In the story on ESPN linked here, Braun admits that he has "...made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions." This is the Jason Giambi strategy that has become the go-to when it comes to PED cases. Braun says he did something wrong. But he doesn't say what it is, and probably never will, in hopes that he will serve his time and be welcomed back with open arms.

A report released in 2005 said Giambi admitted to a grand jury that he did steroids before and after joining the New York Yankees in 2002. Giambi had a press conference where he apologized for his actions, but never used the words steroids or PEDs. He just apologized for something. Just like Braun is doing. The strategy worked, people forgave Giambi and he ended up winning Comeback Player of the Year in 2005.

How ridiculous would it be if Braun comes back in 2014 in MVP form and wins Comeback Player of Year? I doubt it happens, because Braun is the only player I remember who actually appealed a drug suspension from MLB and won. I can't see them awarding him in any way next year.

While Braun is certainly the best player on the Biogenesis list, he will not be the only one to get hit with a suspension. There are rumors out there that A-Rod could get 150 games. There were also another 18 names on that list, so I fully expect at least a few more to get hit with at least 50-game suspensions

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