The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

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In before Jose Canseco

So I guess you’ve heard — reigning National League MVP Ryan Braun? He juicin’. So I’m sure you’ve all been wondering what I have to say on the subject, as the world’s leading authority on telling people to shut the dick up about drug use.

Well, the first thing I have to say is: shut the dick up about drug use. The irrational terror about PEDs isn’t getting any more less irrational just because now it’s aimed at skinny Jewish kids instead of surly black man-mountains with heads the size of watermelons. You’ve all heard it (from me) before, but, seriously: get over it. Yes, steroid use is bad for baseball. No, it is not materially worse than corking your bat or throwing the spitter, neither of which gets you a mandatory 50-day suspension for a first offense, neither of which will get you barred from the Hall of Fame just on suspicion, and neither of which causes dummies to call for your retroactive erasure from all records. The only reason people think it is is because assholes like the World Anti-Doping Agency make shitloads of money telling us over and over again that steroids are the End Times injected directly into your asscheeks.

The second thing I have to say about the subject is: Ryan Braun failed one test. One. Oh, but, wait! "Experts" say that a false positive is really unlikely, so I guess we should all shit ourselves in our attempts to be the first one to believe it. Lord knows the PED sophists can’t possibly be wrong!

Comedying matters further, Ryan Braun insisted on being retested after his positive — and the second test came back clean. But disregard that, we’re told, because it’s not conclusive proof of his innocence. Is that the way it works? We hang people on suspicion so the WADA gets paid? Seriously, I’m no Brewers fan (lord knows), and I’m enjoying the schadenfreude of watching the Cardinals and the Brewers both twist in the wind this offseason, but I’d take the Brewers over the goddamn drug politicians any day of the week. So I’m officially on Braun’s side of this one. But here’s Jeff Passan, who is mostly reasonable on the issue, but seems utterly scandalised by the thought of people not trusting the system:

Braun took the standard defense, releasing a statement through his agent before telling USA Today: “It’s BS.” And as much as I want to believe him – that Braun, who came up through the minor leagues when steroid testing was mandatory, who eschewed the possibility of free agency to sign with Milwaukee through 2020, who, according to ESPN’s story, volunteered to give a second test that came back negative – I know better by now.

Almost all of them say they’re innocent.

Not one positive test has been overturned.

So, if you’re following along at home, here’s the score: Braun has been tested regularly for all sorts of bogeyman substances since his minor league days. He never failed a test before. He has been tested since, and passed that one too. But the one positive is the one we should believe. Why? Because the System works, bitches!

Oh, by the way? We know the System is 100% flawless because no appeals have ever been upheld. Which doesn’t suffer from selection bias or sample size issues at all.

Oh, and never mind who judges the appeals. Not important.

Were a positive test, for example, grounds to allow a team to void a player’s contract, the only testosterone in Braun’s body would’ve been his own.

Uh, Jeff? It is. Remejmber Jason Giambi’s werd, cryptic apology for nothing in particular? Why do you think it was that he didn’t say what he was apologising for? Did he just forget, you think? No, Jeff: it’s because if he admitted to steroid use, the Yankees could have voided his contract. Similarly, if Braun is shown to have used steroids, the Brewers can void his contract. Now, the trick is this: the union will fight it. And if the team has an actual confession by the player, the union will probably lose. But if all the team has is one failed test — especially one bracketed by passed tests — then the union will probably win, because one test can be wrong.

Instead, we’re back to where we always are: Debating about how baseball can conquer this when the truth is it can’t. PEDs are going to be around forever.

Yes. Just like doctored game equipment. Which you didn’t seem to give a shit about when you covered Kenny Rogers cheating in the 2006 World Series. Or did it not matter because the Cardinals didn’t officially complain (aside: ever wonder why that was? Give you two guesses), and that’s The System?

The players’ union’s agreement to allow blood testing for HGH shows it’s malleable and concerned for the game’s well-being enough to entertain stricter penalties.

Yeah, okay. Or it shows that they got offered enough kickbacks to sign on the dotted line.

While voiding contracts seems harsh and rife for abuse from owners, baseball is entering its 10th season of steroid testing without one false positive.

Without admitting to one false positive, Jeff. That ain’t quite the same thing. Or is it also true that the United States has completed ten seasons of war with Afghanistan without torturing one single person?

If Ryan Braun becomes the first – if he clears his name – the mea culpas will fly fast and furious and he’ll emerge with his reputation intact, maybe even strengthened.

To Jeff’s credit, he’s quite likely to be one of the culpa-ing meas. Man is not shy about admitting when he fucks up. But really, maybe a bit less knee-jerk outrage would leave him with fewer occasions on which he needs to, don’t you think?

Now get this:

The NL MVP allegedly used PEDs, and we know this only because he got caught. Matt Kemp and Prince Fielder and Justin Upton and Albert Pujols and everyone else who finished behind him might’ve, too. Unless we know for certain they didn’t – and nobody ever will – the MVP needs to stay in Ryan Braun’s hands.

No matter how much blood is on them.

Fuck the heck, Jeff Passan? Ryan Braun did not murder some guy. You really need to relax.


December 11th, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments