BOB: Ryan Braun wins appeal

Ryan Braun first to win appeal for PED violation

Ryan Braun became the first player to successfully appeal a violation of MLB’s Drug Treatment and Prevention Program. Facing a 50-game suspension, Braun won his appeal in a split decision that determined there was a chain of custody issue related to his drug sample. Unfortunately, it doesn’t totally exonerate Braun, but this is an issue where we shouldn’t have known anything to begin with because of how the story leaked out.

At this point, conjecture is a matter of opinion. I’m sure people would have liked a cleaner victory where it was found that the positive test was just wrong, but at this point, we’re never going to know what really happened. MLB isn’t happy, and they said as much, more because of the technical aspect of the appeal than anything. Then again, rules are rules, and Braun followed them in this appeal, and now he gets to play.

Expanded MLB playoff deadline nears

MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have to come to an agreement on adding an extra playoff team in each league by March 1 or the new, expanded playoff format won’t go into affect until 2013. At issue is the schedule. With both a regular-season and playoff schedule in place, it seems to be hard to find a day where they can have the new wild card play-in game.

Under the new format, both the American League and National Leagues would add a wild card team. Then the two wild card teams would play each other in a one-game playoff to determine who would move on to their respective division series. It’ll be interesting to see if the two sides can get this done in time.

And then there were seven

The group of owners vying for the Los Angeles Dodgers have been whittled down to seven, and now those seven ownership groups will get a look-over by MLB. All seven will get a chance to interview with baseball’s ownership committee.

If you click through the link, you can take a look at the list of groups still in the running, but some interesting names were dropped. Former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley’s group was not scheduled for an interview with no explanation, and then the group that included former manager Joe Torre dropped out of the race because the parking lots surrounding the ballpark weren’t going to be included in the sale.

The goal is to have the auction completed by April 1. Then the sale needs to be closed by April 30 because that’s when current owner Frank McCourt has to pay off his ex-wife, Jamie, as part of their divorce settlement.

Triple-A Baseball teams up with Gildan

Triple-A Baseball and sportswear company Gildan announced a three-year agreement that will make Gildan an official national sponsor of Triple-A baseball. Gildan will also be the namesake for the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game, and in 2013 and 2014, Gildan will be a presenting sponsor for the Triple-A All Star Game. The company will get an in-park presence in every Triple-A stadium, and its name will also show up on everything from game programs to ticket stubs.

Mets’ owners hearing next week will set stage for trial

The whole legal system can be a little fascinating. By this time next week, we should know what the rules will be related to Mets’ owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz’s legal battle in relation to the Bernie Madoff scandal. Federal District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff decided not to rule on motions for summary judgement for both sides last week, and for now we’ll have to wait for a hearing this week to determine what exactly is going to happen when the actual trial takes place on March 19.

Both sides are still sticking to their stories. Irving Picard, the trustee in the Madoff scandal, claims that Wilpon and Katz should be on the hook for much more then the $83 million in profits they made because they should have known what Madoff was up to. Wilpon and Katz contend they had no knowledge of what Madoff was doing and shouldn’t be held accountable.

It looks like we won’t have a resolution when the baseball season starts, so we’ll have to see what happens as the court battle progresses.

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  1. Greg Simons said...

    Brad – You didn’t hear about Braun getting in trouble for kissing Bernie Brewer?  Fraternizing with mascots is forbidden by the new CBA.  (Fixed.)

    MikeS – I honestly wonder if MLB has thought about this.  On one hand, I figure they have to because everyone else has.  On the other hand, it’s Selig & Co., and they seem to relish any opportunity to look foolish.

  2. Brad Johnson said...

    I assume Mike’s point is exactly why there’s been no public progress since the CBA was signed. You can desperately want something all you’d like, but if it doesn’t fit in the schedule, it doesn’t fit in the schedule.

  3. Paul G. said...

    I’m not sure what to make of the Braun situation.  I suppose I agree with our good Brian here that we should not even be aware of this dispute since this is supposed to be confidental until a punishment is meted out.  It doesn’t help that I know about as much about drug testing as rocket science.

    I will say that I am annoyed with some of the arguments being thrown out there.  If I hear someone else claim that as far as he knows the courier has no motivation frame Braun or that the courier does not have the scientific expertise to tamper, I may just get more annoyed.  I have no idea who this courier guy is, I have no idea what he thinks, and I have no idea how good of a job he did in this case.  And neither do you, Mr. Sports Commentator.  Stop telling me that your ignorance is an actual argument.  Yes, I know that might destroy the entire underpinnings of your career, but trust me flipping burgers is not as bad as it sounds.

    As for those that think a technicality equals true exoneration as opposed to a more mundane “not guilty” verdict, you make me what to move to Nigeria and send you an email.

  4. Brian Borawski said...

    Let’s take these one at a time.

    1)  Mike S. – I don’t like it either, but where you see problems like this, MLB sees $$$.  2007 would be your first example.  The Tigers and A’s would have been tied for the final wild card berth.  It might not happen every year, but it could happen.

    2)  Brad – yes, I always manage to slip one by the editors.

    3)  bucdaddy – I’m sure 1981 Reds fans winced at that one.

    Paul G – Agreed.  If I never hear about this again, it’ll be too soon.  MLB didn’t help by piling on with their “vehement disagreement.”

    Thanks for the comments everyone.


  5. MikeS said...

    I am really concerned about the expanded playoffs.  If you assume a gaussian distribution for regular season records, which seems to be a good first approximation, then the farther you go back into the middle of the pack the greater likelihood that teams will have identical records.  So unless you use a tiebreaker like run differential or head to head record which MLB has never done before except to determine home field for a one game playoff or the difference between a WC and division champ, you run the risk of needing a one game playoff to determine who gets to play in the one game playoff.  There is even a higher risk than before of a 3 way tie for that last playoff spot which could push back the start of the real playoffs by 3 or four days.  I can imagine a scenario where the three teams are some combination of the Angels, Rays and Blue Jays or in the NL the Braves, Dodgers and Padres and now you have a travel nightmare with a team flying 10,000 miles in two or three days.

    It would be interesting to see how often something like this played out in the last few years.

  6. Mike said...

    If they add the extra wild card team/game, will they continue to structure the playoffs so that the wildcard winner will play the team with the best record not in the same division?  Wouldn’t that mean that the #3 division winner would have to wait until the wildcard game is played before they would know where to travel?  Is that a “feature” of the new system or just another thing that MLB hasn’t thought about?

  7. Brad Johnson said...

    I’m 95% sure they eliminated that rule. If the Phillies lead the NL in wins and the Braves and Nationals play the play-in, then the Phillies would play the winner of that game.

  8. Paul E said...

    Let’s go back to two divisions – if they want revenue, make the LCS 9 games and the World Series 11 games.

    Re Braun, there goes that legacy….

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