diversions of spring baseball / players & dumb advocates edition

a mixed bag
This time of year, all or nearly all of the Manhattan Loft Guy weekend diversion posts should be about one thing: baseball. But it has not worked out that way. This post will be but small recompense, as there will be some ‘pure’ baseball links, but the major text will be only baseball-related, as I climb up on the high horse again.

But first, here is how my February diversion posts got … errr … diverted:

I am going to extend this one (from that high horse), February 26, diversionary Sunday: Ryan Braun is NOT “innocent”, but not before those promised pure links.

Nothing says Spring Training more than a big treatment of The Next Big Thing, and this guy is only 19 years old. Even though he will be playing in the wrong league, Bryce Harper’s early career is a story worth watching (from today’s NY Times).

For the people I have been complaining about Jorge Posada to for years, and for true baseball stat geeks; measuring catcher defense, from (one of?) the bible for such things: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16096

This guy won’t be playing this year, but baseball is timeless, right? Not to mention, he was a Red Sox, but

  1. JoePo is one heck of a writer (he had me at my 10 year old daughter wants to into the poetry business)
  2. Aaron Gerund Boone


Meanwhile, …

from the annals of chutzpah
I used to rag on Roger Clemens for having paid a king’s ransom for really terrible legal advice that masqueraded as really terrible public relations advice, but then the gummint did some really stupid things and that may all work out for him, at least in the staying out of jail sense. So far, Ryan Braun’s team (a) won the big one, but is proving it (b) does not know when to quit.

If you have any doubt that Ryan Braun “won” but did not prove his “innocence”, read that February 26 post. What happened since is that someone thought it was a good idea for Braun to give the story more legs by going after The Pee Guy who was the small cog in the wheel that caught him. This took balls (of the non-horsehide variety) because the public smears Braun made were NOT made when he had a chance to make them relevant (during the arbitration appeal), when someone might have been able to stick up for the guy.

This is what I call a public smear:

"There were a lot of things that we learned about the collector, about the collection process, about the way that the entire thing worked," Braun said, "that made us very concerned and very suspicious about what could have actually happened."

Then The Pee Guy, having been smeared (talk about innuendo!) in a news conference, thought it prudent to state simply “I did everything right”, rather predictably.

Then the high-priced tone deaf lawyers on Team Braun committed this:

"Ryan Braun presented a winning defense in the forum that counted," attorney David Cornwell said in a statement. "The landmark decision in Ryan’s favor was based on the evidence and the plain meaning of the words in baseball’s joint drug program. The collector’s attempt to re-litigate his conduct is inappropriate, and his efforts will only be persuasive to those who do not understand the evidence or the rules.

Angels should fear to tread here (and I don’t mean Prince Albert’s new club). Lets’ review: Braun “won” because the neutral arbitrator decided the union contract said The Pee Guy did something wrong by not delivering Braun’s sample to a FedEx facility right away, even though the sample would have sat there for the weekend before being shipped to the lab. As SI noted:

Braun escaped a 50-game suspension last week when his positive test was overturned by arbitrator Shyam Das. The legal team for the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder argued in a grievance hearing that the drug collector, Dino Laurenzi Jr., did not follow the procedures specified in baseball’s drug agreement, which states the urine sample should be taken to a Federal Express office on the day it is collected "absent unusual circumstances."

I can wonder whether that was a correct interpretation of the contract, but Das was in a better position than I am to make that call. But no one should wonder whether the decision had a different basis than that. Which is why Braun saying at his press conference (and not during the appeal) that there were “a lot of things that we learned about the collector … that made us …  very suspicious” is a predictable but cowardly approach when he offered no proof of any of these suspicious things at the appeal, where he had the chance to actually argue that his sample was tampered with, instead of arguing that the rules are the rules, in part because otherwise samples might be tampered with, and that this possibility is enough from a contract interpretation basis.

Let it go, Braun. You won on a technicality. You really want to have to talk about this as little as possible, so setting the lawyers on a continued smear campaign just keeps this story in the news. D. U. M. Not to mention cowardly and bullying behavior.

Not to mention (and wouldn’t this be fun?) that you just might provoke The Pee Guy into suing you for defamation. #FAIL

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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