Baseball star’s steroid-filled pee tossed out by arbitrator
In the early 2000s, we found out that nearly every relevant baseball player of the 80s and 90s was on steroids. America collectively agreed that they were irredeemable pieces of shit for jamming drugs in their asses so that baseball would be something approaching entertaining. Granted, this had more to do with the fact that sports writers make their living obsessing over things most people don’t care about beyond the age of twelve. But we listened to them anyway.
So when reigning National league MVP Ryan Braun’s urine sample came up positive, that was the end of it, right? He was definitely a lying, cheating, scumbag, and we should spend the rest of his career telling him so, and no matter how many MVPs he wins, he should never, under any circumstances even be considered for the Hall of Fame, right?
Not so much.
In one of the most hilarious “fuck-ups” in sports history, it turns out that Braun’s urine sample was mishandled, meaning that Braun won his arbitration appeal, and will not have to serve the 50-game suspension that had originally been handed down. MLB Exec. VP Rob Manfred said that the MLB “vehemently disagrees” with the call made by arbitrator Shyam Das. But it’s probably good news for the league. They just can’t actually say that.
How did this happen? Well, apparently, the man in charge of safeguarding Mr. Braun’s urine kept it a little too long, choosing to store it in his freezer for 48 hours. I have no idea what it’s like to spend an entire weekend with someone’s piss in your possession, but you know those old 80s sitcom episodes where two kids would have to take care of an egg for a week? It’s probably a much creepier version of that.
Why was it in the freezer that long? According to sample collector Dino Laurenzi, there was no FedEx office within 50 miles of Miller Park that would mail the sample out on Saturday or Sunday. A search for Fed Ex locations near Miller Park on Google Maps reveals multiple locations.
But hey, maybe he went to all of them and they really were all closed, right? Well, after getting in touch with a few of these places, I can tell you that one location is definitely closed the entire weekend, while another is open until 4 on Saturdays, but closed on Sundays. However, when I asked the latter location about their policy on baseball player pee, they promptly ended the conversation.
So even though two of Braun’s samples tested positive, it just doesn’t matter.
The thing is, if this had happened in any other sport, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Baseball is the only sport where we work ourselves into such furious fits of fake outrage over steroids. If this was football or hockey, we could just laugh the whole thing off. But since baseball is a sport that bases its reputation on the notion that its shit doesn’t stink, and nothing has changed since 1864, we find ourselves with a serious conundrum. Do we assume that Braun is guilty, and give him the same shit we gave Bonds or McGwire for his entire career, or do we assume MLB set him up, or that the extra testosterone somehow magically grew overnight?
I tend to think he probably did cheat, but what I’m about to say may shock you: I don’t really give a shit. I mean, he definitely dodged a bullet avoiding the suspension, but the list of things you can do that are worse than taking a drug that makes you better at your job would probably include, oh, I don’t know, everything!
Whether you believe him or not, however, we can all have a good laugh at the ridiculous “incompetence” of Major League Baseball. It’s bad enough that we can’t have instant replay because we need to preserve the “human” element of the game (In other words, having bad calls determine the outcome of games), you’d think these fuckers would at least be able to handle a cup of pee properly. The ridiculous failure of the MLB should bother fans far more that anything Braun may have done. Taking steroids in a moment of insecurity is understandable, being this inefficient is not.
Unless, of course, the tests were botched on purpose. This is pure speculation, but it’s what makes the most sense. That way the MLB can vacuously moralize and complain about the arbitrator’s decision while, at the same time, avoiding yet another giant asterisk next to the name of one of its hottest commodities.
Then again, sometimes those eggs would break and Michael Seaver’s Home Economics teacher would yell at Boner for it even though it wasn’t his fault. You know? Yeah. That.