Milk Chocolate Covered Peeps & Law and Baseball Rant: Ryan Braun’s Successful Appeal
Junk Food Nation, here I was, sitting in my living room at my computer, thinking that today’s post would be all about the amazing chili I made for yesterday’s National Chili Day. It had jalapenos and turkey in it. It’s slow cooking now and will be still until I shovel it into my mouth having simmered for almost 18 hours. Chili is one of those foods that the more you cook it, the better it gets. Yummy.
But as I began typing that post, I heard on Sportscenter in the background that Ryan Braun had won his appeal of his positive performance enhancing drug test – the first player to do so in MLB history. I sat there stunned, looked back at my computer, deleted everything, and started over. So here we go, as I am about to rant my head off: If you’re not into baseball, sports, or legal jargon, you should probably just skip ahead to my review…because it’s about to get super nerdy all up in here.
Ahem…Good morning, Junk Food Nation. Today’s lead story has got to be Ryan Braun successfully appealing his PED drug suspension. To give you a quick recap: baseball players can’t take steroids or other performance enhancing drugs, like testosterone injections. If you get caught, you’re dinged for 50 games. Ryan Braun won the NL MVP last year and is one of baseball’s good guys. He tested positive for heightened levels of testosterone in the NL playoffs this past fall. It was a big story especially because of who Ryan Braun was. No player had ever successfully appealed a positive drug test. Braun insisted on his innocence.
And then yesterday, it was announced: arbitrators in a 2-1 vote sided with Braun, overturning his suspension. Braun celebrated. Players cheered. MLB fumed. It was all very dramatic. And I was flabbergasted.
Find out why, after the jump. Today’s junk food was given to me by my friend Albert: Milk Chocolate Covered Peeps!
Easter is no where near, as its still February, but that hasn;t stopped stores from starting in with the chocolate eggs and, yes, Peeps. Peeps are marshmallow chicks that have been around since 1953. These marshmallow birds have a cult-like following. People either love Peeps or they hate them. Or it’s trendy to hate them. Or it’s trendy to hate them so much that you love them ironically.
Me? I’m not so much a fan. Some of my friends say, “Oh you have to let them get a little stale, then they taste really good.” That sounds horrible to me. I avoid Peeps like the plague.
But, like I said, Peeps have a cult-like following. People do experiments on Peeps. They buy the holiday varieties, like the Strawberry-flavored chocolate-dipped Peeps for Valentine’s Day. They have huge art shows dedicated to Peeps art. Wow.
What I have today is just your basic Milk Chocolate Covered Peep. Never had one, but I figured, why not? Serving size: 1 chick. Cute.
GAH! This Milk Chocolate Covered Peep doesn’t look like a chick, but like an unformed …SOMETHING! Way to pay attention to detail, Peeps. Yikes.
I took a bite and chewed. Inside, the color of the peeps was BRIGHT YELLOW. I have no idea why, especially since all the Peeps I’d had in the past were colored on the outside, but inside were still white marshmallow. Was this NOT a Peep, but just colored marshmallow filling??
Well, whatever it was, I must say, despite my usual avoidance of Peeps…this Milk Chocolate Covered Peep was pretty good! I mean it’s so basic in flavor – sweet milk chocolate over a spongy marshmallow center. Eat the two together, and its a good taste duo and there’s not much that can go wrong. I didn’t have to endure the weird stale exterior of a typical Peep, and anything I didn’t normally like about Peeps flavor was masked by a normal milk chocolate.
Really not bad. I’d eat this again. Maybe I am looking forward to Easter candy.
The reason for Braun’s reversal was due to, essentially, a chain-of-custody argument. When a player’s urine is collected, it gets shipped immediately to the lab via Fedex. Here, because it was late on Saturday, the collector kept the sample at home and shipped it on Monday. Because standard protocol wasn’t followed, Braun’s people argued that the test was invalid.
Look, I’m a former prosecutor and currently my job is to do exactly this – employee arbitration disputes. So I can understand why this is what Braun argued: chain of custody is basically protection against evidence tampering. If a piece of evidence is passed through too many people or steps without certifications, there’s concern that the evidence can be affected. Sort of like when the vendor passes a hotdog down the row at a baseball game and you’re worried everyone is breathing their gross germs on your dog or using their gross hands on the dog while the passing is occurring. When it gets to you – it’s tainted. No mustard will save it now.
Except here’s the kicker: Braun didn’t argue evidence of tampering and didn’t dispute the science of the testing. HE DIDN’T ARGUE EVIDENCE TAMPERING. He merely said, “The guy didn’t mail it in time, so the test is bad.” WHAT!? So, you’re not arguing anything is ACTUALLY wrong?? So you’re arguing paranoia. You WON THE CASE arguing paranoia. ABSURD. Maybe its the prosecutor in me bubbling to the surface, but my defense attorney friends I’m sure would agree – you argue chain of custody to argue evidence tampering. Not paranoia.
What am I saying then? Is Braun guilty? Nope – not commenting on that. Ryan Braun is a great player, and he may very well be innocent. *I* WOULD’VE attacked the science, that someone at the lab botched it, that the testing isn’t accurate. And if the test was botched then he SHOULD be exonerated. I just think this technicality is ridiculous. The arbitrators had the ability to weigh this against the rest of the evidence, and for some bizarre effing reason, they found it highly compelling. Did they want to stick it to MLB, to value system over substance? Maybe. We’ll know in 30 days when the written order comes out from the arbitrators.
Until then, I’m just pissed that people are using this “victory” against the drug testing policy. Are you kidding? Have you forgotten all the CLEAN players out there this is supposed to protect? They just don’t matter, right?
And hey, other athletes: YOU’RE NOT LAWYERS. In USAToday, they have a quote by Aaron Rodgers, who tweeted: “MLB and cable sports tried to sully the reputation of an innocent man. Picked the wrong guy to mess with. Truth will set you free.”
Aaron, I love you, you’re a great QB, and I certainly love your discount doublecheck move, but you have no fucking clue what you’re talking about. However you feel about management versus players, the system versus reality, it is goddamn absurd to suggest that someone in MLB *decided* to INTENTIONALLY give Ryan Braun a positive test, just to mess with him. Are you out of your goddamned mind?! MLB got a positive drug test back from the lab, and they had to deal with it within the system. If you don’t like how the drug testing system is set up, fine. If you think the commissioner of baseball is a douchebag, fine. If you feel like the MLB discipline committee is akin to a fascist regime, fine. But they “tried to sully the reputation of an innocent man?” Really, Aaron? You’re a judge now? Do us all a favor, keep putting up 5000+ yard seasons for my fantasy team, and stop pretending like you know.
Tell me why I’m wrong or why I’m right. I’m ready for a comment battle today, son. Or if you wanna comment on the Peep, let’s discuss that too! Hit me in the comments below or hit me on Twitter @junkfoodguy or on my Facebook Page.
Sincerely, Junk Food Guy