The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

FACT: Ryan Braun Used Steroids

I am totally fired up! Next week, I am attending a radiology conference in Arizona. I plan on learning some new things, getting my mandatory CME, and playing a little golf. One big thing I get to do is pretty exciting: I'm going to my first Spring Training game! The Reds moved into their Goodyear facility last year after decades in Sarasota. I hear it is an awesome place, and I can't wait to see the 2012 Reds in action. I'll see the March 7 game against the Padres.

That leads me into the topic of my post. The Reds are going for it this year. The Brewers and Cardinals stand in our way. Ryan Braun tested positive for a banned substance last year and received a 50 game ban for this season. The details slowly have emerged, and now it is clear that he was doping. These are all facts, although MLB or Braun will not verify them.
  • Sometime late last season, Braun received a random urine test for drug screening.
  • The test was collected late, and could not be immediately shipped by FedEx as per MLB protocol.
  • The collection specialist, whose entire job is to maintain chain-of-custody of the sample, stored it overnight in a refrigerator. It was sealed and in his possession the entire time.
  • The next morning, the sample was shipped.
  • The sample was later tested and found to contain a 20:1 ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone (normal is 1:1).
  • It was further tested and positive for synthetic testosterone.
  • Braun received a 50 game ban.
  • This ban should have been confidential, pending appeal, but it was leaked by an unknown source.
  • Braun appealed.
  • He was reinstated on a technicality that the sample was improperly stored.

My first impression was, "Crap, the Brewers are a joke without Braun and Fielder. Bad break for the Reds." Immediately thereafter, I thought, "Man, MLB screwed up the sample. Braun got lucky." Then, I read Braun's statement and I wanted to PUNCH HIM IN THE MOUTH!!!

"I am the victim of a process that completely broke down."
Is he actually playing the victim here? Sure, I have no problem with his suspension being repealed. MLB has a policy, and they broke it. Did the process completely break down? No. Is he a victim? HELL NO!

A little medical knowledge from the Big MD here: Testosterone is an androgen steroid produced naturally in the body. Other steroids are also produced, including epitestosterone. Epitestosterone is produced by the same pathway, but is an inactive form of testosterone. As a result, they exist in nearly identical ratios in the body. However, if exogenous testosterone (injected, not produced by the body) is injected, while testosterone levels increase the level of epitestosterone stays the same. This is the major way to determine if someone is injecting steroids.

For Braun to have a 20 to 1 ratio, there is only one possibility - he doped!!! Overnight storage (as alleged in the appeal) would not cause the ratio to magically increase. Furthermore, synthetic testosterone could not have magically appeared in the sample overnight. Could the sample have been tampered with? In theory, but it was in the custody of the collector. The chain-of-custody wasn't even argued. This was simply a technicality.

This is a joke. Ryan Braun is a joke. MLB and steroids is a joke. Guys are still doping, but they are just smarter about it, and using fancier stuff. Until they turn over their program to USADA or WADA, the steroid issue will NEVER go away.


Teddy said...

Whoa! Update! The actual specimen collector has made a statement. Apparently, I was wrong. Storing the sample in a fridge overnight is acceptable, and is frequently done. Also, the sample was NOT tampered with in any way.

It seems like the positive test was thrown out for no real reason now.

The real problem is the composition of the appeal board.

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