According to a report on ESPN.com today, MLB has fired arbitrator Shyam Das. Das was the arbitrator that decided against MLB and reversed the leagues 50 game substance abuse suspension of Ryan Braun.
Das was actually a part of a 3-member panel, which included him and one representative each from management and the players union. In most cases brought before the panel, Das would be the tie-breaking vote, just as he was in Braun’s case.
According to the report, Das has served as the League-Union agreed upon arbitrator for the past 13 years; he also currently serves the NFL in the same capacity. However, the collective bargaining agreement between the players and the owners allows for either side to fire the arbitrator at any time, and the owners just used that power.
After the decision was handed down to overturn Braun’s suspension, MLB made it very clear that they “vehemently disagree” with the ruling and that they believe the testing program in place is working. Although today they dropped a 100 game ban of Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo because of the same procedural error that played a role in Braun’s case.
As I said at the time, I didn’t know if Braun used PED’s or not, but I said the most important part of the story was that the system worked. The player, Braun in this situation, had his grievance heard, both sides made their case, and an independent arbitrator made a ruling.
Now however, I think the system just broke. At least for this arbitrator and for his successor’s.
While the 3-member panel remains in place, and the system for choosing an impartial third member is fair to both sides; MLB made it clear today that any future arbitrators better know that if they render a decision that MLB doesn’t agree with, they will be gone. And you can be sure that the MLBPA will use the same power.
All I can say is, if you are planning on applying for the vacant arbitrator position and you get the job…..rent, don’t buy.
One week until every team is in first…..at least for a day
One week until the Angels begin life with the best right handed hitter in the game
One week until the beginning of Chipper Jones’ farewell season
One week until Stephen Strasburg tries to recapture his rookie year magic
One week until the Pirates try to end a streak of 19 straight losing seasons
One week until Paul Konerko is just 4 homers away from 400
One week until the Theo Epstein era begins in Chicago
One week until Prince Fielder questions money over Comerica Park’s 420ft Center Field fence
One week until the ‘Carlos Zambrano Meltdown Watch’ starts
One week until Bobby Valentine tries to prove he’s the smartest guy he knows
One week until Kenny Williams questions why he traded Sergio Santos
One week until Kansas City fans look at the starting lineup and say “who’s that?”
One week until Magic Johnson wonders what $2 Billion just bought
One week until the fans actually listen to the starting lineup announcement
One week until Ryan Braun tries to prove it was all legit
One week until the Houston Astros become National League lame ducks
One week until the New York press declares the Mets out of the division race
One week until a first pitch ball outside will get a huge cheer
One week until I duck my head when an F-18 skims the top of Wrigley after our National Anthem
One week until the Red Sox don’t eat fried chicken during the game
One week until this passion we call baseball begins
One week until Opening Day!!!
Well as if you hadn’t heard already, Ryan Braun has won his appeal against MLB and his 50 game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy has been vacated.
According to published reports and based on the statements that Braun made at his press conference this morning, it appears that Braun won his case by casting doubt on the chain of custody of his sample and for a violation of the procedures regarding his sample that were agreed to by the players and MLB.
I don’t know if Braun took an illegal substance or not, and it doesn’t matter. He has rights, and he used those rights to invalidate the sample. The testing system is set up and agreed to by both parties in advance, specifically to protect both parties. Every step of the procedure must be followed to the exact letter as it was written, or the sample MUST be declared invalid. It appears that that procedure was not followed 100% accurately in this case.
The biggest blunder in this case though is the fact that we know any of this ever happened. I don’t know how the initial positive test results were leaked; but it’s a black mark for MLB, it’s a black mark for the testing system in general, and it will forever be a black mark on Ryan Braun’s career.
Could the Brewers receive worse news? First they are gonna lose their all-star first baseman Prince Fielder to free agency, and now they get word that their 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun has tested positive for PED’s.
I don’t know if Braun is guilty of the charge against him, he is claiming it’s a false positive, but I do know that no player has successfully appealed a possible suspension (50 games) after a positive test has been announced by the league.
As bad as this news is for Brewer fans, I think it’s really worse for the league as a whole.
MLB has had a great three months.
It began in late September when we had one of the most exciting nights in baseball history when Tampa overtook Boston to reach the AL playoffs after two crucial games ended within minutes of each other in walk-off fashion.
October saw several fine playoff series, and then we had a great 7 game World Series that included the best Game 6 since 1975 (Yes I know, there have been other great game 6’s since, but I still love the Red Sox-Reds game the most).
November has been no less interesting. The owners and players agreed to a new CBA which extends the years of labor peace, which is currently the longest of the four major professional sports. One of the center pieces of this new agreement is the addition of blood testing. Blood work is needed to test for HGH.
Then comes the winter meeting in Dallas where the best hitter in the game, Albert Pujols, decides to leave the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals and signs a new free agent contract with the LA Angels. One player like Pujols can go a long way to making west coast baseball relevant again. Even though the Giants won the WS in 2010, they were 1 of only 2 west coast teams to make it to the WS in the last 10 years.
But now all of that goes away……..
NL MVP Ryan Braun Tests Positive for PED’s ………………………..will be the only headline to dominate the baseball news until the start of spring training.
It’s a bad day for baseball.