Why I Believe Ryan Braun
An article in the local newspaper today quotes a former official with the World Anti-Doping Agency as saying that the delay in delivering Braun's urine sample to Montreal would not have altered the specimen.
According to the "expert", this means that there are only three options: (1) Someone deliberately smeared a testosterone gel on Braun without his knowledge; (2) someone tampered with Braun's urine sample; or (3) Braun really used the prohibited substance - and therefore got away with cheating.
Let me offer a fourth possibility. What if the test itself was bad?
Years ago, I had a physical at the local VA - including lab tests. A few days after providing a urine sample, I got a scary call telling me that my urine sample had an outrageous quantity of blood in it. I was told that this could be indicative of lots of things - all bad. I was told that one very real possibility was the "C"- word.
I was instructed to see my personal physician immediately and was given a list of very intrusive tests that should be run. Before poking and prodding, my doctor suggested that we simply do another urine test. We did - and that test came back completely normal. A follow-up test three days later was also normal.
Every urine test I have had over the ensuing 20-plus years has also come back normal.
Using the rationale of the "expert" cited in today's paper, someone either tampered with my urine sample or I really did have this devastating medical condition (which immediately went away). While I believe in miracles, I think another explanation is more likely.
I think my test was just screwed up.
Given everything that's on the line, you would think Major League Baseball would have some mechanism for verifying that players accused of violating rules really did violate the rules. The truth is that lab technicians make mistakes - which is why doctors often call for a second battery of tests to verify results!
While I'm at it, you'd think that a multi-billion dollar industry would have a more reliable way of processing drug tests than allowing some guy named Dino (and his son) to stash unsecured samples in their home for days before sending them to the lab. Just saying ...
Anyway, having listened to Braun's press conference in its entirety, I tend to believe him. Especially since I'm not as convinced as others that labs never make mistakes.