Tainted Victory for Ryan Braun — Leading Off

If you are struggling to feel anything other than ambivalence over Ryan Braun on appeal, you are not alone. It was a victory only a lawyer could love. Yes, Braun gets to do his little victory dance and return to swinging for the Milwaukee Brewers’ fences because his lawyers found a loophole and drove through it. But all it accomplished was exposing baseball as a newbie in the fight against performance-enhancing drugs.

The Olympic drug testing system has been at this a lot longer, faced all manner of dog-ate-my-homework defenses by athletes and has built a system relatively impervious to them. Baseball, the neophyte, failed to account for drug test samples collected during FedEx’s nonshipping hours, and Braun’s lawyers convinced an arbitrator that that was . In the legal world, this is a grand triumph. In baseball, it feels as if the umpires were caught napping.

Baseball felt it like a punch to the gut, as , particularly considering the words from Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president for labor relations, that he “vehemently disagrees” with the ruling. Yes, in the short run baseball loses, a point brought home by and , but as , this is how due process works. There is a difference between acquitted and exonerated, , and argues that Braun still has some explaining to do if he expects fans to consider him clean.

In Milwaukee, they’re seeing rainbows, as says the test will now be reduced to footnote status as Brewers fans go back to believing Braun is an unsullied great guy. Everywhere else, people will just feel let down by the system, . Baseball will have to work to remedy that.

If that weren’t enough bad news for Bud Selig Co., a red flag went up in the Dodgers’ sale when the developer Rick Caruso and the former manager Joe Torre because Frank McCourt does not want to also sell the Dodger Stadium parking lots. As , if this is how the sale goes through, baseball will not get the clean break from McCourt it so desperately wants. It does seem a little creepy that McCourt would fight to hang on to the very real estate where Giants fan Brian Stow was brutally beaten and is suing McCourt for being negligent about patrolling.

If that was not enough sobering news for a day, the much-hyped Knicks’ clash with the Heat turned into a bit of a dud. A Knicks falloff was not entirely unsuspected considering the Heat have proven to be the most formidable team in the N.B.A., which means the legend that is Jeremy Lin was in for a collision with N.B.A. reality, . Getting thumped by the Heat is just part of the journey for Lin, , and a reminder of how far the Knicks have to go as a team, . If they do not improve, , more of the harsh spotlight will start to fall on Carmelo Anthony and less on Lin. After all, Lin’s success was part of the reason the Heat were so determined to stop him, , unlike the Lakers, who brushed him off as a fad and paid the price with a loss.

Meanwhile, hockey got busy in the trading business with the deadline coming Monday. The dreadful Columbus Blue Jackets still have not dealt Rick Nash, but caused a stir by for defenseman Jack Johnson. On the surface, it seems like a much better deal for the Kings, as , if you believe Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi when he says that doubts about Carter’s character are overblown. writes that it shows Lombardi believes the underachieving Kings can turn it around quickly.

In nontrading news, Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews created a minor scare Thursday by getting in a car accident in Chicago. , and the only possible concern is whether the “upper body injury” Toews is out with is a concussion that either helped lead to or was exacerbated by the accident.

Those are questions that are not being answered today, just like a lot of the ones circling around baseball.

Follow Leading Off on Twitter:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.