Bud Selig and The Media are mad at Ryan Braun. Not quite as mad as they were at Barry Bonds but mad nonetheless. You see, an independent arbitrator decided that a professional piss collector broke the chain of custody on one of Ryan Braun’s urine specimens. This is called breaking the rules as per the Million Page policy and procedure contractual clauses insisted upon by Bud Selig and agreed to under duress by the Players’ Union.
He broke the rules by taking a vial of piss home and putting it in his refrigerator. (There is no independent confirmation that he put it next to a six-pack of Aubrey Huff signature series Bud Light beer) He did this instead of Fed-Exxing it to a Montreal, Quebec laboratory for testing. Apparently, Ninety-nine percenters are not the only ones pissed off (pun intended) at the pricing policies of US Drug Companies.
As a result, Ryan Brauns "conviction" was thrown out because it was "tainted" and the "hallowed" principles of due process and "rules of law" were adhered to. In other words the same folks who insisted that Barry Bonds and others tainted the hallowed records of their predecessors was because Bonds and others did not follow the rule of law. Even though the hallowed records were only hallowed because they were meant to be broken and the rule of law was not applicable at the time.
So Bud and the media want it both ways. They want the rule of law, however obscure or nonsensical the law is, to apply when it suits their purpose. They want broken hallowed records meant to be broken, to be considered tainted because the rule of law was allegedly not followed by Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and others. And they want the old records reinstated retroactively.
And yet when it comes to Ryan Braun’s ludicrous piss test, they abhor the "rule of law" calling the arbitrators decision a mere technicality and that once again, as a result, they are declaring jihad on all players records’. My oh my. How indignant they can get.
Feeding The Dragon
And Bud still doesn’t get it. Rather than represent the game, which is the players, Bud wants to represent the owners and needs the media and politicians to help secure those big stadium tax-breaks and cable TV deals to satisfy his owners. See Bud hasn’t learned what Hitler taught Neville Chamberlain and the French. You can’t appease a dragon with an insatiable appetite by feeding him your neighbor in the hopes he will get full, before he gets to you. The dragon never gets full. Just ask St. George the Dragon slayer.
As long as there are edges to be gained, athletes will figure out a way to get that edge. "Just Say No" was a Nancy Reagan campaign slogan, not a blueprint for controlling ballplayers competitive super-egos. Feeding the media-dragon chunks and pieces of Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Clemens, and other unpopular celeb-aletes, is not going to get Bud the love he craves from the public. But he is self-absorbed and obsessed enough to keep trying anyway. The latest sacrifice, one of his own, Ryan Braun; to demonstrate how diligent and serious and heroic MLB is in tracking down horrible evil greedy cheating ballplayers. And to no one’s surprise except Bud’s, the Grand Mullahs of baseball media are sermonizing up a shitstorm of holiness.
Buster Olney, ESPN: Look, I’ve never felt comfortable rendering the word "clean" on anyone. If my brother played Major League Baseball, I would never say he’s clean, because the only person who can truly know is the player.
Jayson Stark, ESPN: Instead, he (Bud Selig’s designated trash-talker in-chief, Rob Manfred releasing Brauns "tainted" test results) comes off as a strong voice saying that the commissioner’s office certainly doesn’t believe Ryan Braun was "clean."
Joel Sherman, New York Post – There is a famous player testing positive and not being punished. There is a feeling that a loophole has been formed and that other players will be able to drive through.
Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports: Make no mistake: This was a technicality. It was a loophole. Most of all, it was brilliant lawyering by Braun’s attorneys.
Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports: The burden of proof no longer is on Braun, though some undoubtedly will view him skeptically for the rest of his career. No, the burden is on baseball to ensure that no player ever wins an appeal in such fashion again.
So Why Is Bill Conlin’s Picture Up There?
So these guys are all indignant about Ryan Braun. Go ahead and do a search of ESPN’s web site for Bill Conlin. Who is Bill Conlin you ask? Besides being honored by his fellow outraged media pals for outstanding sports writing at the HOF induction ceremonies last year (even though he did not vote for Nolan Ryan’s enshrinement) Conlin is the uncle of a New Jersey assistant district attorney who publicly accused Conlin of molesting her and other family children when they were little kids. Thats who. And the list of alleged victims continues to grow, months after Conlin suddenly resigned from the Philadelphia paper where he worked, hinting at suicidal thoughts in emails exchanged with Deadspin
Bill Conlin shows up 8 times in ESPN’s search engine. Twice for the molestation story in December, once for the above mentioned award, and 5 times for unrelated baseball stories. Conversely Ryan Braun shows up 1100+ times
No calls for "rule of law". No calls for Conlin to return his award from the Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremonies from these guys. Like the calls they made for Braun to return the MVP trophy. No cries of "tainted" columns being packs of lies and falsehoods. No cries for "hallowed" stories to be retracted. Nothing. Not a damn thing. Nothing from media. Nothing from Bud Selig’s office. Nothing from ESPN. Nothing.
Local Media Guys
Just for the hell of it, I asked the Chronicle’s Giants beat writer, Henry Schulman on Twitter, for his thoughts on Bill Conlin retaining his right to vote for HOF and MVP awards amongst other things. After a series of no responses, he simply blocked me. Which doesn’t surprise me. Hank comes across as a very nice man and I just don’t think he has the stomach for mixing it up publicly.Henry does have lots of opinions he likes to share about politics and ballplayers amongst other things, but apparently not much on Bill Conlin’s behavior and the proposal to rescind his HOF awards.
You In Fact, Will Get Nothing.
I asked Ray Ratto the same thing: "Ray, care to share any thoughts you have on Bill Conlin"? His response? "Not Really." Don’t get me wrong. I find Ray entertaining and bright, and have thought so for years. I asked him to elaborate why, and got no response. Its no surprise that media folks circle their wagons and come off as smarmy and above the fray. Debating it up on Twitter where the field is level, is something they are not used to. But these guys remind me of Judge Smales in Caddyshack when his noxious grandson asked for something to eat after a round of golf. "You”ll get nothing and like it." Which is what we get when these guys have the tables reversed and go from being critics to being the critiqued.
I couldn’t do their job for a day, let alone a career. But then again, they can’t do a ballplayer’s job either, so they just need to shut the hell up and stop passing judgement on those whose lives and cultures they do not understand and for whom they have no empathy. Report what you see. Put what you see in context if you’ve the background. Provide perspective if you have sufficient wisdom, by realizing these are athletes, not elected officials, or polished public speakers, and corporate executives, who are professionally immersed in the frantically-paced, and incestuous world of massive commercial media.
Ryan Braun is a ballplayer you see. He hits baseballs. He catches baseballs. He throws baseballs. He runs on grass and he runs on dirt. Those four things. That is what he does. Don’t make it anymore complicated than it really is.