Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ryan Braun Wins Appeal and is Cleared of 50 Game Suspension

Ryan Braun's "Beast Mode" Celebration
It seems like it's been so long ago when the baseball world heard the news that Ryan Braun failed a drug test. But, now there is a huge exhale of Braun's fans, especially all of the city of Milwaukee. February 23rd, just days before Braun was expected to report to spring camp, the decision from his appeal hit the news wires from Tom Haudricourt and later confirmed by the Players Association. Braun would later release this statement:

“I am very pleased and relieved by today’s decision. It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side. We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances. I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide. I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year. I would like to thank my family and friends, my teammates, the Brewers organization led by Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin, Gord Ash and Ron Roenicke, and other players around the league who have expressed their support and our great fans in Milwaukee and around the country who stuck by me and did not rush to judgment. I’d also like to offer special thanks to Michael Weiner and the Players Association for believing in me since day one and to my attorneys. I’d like to thank my agent Nez Balelo and Terry Prince of CAA Sports and Matthew Hiltzik of Hiltzik Strategies for all of their help and counsel through the process. This is not just about one person, but about all current and future players, and thankfully, today the process worked. Despite the challenges of this adversarial process, I do appreciate the professionalism demonstrated by the Panel Chair and the Office of the Commissioner. As I said before, I’ve always loved and had so much respect for the game of baseball. Everything I’ve done in my career has been with that respect and appreciation in mind. I look forward to finally being able to speak to the fans and the media on Friday and then returning the focus to baseball and working with my Brewers teammates on defending our National League Central title.”

With this news, I think this puts Milwaukee back into serious talks of being clear contenders to defend its NL Central title. And, more importantly, gives the Brewer's organization a brighter view heading into the 2012 season. Braun can now be looked at again as a clean player. Voting should not be altered for future awards.

According to the reports, Braun's sample was left unattended for two days, thus breaching chain of custody. Furthermore, this "technicality" has the potential to linger over Ryan Braun for a considerable amount of time. Also, MLB released a statement saying they are not happy that Braun won. Braun won on a 2-1 vote to win the appeal. We will know more tomorrow when Braun has a press conference in Phoenix at the spring training facility.

It's been 73 days since we found out Ryan Braun failed his test. These 73 days were stressful, full of wonder, full of doubt, skepticism, and hope. I think all of Milwaukee could agree that they are happy its over. It's time for baseball.

Until next time, Beers, Brats, and Championships.

-Andrew Vrchota (@WSB_Andrew)

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