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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chad Moriyama: Ryan Braun: What You Don’t Know About His Case Is Important

Sources have told Carroll that the defense showed that the circumstances which led to the positive drug test was able to be repeated using the errors of the handler, which he explained on WEEI.

In shorter bursts, he explained it on Twitter as well (1/2/3/4/5)

  Quit calling Braun decision a technicality, media. It was decided on science.

  Repeatable result showed exactly how Braun’s single test showed positive. Arbitrator agreed. Simple, isn’t it?

  Know what makes a good soundbite? “44 hours” and “FedEx”. Know what doesn’t? Technical details about urine flora.

  Joe Sheehan: So the delay in processing the urine was repeated, and shown to be the cause of the high levels of T?

  Will Carroll: More or less. It deserves an answer longer than 140.

  JGERRITWULTERKENS: confused; so the sheer act of leaving out a sample in the wrong environment by itself raises the testosterone ratio by >3x?

  Will Carroll: To vastly oversimplify, yes.

  JGERRITWULTERKENS: Fair enough except if that’s a widely known, medically accepted fact you’d think MLB/testers would have been cognizant, no?

  Will Carroll: Tester made a mistake. Its not usually an issue.

Tripon Posted: February 25, 2012 at 04:50 PM | 257 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, steroids

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   1. puck Posted: February 25, 2012 at 05:57 PM (#4068766)
Very interesting. Is he still SI-writer Will Carroll? Why wouldn't he write this for SI?

Wait, Carroll posted it as a kindle book on Amazon.
   2. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: February 25, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4068768)
I wonder if he got this from the guy who leaked Pete Rose's reinstatement.
   3. Lassus Posted: February 25, 2012 at 06:01 PM (#4068771)
How is it that we are depending on Twitter for information on this? Can't he write a full damned article?
   4. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: February 25, 2012 at 06:04 PM (#4068773)
In the future, everyone will be famous for 140 characters.
   5. puck Posted: February 25, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4068776)
How is it that we are depending on Twitter for information on this? Can't he write a full damned article?


He did. (I think. It would suck to buy a tweet.)
   6. Textbook Editor Posted: February 25, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4068795)
In the future, everyone will be famous for 140 characters.


I laughed.
   7. Avoid Running At All Times- S. Paige Posted: February 25, 2012 at 08:18 PM (#4068828)
JGERRITWULTERKENS: confused; so the sheer act of leaving out a sample in the wrong environment by itself raises the testosterone ratio by >3x?

Will Carroll: To vastly oversimplify, yes.


This only makes sense if the "wrong environment" is some hairy and aggressive guy's ball sack.
   8. Cris E Posted: February 25, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4068837)
I have some serious questions about carroll's vast over-simplification. MLB spent a lot of time setting up this procedure, consulting with WADA and others, hiring a company that's worked with other leagues for years, etc. Even crazy Dick Pound said handling doesn't matter. How is it that Braun's defense team can whip out their E Z Bake oven and in a couple weeks conjure up uber-pee? I thought spontaneous generation had been shot down by Pasteur ages ago.

EDIT: I guess my question is, this sounds like a pretty easy case to encounter in the course of thousands of collections. Why is it not prohibited, or why is there no easy science to say why it doesn't matter? it seems like a big problem if all specimens could be turned to rocket fuel thusly...
   9. Walt Davis Posted: February 25, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4068838)
Listened to the WEEI broadcast (well, most of it, they seemed to be going around in circles when I stopped). Carroll said he had a source (I think it was singular, you can check) that tells him the defense team was able to replicate what happened to Braun's sample (per the tweet quoted in #7). Carroll didn't express any specific knowledge of how (though he wasn't exactly asked).

The question I would have is why is Carroll the only one with this source (to my knowledge).

Carroll also raised an interesting question. Was Braun the only player tested that day? If not, what happened with the other samples. I'm not sure he realized that if there were other tests, this doesn't support his claim -- i.e. all the samples would have given haywire results. Unless there's something really weird about Braun's urine.

On the other hand, if the defense was able to replicate (even once really)* that leaving Braun's urine on a desk for two days could lead to a positive result, then he's really super duper in the clear (he's in the clear as far as I'm concerned anyway).

*OK, if the defense replicated it a million times and it went screwy once no ... but I assume the defense is not paying to replicate anything a million times.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: February 25, 2012 at 08:47 PM (#4068840)
Even crazy Dick Pound said handling doesn't matter.

Why would Dick Pound say it matters? Pound wants everybody found guilty, not let go for technicalities. He'd probably vouch for McNamee's syringes.
   11. SouthSideRyan Posted: February 25, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4068841)
[7]Yeah, I'm confused by that and wish Carroll would explain what the hell he's talking about.
   12. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 25, 2012 at 08:50 PM (#4068842)
Isn't Will Carroll always wrong?
   13. SouthSideRyan Posted: February 25, 2012 at 08:57 PM (#4068845)
Isn't Will Carroll always wrong?


To vastly oversimplify, yes.
   14. Barnaby Jones Posted: February 25, 2012 at 09:00 PM (#4068846)
[12]Honestly, Carroll saying this is the most damning evidence against Braun I've seen.
   15. Tricky Dick Posted: February 25, 2012 at 10:45 PM (#4068876)

The question I would have is why is Carroll the only one with this source (to my knowledge).


I don't know the answer. But I could speculate that he has more contact with team physicians and sports doctors than the average sports writer. Perhaps he just happened to know someone in the medical field who knew about the defense's expert witness or testing lab, etc.
   16. X-Roid User Posted: February 26, 2012 at 12:03 AM (#4068893)
Maybe I missed it somewhere along the way, but isn't the issue synthetic test rather than just the insanely high level?
   17. puck Posted: February 26, 2012 at 12:44 AM (#4068903)
How is it that Braun's defense team can whip out their E Z Bake oven and in a couple weeks conjure up uber-pee?


I think players would also like to know, could they spend a weekend in the testing guy's fridge and triple their testerone level?
   18. Bote Man Posted: February 26, 2012 at 12:51 AM (#4068906)
I think players would also like to know, could they spend a weekend in the testing guy's fridge and triple their testerone level?

I'm just gonna piss in a bottle, treat it exactly the same way, then drink it to become...

SUPERMAN!!

@WaltDavis: Unless there's something really weird about Braun's urine.

There's something really weird about his eyes. Isn't that enough for you???
   19. The District Attorney Posted: February 26, 2012 at 12:51 AM (#4068907)
Isn't Will Carroll always wrong?

To vastly oversimplify, yes.
Nice.

How is it that Braun's defense team can whip out their E Z Bake oven and in a couple weeks conjure up uber-pee?
Double-spin mechanics.
   20. vortex of dissipation Posted: February 26, 2012 at 03:10 AM (#4068929)
Did anyone else read the headline as "Ryan Braun: What You Don’t Know About His Case Is Impotent"?
   21. SteveF Posted: February 26, 2012 at 03:13 AM (#4068930)
Searched the web and came up with this:

Decreases in concentration were observed after 7 days of storage at 37 degrees C due to the partial cleavage of the glucuronide conjugates; however, the T/E ratio was not affected. These results show the feasibility of preparing reference materials containing TG and EG to be used for quality control purposes.

According to this study, after 7 days of being stored at 37C, the ratio of T:E was unchanged.

One point to make note of is that these urine samples were sterilized. Some microbes have been shown to produce testosterone in urine, but the effect is pretty small in the case of the microbe in this study.
   22. Sleepy was just “inspecting the bunker”, y’all Posted: February 26, 2012 at 03:19 AM (#4068931)
Braun’s side went one step further. He and his lawyers, sources say, offered a DNA sample that could have been compared to the urine sample to determine whether the urine came from Braun... MLB declined the offer.


If this is true, it is very interesting. Either MLB really, REALLY, didn't want the reigning MVP to be found guilty, or... actually, I can't think of any other reason MLB would NOT run this test, if Braun's camp offered it, and their goal was to establish truth. Unless Braun's camp offered a "DNA source", which was a q-tip, that may or may not have had braun's DNA on it. Or maybe MLB thinks DNA is icky.
   23. Bote Man Posted: February 26, 2012 at 04:10 AM (#4068935)
If this is true, it is very interesting. Either MLB really, REALLY, didn't want the reigning MVP to be found guilty

That's what I believe might truly be at work here. They feign disgust and put out their "vehement" disagreement with the end result of their own process in order to sound authoritarian, while arranging things behind the scenes such that the MVP remains on the throne. Wink, nod.

In this way the careful, deliberate, meticulous selection process for the MVP remains above suspicion (and won't take a do-over) as does their equally rigorous drug testing program. Everybody wins!!111!
   24. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: February 26, 2012 at 04:54 AM (#4068936)
Listened to the WEEI broadcast (well, most of it, they seemed to be going around in circles when I stopped). Carroll said he had a source (I think it was singular, you can check) that tells him the defense team was able to replicate what happened to Braun's sample

So... they took a urine sample from Braun. Then left it for 44 hours. Then tested it and found it tested positive.... Magic!
   25. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: February 26, 2012 at 05:00 AM (#4068937)
Maybe I missed it somewhere along the way, but isn't the issue synthetic test rather than just the insanely high level?

Yes. The t/e ratio test is just the one they do to flag samples for further testing. And I have seen conflicting reports as to whether the reported HIGHEST EVAH ZOMG result was accurately reported.

The CIR test specifically found synthetic testosterone in the urine. Sans tampering, I know of no credible explanation for it magically appearing.
   26. Ron J Posted: February 26, 2012 at 08:10 AM (#4068942)
#25 Isn't what Carrol is saying is that the sample was chemically active. Is there a chance that this could also somehow screw the identification of synthetic testosterone?

To be clear, I'm not arguing that it did. From a discussion with Chris Dial a few years back I gather that this is normally well beyond improbable, but we're seemingly not talking normal circumstances.
   27. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: February 26, 2012 at 08:51 AM (#4068947)
Unless Braun's camp offered a "DNA source", which was a q-tip, that may or may not have had braun's DNA on it.

I doubt that was the offer.
   28. attaboy Posted: February 26, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4068949)
His sample was 3 times greater than any other sample...EVER! There have been thousands of samples taken over the past 8 years. His has been taken multiple times over the course of his playing days, including (according to him) three times last year (before the faithful test). And he was clean each time except once, when it jumped up three times higher than any other test ever! And his BB numbers were pretty much aligned with his numbers every other year. No significant jumps in production. And yet he had three times higher rates than ever found before! Oh...and by the way, the samples were not delivered in accordance with normal procedure and the samples were with the only person who knew, by name, who had provided them. According to the defense team, more than 15 options of Fed Ex drop off sites were available to the courier...Gee, something sounds very fishy! I really have heard enough of this silly case. Mr. Braun, enjoy your MVP, you earned it...well, either you or Kemp but you won it so keep it and let's not talk of this silly stuff again!
   29. Gwyn Posted: February 26, 2012 at 09:07 AM (#4068950)
This sounds a bit like the case of the British 800m runner Diane Modahl. She was tested positive for testosterone at the '94 Commonwealth games. She appealed and got the positive over-turned. From wikipedia:

Modahl engaged lawyers to show that the laboratory in Lisbon had stored her urine sample on a table in a room heated at 35 degrees for three days, which caused bacterial degradation. She has always professed her innocence and was later cleared. She said: "I have declared my innocence, I have never taken any banned substance"
   30. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: February 26, 2012 at 09:23 AM (#4068954)
#25 Isn't what Carrol is saying is that the sample was chemically active. Is there a chance that this could also somehow screw the identification of synthetic testosterone?


I mean, I am not a chemist, but I don't see how? They are measuring the amounts of 2 different stable carbon isotopes within the sample. Nothing that happens inside a sealed container is going to change those levels. It's not like you can magically create or destroy carbon.
   31. Ron J Posted: February 26, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4068976)
#30 I'm not a chemist either. That's why I mentioned Chris. But yeah, from what I do remember of my chemistry that should be pretty reliable.
   32. Chris Needham Posted: February 26, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4069005)
I think with Carroll his track record proves that he usually has some interesting sources. Yet he's quite often wrong. You can assume he makes things up -- which given how his early shtick was "buzz machine" crap, many do. Just as likely he does have sources telling him things. But probably a single source (which is why some of this doesn't go on SI). And the sources are probably secondary or tertiary to the story.
   33. puck Posted: February 26, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4069042)
Has anyone else reported the part about Braun's demonstrating how that type of storage produces a false positive.
   34. Zach Posted: February 26, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4069052)
If anyone has a link to something with actual chemistry, I'd be interested to read it. It seems like the Braun case has had a blizzard of anonymous leaks with potentially exonerating details -- it was herpes medication! It was the highest levels ever recorded! Braun offered to take a DNA test! Unknown biochemical processes could be at play!

At the moment, I haven't seen any explanation that would rule out the simplest scenario -- Braun was on the patch, and gave a sample during a period where his T/E ratios were exceptionally high. Other tests, taken when his T/E ratio had decreased, gave negative results.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: February 26, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4069074)
According to this study, after 7 days of being stored at 37C, the ratio of T:E was unchanged.

Surely that was 37F ... 37C is about 99F. If it was 37C then, sure, unless the guy stuck it in the oven, Braun's sample probably never reached 37C. On the other hand, if he stored it outside the fridge, it was likely not stored at 37F.

By the way, in the broadcast (didn't read the article), Carroll is making no claims about the science of how Braun's sample went haywire. He is saying a source has told him that Braun's team was able to replicate the results.

On MLB declining the DNA test because they didn't want their MVP found guilty ... their MVP is already guilty in many people's minds and MLB "vehemently disagreeing" is only making that worse. So all that would be in it for MLB is to have Braun not suspended for 50 games which, even as much as Bud loves the Brewers, is nowhere near worth the PR hit MLB is taking.

The DNA story is also in dispute. Some report that sources say that Braun offered and MLB declined. Others report that Braun offered, MLB said yes and then Braun's team started backing away from that (conditions?). So we've got (at least):

DNA yes/no
fridge/desk
record levels of T/E vs. not
a dozen FedEx options vs. none
mystery degradation of the sample vs. you could keep this thing in the Sahara for 7 months and it would be fine

which am I missing?

Anyway, pretty clearly there are duelling sources and reporters are just passing on everything they are told.

It makes the title of this article ironic -- yes, what we don't know about the case is important and what we don't know about the case is pretty much everything. Why the author of the article believes (or does by my reading) Carroll's reporting over other reporting is a mystery. About the only thing which everybody seems to agree on is the timeline.
   36. Greg Pope Posted: February 26, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4069080)
which am I missing?

Also, Walt, some people are claiming that the test results show high testosterone while others are claiming that it's synthetic testosterone. Not sure if there's been a definitive statement.
   37. zenbitz Posted: February 26, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4069094)
Well its not like they put it in a mass spec or nmr tube. So without looking up details it seems possible (if unlikely) that sample degredation could produce false positive results.
   38. Zipperholes Posted: February 26, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4069106)
From a discussion with Chris Dial
Despite their similarity, experience with hot Mountain Dew doesn't make someone an expert in unrefrigerated urine samples.
   39. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 26, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4069107)
Despite their similarity, experience with hot Mountain Dew doesn't make someone an expert in unrefrigerated urine samples.

Then I guess we'll have to do a seance with Gandhi's official taster.
   40. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4069110)
They are measuring the amounts of 2 different stable carbon isotopes within the sample. Nothing that happens inside a sealed container is going to change those levels. It's not like you can magically create or destroy carbon.


They are not measuring the total amounts of each carbon isotope in the sample. They are measuring the relative amounts of each carbon isotope in the testosterone in the sample. No creation or destruction of carbon is necessary to get an incorrect result, just a creation or destruction of testosterone in the sample.

some people are claiming that the test results show high testosterone while others are claiming that it's synthetic testosterone


It's both. The first test is a testosterone: epitestosterone ratio. A result greater than 4:1 is a presumptive positive that triggers a second test, which is the carbon isotope test for synthetic vs natural testosterone. But the truth is that no actual test results have been or ever will be officially released. So everything we 'know' about the test results could be BS.

Surely that was 37F


I'm pretty sure it was 37C. But the samples in that study had been sterilized, so no microbes are going to grow in them and start producing or degrading any chemiccals that could muck up the drug testing. That study just shows that the T:E ratio is not inherently unstable; T doesn't spontaneously convert to E or vice versa, even at elevated temperatures.
   41. puck Posted: February 26, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4069115)
a dozen FedEx options vs. none


a dozen FedEx options vs. none vs. couriers had been often followed the practice of storing the samples at home and then taking it to FedEx on a later date
   42. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: February 26, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4069116)
I wrote some of this on another website:
"Labs are no better than their validated processes. Fail to follow the process, all of the process, and any assumption of validity disappears."

One of the key components in validating an analytical test method is sample solution stability (at room temp and refrigerated) and a robustness characteristic which would include testing samples *when the process isn't followed*, so it isn't strictly correct to say not following the method means the sample data is tossed. If that happens, you have to check the deviation against the validation parameters which may show that even when tested outside the method, the result is still valid.

(when asked for credentials I said:)

I am a pharma chemist (technically I *was* due to promotions). I have developed and validated methods for all manner of pharma products, as well as written internal SOPs for these things and performed countless investigations.

Robustness is beyond different analysts (the general usage of repeatability and intermediate precision). What I am refering to is where you look to see the effects of small changes to determine if you have any critical parameters. Your linked LC/GC article hints at this. It is things like setting the wrong flow on the LC, or the wrong column temperature. Where the method proscribes, say 1.o mL per min and the analyst inadvertently sets 1.1mL/min flow, does it impact the results - does the system suitability still meet method requirements. These changes are *definitely* outside the standard testing method/protocol, and absolutely is part of a proper FDA guided MV.

Another thnig I mentioned and I haven't see covered was the sample storage conditions. Storing at 5C (really 2C-8C) is done to minimize activity, and is broadly accepted. However, in method validation, one would typically demonstrate solution (sample) stability for 1 day, 3 day, and out to a week. Mostly because you want to make sure you cover the typical amount of time you may need to perform analysis *and* have solution stability in case there is a sample issue (positive test or whathaveyou) that the original sample can be re-analyzed within solution stability.

Now, these are smart ways to enhance the quality of an analytical method, and maybe this method doesn't do that. Biologic samples usually require more significant cooling: -20C or for most biologics now, to stunt water reactivity, down to -75C. Either way, the method should have demonstrated sample stability, and we can know whether or not the sample was compromised due to storage temperature.
   43. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4069122)
If that happens, you have to check the deviation against the validation parameters which may show that even when tested outside the method, the result is still valid.


I would hope that you'd also have to report the deviation whether or not it was determined to be consequential for the assay.

But all this chemistry gobbledegook is missing a rather key point it seems to me: the long time gap between collection and shipment means that the sample could have been intentionally adulterated. People keep saying that the simplest explanation of the test result is that Braun was intentionally taking synthetic testosterone, but it is equally simple to posit that synthetic testosterone was added directly to the sample after Braun produced it (or to the sample collection container before it was given to Braun to fill with his sample). If the players get no benefit of the doubt, why should the testers? It is ridiculously bad policy to leave the samples in the sole possession of the one person who is in a position to get away with unsealing and resealing them for any length of time. It's tantamount to letting the player produce the sample in private.
   44. Zach Posted: February 26, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4069129)
Doing a google search for "testosterone epitestosterone stability" brings up an abstract that seems to cover all the buzzwords in the discussion. From PubMed:

The stability of testosterone glucuronide (TG), epitestosterone glucuronide (EG) and the T/E ratio in urine has been studied. Samples were analyzed by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Urine samples were submitted to a solid-liquid cleanup followed by extraction of unconjugated testosterone (T) and epitestosterone (E) with tert-butyl methyl ether (free fraction). The remaining aqueous phase was hydrolyzed with beta-glucuronidase and extracted at alkaline pH with n-pentane. Analytes were analyzed by GC/MS as their enol-trimethylsilyl (TMS) derivatives. The urine for stability testing was obtained from an excretion study after the administration of T to healthy volunteers. The homogeneity of the sample was verified before starting the stability study. The stability of TG and EG was evaluated at different storage conditions. For long-term stability testing, analyte concentration in urine stored at 4 degrees C and -20 degrees C was determined at different time intervals for 22 months. For short-term stability testing, analyte concentration was evaluated in urine stored at 37 degrees C for 3 and 7 days. The effect of repeated freezing (at -20 degrees C) and thawing (at room temperature) was studied for up to three cycles. Data obtained in this work demonstrated the stability of TG, EG and the T/E ratio in sterilized urine samples stored at 4 and -20 degrees C for 22 months and after going through repeated freeze/thaw cycles. Decreases in concentration were observed after 7 days of storage at 37 degrees C due to the partial cleavage of the glucuronide conjugates; however, the T/E ratio was not affected. These results show the feasibility of preparing reference materials containing TG and EG to be used for quality control purposes.


4 degrees C is a fair proxy for a refrigerator and 37 degrees C is blood temperature. I can't access the paper at home, but from the information in the abstract, storing the sample for a day or so in a refrigerator isn't going to do anything to alter the T/E ratio.
   45. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: February 26, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4069134)
I would hope that you'd also have to report the deviation whether or not it was determined to be consequential for the assay.
Of course. That would occur upon discovery of any deviation.

But all this chemistry gobbledegook is missing a rather key point it seems to me: the long time gap between collection and shipment means that the sample could have been intentionally adulterated. People keep saying that the simplest explanation of the test result is that Braun was intentionally taking synthetic testosterone, but it is equally simple to posit that synthetic testosterone was added directly to the sample after Braun produced it (or to the sample collection container before it was given to Braun to fill with his sample). If the players get no benefit of the doubt, why should the testers? It is ridiculously bad policy to leave the samples in the sole possession of the one person who is in a position to get away with unsealing and resealing them for any length of time. It's tantamount to letting the player produce the sample in private.
Other than the "gobbledegook" comment, I have no issue withthe suggestion the sample was tampered with - I would just rather people who don't know not disparage the scientific process.
   46. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: February 26, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4069139)
Thanks, Zach.

Decreases in concentration were observed after 7 days of storage at 37 degrees
This indicates that weekend "tabletop storage" or wherever this guy put it, would have no effect.
   47. Zach Posted: February 26, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4069151)
D'oh! I owe #21 a coke.

Regarding #42: I think I agree with your point, provided I'm reading your post correctly. As I read it, you're saying that the lab should take issues arising from imperfect collection and shipping into account, and only claim validity if those conditions fall under some general rubric of "good enough."

From what we know about this test (admittedly not much) I don't see any reason you wouldn't think this sample was good enough. The collector is a trusted intermediary and claims the sample was in a refrigerator between collection and shipping; the storage period is far smaller than the 22 months given by the abstract in #44.

If the collector had left the sample on a radiator or on the dashboard on a hot day, I could see the logic in throwing the sample out. Without the issue of improper storage, we're back on the issue of tampering by a trusted collector, and I just don't find that credible.
   48. . . . . . . Posted: February 26, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4069158)
While I'm not a pharma guy, I do have some experience with stable isotopic analysis:

I have no idea if it's right or wrong, but it is definitely prima facie plausible that leaving a sample out for several days could alter the isotopic ratio of the carbon in the testosterone. The reason that you can distinguish between "natural" and "synthetic" testosterone is that biological activity preferentially uptakes C12. Different biological processes fractionate between C12 and C13 to different degrees, and fractionation is also dependent upon, among other factors, the initial C13/C12 ratio.

In other words, you would probably expect microbial degradation of testosterone in a sample to alter its C13/C12 ratio.

Whether such degredation actually occurs, and the rate at which it occurs, and whether it would make a sample look more or less "synthetic" - I don't know (but that's probably googleable information).

I'm less inclined to think that non-biologically-mediated degradation of testosterone would materially alter the C13/C12 ratio given that we're talking about short timescales, low temperatures, and I haven't heard anything in the various media articles indicating that testosterone is particularly fragile in urine at room temp. Someone who actually has an orgo background would probably know if its possible.
   49. zenbitz Posted: February 26, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4069164)
Um just before another chem nerd corrects me, i guess they ARE putting in a mass spec to get the C12/C13 ratio.
   50. . Posted: February 26, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4069168)
If the players get no benefit of the doubt, why should the testers?

Because athletes by the thousands have taken PEDs and you can count the number of samples that have been intentionally adulterated by handlers on the fingers of Mordecai Brown's hand?

Because of this embedded false equivalency, the question is inherently fanboy.
   51. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4069169)
Other than the "gobbledegook" comment, I have no issue withthe suggestion the sample was tampered with - I would just rather people who don't know not disparage the scientific process.


Umm, it was a joke. I'm a scientist myself.

...we're back on the issue of tampering by a trusted collector, and I just don't find that credible


Why not, exactly? There's an implicit assumption in the phrase "trusted collector" that may or may not be warranted. Like almost everything else in this case, we really don't know anything at all about this person. But my point above is that we shouldn't have to trust anyone. It wouldn't be that hard to put a process in place where samples would never be left in the possession of any single person prior to being coded and anonymized.

EDIT: And just to keep SBB from further freaking out, I am not saying that I believe the sample was intentionally spiked by the collector. I am saying that MLB has an interest in preventing even the slightest appearance of the possibility that there was an opportunity for such a thing to occur.
   52. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: February 26, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4069170)
It's better than lawyers coming out of the woodwork!
   53. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4069172)
In other words, you would probably expect microbial degradation of testosterone in a sample to alter its C13/C12 ratio.


No you wouldn't. You'd expect microbial degradation of testosterone to degrade it -- that is, to turn it into something other than testosterone.
   54. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4069174)
the question is inherently fanboy


No, it's rhetorical. Point being that the testers have to hold themselves to the highest possible standards, even if some of those standards might seem unnecessary or even unreasonable.
   55. . Posted: February 26, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4069177)
Point being that the testers have to hold themselves to the highest possible standards, even if some of those standards might seem unnecessary or even unreasonable.

Sure; I was only noting that you don't put in the safeguards because the players deserve some benefit of the doubt, you put them in because it's the right thing to do.

EDIT: And I'm not "freaking out," simply pointing out the fanboyish nature of the false equivalencies we've been hearing. There is a boatload of evidence Braun took synthetic testosterone; there is no evidence his sample was tampered with. Athletes take PEDs, civilians almost never (and maybe literally never) tamper with athletes' piss samples. If I misunderstood your point, happily withdrawn.

   56. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 26, 2012 at 07:17 PM (#4069197)
there is no evidence his sample was tampered with.

If the packaging wasn't preserved at the lab, it might be difficult to investigate tampering. All the more reason to limit the Piss Collector's unsupervised time with the sample.
   57. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2012 at 07:19 PM (#4069198)
I was only noting that you don't put in the safeguards because the players deserve some benefit of the doubt, you put them in because it's the right thing to do.


And it's the right thing to do not because you want to protect innocent players from the remote possibility of actually being framed, but because you want your testing program to be viewed as absolutely above reproach. A strict process that is strictly adhered to can be seen that way. Simply placing trust in fallible human beings is a much tougher sell.

Anyway, I didn't say that the players deserve some benefit of the doubt. I simply noted that they don't get it.

EDIT: I could have said that better. We do, of course, want to protect innocent players from even the remote possibility of being framed. But that's not the primary reason for putting the safeguards in place.
   58. . . . . . . Posted: February 26, 2012 at 07:54 PM (#4069213)
No you wouldn't. You'd expect microbial degradation of testosterone to degrade it -- that is, to turn it into something other than testosterone.

No, you would expect that testosterone of a certain molecular weight would be degraded (eaten) faster than the other testosterone. And that would throw off the C13/C12 ratio.
   59. CrosbyBird Posted: February 26, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4069214)
And it's the right thing to do not because you want to protect innocent players from the remote possibility of actually being framed, but because you want your testing program to be viewed as absolutely above reproach.

I would say that the reason the program would be above reproach is precisely because it is unlikely to produce a false positive.

Although in this case, it doesn't much matter what "should" have been done. What matters here is whether what was done complies with the bargained agreement. Someone said earlier (in this thread or another) that if the policy is that all samples must be waved three times over the head and it was only done twice that it's a problem. In many ways, this is indicative of a larger problem.

One of the most common examples of this sort of legal requirement is the "obnoxious" musician who demands a bowl of M&Ms; with all of the brown ones removed in the dressing room. The purpose of this contract rider often is not to be an outrageous jerk, but to have a very visible demonstration of the attention to detail that the host paid. If I have some very expensive equipment that requires a stage with certain structure, or I'm going to do some sort of stunt that is fairly dangerous, I want to know that every little thing I'm counting on to happen has been taken care of.

I don't think that it's very likely that Braun's sample was corrupted in some way by the courier's actions. I do think that any process that allows for this to happen is very possibly cutting corners in some other place. In a case of strict liability with a pretty severe penalty, it's critical (to me, at least) that the process err on the side of extreme diligence.
   60. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: February 26, 2012 at 08:26 PM (#4069220)
nvm
   61. puck Posted: February 26, 2012 at 08:40 PM (#4069223)
Umm, it was a joke. I'm a scientist myself.


But still a lesser primate.
   62. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2012 at 08:47 PM (#4069227)
We can't all be great apes.
   63. sunnyday2 Posted: February 26, 2012 at 09:54 PM (#4069247)
Isn't Will Carroll always wrong?


To vastly oversimplify, yes.


I laughed.
   64. sunnyday2 Posted: February 26, 2012 at 09:56 PM (#4069248)
So does Braun get into the Hall of Fame or not?
   65. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2012 at 11:07 PM (#4069290)
No, you would expect that testosterone of a certain molecular weight would be degraded (eaten) faster than the other testosterone. And that would throw off the C13/C12 ratio.


Natural testosterone contains 98.9% C12. Pharmaceutical testosterone contains 99.0% C12. Testosterone contains 19 carbons, so those C12/C13 abundances are only manifest when you looking at very large numbers of molecules. So you're arguing that there are microbes that can somehow selectively degrade one molecule over the other on the basis of one extra C13 atom per thousand, when the molecule they are degrading only has 19 carbon atoms total. I'm pretty sure that such microbes do not exist. Furthermore, the isotope ratio testing is based on comparing the C12:C13 ratio in the molecule of interest to that of an endogenous reference molecule, so the degrading microbe would have to exhibit this carbon isotope composition selectivity only for testosterone and not for the reference compound which is likely to be something that it would also like to eat.
   66. KJOK Posted: February 27, 2012 at 12:21 AM (#4069325)
we're back on the issue of tampering by a trusted collector, and I just don't find that credible


Why not, exactly?


Um, because if there was even a HINT of tampering, Bruan's lawyers would have been all over it, and that fact would have certainly been leaked by the Braun team to the media. One of the few facts that does not seem to be in dispute is that the seal was NOT broken on the sample, so there was no tampering defense for Braun. The only defense option he had was incorrect procedures (which seems to be what won the day) perhaps supplemented by arguing that the sample could generate a false positive due to the incorrect procedures (only Will Carroll seems to be reporting this as part of the defense).
   67. puck Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:02 AM (#4069330)
One of the few facts that does not seem to be in dispute is that the seal was NOT broken on the sample, so there was no tampering defense for Braun.


I don't think it's likely, but for sake of argument, what stops the guy from taking the sample home, breaking the seals, pouring the urine into a new container, and re-sealing? Are the original seals marked in some way?
   68. KJOK Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:22 AM (#4069333)
IIRC they have Braun's signature and the collector's signature, and there's theoretically no way to 're-seal' them once broken without it being known that they've been unsealed.

   69. Ray (CTL) Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:06 AM (#4069337)
So, chemists............ What is the best we can conclude about whether Braun used steroids from the available facts thus far?

Probable cause? Preponderance? Something higher?
   70. Ron J Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:07 AM (#4069338)
#68 Not saying it happened in this case, but I'd bet a reasonably talented magician would see that kind of thing as a challenge. No idea whether they could in fact beat this kind of thing, but I wouldn't bet against one who says he can in fact do so.
   71. LionoftheSenate Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:49 AM (#4069346)
Considering the types of fraud in our world, I put the difficulty of unsealing and resealing a piss sample at 3 out of 10 for difficulty. It's more difficult to reseal a can of coke than a piss sxmple. Much more difficult.
   72. LionoftheSenate Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:52 AM (#4069347)
Seems all other MLB athletes were busted for roids. Is Braun the first testosterone guy? Maybe this will prove to be the chink in the armor.
   73. valuearbitrageur Posted: February 27, 2012 at 05:12 AM (#4069355)
IIRC they have Braun's signature and the collector's signature, and there's theoretically no way to 're-seal' them once broken without it being known that they've been unsealed.


Unless you have a few days undisturbed time at home, then it's likely child's play. And just in case, you could delay, say, 6 hours past when fed ex opened the next day to fix any problem that occured.

And the DNA sample issue is a red herring. If Braun offered, and the MLB declined, it's because the MLB can only lose, if the samples match nothing changes, if they dont Braun wins. There is no reason to back off on Brauns side, unless they thought the effort was a waste of energy and were focusing on sample degredation.

And it's been reported the sample was left on the collectors desk, not in a fridge, but who knows.

All we know is we can trust the collector just like we trusted the Ttitanic on the simple premise that because a collector has never been caught tampering with samples or lying about their storage we can safely assume we never will catch one.

And thank god the systems are so good now there are no more false positives anymore.
   74. LionoftheSenate Posted: February 27, 2012 at 05:51 AM (#4069362)
If someone can't figure out why tampering is easy without me explaining it to them, they won't understand it after I explain it to them. The collector had his son present on the day of the collecting, a 22 yr old. Contract states only two people should know who's sample is in a given bottle. Also, the collector was a Cubs fan, lived in the Chicago TV market. Prob jealous Braun was in the playoffs. Finally, it's been established more than one, several actually, fedex locations were open til 9pm Sat. And one was 24hrs by the airport....which is on the way home for the collector. For a guy so experienced, he sure was clueless on fedex facilities in the area.
   75. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 27, 2012 at 07:36 AM (#4069380)
One of the few facts that does not seem to be in dispute is that the seal was NOT broken on the sample


In reality, this is one of many facts that is not in evidence. Everyone 'reporting' that there was no evidence of tampering is assuming that there was no evidence of tampering simply because they were not made aware of any evidence of tampering. Even assuming that tampering was not directly argued at the hearing, that could easily be explained by there simply being no need to argue it directly. The mere possibility that there was an opportunity for tampering is sufficient to overturn the result.
   76. . Posted: February 27, 2012 at 08:02 AM (#4069385)
Everyone 'reporting' that there was no evidence of tampering is assuming that there was no evidence of tampering simply because they were not made aware of any evidence of tampering.

They're reporting it because MLB said Braun offered no evidence of tampering. The Braun camp has not leaked or said anything to refute this; at this point, it makes sense to consider it true.

The mere possibility that there was an opportunity for tampering is sufficient to overturn the result.


Going into the hearing, Braun had no way of knowing that was true. If he had evidence of tampering, that would have been a much stronger argument than the technical argument he ended up winning on. The CBA provisions do not mandate the decision the arbitrator made, though they seem to support it. In the situation facing Braun, no lawyer would argue only procedure if he/she had other plausible arguments.

There's every indication Braun didn't argue science, either.
   77. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: February 27, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4069447)
I have what is admittedly quite possibly a dumb question:

Is 5x the normal limit of testosterone a good thing? Is it even a healthy thing? It seems to me that 5x the normal amount of most things in your body will make you sick if not kill you.

Medical types - what's the deal?

   78. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 27, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4069489)
Is 5x the normal limit of testosterone a good thing?

As I understand it, it wasn't 5x the normal limit.
It was 5x the highest limit ever previously tested.

If that's true, then it really does sound like some sort of mistake/tampering.
   79. SouthSideRyan Posted: February 27, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4069497)
As I understand it, it wasn't 5x the normal limit.
It was 5x the highest limit ever previously tested.


Nope. It tested 5x higher than the breaking point requiring further testing. It wasn't the highest ever seen, it's been reported that tests for other athletes had registered as high as 200.
   80. CrosbyBird Posted: February 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4069559)
Going into the hearing, Braun had no way of knowing that was true. If he had evidence of tampering, that would have been a much stronger argument than the technical argument he ended up winning on. The CBA provisions do not mandate the decision the arbitrator made, though they seem to support it. In the situation facing Braun, no lawyer would argue only procedure if he/she had other plausible arguments.

With strict liability, there really are no other arguments.

Braun is not without other reasonable defenses: long history of successful testing, plausible alternate cause for the testosterone spike, lack of extreme body changes, relatively small deviation from his career numbers, etc. The problem is that none of these defenses mean more for this case than a character reference from his mother would. His team really only had procedural defenses to argue.
   81. LionoftheSenate Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4069584)
It is utterly absurd that the collector had his 22 yo son with him when collecting the sample. Then when you discover that Fedex had many locations open til 9pm, including a 24 hr drop at the airport (which was on the way home for the collector from Miller Park) there you realize how weak the chain of custody was in this case and it appears might be frequently as weak for others as well.

The sample and whom it is from is allowed to be known by just two people, the athlete and the collector. Not a 22 year old sidekick that has access to it all weekend.

I'd like to hear the excuses the collector has for why he was incompetent in depositing the sample for 44 hours. Why did it take so long on Monday as well?

For the people that like to hype the seal was not broken, I ask, does that come with a certificate of authenticity? If not, I'm not buying. But if you have one, goodness, that's unimpeachable evidence you've got.

If this were a criminal case in the criminal courts, the sample and test result would be thrown out in a second.
   82. . Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4069593)
With strict liability, there really are no other arguments.

Sure there are:

1. My sample was tampered with.
2. The person that ran the test did it wrong.
3. The urine that was tested was someone else's.

Braun is not without other reasonable defenses: long history of successful testing, plausible alternate cause for the testosterone spike, lack of extreme body changes, relatively small deviation from his career numbers, etc. The problem is that none of these defenses mean more for this case than a character reference from his mother would. His team really only had procedural defen

The first is irrelevant, maybe he just started roiding, maybe he screwed up how he masks, maybe he simply just got caught. The second could be relevant, but it appears no such argument was made. The third is irrelevant. The fourth is irrelevant.



   83. . Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4069598)
I'd like to hear the excuses the collector has for why he was incompetent in depositing the sample for 44 hours. Why did it take so long on Monday as well?

Go, fanboy ... GO!!
   84. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4069611)
So, chemists............ What is the best we can conclude about whether Braun used steroids from the available facts thus far?
Based on what I have read, I would say the sample had high testosterone in it, and it was not due to sample storage or degradation. Either Braun used or the sample was spiked.

Braun is not without other reasonable defenses: long history of successful testing, plausible alternate cause for the testosterone spike, lack of extreme body changes, relatively small deviation from his career numbers, etc. The problem is that none of these defenses mean more for this case than a character reference from his mother would. His team really only had procedural defenses to argue.
I don't see those as reasonable defenses - they claim things that are assumptions, and not based in facts. I know facts are a small part of law, but they aren't of science.
   85. . Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4069634)
HOF voting season will be interesting next year. You can't possibly be a Bagwell "no on suspicions" voter and believe that Braun isn't a roider, though several writers will likely bend over backwards to try to square the two. (Or likely just ignore the Braun situation.)

Frankly, you can't be a "no, Clemens, you're a roider," and believe that Braun isn't a roider either. The evidence against Braun is significantly stronger.
   86. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: February 27, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4069641)
I like that SBB and I are on the same side of this.
   87. base ball chick Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4069658)
well bagwell had to be a roider because he didn't hit lots of home runs in AA and then he hit a lot of them in the astrodome and after that he started lifting weights and put on muscle weight and he was close friends with ken caminiti before cammy started roiding and if that doesn't prove that bagwell did roids i don't know what does.

as for the ryan braun thing - there are still too many conflicting stories out there
am not sure whether or not the testosterone level was high or normal
i understand that the T:E ratio was too high
i understand that the % of carbon 13 wasn't right for the amount of testosterone present

i don't believe that a courier from the milwaukee area who routinely picked up samples had nooooo idea about fedex locations and which were open - and made no effort to call neither. especially seeing as how he picked up the sample before 1 PM - or at the latest 4 PM

i don't know that the container braun peed in wasn't contaminated. i don't know that the labels hadn't been tampered with or switched or some kind of other funny business gone down. we DO know that the sample wasn't in the possession of the courier until he finally DID get around to sending it off.

i am more than a little bit suspiscious that MLB refused to DNA test the sample when braun requested it.

and i heard from a VERY reliable source several months ago that braun was gonna win this case

the way the CBA is set up, stuff like - never failed test before, look/slug like alex sanchez - etc - are gonna get you nowheres.
   88. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4069662)
I don't see how Braun can be faulted for not presenting evidence of tampering unless the packaging was preserved so that could be investigated. I have yet to see any mention that it was, but perhaps I missed something.
   89. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4069664)
Braun is not without other reasonable defenses: [1] long history of successful testing, [2] plausible alternate cause for the testosterone spike, [3] lack of extreme body changes, [4] relatively small deviation from his career numbers, etc. The problem is that none of these defenses mean more for this case than a character reference from his mother would. His team really only had procedural defenses to argue.


I don't see those as reasonable defenses - they claim things that are assumptions, and not based in facts. I know facts are a small part of law, but they aren't of science.

They may or may not be "reasonable", and they may have nothing to do with science, but three of those those four arguments are demonstrably true, and the fourth is arguably plausible. Which of the four wouldn't fall into one of those categories?
   90. . Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4069682)
They may or may not be "reasonable", and they may have nothing to do with science, but three of those those four arguments are demonstrably true, and the fourth is arguably plausible. Which of the four wouldn't fall into one of those categories?

Maybe, but I don't see where "He never failed a test before" gets you. It presumes he's been roiding for a long time; maybe he hasn't been. Moreover, generally speaking, guys don't just roid without trying to mask and otherwise trick the tests.

What's the "plausible alternate cause for the testosterone spike"? The "STD" idea? Well, it appears that wasn't raised at the hearing; and Braun flat out denied it as a possibility at his press conference. Was he lying in the press conference? Whatever alternate cause exists, if it exists, hasn't been raised in a way that allows it to be evaluated. As it stands now, it effectively hasn't been raised.

"Lack of extreme body changes." Why the "extreme," there?

"Relatively small deviation from career numbers." He may have been roiding his whole career; indeed, that's every bit as plausible an alternative as the one positing that he only started in 2011.
   91. LionoftheSenate Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4069688)
What's not being discussed is how the testing is supposed to be confidential until after an appeal is made and a player loses. Yet there was MLB issuing a harsh statement against the decision of the appeals process. So it appears confidentially was never given at any step of the way for Braun.

If the thinking is that Braun announced a win, then all bets are off, then I suppose that at least makes some sense. But where was MLB's harsh words for other MLB athletes like Clemens, Bonds, etc...? MLB seemed more laid back on those cases.

I think Braun's case did expose major weakness in the testing methods, process by MLB. I think the "this is how it's been done" argument is useless. The way it's been done isn't good enough.
   92. JPWF1313 Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4069693)
Frankly, you can't be a "no, Clemens, you're a roider," and believe that Braun isn't a roider either. The evidence against Braun is significantly stronger.


wrong Ped.

It's not like you can magically create or destroy carbon.


Sure you can, you just need access to a multi-billion $ state of the art particle collider...
   93. JPWF1313 Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4069698)

Maybe, but I don't see where "He never failed a test before" gets you. It presumes he's been roiding for a long time; maybe he hasn't been. Moreover, generally speaking, guys don't just roid without trying to mask and otherwise trick the tests.

"Relatively small deviation from career numbers." He may have been roiding his whole career; indeed, that's every bit as plausible an alternative as the one positing that he only started in 2011.


See I appreciate the fact that you put two paragraphs in between there, now I just have to figure out if you forgot what you wrote when you wrote two additional paragraphs (memory like a goldfish theory), or if you knew what you did and are simply shameless.
   94. . Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4069704)
See I appreciate the fact that you put two paragraphs in between there, now I just have to figure out if you forgot what you wrote when you wrote two additional paragraphs (memory like a goldfish theory), or if you knew what you did and are simply shameless.

Neither. The narrative whereby Braun's been roiding his whole career has to be included with the narrative that he just started sometime in 2011. If he's been roiding his whole career, you can't judge anything by body shape changes and number changes. If he just started in 2011, who cares if he passed a bunch of tests?

Not that it really matters much; the list is comprised solely of secondary factors entirely trumped by the reality of a positive test for synthetic testosterone. The only reason we got into the big kerfuffles about things like that was that we didn't have drug tests. Now that we do, who cares about body shape and numbers? Palmeiro's body wasn't a "roider's" either.
   95. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 27, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4069712)
They may or may not be "reasonable", and they may have nothing to do with science, but three of those those four arguments are demonstrably true, and the fourth is arguably plausible. Which of the four wouldn't fall into one of those categories?

Maybe, but I don't see where "He never failed a test before" gets you.


It says he's never failed a test before. I was responding to the person who said that this was an "assumption" that wasn't based on a fact. You can interpret his lack of a prior positive test any way you want.

What's the "plausible alternate cause for the testosterone spike"? The "STD" idea? Well, it appears that wasn't raised at the hearing; and Braun flat out denied it as a possibility at his press conference. Was he lying in the press conference? Whatever alternate cause exists, if it exists, hasn't been raised in a way that allows it to be evaluated. As it stands now, it effectively hasn't been raised.

It wasn't raised because it didn't need to be raised. Would you go around advertising you had an STD if you didn't need to?

"Lack of extreme body changes." Why the "extreme," there?

That was another person's wording, but you're welcome to refute it with any facts or images you can dig up.

"Relatively small deviation from career numbers." He may have been roiding his whole career; indeed, that's every bit as plausible an alternative as the one positing that he only started in 2011.

Of course the fact that he never failed any prior test never seems to enter your consciousness. What's next for you to cite, his cap size?

   96. . Posted: February 27, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4069718)
It wasn't raised because it didn't need to be raised.

This is simply not true. You don't know what "needs" to be raised before the hearing, and you would raise everything you could. If the STD medication could have caused the test, it would have been raised. It's a much better argument than "The guy was too lazy to go to FedEx," even if that argument proved to be effective.

This one really needs to be put to bed.

Of course the fact that he never failed any prior test never seems to enter your consciousness.

Sure it does. But you only get caught for the first time once.
   97. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: February 27, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4069725)
Because of this embedded false equivalency, the question is inherently fanboy.

And I'm not "freaking out," simply pointing out the fanboyish nature of the false equivalencies we've been hearing.

Go, fanboy ... GO!!



Are you posting between mustache rides, Kettle?
   98. Zach Posted: February 27, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4069734)
...we're back on the issue of tampering by a trusted collector, and I just don't find that credible

Why not, exactly? There's an implicit assumption in the phrase "trusted collector" that may or may not be warranted. Like almost everything else in this case, we really don't know anything at all about this person. But my point above is that we shouldn't have to trust anyone. It wouldn't be that hard to put a process in place where samples would never be left in the possession of any single person prior to being coded and anonymized.

It's not so much that the collector should be trusted -- it's that he is, in fact, trusted. He is given sole possession of the sample after it is sealed. Whether he has possession for two minutes or two days, he is being trusted not to tamper with the sample. He will always have this control over the sample, so you literally can't trust this procedure if you don't trust the tester. And after all, this is the guy's job -- he's done it before, plans to do it again in the future. Tampering with a sample would certainly cost him his job, his reputation, and probably land him in the pokey.

In that scenario, I basically see the tester as being on oath. His personal and professional reputation are on the line, and it's not out of the question that he will have to give a sworn statement that he didn't interfere with the sample. If you're going to argue that he did interfere with the sample, I want actual evidence, not just wild accusations.
   99. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 27, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4069741)
Neither. The narrative whereby Braun's been roiding his whole career has to be included with the narrative that he just started sometime in 2011. If he's been roiding his whole career, you can't judge anything by body shape changes and number changes. If he just started in 2011, who cares if he passed a bunch of tests?

Of course the fact that he never failed any prior test never seems to enter your consciousness.

Sure it does. But you only get caught for the first time once.


Heads you win, tails Braun loses. Gotta love it.

Go, fanboy ... GO!!

Used to be I was accused of protecting my "boyhood heroes" Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, and now it's Ryan Braun. I've sure as hell had one long ####### boyhood.
   100. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: February 27, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4069745)
They may or may not be "reasonable", and they may have nothing to do with science, but three of those those four arguments are demonstrably true, and the fourth is arguably plausible. Which of the four wouldn't fall into one of those categories?
What categories? True and plausible? Yes. He also is Jewish. And he has brown (?) hair. And he wears a size 11 shoe. All true, or plausible.

Still not reasonable explanations on why the testing was incorrect.
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