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Sunday, December 11, 2011

If Braun’s positive PED test is upheld, baseball writers should demand re-vote for NL MVP

Geoff Baker…proving that the World Anti-Dope Agency is, in fact, not working!

If it creates a headache for MLB, too bad. If it embarrasses the player, well, maybe they’ll think twice the next time before going down that road.

Hey, if this could in any way serve as a deterrent to players taking PEDs, then MLB and the union should be all for it. It’s not really their call anyway. The BBWAA will be the one deciding the rules for its own awards.

Again, if Braun wins on appeal, he can keep the MVP award.

But even if he does win, the BBWAA should immediately inform baseball officials that this will be the rule going forward. Anyone who tests positive before voting results are announced will be subjected to a re-vote.

It’s bad enough voters are being asked to judge the Hall of Fame legacies of long-retired players suspected of boosting their performance outside the rules. They shouldn’t have to become defacto conspirators with Major League Baseball in giving awards out to current players that top officials knew ahead of time were about to be taken down by scandal.

Repoz Posted: December 11, 2011 at 01:27 PM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, mariners, media, steroids

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   1. philly Posted: December 11, 2011 at 02:10 PM (#4013226)
This isn't too surprising, of course, but for this very reason as soon as I heard about the news I wondered if this would be a HoF setback for someone like Bagwell. Does anyone know if the votes are supposed to already be in for this year?

I'm afraid the tainting of a BBWAA award is going to up the sanctimonious ante on everybody's HoF vote this year - assuming the votes aren't already in.
   2. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 11, 2011 at 02:22 PM (#4013230)
Jesus, do I ever wish I'd thought to copyright the word "if©".
   3. Downtown Bookie Posted: December 11, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#4013233)
It’s bad enough voters are being asked to judge the Hall of Fame legacies of long-retired players


I agree 100%.

Oh, there was more to that sentence?

In that case, never mind.

DB
   4. DA Baracus Posted: December 11, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#4013237)
Just the NFL writers did when Brian Cushing won Rookie of the Year then tested positive. He won it again.
   5. Jon W Posted: December 11, 2011 at 03:10 PM (#4013246)
The funniest part is that if they have a re-vote, the award would presumably go to Prince Fielder, because, you know, the winner HAS to be from a contender.
   6. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: December 11, 2011 at 03:11 PM (#4013248)
Burn him!
   7. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 11, 2011 at 03:44 PM (#4013267)
Just the NFL writers did when Brian Cushing won Rookie of the Year then tested positive. He won it again.

Heh, and I don't even remember Brian Cushing.
   8. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 11, 2011 at 04:08 PM (#4013281)
The funniest part is that if they have a re-vote, the award would presumably go to Prince Fielder, because, you know, the winner HAS to be from a contender.


Suppose they do re-vote, award it to Kemp, and he refuses to accept?
   9. Morty Causa Posted: December 11, 2011 at 04:13 PM (#4013284)
Hey, that would be like rejecting the honor of eventually being inducted into the HOF. That would be silly.
   10. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 11, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#4013295)
Hey, that would be like rejecting the honor of eventually being inducted into the HOF. That would be silly.


I don't know. You think there's a chance he might not want to be known as the guy who won only because they took it away from someone else?
   11. Morty Causa Posted: December 11, 2011 at 04:38 PM (#4013299)
You might be surprised that someone might rationalize that they deserved it to begin with and thus justice is being served, but I wouldn't.
   12. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: December 11, 2011 at 04:41 PM (#4013302)
Just the NFL writers did when Brian Cushing won Rookie of the Year then tested positive. He won it again.
Not just won again, but won with more votes.
   13. Random Transaction Generator Posted: December 11, 2011 at 04:42 PM (#4013303)
What if they did a revote and Braun won again (because those that didn't want to vote for Braun again split their votes poorly among the other candidates).
Would they hold the ceremony again?
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 11, 2011 at 04:43 PM (#4013306)
You might be surprised that someone might rationalize that they deserved it to begin with

Isn't that true? I don't watch much NL ball, but based on the stat lines, Kemp's the pretty clear winner.

Higher OPS+, more HR, RBI, R's, and a CF vs. a LF.
   15. Baldrick Posted: December 11, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#4013325)
Isn't that true? I don't watch much NL ball, but based on the stat lines, Kemp's the pretty clear winner.

Higher OPS+, more HR, RBI, R's, and a CF vs. a LF.

Fewer WPAPBNTMA, though. That's Win Points Above Playoffs (But Not Too Many Above).
   16. Booey Posted: December 11, 2011 at 05:04 PM (#4013331)
the BBWAA should immediately inform baseball officials that this will be the rule going forward. Anyone who tests positive before voting results are announced will be subjected to a re-vote.

It's fine if they want to do that, but only if they make this rule clear beforehand. Making up rules and punishments after the fact is just stupid.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 11, 2011 at 05:11 PM (#4013340)
It's fine if they want to do that, but only if they make this rule clear beforehand. Making up rules and punishments after the fact is just stupid.

Ummm, that's the whole history of common law. Under the system of English common law, which we more or less follow in this country, law is made through the precedents of judges and courts ruling on points of law after the fact.

Every major Supreme Court decision is a case of "making up" rules after the fact. Those precedents are not just binding in the future, but to the case at hand.

I mean Miranda didn't just say, "Police have to read you your rights when arrested, but Mr. Miranda, you're out of luck and go to jail b/c we can't change the rule after the fact."
   18. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 11, 2011 at 05:47 PM (#4013367)
Every major Supreme Court decision is a case of "making up" rules after the fact. Those precedents are not just binding in the future, but to the case at hand.

I mean Miranda didn't just say, "Police have to read you your rights when arrested, but Mr. Miranda, you're out of luck and go to jail b/c we can't change the rule after the fact."


I think the point is, they are not allowed to make up punishment after the fact. If you get a speeding ticket, and the published punishment is a small fine, they can't say, "You know what, I think it should be 6 months in prison. Welcome to the big house."
   19. Morty Causa Posted: December 11, 2011 at 05:48 PM (#4013368)
It's fine if they want to do that, but only if they make this rule clear beforehand. Making up rules and punishments after the fact is just stupid.


Look, let's not kid ourselves. Whether it's expressed or tacit, there's an overarching "character" provision to most all awards and honors. Some are taken more seriously, but it's still a factor. To paraphrase what a someone said up thread, you can be the greatest businessman in town, but the Chamber of Commerce isn't going to recognize that (and if they do because they didn't know it when you were honored, they'll quickly take disavowal action when it is known) if you're found to have molested cub scouts when you were a scout leader. Sorry, if that violates your sense of mathematical poetics.
   20. Booey Posted: December 11, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#4013428)
Look, let's not kid ourselves. Whether it's expressed or tacit, there's an overarching "character" provision to most all awards and honors. Some are taken more seriously, but it's still a factor. To paraphrase what a someone said up thread, you can be the greatest businessman in town, but the Chamber of Commerce isn't going to recognize that (and if they do because they didn't know it when you were honored, they'll quickly take disavowal action when it is known) if you're found to have molested cub scouts when you were a scout leader. Sorry, if that violates your sense of mathematical poetics.

Sure, but why would it be so hard to come up with policies like this in advance? It's not like it's a bizarre situation that no one could have forseen ever happening; like say, Braun getting caught pulling a Pee Wee Herman in a movie theater and then writers deciding they should re-vote on his award due to "character" issues. PEDS have been well known for a long time now, and it was only a matter of time before something like this was gonna happen. It would be so easy for the writers to just create a clause ahead of time saying that they'll revoke the award if a player later tests positive. Same with the HOF; why not just issue a statement saying "We won't elect anyone with connections to PED's" and make it official? Why even give people like me a chance to complain about something being unfair or rules being inconsistent and made up on the spot?
   21. Walt Davis Posted: December 11, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#4013451)
The MVP criteria:

(1) actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense; (2) number of games played; (3) general character, disposition, loyalty and effort; (4) former winners are eligible; and (5) members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.”

Heck, they've even got "disposition" in there to cover guys who didn't vote for Albert Belle.

It's not exactly a stretch to say that PED use in violation of written, agreed MLB/MLBPA rules could be considered under "general character". Should the reported findings on Braun hold up (which is far from certain), the main question would seem to be whether the "cheating" took place during the season or only during the playoffs. Barring other evidence, it would seem unlikely that the latter would be true.

Anyway, #3 clearly gives them leeway to not vote for a player who is caught "cheating" during the season in question. In this case, the alleged "cheating" did not come to light until two months after the season ended but it's not clear why that would rule out reconsideration of the award.

I would agree that the current rules (at least those above) do not allow them to re-vote and declare Braun ineligible creating a possible Cushing situation.

How this all plays out will depend a lot on what information comes to light. If the second test is negative, then I assume Braun is in the clear as far as an official sanction goes (public sentiment, who knows?). That should be more than enough for the BBWAA to do nothing. Or Braun may be found to have tested positive but provide a strong case for it being accidental (a prescription, backed up with documentation, for a legit reason, and showing that it only started in the playoffs or the very end of the season) and the BBWAA will probably do nothing. And even if Braun ends up suspended, the BBWAA could still decide that it's just too big a can of worms (if Braun, why not Bonds, Sosa ... Perry! :-).

I am pretty sure you'll see a rule change but it's going to be hard to write that rule -- what's the statute of limitations?
   22. Gotham Dave Posted: December 11, 2011 at 07:37 PM (#4013459)
I think those ####### shirts are a much worse crime.
   23. Booey Posted: December 11, 2011 at 08:04 PM (#4013480)
Someone just posted a link in the other Braun thread to a statement made by the BBWAA that they will NOT be stripping Braun of the award. They basically said that they didn't do it with Caminiti's 1996 award or A-Rod's 2003 award after they admitting they were using, and they're not gonna do it now.

Kudos to the BBWAA (for once).
   24. Baldrick Posted: December 11, 2011 at 08:19 PM (#4013490)
Every major Supreme Court decision is a case of "making up" rules after the fact. Those precedents are not just binding in the future, but to the case at hand.

Ronald Dworkin disagrees.
   25. Boxkutter Posted: December 11, 2011 at 08:53 PM (#4013515)
So wait, they want to re-vote on a Regular Season Award for a positive test that happened after the season? That makes about as much sense as congress declaring frozen pizza a vegetable because it has a fruit on it. Oh wait...
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: December 11, 2011 at 09:42 PM (#4013534)
That makes about as much sense as congress declaring frozen pizza a vegetable because it has a fruit on it. Oh wait...


except that is nothing at all like what Congress is doing, Claiming something is a serving of vegetables, is not the same thing as saying it's a vegetable.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: December 11, 2011 at 11:06 PM (#4013575)
So wait, they want to re-vote on a Regular Season Award for a positive test that happened after the season?

I don't understand why people find this illogical or troubling or whatever. If the finding is that he violated the rule, then he was "cheating" a whole 1-2 weeks after the season ended. Unless he was tested just prior to the end of the season, why would anybody think that the "cheating" only started after the regular season? If Braun was "cheating" in early October, why should we assume he was not "cheating" in Sept and Aug and July all the way back to his last test at least.

Again, this is not a court of law, this is not MLB vs MLBPA, this is not about the CBA, this has no financial implications for Braun (well, endorsements maybe but those can't be looking good right now anyway). Getting hung up on due process or technicalities here is unnecessary.

And I wouldn't put too much faith just yet in the claim made in #23. Assuming the link is to this or similar, you'll note this is not an official statement from the BBWAA but rather the opinion of the treasurer:

The Baseball Writers Association of America will not strip Ryan Braun of his National League Most Valuable Player award if he is suspended for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O'Connell told the Los Angeles Times.

"I got the same question after Ken Caminiti came clean about his steroids usage, and whether we should give the 1996 MVP award instead to (second-place finisher) Mike Piazza," O'Connell told the newspaper. "The answer is no.

"We did not strip Alex Rodriguez of the 2003 MVP when it was learned later he used PEDs while in Texas.

"The voters used the information they had at the time of the election. I don't see how we can change that."


So, first, O'Connell is just giving the history. Second, we can all see how they can change that -- they can re-vote with the new information at hand. May or may not be a good idea, but it's easy to do. This situation would be rather different than the Caminiti and AROD examples (although these are certainly precedents) as the information has come to light only a month after the award was announced and just two months after voting. This isn't re-visiting ancient history. And, as noted earlier, a re-vote does not necessarily "strip" Braun of the award if he is still eligible in the new vote.

Getting back to the excerpt:

They shouldn’t have to become defacto conspirators with Major League Baseball in giving awards out to current players that top officials knew ahead of time were about to be taken down by scandal.

This I vehemently disagree with. MLB has no business giving the BBWAA advance warning of such a thing. These results are supposed to be confidential until the appeal is completed and I hope whoever leaked this info faces the consequences of doing so. But the notion that Bud should have pulled a writer aside and whispered "don't give the MVP to Braun" is absurd.*

The BBWAA took on the role of defacto conspirators to build the popularity of baseball 80 years ago and hasn't shied away from that conspiracy since (except small pockets who consider it a conflict of interest). If the BBWAA isn't willing to take the heat for the "dark side" of the conspiracy then they should get out of the conspiracy.

*It's also possible even Bud just assumed they'd have enough sense to give it to Kemp. :-)
   28. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 11, 2011 at 11:29 PM (#4013595)
And I wouldn't put too much faith just yet in the claim made in #23. Assuming the link is to this or similar, you'll note this is not an official statement from the BBWAA but rather the opinion of the treasurer:


It's not just the opinion of the treasurer. It's the opinion of Jack O'Connell.

I think you can put this in the "not going to revote" column.
   29. Booey Posted: December 12, 2011 at 12:09 AM (#4013632)
And I wouldn't put too much faith just yet in the claim made in #23.

That's a good point, but honestly, we shouldn't put too much faith in the initial leaked article just yet either, for similar reasons. If we're discussing that article in great detail before it's even been proven, then I don't see any difference between doing the same thing with this new one.

Honestly, would anyone on this site really care if the BBWAA let Braun keep his MVP if he had been the clear-cut, no brainer best player in the league? I fully believe there are people that don't think a "cheater" should be given awards period, but I also believe that there are plenty of others who want Braun's MVP taken away and given to Kemp mainly because they think it should've gone to him in the first place. It's more a matter of validating their own opinions than it is about morality or sportsmanship.

And I'm not accusing anyone specific of doing this.
   30. Something Other Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:41 AM (#4013823)
That makes about as much sense as congress declaring frozen pizza a vegetable because it has a fruit on it. Oh wait...

except that is nothing at all like what Congress is doing, Claiming something is a serving of vegetables, is not the same thing as saying it's a vegetable.
What a ludicrous hoohah that was. What exactly is that stuff on top of the pizza's crust? What? TOMATOES, you say? How can THAT possibly be considered a serving of vegetables. Those lunatics!!

It's almost as though Congress had decided that that pale stuff on top of those tomatoes was, I dunno, dairy!

If Braun was found to have cheated, I don't see anything wrong with taking the award away from him, unless one thinks some kinds of cheating are okay, and others aren't.

The thing I wouldn't do is take the award from him based on a single, disputed test. I did some research awhile back--and while I don't doubt there are dozens of posters here who have more facts than I do on the issue--and the number of false positives, and the crudity of even "careful" testing along with the regularity of human error, make serious action based on a single positive simply reckless.

Also, if the MLBPA allows players testing positive to be suspended without recourse for 50 games, the MLBPA has its head up its butt.
   31. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 04:09 PM (#4013936)
Also, if the MLBPA allows players testing positive to be suspended without recourse for 50 games, the MLBPA has its head up its butt.
No, the MLBPA had Congress's head up its butt. Do you not remember the mid-2000s? Congress in essence told the MLBPA that if they didn't negotiate a steroids policy with severe sanctions, that Congress was going to legislate it. Now, that would of course have been unconstitutional, but thanks to FDR, nobody cares that the constitution doesn't give Congress to regulate private conduct. And fighting it would have been expensive and time-consuming, and the precedent would be there. This way, at least the MLBPA could have a seat at the table in negotiating the parameters of the policy.
   32. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 12, 2011 at 04:33 PM (#4013970)
but thanks to FDR, nobody cares that the constitution doesn't give Congress to regulate private conduct.

You should really provide a couple of illustrated versions of your little sidebar rants, David. They make your point so much more coherent.
   33. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:01 PM (#4014077)
You should really provide a couple of illustrated versions of your little sidebar rants, David. They make your point so much more coherent.
I'll let you look at the pictures, Andy. They're already colored in, which makes your job easier. The rest of us will stay in the adult section.
   34. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:48 PM (#4014152)
Re: Cushing -

Not just won again, but won with more votes.


This is wrong. He went from 39 to 18 votes. Still won though. Football does have a rule that anybody suspended in that current year for PED's are not eligible for the end of season pro-bowl. That rule didn't stop the AP from voting Merriman 3rd in the Defensive Player of the Year award after he missed the first four games of the season due a steroids suspension.

I don't think this is a fault of the NFL (or MLB) the writers are the ones that want to have their cake and eat it too (shocking I know).
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:55 PM (#4014168)
That rule didn't stop the AP from voting Merriman 3rd in the Defensive Player of the Year award after he missed the first four games of the season due a steroids suspension.


The rule didn't exist when they voted. The NFL created the rule in response to Merriman making the pro bowl during the season he had the four-game suspension.
   36. Ray (CTL) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 09:48 PM (#4014389)
From Joe Sheehan's newsletter:

Now, it makes very little difference to me whether Braun did do something naughty or not. The connection between the use of steroids or hGH or phiten necklaces or all-chicken diets and on-field performance is a question of faith, not science. Moreover, the moral issues have been exaggerated for political ends, whether by writers looking for a story, owners looking for an issue or Congressmen looking for a camera. You cannot separate the elevation of PEDs as an issue in the baseball industry from the nasty 2002 labor negotiations that were the backdrop for that elevation. You cannot separate the fourth estate's disdain for Barry Bonds from how Bonds became the face of the issue, as well as the government's white whale. You cannot separate the treatment of suspected and proven PED users in baseball from the treatment of suspected and proven PED users in football. It is all a mess...
   37. Something Other Posted: December 14, 2011 at 12:35 PM (#4016071)
Ray--serious question. If I've understood you correctly (and if I haven't, by all means ignore this), if a pitcher uses a PED to throw his curveball with a better break, that's okay with you. What if he's able to get away with using a spitball, to the same effect?
   38. TomH Posted: December 14, 2011 at 12:48 PM (#4016073)
If you prove yourself, at some point in your career, unable to master the basics of which stats are important to winning baseball games, there should be a re-vote to have your BBWAA membership stripped, and obviously remove any chance you have of voting for awards.
   39. Greg K Posted: December 14, 2011 at 01:23 PM (#4016075)
Hey, that would be like rejecting the honor of eventually being inducted into the HOF. That would be silly.

Hey, Cookie Gilchrist did just that, and he's still a hero to many!
   40. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: December 14, 2011 at 01:30 PM (#4016076)
Ray--serious question. If I've understood you correctly (and if I haven't, by all means ignore this), if a pitcher uses a PED to throw his curveball with a better break, that's okay with you. What if he's able to get away with using a spitball, to the same effect?


I'm not Ray but I'll jump in on this. I have no problem with PEDs being against the rules and their being penalties for breaking the rules as there are for things from the mundane (running out of the baseline) to the serious (betting on baseball). What frustrates me is the handwringing and over the top (in my opinion) moralization of PED usage.

Lebron James has a commercial out right now where he is sponsoring some kind of "energy tab" that he just puts on his tongue and it dissolves and gives him more energy. I realize it's a matter of degree but that is just one example of the number of ways athletes seek to get an edge that seem only modestly different from PEDs. Curt Schilling gets a cortisone shot and pitches on a bum ankle and he's a hero, but something similar to help him work out in the winter and he's worse than Jeffrey Dahmer.

Let's assume Braun really broke the rules. Fine, he is now being penalized under the CBA. It just seems that for a fairly sizable segment of the media that it's never enough and I'm sick of it. How about we stop pretending that the ability to hit a baseball a long way makes you a good person and just agree that it means you are good at baseball and nothing more. The media builds these guys up then when they turn out to be wrong rather than saying "oops, I was wrong, apparently this guy is human" they have to punish.
   41. Greg K Posted: December 14, 2011 at 01:38 PM (#4016078)
If I were a Brewers fan 95% of my reaction to this is frustration that Braun stupidly cost the Brewers 50 gmaes of stellar play, which could very well be the difference in a playoff run. To a lesser extent as a fan of baseball in general it's annoying that Braun has cost himself the chance to play a full season. I kind of like to see the really good players play a lot. In my mind it's equivalent to a player shooting himself in the foot and missing 50 games. It sucks and it's his own damn fault, but I don't see him as some sort of moral villain. Just an idiot.
   42. Ray (CTL) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 06:05 PM (#4016347)
If you prove yourself, at some point in your career, unable to master the basics of which stats are important to winning baseball games, there should be a re-vote to have your BBWAA membership stripped, and obviously remove any chance you have of voting for awards.


It's sad how many writers still are incapable of grasping the basic concepts - such as Chass.

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