Friday, February 24, 2012

Plugs, Samples & Ink-less Kiosks

Let's start with the good stuff - it IS Friday, after all.

There's a great contest going on over at Cards Beyond Oceans.   Different perspectives are always a good thing and CBO's contributors, Martyn and Tony Mc, seamlessly deliver interesting tidbits on their hobby adventures from across the pond.   Go check 'em out!

Now, on to story #2, which had me doing one of these when the 'news' broke yesterday:

That's right - the Ryan Braun debacle.   The whole series of events was bizarre from the get-go, with the story of Braun's failed test being leaked prior to any outcome (a violation of the process).   That wasn't fair to Braun and shows a lack of integrity in the MLB drug-testing process.

But it didn't stop there.

No, upon further review, the sample had been taken over a weekend and the sample collector couldn't figure out a way to pass the tubes on to the next person in the chain of custody.   So, he/she did what I guess seemed to be the next logical thing - they kept Braun's "Career In a Bottle" cool  and secure by sticking it behind the pan of lasagna left-overs in their home's refrigerator.

Oh yes......and you know what?   I think THAT move deserves one of these:

So there you go.   And with his career, reputation, good name and OODLES of potential future money on the line, Team Braun focused on this alleged breach of proper custody when making their appeal.   It worked.   Braun made history off the field by being the FIRST player to win his appeal of a failed drug test.

My two cents?   This is an unfortunate situation because nobody comes out completely clean.   Braun's appeal effort did not clearly dispute the positive results of his sample.  Instead, it zeroed in on the violation of the process for sample chain of custody directed by the Drug Testing Program's guidelines.   I believe in the rule of law, so I can't fault their strategy and I can see where the arbitrator's logic is based - reasonable doubt.   But the fact that we still have a positive test that wasn't directly rebuked is troubling.   We may never know for sure and that just stinks.

Plus, we now have baseball's problem with PEDs back in somewhat of a limelight.   Their process for handling these tests appears to be a bit too grey in some areas (the sample-collector thought they were doing the right thing) so it will have to be re-evaluated and revised.   Is it Selig's fault?   Well, the responsibility lies with the Captain of the ship but we all know that MLB pays good money for some top firm out there to develop this program and, perhaps, implement it.   And then you have the strong language in MLB's official reaction to the decision.   The words "vehemently disagrees" was used.   How often do you and I use "vehemently"?   I guess not often enough but it shows an indisputable level of passion in the League's disagreement with the outcome.   Fighting in the family.......never good, but it can lead to some solid "lessons learned" and improvements for moving forward.

I'm glad it's done.   I am hopeful the process will change accordingly so that this type of goof-up doesn't happen again.   I am happy for Braun and for baseball but at the same time I can't look at either the same way.   Not for a little while at least.   Time usually heals all wounds but what would some players say who have been placed under suspicion of PEDs in the past with much less physical evidence?

Okay, I'm done - thanks for enduring!

One more bit of frustration - the kiosk at my local US Post Office told me it was OUT OF INK this morning.   Grrrrr!   This is the same kiosk that absolutely had no power a couple of weeks ago.   What the heck?   Should I expect a "PC LOADLETTER" error message next time?

"I celebrate the guy's entire collection!"

That being said, I have four trade packaged all sealed up and ready to go whenever they dump some more ink into that machine.   I'll have packages headed out to the following zip codes:

  • 17349
  • 92688
  • 08551
  • 75201
Sorry for the delay, fellas!   I have a few trade updates coming soon as well.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

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