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Ryan Braun already dealing with hecklers during spring training

Ryan Braun may have won his appeal, but he has lost plenty of fans. He will not be punished in any way for allegedly testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone, but the issue was one with the handling of the sample rather than the results themselves. Braun may not have taken anything illegal, but it certainly looks like he’s fortunate somebody failed to do their job properly. Fans know that, which is why Braun has already had to listen to hecklers during spring training.

According to the Journal Sentinel, Braun received a warm welcome from the Brewers fans in attendance in Phoenix on Sunday for his first game action since the controversy. Others were not as kind.

During the N.L. MVP’s first at-bat, one small group of fans chanted, “Urine sample! Urine sample!” Another fan screamed, “You’re a cheater!” when Braun strolled to the plate for the second time. He struck out both times.

“It’s certainly going to be an adjustment, but overall it is not something that really factors into my thought process or preparations, too much,” Braun said when asked about the fans.

Braun will certainly have to get used to it if he wants to continue his All-Star caliber play this season. He may still have a decent approval rating in Wisconsin, but there are many fans across the country who believe he got lucky with his appeal and are going to let him hear about it. Maybe a call to Barry Bonds would help.

Ryan Braun has 59% approval rating in Wisconsin, poll says; 34% still undecided

After the fallout from the overturning of his 50-game drug suspension, Ryan Braun looks like he might end up saving face. Well, in Wisconsin, at least.

According to a recent poll of Wisconsin voters, 59% said they still have a favorable opinion of the Brewers’ reigning NL MVP. But, interestingly, 34% of those polled said they still weren’t sure how they feel about Braun. The poll was conducted between Feb. 23 and 26, which was the time immediately after news broke that Braun won his appeal and boldly declared his innocence in a press conference.

While Braun still has a mostly positive view among Sconnies, undoubtedly he was more popular last fall when he was leading the Brewers to an NLCS and winning the league’s MVP award. These numbers also most likely don’t reflect the rest of the country. Asking people in Wisconsin what they think about Braun is like asking Democrats what they think of Barack Obama.

Uncertainty about Braun’s innocence is still out there, and it should be a lot of fun seeing the reception he receives going ballpark to ballpark this season. Probably wouldn’t hurt to have a “Flying Syringe Alert” in effect.

Photo credit: Jerry Lai, US Presswire

Ryan Braun urine collector insists he did not tamper with sample

Ryan Braun had his time to address the arbitration case he won against MLB which overturned the 50 game suspension he was due for a positive drug test. Braun criticized MLB’s testing process that resulted in the overturned suspension. The Brewers MVP reportedly won his case because the urine collector kept the sample at home for two days, believing there wasn’t a FedEx open to ship the sample.

The urine collector, Dino Laurenzi Jr., issued a statement Tuesday defending his work and decisions. He says storing the samples at home was not unusual, and it was something he was taught to do. If you believe Laurenzi, then it’s difficult to explain how Braun’s sample had extremely high levels of synthetic testosterone. Braun may have escaped suspension, but the questions about his positive test still have not been answered.

Below is Laurenzi’s entire statement:

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Victor Conte not buying Ryan Braun’s story

Whether or not you believe Ryan Braun’s bold declaration of innocence Friday is up to you. But if you’re one of the nearly 4,000 followers of BALCO founder Victor Conte on Twitter, you’ll know he isn’t buying it. Since an arbitrator on Thursday overturned the reigning NL MVP’s 50-game suspension, Conte hasn’t stopped tweeting his doubt over Braun’s innocence.

Here are a few highlights:

“My opinion. Braun used testosterone. Urine & result are valid. Source claim ‘insanely high.’ Untrue. Only 20 to1 T/E ratio. Others 80 to 1″

“Dopey users and dopey testers. Two failed IQ tests”

“My Opinion. Braun’s people are blowing smoke. Both A & B sample positive w/ CIR (carbon isotope ratio) confirmation. MLB ‘flawed’ technical policy will change soon”

“My opinion. Floyd Landis case like Braun case. A & B samples w/ elevated T/E ratio. CIR confirms “synthetic” testosterone. Lots of smoke”

“The WADA (World Anti-Doping Association) Director said the integrity of Braun’s urine sample had NOT been compromised and WADA would have found him positive. An MLB bad.”

“My opinion. Braun’s positive drug test for testosterone was not overturned. Simply a procedure error was made by MLB. Braun tested positive”

Conte was sentenced to four months in prison for his role with BALCO, so it’s hard to take him seriously when he’s trying to be the moral police, as he is here. Especially so with that last tweet, which, as Eye on Baseball points out, isn’t even an opinion; it’s fact.

Truth is, we might not ever know for certain whether Braun actually cheated, given his appeal was focused on the testing process rather than the actual result. Conte’s tweets are another reminder that Braun winning the arbitration hearing does not mean he never used performance-enhancing drugs. The question is: Do you believe Braun used and just happened to get off, and do you value the analysis of an ex-con like Conte?

Aaron Rodgers celebrates Ryan Braun winning appeal, tells MLB to eat crow

Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Braun have a lot in common and have formed a strong friendship because of their similarities. Both men are talented yet cocky athletes from California now winning MVPs for Wisconsin teams. Rodgers has called Braun his best athlete friend, and Braun has done Rodgers’ championship belt celebration after getting a hit during a game.

When news of Braun’s positive drug test emerged, Rodgers defended his friend. After the suspension was overturned, Rodgers began celebrating.

At first came a tweet that said “exonerated.”

Rodgers was just getting going. Next came a barrage of tweets calling out media outlets and MLB.

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Ryan Braun reportedly won appeal because sample was delivered to lab two days late

Although Brewers slugger Ryan Braun will not be suspended for a positive drug test, winning the arbitration case does not necessarily mean he’s innocent. From what we know, the positive drug test for elevated levels of testosterone may have been legitimate. Braun may have only won the appeal because his lawyer cast enough doubt about the test to the three-person arbitration panel.

Several media sources are reporting that Braun won the arbitration case thanks to a technicality.

Tom Haudricourt wrote that Braun won the appeal not because they contested the positive test, but because of the testing process.

Karl Ravech explained the issue in greater detail, saying a source told him “the courier who was supposed to deliver a positive sample to a Federal Express building on a Saturday evening decided not to because he thought that building might be closed. He takes it home with him until Monday morning, leaves it intact, brings it back to the Federal Express building, sends it off, but those 36-48 hours is the loophole that allowed Braun to get off.”

Reporter Jon Heyman said the same thing, reporting that “part of braun’s argument was that the chain of custody was broken for 2 days, meaning the sample was left unprotected.”

Tim Kurkjian reported on ESPN that he heard there was a mishandling of the sample.

So how innocent is Braun? Maybe not as innocent as his statement would like you to believe. Braun winning the arbitration hearing on a technicality seems like the reason MLB was so upset the test was overturned.

Braun may have won his appeal, but it will be hard to win back the people who now view him as a dirty player. This is the exact reason Aaron Rodgers said there should be some confidentiality; the public was not supposed to know about the positive test or appeal.

Ryan Braun wins appeal, will not be suspended for positive drug test

Reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun has beaten the system. The Brewers outfielder will not be suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for a positive drug test, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Haudricourt writes “Someone familiar with the decision said the appeal went Braun’s way not so much on contesting the result of the test but the testing process itself, some kind of technicality.”

Braun reportedly tested positive for elevated levels of synthetic testosterone during the playoffs. He accepted his MVP award and the MLB writers had no plans to re-vote on the award.

Braun is expected to report to spring training on Friday. He was the first of 13 players to successfully appeal a drug suspension case.

Major League Baseball Executive Vice President for Labor Relations Rob Manfred issued the following statement expressing dissatisfaction with the outcome of the appeal:

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