Not sure this is a safe assumption.
Forgive the length of this... but I decided to do some detailed research and I think I may have found something.
I looked over the CBA and I think I may have found THE loophole. If I am correct this was a drafting error on the part of the MLB lawyers. Any cites to the Drug policy can be found at
2. Challenges to the Proof of the Violation: The Player may challenge the initial showing by the Commissionerís Office that the result was "positive" or that it was obtained pursuant to a test authorized under the Program and was conducted in accordance with the Collection Procedures.
If the Player alleges a deviation from the Collection Procedures, the
Commissionerís Office will carry its burden (a) by demonstrating that there was no deviation; (b) by demonstrating that the deviation was authorized by the parties or by the IPA in an individual case (provided that the IPA acted within the authority delegated to him under the Program); or (c) by demonstrating that the deviation did not affect
the accuracy or reliability of the test result.
Do you see those words... "did not affect"... OUCH. They failed to put the key word "significantly" before the word "affect". The uncontroverted science says that any delay causes the sample to start to degrade, and the Montreal test procedures (agreed upon under paragraph 3E) state that any degradation less than 5% is insignificant. Thus, while a 1% degradation will not have a significant affect on the accuracy or reliability of a result, it will still have an effect. Read literally, if the accuracy of the result drops from 99.9999% to 99.9998% then MLB did not meet their burden under (c), above.
Such a strict reading would probably not be considered reasonable by most and probably infuriated MLB... and that explains why MLB fired Shyman Das on May 21st when he made the same ruling in the "nearly identical"
case of Eliezer Alfonzo. and then made an official public pronouncement that the challenge raised by Braun and Alfonzo would never be an issue again. Since MLB cannot control future facts, (mistakes happen)... the only
thing they could be referring to is a matter of legal wording or interpretation.
After Das' ruling on the Alfonzo case, MLB and the Player's Union reached an "Agreement"
(see cite above). Pursuant to that agreement, Alfonzo would not be suspended, BUT he was immediately dropped by Colorado. Read paragraph 7(M) of the drug policy. Under those circumstances, Colorado could NOT have dropped Alfonzo without the agreement of the Players Association/Union. Why did the the Union agree?
MLB then made a public statement that it would not be an issue ever again. Why was MLB so certain that it would never be an issue again? It would have to be based on a change in legal interpretation, since no one can control future facts.
My simple conspiracy theory is this.
A. Das' ruling was based on the pure literal reading technicality I discussed above.
B. Alfonzo had the same facts so decided to appeal after the Braun ruling.
C. Das made the same ruling.
D. MLB said that this was too much and wanted to renege on the agreement not to publish Das' Braun opinion.
E. To protect one of their biggest stars, MLB and The Player's Association agreed to
1) Fire Das (but MLB would take the public heat)
2) Thenceforth interpret rule 8(B)(2) to include the word "significant."
3) Throw Alfonzo under the bus.
I believe this theory complies with every statment made by every party involved with the single exception of Braun's self-serving denial.
Can anyone provide an equally plausible explanation given all the facts?
If the Union felt that the Braun, and therefore also the Alfonzo tests were not reliable... why did they agree to allow Alfonzo to be cut in violation of the CBA?