After Ryan Braun tested positive for an absurdly elevated testosterone level late in his MVP 2011 season, he avoided suspension by arguing that the sample collector – Dino Laurenzi, Jr. – didn’t follow the proper protocols, raising issues about the chain of custody.
As that was going on, according to an ESPN report, Braun was also arguing behind the scenes that Laurenzi was an anti-Semite (Braun is Jewish), and (worse?) … a Chicago Cubs fan!* Braun reportedly reached out to fellow MLB players to rally support, suggesting that Laurenzi’s biases, including his Cubs fandom, had something to do with how Braun’s positive test came into being.
I love the Cubs as much as anyone, but it strikes me as a touch insane to intentionally taint a specific player’s urine specimen – and risk losing one’s job – because he plays for a rival of the Cubs. That’s apparently the portrait of Laurenzi that Braun was trying to paint, which is obviously awful. Throw in the much more serious anti-Semetic claims, and Braun is probably going to have some legal ‘splainin’ to do.
Back when Braun “won” his appeal, and held his famous press conference to claim victory, he said this, among other things, about the collector:
“Why he didn’t bring [the sample] in, I don’t know. On the day that he did finally bring it in, FedEx opened at 7:30. Why didn’t he bring it in until 1:30? I can’t answer that question. Why was there zero documentation? What could have possibly happened to it during that 44-hour period? There were a lot of things that we learned about the collector, about the collection process, about the way that the entire thing worked that made us very concerned and very suspicious about what could have actually happened.” (emphasis added)
I think it’s fair to suspect now that Braun was referring to the twin sins of being anti-Semetic and a Cubs fan.
If ESPN’s report is accurate, I’m thinking the dislike meter for Braun among Cubs fans will continue its downward slide.
*I like to imagine Braun discovering Laurenzi’s dark secret …
[Leafing through Laurenzi's follows on Twitter] “Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, yes, yes, no help there. Wait. He follows Bruce Levine? *AND* Bruce Miles? The Bruces!? No … no … [scrolling down to reveal] @CubsNoHitStreak!? It can’t be! Laurenzi is … a Cubs fan!”
The shock and dismay that had only recently gripped Braun begin to wash away as he slides back in his chair, a fiendish plan turning over in his mind.
“A Cubs fan,” Braun repeats to himself, grasping at the very mustache he’d grown in the hopes he’d have occasion to twist …