Here we sit, 24 hours removed from Ryan Braun's second PED scandal. Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown and Jeff Passan broke the news on Tuesday afternoon that Braun's name is listed in the files of Biogenesis, the alleged PED clinic run by Anthony Bosch.
Braun's response? He paid Bosch/Biogenesis for consulting in the successful appeal of his previous 50-game suspension. "I have nothing to hide," Braun's statement said.
Things have unfolded much as you'd expect: News breaks. Reaction. "I knew it! He's guilty!" or "There's not enough proof, leave him alone!" Denial. More reaction. Debate. Navel-gazing by media critics about things like our 24-hour news cycle and rush to judgment.
Braunageddon II generated enough interest to steal airtime from National Signing Day. Indeed, much has been written — mostly about how believable we find Braun's excuse.
To some, it's a man using any means necessary to defend himself. To others, it's either strange to call on a "doctor" associated with PEDs or it's an incredibly convenient story.
On Fangraphs, Wendy Thurm writes from a fascinating perspective. She practiced law for 20 years and knows all about "working with experts in high-stakes cases." Her take? Braun's story is completely plausible.
Braun’s statement says that his attorneys used Tony Bosch “as a consultant” and that he answered questions “about T/E ratio and possibilities of tampering with samples.” Sounds to me like Bosch worked as a behind-the-scenes expert and advised Braun’s attorneys as they prepared to challenge the positive test.
Why Bosch? Why use someone who’d already been linked to banned substances? I don’t know for sure, but it makes sense to me to his lawyers would consult with someone who had experience with a player (Manny Ramirez) who had tested positive and had been given a 50-game suspension. If you’re a lawyer defending a client accused of participating in a drug cartel conspiracy, you want to consult with people who knows how drug cartels work. Sure, there are law enforcement experts that you’ll want to testify for the client, but you also would like to consult with former drug cartel members. It’s entirely possible that Bosch had information from Ramirez’s situation that was useful to Braun’s lawyers in preparing their appeal.
Over at FoxSports.com, Jon Paul Morosi is on the opposite side. He's skeptical (again) of Braun's denial:
Plausible? I suppose. Convincing? No. Much like Braun’s explanation to the media last February — which was incomplete at times and downright misleading at others — Tuesday’s statement raises as many questions as it answers.
Such as: If Braun’s attorneys were “previously familiar” with Bosch, wouldn’t they have known to avoid any link with him because of his reputation for selling PEDs to athletes?
The reality is, we might never know the truth. That's how most of these PED stories go. (Bless you, Jason Giambi, for being different). Instead, we're left to speculate, opine, play jury 140 characters at a time.
Speaking of: We asked our Twitter followers — join us at @bigleaguestew, btw — if people are buying Braun's story. As I type this, we didn't get a single response from someone who said they did.
@bigleaguestew I don't believe anyone anymore.Baseball is dirty, bottom line.
— Conner Fusarelli (@leafsnation0715) February 6, 2013
@bigleaguestew If not for the test/appeal I would but this is just to much coincidence. As Mariner fan trying to believe Mantero, it's hard
— David Langway (@atron_shen) February 6, 2013
— Mike Heimowitz (@heimy25) February 6, 2013
— Brian Sinkoff (@BrianSinkoff) February 6, 2013
@bigleaguestew No. Bosch's dad was attached to Manny Ramirez prior. Tony Bosch had to be a scary name in baseball circles already.
— Ben (@derFunkenstein) February 6, 2013
@bigleaguestew I say no. He could have hired any expert with all kinds of credentials, but he choose a PED dealer. Doesn't make any sense.
— Paul Price (@sirobiwan23) February 7, 2013
What does this prove? Nothing. Other than not enough people from Milwaukee follow us.