COMMENTARY | This is just a hunch, but there might be somebody inside Major League Baseball who doesn't mind leaking news to the media.
That has been the case regarding Ryan Braun, first in December of 2011 and on multiple occasions throughout the MLB's investigation of Biogenesis and Braun's connection to the alleged performance-enhancing drug clinic.
Under baseball's Joint Drug Agreement, a player that registers a positive drug test is supposed to be protected from the point of the test throughout the appeal process. That obviously didn't happen for Braun, as in December of 2011, news broke of Braun's positive test. By the end of February of 2012, everyone knew that Braun had successfully won his appeal.
Roughly a year later, Jeff Passan and Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports broke the initial news of Braun being listed in the records of Biogenesis.
Then on March 20, a source told Passan that even though some 20-odd players were being tracked by MLB for their connections to Biogenesis, Braun was a main target of MLB's probe because of the belief that he provided baseball with false information about his PED use in the past.
At the turn of June, ESPN Outside the Lines reported that Braun could face a 100-game suspension, the penalty for a second doping offense, because of this alleged false information Braun presented baseball.
And finally, yet another note on a silver platter was delivered from someone within the inner linings of Major League Baseball (who else could it be?) to the media. On July 9, it was ESPN again, this time noting that Braun and several others could expect to be suspended after the All-Star break, and that Braun refused to answer questions during a recent meeting with baseball.
You know who else probably refused to answer any questions? Everyone else being targeted.
But Braun is the headliner in this drawn out story that really hasn't changed over the past five months. That's probably what Major League Baseball wants, and perhaps that's why so much information has been leaked during the investigation process.
That might be what baseball wants, but it's not what the people want, and it isn't helping MLB's image all that much, either. Why it would want this latest "breaking news" to get out is a mystery, as it takes focus away from baseball's greatest spectacle, the All-Star game, and the season in general.
While its players might be breaking the rules, MLB hasn't been abiding by its own guidelines by leaking the suspensions several days before they are supposed to be officially announced. You know, just like it did with Ryan Braun two winters ago.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt, who earlier in the week had reported that the suspension, if any, wouldn't come until after the Midsummer Classic, chimed in with a report that refuted the one made earlier in the evening by ESPN. In the post, Haudricourt said a commissioner's office spokesman told him the ESPN report was premature and that no decision had been made on whether or not Braun and others would be suspended.
This isn't the first time and it won't be the last that we see conflicting reports in the world of sports, but it would make sense that Major League Baseball wouldn't have a reason to leak the suspension information as Haudricourt later noted.
And yet there has been a lot of information leaked. Multiple times, whether it's come from inside of the commissioner's office or not.
It's not a bad thing that MLB is trying to clean up its sport. It's just the way it is going about attempting to do so.
There is too much contradiction and too much backstabbing to really know who to believe. Quite frankly, fans are over PEDs and steroids in baseball, and there is always going to be a way to gain a competitive advantage in any sport -- there is simply too much money at stake to expect anything less.
That doesn't mean Braun is off the hook, and it certainly doesn't mean Braun's slate will be wiped clean if he is able to avoid suspension one way or another. When these reported suspensions are eventually handed down, this story will be far from over, as you can bet there will be plenty of appeals.
As far as the baseball community -- especially the one in Milwaukee -- is concerned, the latest development is much ado about nothing, and more chatter that nobody is hanging around to listen to.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
You can get the discussion going and follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_ .
- Sports & Recreation
- Major League Baseball
- Ryan Braun