Date: February 23
Location: Maryvale Baseball Park; Phoenix, Arizona
We’ve reached the top five, and in a completely unplanned bit of coincidence, #5 of 2012 was also #5 of 2011.
In early December of 2011, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended 50 games of elevated levels of testosterone. Braun vehemently denied to claims, and vowed to clear his name. On February 23rd, 2012, he did.
Braun won his appeal citing a chain of custody issue with handling of his urine sample, and that was enough to sway independent arbitrator Shyam Das. The league screamed to the mountaintops, blissfully ignoring the problems with the test and the leak that made the results known when they never should have been. The writers who called for Braun’s MVP award to be given back tried to backpedal, but kept using the word “technicality” too much. How chain of custody in a drug case is a technicality I’ll never know, but that’s neither here nor there. The Brewers went about their business, and Braun turned in another MVP-caliber year.
We may never know if Ryan Braun actually took a banned substance. All Braun did was prove a flaw in the testing itself; a testing system that Major League Baseball was so steadfast and stubborn with its operation. They puffed out their chests when the system was installed, responding to the whirlwind of criticism about their reaction to the steroid era. Instead of admitting that the testing process isn’t 100% concrete, Major League Baseball went the route of a small child who got his toy taken away. They still haven’t addressed it.
Most of the entries on my list so far have had widespread reverberations around their respective sport. Braun winning his appeal caught the baseball world off guard. He was the first player to ever win his appeal publicly, and baseball wasn’t ready for it. The league, the writers, the fans all refused to believe it. The players didn’t know how to trust the testing process anymore. And at the center of it all was Ryan Braun, who remained quiet and confident throughout the ordeal, despite making history.
10. Montee Ball Breaks NCAA Touchdown Record
9. Raffi Torres Hits Marian Hossa
8. Dan Appino Goes To Auburn
7. Aaron Rodgers Named NFL MVP
6. The Fail Mary
5. Ryan Braun Wins Appeal Of Drug Suspension
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