Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning of Game One of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
There's precedent for overturning a positive drug test in baseball. And oddly, the man who did it is a former college and minor league teammate of Ryan Braun.
Who? Yes, Brendan Katin, who had a higher OPS than Braun when they were teammates on the 2006 Brevard County Manatees. (Of course, that's mainly because Braun got called up halfway through the season to Double-A Huntsville, where he mashed for a .954 OPS and 15 HR in 54 games).
Katin and Braun were also teammates at the University of Miami and are now connected in yet a third way. In 2007, when Katin was at Huntsville himself, he was told he had failed a drug test. Like Braun, Katin says he knew he was clean and appealed, hoping to avoid the mandatory 50-game suspension:
In Katin's case, his first sample came back with a high level of testosterone.
"They assumed I was on something," he said.
In 2007 in the Minor Leagues, players would submit two urine samples -- marked "A" and "B." Katin was notified that he tested positive for high levels of testosterone, and he said the "B" sample was then tested for synthetic drugs. It came back negative. Now, if a player has a high level, Major League Baseball will automatically test for synthetic drugs before contacting the player.
Sounds similar to Braun's case. Two months later, he was exonerated. Why did Katin's test create a false positive?
He never got an explanation for the high levels of testosterone, but said it may have been caused by having a few drinks the night before the test.
I am not a doctor, and I don't know if this is true or not. But it does raise the point that there could be several different explanations of what Braun has called "highly unusual circumstances".
Which is why, again, I caution everyone not to rush to judgment on Ryan Braun; his appeal could work and he'll be exonerated. If so, the court of public opinion will need to acquit him, too.