The big news yesterday was that in an unprecedented move, the appeal court decided to uphold Ryan Braun's appeal and not suspend him. The ruling was based on the fact that the sample took too long to be delivered to the testing site, breaking the "chain of custody" and invalidating the test results. That's not to say that the results were incorrect as a result -- simply that by the rules established, this test result was invalid and couldn't be used.
Major League Baseball is taking a hard-line approach on the result ("vehemently disagrees"), which seems a touch unfair. I mean, these rules are in place for a reason, right? But at the same time, I find it curious that we're so willing to let Braun off the hook for his false test, while so many players in the past have had to overcome stigmas and negative reactions after testing positive.
What makes Braun's defense ring more true with us? Why are we willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here? Don't get me wrong, I think it's good to hold off on judgement and I wish prior reactions hadn't been so severe, but it seems incongruous with the general reaction after other players have tested positive. Have we mellowed with age? Or are we that concerned with our fantasy baseball teams?
Also, Roy Oswalt announced yesterday that he's going to wait until mid-season to sign with a team, a la Roger Clemens. I'm glad he won't be signing with the Red Sox, but I wish he'd followed Dave Cameron's idea and inked a contract with a Must Trade Clause. Now that would have been fun to watch.
- In other news, Max Marchi has a research piece up over at BPro, looking at which catchers are best at handling a pitching staff. No surprise, Jose Molina is at the top of the list.
- The 2012 ZiPS projections have all been released! You can now find them on FanGraphs leaderboards and team pages. I trust ZiPS the most of all the major projection systems out there, so definitely check it out.
I think I've mentioned this already, but be sure to keep following along with Rays Digest this week. John has been at camp over the past couple days, and he's posted a lot of Spring Training photos and content on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. I'm sure he'll have some interesting stories later on at his site, as it seems like he's conducting lots of interviews and gathering general impressions.
Also, Tommy Rancel has been running a Spring Training Preview series over at ESPN Florida this week. So far, he's looked at the Rays' infield, outfield, rotation, and bullpen situations, and he posted a piece today on other notable ST invites. You can't go wrong with Tommy's work; check it out.
If you're looking for other Spring Training tidbits, Marc Topkin has two entertaining columns i today's Tampa Bay Times. Since there are so few big "stories" happening right now, his piece are light-hearted and bounce around between a number of things happening at camp. I love the note about Matt Bush; it seems like he's catching a number of eyes so far.