MLB's Handling Of Ryan Braun And Miguel Tejada Doesn't Add Up

By Karl Buscheck

Buster Olney of ESPN has reported that Ryan Braun reached out to veteran players around MLB to rally support as he was appealing his drug ban in 2011.

The left fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers reportedly smeared the urine sample collector by describing  him as a vengeful fan of the  Chicago Cubs, and even stating that he had been told the collector was an anti-Semite. Braun, who is from Mission Hills, California, is Jewish.

For his off-field skulduggery and on-field enhanced performance, the 2011 NL MVP was handed a 65-game ban, which will cost him $3.25 million. That punishment begs the question as to why another former MVP — this one from the AL — is being treated so much more harshly?

Miguel Tejada, who scooped the award for top player in the AL back in 2002, has been smacked with a 105-game penalty. That means the 39-year-old infielder will miss the final 41 games of 2013 and would have to sit out the first 64 games of next season.

Tejada, who has been linked to PEDs and and age-related inconsistencies in the past, earned the 105-game suspension because he has now tested positive for amphetamines three times in his career, and twice in 2013.

The six-time All-Star failed two tests for Adderall, the drug that is commonly prescribed to school kids for ADD and widely consumed by college students as a study aid. One of Tejada’s failed tests came last week, and the other at some point between then and the beginning of the season.

The rules for amphetamines state that the second test earned Tejada 25 games and the third got him 80 more, which is how the league arrived at 105 games. Tejada didn’t get banned after the first test because that’s not what the rules call for. But if he failed two tests this season, why didn’t the league just suspend him after the first one?

Adderall, and amphetamine in general, are definitely illegal in baseball … well, as long as you don’t have a “therapeutic use exemption” for the drug.

Tejada didn’t, but he did as recently as April 15. When his most recent exemption expired, the league refused to grant the veteran infielder a new one. For a bit of context, the league doled out 116 exemptions for ADD alone in 2012. On any given day, 750 players are in the big leagues. So, 15.4 percent of players have been given league approval to take the drug, and Tejada gets a 105-game ban?

Tejada said he had been taking the drug for five years. So perhaps he decided to continue doing so knowing full well what the league’s stance was. In that sense, Tejada could be seen as getting banned for defiance as much as for upping his energy levels. That would also explain why baseball gave him a pass on the first positive test.

But back to Braun, the other MVP, who was doing something entirely different. Braun was reported to have “insanely high” levels of synthetic testosterone and also obstructed the league’s investigation to not quite to Lance Armstrong-type levels of subterfuge, but certainly on par with what Alex Rodriguez has been alleged to have done.

Maybe baseball let Braun off easy because they know they won’t be able to rid themselves of him anytime soon. The 2007 NL Rookie of the Year is under contract with Selig’s old club until 2020, and is still owed $113 million upon his return from suspension.

Either way, it’s a rough break for Tejada. Something tells me, though, that the 105-game ban — the second longest ever dished out for a PED-related offense — won’t be the last of Miggy, the player who appeared in all 162 games on five occasions during his career.

Karl Buscheck is an Oakland Athletics writer for Follow him on Twitter @KarlBuscheck and add him to your network on Google.

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