Ryan Braun And The Theory Of A Zero Defect Mentality

Don’t hate the man.  Hate the fact perfection…always pursued…isn’t always achieved.

NL MVP Ryan Braun will not be suspended for failing to adhere to the drug testing rules of Major League Baseball.

We don’t know if he was trying to beat the system or not.  Frankly, considering the practice of medicine is called just that – practice – you can easily take the stance that you NEVER know if someone was using performance-enhancing material or not.  That’s why I’ve always been quite lax in even attempting to enforce this kind of stuff.  My position is we need to end these kinds of tests, not ramp them up.  We could go back and forth on that all day long.

Staying on point with Braun’s situation, when I heard the news his appeal was approved my mind flashed to an entry I read in a book some years back…of all books…“God’s Little Daily Devotional.”

This religious passage stayed with me all this time because I preach from the podium of a “zero defect mentality” in the workplace.  It is a way of thinking that allows for the indisputable fact human beings make errors.  This mentality just reinforces and emphasizes the equally indisputable fact any error along the way can have significant repercussions.

Keep in mind these stats are from a decade or so ago…but you’ll get the concept soon enough.  At a 99.9 percent success rate…

The IRS would lose two million documents a year.

Twelve babies would be given to the wrong parents each day.

Some 291 pacemaker operations would be performed incorrectly a year.

Approximately 20,000 prescriptions would be incorrectly filled.

The reason for bringing all this up is the stories are now creeping out that Ryan was not appealing evidence, tampering of evidence…or even the science of medicine (which I continue to maintain is a good enough reason to look the other way on a lot of this).  His appeal was based on the collection and subsequent chain of custody with the sample.

People will hammer away this morning at baseball’s drug testing system…how terribly flawed it is.  What I am presenting here is any “system” is flawed.  There is no zero defect industry, especially when it comes to medicine.

Maybe the sample wasn’t walked through the process 100%.  Ryan Braun had every right to appeal the decision to suspend him based on that singular fact.  If it wasn’t followed correctly, he correctly should not be suspended.  The person who allegedly broke the sample chain of custody should be.  Human beings make mistakes…consequences follow to reinforce their impact.

Perhaps Ryan Braun made a mistake.  Perhaps MLB’s drug testing system made a mistake.

Perhaps Ryan Braun was innocent from the beginning.  Perhaps Ryan Braun was knowingly in violation of baseball’s drug policy.

We were going to be discussing Braun’s situation regardless of the outcome of his appeal.  The fact he won it, apparently because of a failure of one or more human beings to do their job, isn’t necessarily what people should be focused on this morning.

What should be the focus this morning is how a drug testing system – if MLB and its players continue to feel strongly about maintaining it – can be improved to further reduce the rate of incidence another, similar failure might occur.

But mistakes do happen.  They always will.

Nothing Ryan Braun did – or didn’t do – will ever change that fact of life.  God knows.

The truth of the matter is the truth is only known between Ryan Braun and…well, you know…


About sportsattitudes

I'm Bruce. Born, raised and still outside the City of Brotherly Love. Managed (so far) to visit a dozen of our United States and Canada (twice). Addicted from birth to Television/Movies/Sports. Took three years of French and got credit for two of 'em.
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27 Responses to Ryan Braun And The Theory Of A Zero Defect Mentality

  1. Joe Munley says:

    As a fan, I understand the outrage that has surfaced since Braun got off on a technicality. However, the process – if it is to work properly – must be respected by both sides. If a player is accountable & must adhere to the testing policies, then the people in charge of the administration of the tests must be accountable as well – and this includes chain of custody.


  2. chappy81 says:

    I’m with you on the whole who cares where in the chain it got messed up. I kinda wonder how many times over the season he was tested. If it’s over 10, then I believe him, if it’s under 10 then I think it was a dirty test.


    • Agreed. It doesn’t matter anymore about his case…except to learn from what all went wrong in the process. What the focus should be on now is what happens going forward. If you are going to have a testing system, strive greater for “zero defects” within the process.


  3. tophatal says:


    God bless the lab tech that tainted the “chain of custody” by taking Braun’s specimen home ! ‘nough said !

    tophatal ……………….


  4. I personally think Braun should serve the suspension. His test was negative, and a zero-tolerance policy is the way to go. It’s not like the US legal system, he’s not going to jail, a 50-game suspension isn’t the end of the world. Now, this question will be hanging over his head for the rest of his life.


  5. Bobby Charts says:

    Great points! Love all the mistake stats, a little scary, lol.

    Your right though. Basically nothing is perfect.


    • It is a little scary to think of all the mistakes that occur every day in all walks of life, especially in the “practice” of medicine. The goal should always be to learn from these errors and work harder to reduce the number of them as much as possible.


  6. FireDannyAinge says:

    I am fine with him not being suspended because there are rules and someone did not follow them.

    I have defended Braun the entire time because when he talked he acted like he had proof he did not cheat when in reality he got off on a technicality.

    Manny Rameriz was never busted for testing positive for using steroids. He tested positive for the stuff the cheaters use that hides the steroids.

    Why didn’t MLB catch him using the actual steroids? Sounds to me like MLB has probably missed a lot of cheaters.

    Back after the 2003 situation about the steroids came out the players union was accused to telling the Yankee players when the testing was so they wouldn’t get caught. NO ONE even mentions that.

    Everyone should be tested at least twice a month during the season. EVERYONE.


    • If they want to keep on testing athletes for drug use, they clearly need to improve their performance with the test system. Once a player’s name is associated with “drug testing,” the scar on the reputation never goes away.


  7. Blog Surface says:

    This situation has made MLB look very unprofessional. Great post Bruce. It’s to the point where you don’t know who to believe anymore. The game as we know it seem to be tainted in many aspects… definitely not a great scenario for the league.


    • MLB and Braun both take hits on this one. It is definitely not a great scenario for the sport going forward. There is going to be a need for transparancy on the fixes they make in their system…and also a clear explanation of how the testing is conducted from here on out.


  8. tophatal says:


    The league hierarchy and specifically Selig is an idiot to be decrying the Shyam Das’ decision especially in light of the mistakes made by the lab.

    tophatal ………..


  9. Longworth72 says:

    Nice post – Hadn’t really looked at the Braun situation this way. Strange to think he may have taken something in the pursuit of perfection which is something we see as wrong and yet meanwhile we expect our detection systems to be perfect – Maybe we need a detection system that is performance enhanced.

    Right or wrong Braun has been tagged by this – That he got away on a technicality will only smear the stain rather than wash it clean. It’s a shame – No winners out of this except maybe his legal and PR teams.


  10. tophatal says:


    The fact that the technician used Fedex instead of UPS will that harm the carrier’s (Fedex) image in your estimation ? Your thoughts ?

    Let me know what you think ? Here are my thoughts on this rather odious affair ! Merely click on link to view . It’s just this Brit’s point of view mind you !

    Stupid Is As Stupid Does …. Fu#k , It’s Baseball I’m Talking About …… !


    • Soon, Tophatal…I suspect we’ll see commercials with both companies touting their availability to process all our drug samples 24/7. Of course, MLB has already given a nod to who is the “Official Drug Testing Sample Service” of Major League Baseball…but perhaps that contract is up for renewal annually? Good Lord, we’re arguing now about whether their was a local depot open at the hour the tech got the sample? OMG.


      • tophatal says:

        Brown (UPS) gets it there on time all of the time . It’s simple logistics . Fedex on the other hand …… who knows ? Unfortunately the lab employee in question still doesn’t believe that he’s done anything wrong , as he’s stated he’s handled hundreds of test samples on behalf of the league (MLB) without there ever being a problem . Well this was the one time he simply screwed up and then some ! LOL,LOL,LOL !!!


  11. As much as I don’t like Braun and how he has gone about this, I do have to agree that he has every right to challenge this. But, there are facts that do lead to some suspicion of his drug test being positive and unaltered. One being that the tests were sealed three times, and that when Braun gave his sample he had to sign papers that they everything was done in his sight. When the samples arrived in Montreal, the agency that does the testing said that they were not tampered with. So, despite the fact that Dino Laurenzi (the collector) did not go to FedEx right away, it doesn’t mean he had anything to do with the test results. It just means, like you said, that humans make mistakes.

    Braun was the only one to gain from anything in this situation, while Mr. Laurenzi had no reason to do this and had nothing to gain and everything to lose. Laurenzi has done over 600 collections and nothing has gone wrong in any, so there leaves little to doubt in his skills for his job. To the eye, despite being biased a bit, I still see Braun as the one who is lying to us and cheating not just the fans, but the game. To me, this is just sad and wrong.


    • Sports, thanks for stopping by first of all. The thing I will add to this Braun topic is I find it amazing he’s actually taunting MLB after the fact. You would think he’d just take his victory and get back in the batting cage. Very shocked at how chatty he has been about all this. Sounds like he was as surprised as anyone he was “let go.”


  12. tophatal says:

    Sports Notions & Sportsattitude

    Under the CBA now in existence with MLB a player can lodge an appeal through the union to challenge that first 50 game mandated suspension . It’s the second one that’s something of deal to try and challenge . But then again who knows .

    I love the fact that Braun’s lawyer is making the claim that justice has been served . Wow !

    tophatal ……….


  13. Steven Jeffries says:

    Wanted to look back at some of your “older” stuff. Some great material here! As for the Braun situation, I think a suspension handed down should perhaps be reviewed. As you have said, nobody’s ever perfect. Mistakes are made in everything every day.

    I don’t mean to go “overboard” with it. We don’t need “10 minutes under the hood” looking at the same replay 100 times like in NFL play…but I do like to try and get as many right as possible.

    Was Braun guilty? Maybe. Did he get off because of a mistake? I think so. Should it be like this in every case in the future? I don’t think so. Another “set of eyes” on a suspension might be a good thing in every case…


    • Thanks for checking out the archives Steven! Much appreciated. I wonder what fans are thinking each time Braun takes the field in this still-young season. He wasn’t that far removed from not joining the action until summertime.


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