MVP Ryan Braun
Milwaukee Brewer MVP Ryan Braun recently tested positive for PED's, but had his MLB-imposed suspension overturned due to some technicalities in Dino I. Laurenzi, Jr.'s handling of Braun's urine sample. More specifically, synthetic testosterone was identified in the sample of the Brewers slugger.
As expected, the public backlash was vindictive and vociferous, regardless of Braun's successful appeal. Milwaukee's toast of the town, the 2011 season's MVP and a promising star in MLB's post-steroid era has been forever tainted by his mere association to PED's.
Justified or not, this is the society we live in.
However, this article is not aimed at condemning or condoning Braun, Mr. Laurenzi, Jr. or the system in general.
This piece will present information on four particular issues: why fans are, well, dumb; what synthetic testosterone is; what exactly causes it and its corollary benefits and drawbacks; why Manny Ramirez's situation is analogous to Braun's and if Mr. Laurenzi, Jr.'s alleged tampering could have adulterated Braun's pee.
But, first, let's all take a look in the mirror, spectrophobia be damned (that is your word of the day...you are welcome), and address our own issues when it comes to such matters...
Fans are dumb
Ryan Braun and those who similarly wear his steroid-scarlet letter are at a disadvantage: the public, or fans of sports in general, are especially ignorant when it comes to anything supplement-related. The instant the hoi polloi hears the term "supplement" or "tested positive," they immediately jump to conclusions.
Now, considering we mostly comprise the "headline-reading" epoch, in which we believe the information included in a story's headline is sufficient enough to either confirm or dismiss what are our already entrenched beliefs, it is no surprise that these same people would eschew educating themselves on issues such as Braun's in favor of impulsively forming their own decision.
Unfortunately, this inveterate habit is only compounded with the steroid matter, because not only is our population completely nescient (that means uninformed) when it comes to performance-enhancing supplements, but the nation as a whole is, well, abjectly unhealthy and fat.
I am sorry, but just take a trip to your local Wal-Mart and call me a liar. We treat the food pyramid like it is an airplane safety pamphlet: It probably provides some important information, but is not necessary to actually read.
The point is, I beseech you to please independently research these things when that particular sphere of knowledge is outside your bailiwick.
There are thousands of supplements, both legal and illegal, available for purchase and can prove salubrious to anyone; thus, please reserve judgement until you actually know what it is you are talking about.
Or, in this case, synthetic testosterone...
testing sample urine
Braun's urine sample was contaminated with synthetic testosterone. Regardless of what happened afterward, that much is peremptory. So, what exactly is synthetic testosterone and how could it appear in the Brewer's star's urine?
The dictionary defines synthetic as "(of a substance) made by chemical synthesis, esp. to imitate a natural product."
In other words, it is not naturally produced by the human body and can only be introduced artificially, or by "chemical synthesis."
So, if it can not originate naturally, what chemical could have generated fake testosterone in Ryan Braun's body?
On the gamut of PED's, Creatine and protein highlight the G-rated part of the spectrum, while steroids and HGH occupy the R-rated end of it. Prohormones fall somewhere between the two and could probably be more accurately labeled a precursor to the steroid side of things. For clarity's sake,we'll rate them PG-13.
More importantly, though, is that prohormones are the most likely of any supplement to cause synthetic testosterone.
Why? Because one of its main effects is the manufacturing of inorganic testosterone in its users' bodies. This spike in testosterone allows the user to accomplish exactly what you might think: alpha-male mentality, throw heavy stuff around the gym, dominate Wii Fit, wear smaller shirts and cause a huge spike in libido..,oh yeah, and presumably hit baseballs farther.
Prohormones are actually legal, for the most part, and can be purchased pretty easily at most health shops or through a multitude of websites.
They vary in potency and effects based on what the potential buyer is looking to achieve.
manny ramirez and his estrogen blockers
Ryan Braun and Manny Ramirez, both former MVP's, tested positive for substances commonly linked to prohormones.
Once an individual completes a cycle of prohormones—cycles usually last between four to six weeks—he/she then must immediately proceed into an equally long cycle of what is referred to as "post-cycle therapy."
After all, you can not just put synthetic supplements into your body and not expect a downside. Typically, the stronger the prohormone (Superdrol, M-drol or any product that contains methylated compounds), then the more powerful the side-effects.
Ideally, in addition to mitigating the side-effects, one would conceivably want to retain as much of the gains they made over the course of their respective cycle.
For reference, one cycle of aforementioned M-drol will usually last four weeks, in which it would not be uncommon for the user to gain 15-20 lbs of pure muscle by the end of it.
To keep this muscle—or at least some of it—one must instantly begin taking even more pills than the prohormones necessitated in the first place. These supplements are supposed to propel one's body into naturally producing testosterone again, preventing the consequential acne and limiting hair-loss, among other deleterious effects.
Or, the individual can locate a S.E.R.M., such as Clomid, which is much more powerful and is often prescribed to females in order to moderate their estrogen.
In addition to the high levels of testosterone found in Ramirez's sample, an estrogen regulator was also exposed. What this suggests is that Manny was in post-cycle therapy from prohormone use, evoking the comparison to Ryan Braun's situation.
Ryan Braun pleas his case
Dino I. Laurenzi, Jr. and his handling of Ryan Braun's sample may or may not have been legally proper. However, the sample of the Milwaukee Brewer hero could have marinated in a basement for a year, and synthetic testosterone could still not have magically appeared in it.
Maybe Braun's sample was mishandled by Laurenzi, Jr.; in fact, being that an independent arbitrator decided it was, then there probably was a technical peccadillo that rightfully invalidated the process—the law is the law.
But, let us be clear about one thing: Synthetic testosterone can not be biologically reproduced, unless synthetic chemicals are introduced, as the dictionary so eloquently reminds us.