Ryan Braun successfully won his appeal of a positive substance test and suspension, and where once a 50-game suspension seemed like a lock, now Braun will report to Brewers camp Friday effectively a free man.
How did Braun win? Those details are coming out. From ESPN:
According to one of the sources, the collector, after getting Braun's sample, was supposed to take the sample to FedEx/Kinkos for shipping but thought it was closed because it was late on a Saturday. As has occurred in some other instances, the collector took the sample home and kept it refrigerated. Policy states that the sample is supposed to get to FedEx as soon as possible.
Or, there's this:
Sources: Braun sample sat over the weekend in FedEx shop. Wasn't delivered until Monday. Chain-of-custody argument from lawyers won case.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 23, 2012
Where Braun's sample sat around isn't important. What's important is that Braun's sample sat around, for too long. There are specific rules in place, and Braun's sample wasn't delivered within a certain window of time. That breach of protocol invalidates the subsequent test results. It's not necessarily true that the delay made any difference, but there is the possibility that it made a difference, which looks to be the grounds on which the arbitrator ruled.