Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP
It appears that the Ryan Braun saga isn’t over just yet. The Associated Press reported today that Major League Baseball has fired Shyam Das, the arbitrator who overturned Braun’s 50-game suspension in February. Yesterday, Das revoked a 100-game suspension for Padres catcher Eliezer Alfonso over the same chain-of-custody issue that affected Braun’s sample. He had been MLB's arbitrator for 13 years.
According to ESPN's Karl Ravech, Das was canned due to the fact that he “completely disregarded logic and common sense” in his rulings, even though “legally he may have been right.” Das was an independent arbitrator employed jointly by the Players’ Union and MLB (read: The Owners), and according to the CBA, could be fired by either side with the approval of the other. So, the Players’ Union apparently consented to the firing. However, the union didn’t seem terribly upset with him, stating "For 13 years, from the beginning to the end of his tenure, (Das) served the parties with professionalism and distinction."
It’s not yet known who will replace Das, or the exact details regarding his firing, but something seems wrong here. All this move appears to do is make MLB look bad, as well as shatter any delusions anyone had regarding the impartiality of the process. We may not know the whole story yet, but it seems strange that an independent arbitrator can be fired by one side after siding with the other twice.
Right now, it looks like we can chalk this up to another strange chapter in what has been a bizarre few months for Brewers fans, and nothing more. Das is always going to have an interesting place in Brewer history, but his departure will likely have no effect on the club. (Unless, of course, news breaks tomorrow of another questionable positive PED test.) This is probably going to be the last we hear of Das, unless he still has something to say about Braun. In that case, things could get very interesting.