"I Didn't Really Have To Do, Like, A Ton Of Undercover Digging": Meet The 16-Year-Old Who Scooped Everyone On Ryan Braun's Mishandled Sample

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Curt Hogg is a high-school junior who lives in Brown Deer, Wis. On Feb. 14, he wrote a post on his Milwaukee Brewers fan blog, Plushdamentals, reporting that Ryan Braun's PED urine test sample had been mishandled. Yesterday, the rest of the world learned that Hogg's reporting was correct: Braun avoided a 50-day suspension because his specimen had been kept overnight in a refrigerator before being mailed, violating MLB protocol. Hogg's source was a friend of someone who works out with one of Braun's former University of Miami (Fla.) teammates. The teenager published the report without attempting to corroborate it, which might explain why his story didn't make a ripple for more than a week. Nevertheless, Hogg had it right, and he scooped every other baseball writer in the country. He spoke to Deadspin by phone this afternoon.


Without divulging the identity of your source, what is your relationship to him, and how did you get him to discuss what he knew?
"I didn't really have to do, like, a ton of undercover digging and stuff. I was a wearing a Braun jersey one day, and the person who my source was, we were just talking, and he said, 'Oh, you know what? I know a guy who works out with Braun's ex-college teammate.' I don't know who the college teammate was. He told me all the details, and I was, like, 'Wait. Hold that thought.' I grabbed a notebook, wrote it all down, and thought, 'I'm gonna blog about this.'"

"I was a writer over at, I don't know if you've heard of Bleacher Report? I was a featured columnist for the Brewers there, but I don't know. I wasn't really feeling it and I wanted to start my own thing."


And the guy was OK with letting you write about it because he was that certain it was true?
"Yeah, but he didn't want his name used."

Was there any reaction between when you wrote your post on the 14th and what happened last night, when the rest of the world found out about Braun's test snafu?
"In the original post, I think I included one of [the source's] comments, where he was, like, 'It's unlikely, but there's a chance.' So I was, like, 'Oh, well, this is cool. I'll just report it, and maybe it will hold true.' Nine, 10 days passed between the post and the announcement [that Braun would not be suspended], but there wasn't really any major news until I found out that Braun was pretty much vindicated and proved innocent. And it shot off from there. My first thought, besides that the Brewers season was saved, was, 'Wow, what if my post, what if what I reported was actually true? What if they mishandled the test and they didn't take it to FedEx or UPS right away?' And it was pretty much pandemonium from there."

Did you hear from anyone after you wrote your post?
"There was another Brewers blog that gets more traffic normally than mine, and he just shot a link to it. But not very much [else], no."

Where were you and how did you react when you heard that Braun wasn't going to be suspended and that the reason was something you had written about more than a week ago?
"I was actually doing some research on fantasy baseball stuff, when I got a tweet to my phone. And it said '@Curtknowsbest reported this.' I was, like, wait, what? I was kind of upset that I was interrupted from my fantasy studies. At first I was complely happy Braun was proven innocent, and as the night progressed I kind of got more and more and more excited, [thinking], 'Maybe my story is true.' This morning, when I got up, I checked my Twitter and my blog, and my stats had just shot up."


How many page views have you gotten for that post?
"For the day, I have 3,774, with more than 3,000 for that post. I [normally] get about a hundred a day."

How long have you been blogging and writing about baseball?
"I've only had my Plushdamentals blog for less than a year. But I've been interested in writing about baseball and other sports and stuff since the seventh or eighth grade. I was a writer over at, I don't know if you've heard of Bleacher Report? I was a featured columnist for the Brewers there, but I don't know. I wasn't really feeling it and I wanted to start my own thing."


Are there any journalists in particular whose work you admire?
"Tom Haudricourt of the [Milwaukee] Journal Sentinel, Lee Jenkins of SI, and Tim Kurkjian of ESPN."

How much attention have you gotten today? Were you in school with your phone blowing up? What's it been like?
"Luckily, there was no school today [teachers' in-service], otherwise I would have checked my email and I would have had tons of emails, tons of messages. It's been one of the most hectic days of my life."