BALCO founder Victor Conte (above), relishing his contemporary pundit status, chatted KNBR’s Garry Radnich and Larry Krueger last Wednesday, and sure enough, the subject of reigning NL MVP / alleged HGH cheat Ryan Braun was raised. Conte — who also discussed his recent supervision of Marlon Byrd — wasn’t very optimistic about Braun’s odds of avoiding a 50 game suspension (transcript taken from Sports Radio Interviews, link courtesy Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).

Were you surprised that Ryan Braun tested positive?:
“No, I was not surprised. In fact, three weeks before that, I was in Vietnam and I was interviewed by somebody from the New York Daily News. It was when the growth hormone testing was being introduced. And I don’t think growth hormone is effective as a performance enhancer. At that time, I basically said that what they’re doing is using fast-acting testosterone — creams, gels, orals, patches — and they clear so quickly, sometimes in a matter of hours. … They could conceivably, after a game, use testosterone to help with tissue repair and healing and recovery and by the time they’d show up at the park the next day, their PE ratio would be normal. I always knew there was this giant loophole that you could drive a Mack truck through.”

Do you think there will be another player implicated in this after Braun’s situation is over?:
“This is a wake-up call. … I’ve been pitching this before this Ryan Braun case broke … I said here’s the loophole: They’re using fast-acting testosterone; they’re not using anabolic steroids. … You need to use carbon isotope ratio testing and you will bust lots of people. I said a significant number of players would test positive. … Three weeks later, here’s a positive.”

What argument can Braun’s people make to win their appeal?:
“The first thing I hear that they’re saying is it’s an extremely high level, the highest that’s ever been recording. Are they talking about in baseball or are they talking about in general? … I’m not sure about that, but this is a double-whammy for him. Unless there’s some chain-of-custody issue, other technical problem during the collection and transport process, he’s basically dead in the water. … I believe he’s going to serve the 50-game suspension.”