Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Ryan Braun Question

My friend, Marge from Milwaukee, asked me to share my insights on the Ryan Braun situation. For those of you who haven’t heard, Ryan is an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers and this year’s National League MVP. He tested positive for high testosterone levels, which means there was some form of performance-enhancing drug (PED) in his system. This result could land him with a 50-game suspension. He is appealing this at a hearing in January. The only thing we’ve heard from Ryan’s camp is that he didn’t do this. And, that as soon as he heard of the positive result, he took another test at an independent lab, which came up negative.

Ryan Braun
For those of us who are baseball fans, we have become de-sensitized to hearing someone has taken PEDs. However, with Ryan, it’s different. Marge said the mood in Milwaukee is sad. And, I think the entire baseball world is sad, as well. You see, Ryan is one of the good guys—even Commissioner Bud Selig (who used to own the Brewers) has mentioned him as one of the standouts for being clean. Ryan plays the game all out and with integrity. So, this news has come as a shock to all.
I could list all the numbers. However, Ryan’s stats have not seen a huge bump. Not like Barry Bonds or Manny Ramirez. He’s been fairly consistent during his career—he’s won the Silver Slugger Award each year since 2008 and was Rookie of the Year in 2007. Ryan is one of the best players in the league.

Some have already tried Ryan in the court of public opinion and want baseball to make an example of him—making him give back the MVP. To those folks I say, let Ryan have his day in court. Let him prove his innocence. And, once again shame on baseball.
Shame on baseball for allowing this information to leak prior to Ryan’s hearing. Shame on baseball for making Ryan wait so long to state his case. Shame on baseball for allowing one of the best players in baseball face this scrutiny of being called out as guilty before having all the facts. And, shame on baseball especially if they got this one wrong. Which, as you can tell, I think they did. We’ll see once we can all hear Ryan’s story.

And, one more thing, I think if baseball really wants to send a message, they should start in the right place. In my book Hank Aaron is the all-time home run king, not Barry Bonds. Bud Selig, stand up and do the right thing.