Ryan Braun and Losing Faith in Baseball

From NL MVP to the next slugger who’s been tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs. Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, one of Baseball’s brightest young stars, is facing a 50 game suspension, but his name and achievements tarnished for much longer.

You’d think that after all that’s happened these past few years – Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and many many more, that Baseball is clean again. That no one wants this public humiliation, that the game is pure and great once again. It was a wonderful post season, despite the naysayers of the game, and Braun seemed like a young star who’s continued improvement and dominance will be one of the best things to follow in the coming years.

Braun hit 33 home runs with 111 RBIs. Great numbers, but not career bests. The 30-100 mark is normal for him, hitting it three out of his five MLB seasons. His batting average, .332, was at a career high. He led the league Slugging and OPS, but both weren’t career highs. What are to learn? That Braun’s been on this stuff since day 1?

The problem for Baseball, that financially, it’s still a chance worth taking. The player’s reputation will be tarnished forever and he won’t make it into the hall of fame. So what? No numbers are crossed off, no wins or titles. Most importantly, the money’s great. Braun, even with his 50 game suspension, will be back earning money, great money. He’s owed around $150 million till 2020, and he’ll get it.

Manny Ramirez, busted more than once, was reinstated by the league last week. Crime, or at least this kind of crime, pays. If you care about stats and winning, home run titles and big hitting, then PED’s good for you. You’ll get paid, just go out with an asteriks next to your name for the rest of your life. Most players choose to take the financial risk. It’s worth it.

Braun’s case strikes us hard because he’s from the new guard. PED’s were a late 1990’s early 2000’s thing, or at least popular with players from that generation. Others were barely fringe players that hardly caused any media stir by getting caught. Braun made his debut in 2007, supposedly one of the leaders of the new, clean MLB. Apparently not.