Keep that paragraph in your mind as we will return to that idea shortly.
Ryan Braun has been a star since the first day he arrived to his big league club. There wasn’t anything that anyone thought he couldn’t do (except for possibly play 3rd base). Now several seasons later, Braun has led his once hapless team to the post-season twice, with an NLCS appearance to boot. He is nothing short, along with his talented teammates, a savior to the Brew City, and their rabid fan base.
But then the darker side of sports reared its ugly head. All of the talk surrounding would be hall-of-fame super stars and “Juicing” made most of us baseball purist types sick to our stomachs. The Mitchell Report did nothing to calm our fears that the PED’s were worse in our beloved game than we had originally suspected — Braun was now in that lump. In that lump he shall stay.
It’s unfortunate that if Ryan Braun is truly innocent, that he will never be believed by most of the baseball writing community, and certainly not by opposing fans. His teammates, coaches, and hometown backers will cheer him loudly as they dream of another pennant to hang at Miller Park. Outside of their bubble, however, there will be an acid rain like event that Braun and the rest of his team will not be able to avoid, but simply have to deal with as the scorching dog days of summer pass this upcoming season.
Now back to my earlier statement. I do have skepticism. I think back to Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and the like going before the United States congress and basically telling blatant lies that they had not been “Juicing”, or flat-out refusing to say anything at all. I think back to Alex Rodriguez, THE star among all the stars, admitted in a round-about sense that he had taken something that he shouldn’t have. A-Rod’s former teammate, Andy Pettitte, admitted the same. We see that it is happening, and we are all not dumb enough to think that it won’t continue, even with testing in place.
So, all of this begs the question: If Braun did “Juice”, even though he got off on a technicality, shouldn’t he just say that he did it? No one seems to bring up Pettitte or A-Rod anymore, but they sure as hell keep Clemens and Barry Bonds stuck in our craw.
Certainly false positive tests are known to happen in many medical lab situations, why should this and all other PED tests before or after the fact be looked at any different? Braun’s test was 3 times more positive than ANY one player had ever been. In my own medical background brain I think this one deserves another look. The truth about whether it’s possible for a specific test to be falsely positive may not be answered, but it does warrant a raised eyebrow or two.
I’ll go ahead and do what most Brewers fans do, I’ll assume that he is innocent. I want to believe that not only because he plays for my team, but as a true all around baseball fan, I want to believe that players in today’s game have enough sense of mind to simply spill their guts if they are guilty and let us heal from it quickly instead of dragging the ugly proverbial monster all over the room. That monster can surely stink up the joint.
Braun MIGHT have done it. We may never know. As for me, I know that I will keep following my favorite sports passion, and I just MIGHT not care what anyone else thinks.