Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ryan Braun, Cheater

So THAT explains the bug eyes. Got it.

Look, I wanted to like Ryan Braun, even when he edged out Matt Kemp for the 2011 MVP. I wanted to believe his story, that he was just a guy playing for a small-town team who just happened to be naturally awesome at baseball.

But after seeing his failed drug test overturned by a technicality, then listening to his righteous indignation about "his name being dragged through the mud, his suspension for the rest of 2013 certainly seems like a fitting comeuppance:

Major League Baseball has suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun without pay for the remainder of the 2013 season.

Braun will not contest the suspension, which was meted out for "violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," according to a statement released by MLB.

"As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect," Braun said in the statement. "I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it ... has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization.

"I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed -- all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love."

The suspension includes the final 65 games of the Brewers' season and any potential postseason games this year. As a result, Braun will lose $3.25 million.

That'll show him! Make Braun sit out the final two months of a last-place team's season, AND stick him for $3M of the $127M he's going to be paid (through 2020)! NOW how do you feel, Ryan? Contrite?

As SoSG Nomo pointed out on last night's GT, it's odd that Braun's self-proclaimed imperfections only came up now, more than a year after he claimed to indeed be perfect.

Braun's pivot is indeed at the Lance Armstrong level, as Buster Olney has pointed out. And I'm glad other MLB columnists like ESPN's Jerry Crasnick are calling Braun out on his duplicity:

Ryan Braun will return to the baseball field in 2014 and resume his career as a Milwaukee Brewer. With or without pharmaceutical help, he's young and talented enough to hit home runs and add a few more All-Star Game appearances to his portfolio. If fellow PED offender Bartolo Colon could do it with that Buddha physique at age 40, there's hope for Braun yet.

But clearing fences and salvaging his dignity are two distinct propositions. Braun's credibility is shot, and his reputation has been tarnished in a way that 65 games on the shelf and $3.25 million in lost wages can't begin to measure.

His baseball legacy will never recover from this. As for the impact on his conscience, that's a question only he can answer. [...]

Braun fought his 50-game suspension and won, and I was there on that blindingly sunny February day in Maryvale, Ariz., when he stepped to the microphone and expressed righteous indignation over his plight. "I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point," he told the media. And if you're inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt, you accepted his explanation despite your reservations and were willing to move past it.

But in baseball clubhouses, lots of Braun's peers filed the incident away for future reference. Over the past few months, I've heard Braun's name mentioned by his fellow players and gotten the obligatory eye-roll that's typically reserved for A-Rod and a select few others who are too polished, slick or consumed with their own self-image for comfort.

As I sat down to write this story, I received a text from a former big leaguer who was active for several years in the union and at the forefront of the effort to stamp out PED use.

"I never bought his denial last year, so I'm not surprised,'' the player said. "He's very smart and very calculated. There's no way this happened to him by any sort of accident.'' [...]

I don't know if Braun is an inherently bad person, a serial liar or just a ballplayer who got trapped in a situation of his own making and didn't know how to escape. But his willingness to cut a deal in the Biogenesis case merely confirms the rampant sentiment that he skated on a technicality the first time around. And now he'll have to spend the rest of his career walking around with a scarlet "F'' for "fraud.''

Credit baseball for assembling a strong enough case to make him cave without a fight, and possibly setting the dominoes in motion for further deals. Where does Braun go from here? Bernie Brewer will be a grandfather before he can even think about trying to recover.

Now, about that 2011 MVP trophy...

Also: Yahoo! Sports: Ryan Braun: 10 damning quotes


QuadSevens said...

Kemp should have been the 2011 NL MVP. I believed it then, and I believe it even more now.

Is there any kind of penalty imposed on the Brewers organization because of this suspension? Do they just get to save that $3.25 million they would have paid Braun?

Since I'm assuming there really isn't any penalty imposed on the organization (aside from lost games and possibly a drop in walk up ticket sales), is it too much of a stretch to believe that some clubs might be helping players get in touch with guys who have access to PEDs? Or maybe they are ignoring the use of it in their own clubhouses. The Giants come to mind with their numerous violations and last year's tainted World Series victory.

BJ Killeen said...

I smell a defamation of character lawsuit against the guy who Braun accused of messing up the drug test...sue for slander as well. Make RB penniless.

Steve Sax said...

@BJ: But he'd still have the bug eyes

MR.F said...


MR.F said...

The high road is where Kemp drives:

Dylan Hernandez ‏@dylanohernandez 50s
Matt Kemp said his feelings about 2011 MVP race haven't changed in light of Ryan Braun's suspension. "I lost," he said.