This may be slightly out of my realm but I have a few thoughts to share on what has been going on with Ryan Braun recently. I’m a White Sox fan first and foremost but I also follow and enjoy baseball as a whole. Braun is one of the stars of the game and from what I hear he’s just a good person in general. So what could be going on? Is it true? Lets look at some stuff here for a minute.
If you don’t already know, National League MVP Ryan Braun has tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. He claims that he never did anything but, really, most guys in that situation would claim that. The thing for me about Braun is that he’s always been the same size. If you look at him from the beginning of his career and compare him to the way he looks now there’s absolutely no difference. Guys who are on steroids usually show a noticeable difference in size.
Braun’s numbers weren’t anything ridiculous – nothing like Bonds or Sosa or McGwire. No huge jump from “okay” statistics to “wow, oh my gosh, why has this guy not been on anyone’s radar” stats. The three guys I mentioned made that jump but Braun has always been consistently this good. Looking at his stats from last season there really isn’t any evidence production-wise that would show he cheated.
The Hebrew Hammer clubbed 34 home runs his rookie season of 2007, then followed it up with 37 in ’08, 32 in ’09, 25 in 2010, and then up to 33 this past season. Nothing crazy, right? Pretty consistent, too. Braun played in 150 games last season and collected 187 hits, 111 runs batted in, 109 runs scored, and an on-base percentage of .397. Normal Ryan Braun stats. Nothing throws up a red flag or shows any sign of performance enhancing drugs.
The sad thing about this whole situation is that whether he actually cheated, from now on he’ll be thought of as “one of those guys.” It could turn out to have been a mistake, he was clean the whole time, they don’t know how it happened, and he walks away unscathed as far as baseball goes. But his reputation in the public eye and his reputation as a role model will have been skewed. Even without the testing there are guys who we look at and think “Yeah, but what if he’s on steroids?” Now there will be a documented reason to think that way for Braun.
I’m not defending Braun and I’m not making a case for him cheating. The statistics show that he was as steady as he’s ever been and his body shows that as well. If he cheated it’ll be a sad day for baseball. I don’t know what was in the test I just know what Braun did in 2011. If he didn’t cheat then the allegations will be sad but at least he was clean. I still say Matt Kemp should’ve won MVP regardless of Braun’s status as a steroid user but nobody cares about my opinion on that matter so for now I’ll just sit here behind the glow of a laptop screen.
I’ll leave with one final thought. Albert Pujols is now a member of the Los Angeles Angels. If it turns out Ryan Braun did cheat he’ll get a 50-game suspension. That leaves the NL Central up for grabs until late May which means the Cubs could have a shot at history. It was said that the Cubs don’t need to get better, the other teams just need to get a little worse. The Cubs have all of the pieces and could jump to a 50-game head start on the rest of the division.
Just an observation.