(AP Photo/Jeffry Phelps)
Just when you think the dust has finally settled, another player takes a fall in the game’s biggest scandal to this day.
Ryan Braun, who was recently named the National League MVP, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. With the league still down from the BALCO age, this is a blow to the collective gut of the baseball world.
When news like this comes out, it immediately raises two questions:
- Why? Why would an athlete who is seemingly at the top of his game tarnish his body in such a way?
- Who’s next? Who will be the next athlete to shake the foundations when they test positive for PED’s?
The same questions were asked when Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez were linked to PED’s. And now, the same questions will be asked in the coming weeks about the 28-year-old Braun.
Braun already denied the positive tests, saying “it’s BS” and that the tests were wrong. But what if they weren’t wrong?
This isn’t going to turn into a numbers discussion tracing Braun’s career stats to this MVP-winning season. This isn’t going to go into a size comparison for Braun over the years either. It’s not even going to be a piece arguing that the MVP award should be stripped from Braun and awarded to a more deserving player such as Matt Kemp.
Instead, Braun’s impact on baseball is going to be looked at and the impact of this report will have on the sport. I don’t like to personalize my columns but tonight is going to be an exception to the rule.
The first group of people that I look at are the kids that idolized Braun. Much like an athlete such as Chase Utley or Derek Jeter, Braun’s hard work ethic on the field and at the plate has been sold to the youth of not just American, but around the world.
A very good friend of mine and fellow young sports once wrote a piece about his nephew. Much like my friend, a die-hard Yankees fan who has been featured on this site before, his nephew idolized a certain New York Yankee.
His nephew brought up steroids in baseball and rattled off a name of players, asking whether or not the player did steroids. One cheater after another was named until Jeter’s name came up.
Imagine the look on his face if Jeter was a known juicer. Imagine the looks on any of the children who idolized and worshiped Braun were to find out their favorite Milwaukee Brewer cheated.
Do these kids tear down their posters? Do the ones lucky enough to score a no. 8 jersey just like Braun’s instantly want to trade it in? Do these kids even want to play a sport anymore that they associate with cheaters.
It all goes back to the first question: why? Is all the hard work worth it? Is it worth risking blowing away 20-plus years of dedication towards America’s most beautiful game?
The baseball world needs answers. How many more lies will we be told?