Ryan Braun recently tested positive for a “performance-enhancing drug”, leading to speculation that he could be stripped of his National League MVP Award. Braun is currently appealing results of the test and could face a 50-game suspension at the beginning of the new season. This could spell trouble for the Milwaukee Brewers, for which Braun plays left field.
Such speculation caused Sports Illustrated writer Michael Rosenberg to wonder why Baseball Writers Association of America, the ones responsible for deciding the National MVP, are allowed to decide such prestigious honors in the first place. Rosenberg stated that it should not be the place of columnist to officially “validate or voice” anything, especially a player’s achievements.
We do know that the BBWAA have already put Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro in the “ringer” for their past controversies. Naturally, the BBWAA has to decide something, since they demand a “clean and honest” sport, and yet are bestowing MVP prizes to suspected or confirmed steroid users.
However, there is at least some momentum going for Braun. After all, the BBWAA has never actually confiscated an award to this date, and it’s likely they will not set a new precedent. In fact, it’s quite likely that they will wait to hear what Braun’s extenuating circumstances actually were, before passing judgment.
What makes the situation unique is that if Braun is proven to be a steroids abuser, he will be the first player confirmed to “cheat” within the same calendar year of his victory–and that will also be unprecedented. So Braun could very well give up the prize, unlike other disgraced players who kept their awards because the scandal was years after the fact.
Ironically, Braun once told Alex Rodriguez that “The best thing he can do is come out, admit to everything and be completely honest…the situation will die a lot faster if he tells the whole truth.” Yes, and now Braun is in the same position, to defend an alleged illegal act with some (hopefully) sound logic as to why things are not as bad as they look. In any event, this is sure to affect the upcoming Brewers season for better or for worse.
Since the MLB team, the Brewers achieved a franchise-best record of 96-66 and also won their first National League Central Division title (they even advanced to the National League Championship Series) it’s safe to say that rocking the boat with Braun is sure to affect 2012.