While the Dustin Parkes’ and Drew Fairservices of the world are off enjoying their weekend, I’ll be taking the reins and providing you with some content to hold you over until the big boys get back to their desks on Monday morning. Now you can get your Getting Blanked fix seven days a week. You’re welcome.
If you haven’t yet heard, Brewers outfielder and reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during the 2011 playoffs. This is not the same as a positive drug test, but more often than not, elevated levels of testosterone are exogenous (meaning not produced within the body, but from an outside substance). The results of the test were made known to Braun in late October, but had yet to be made public because Braun was in an appeal process, claiming complete innocence.
It had been a dream season for Braun. He won his first of what could be many MVP awards, he led the Brewers to their first division title in three decades (and just their second playoff appearance in that time), and he was being lauded as one of the game’s next great Hall of Fame-calibre stars.
Over the next few days we’ll probably hear the proverbial echo-chamber of link-seeking journalists claiming outrage and sitting perched atop their moral high horses, spouting the usual vitriol normally reserved for hardened criminals and murderers. Many will claim the integrity of baseball is still murky and that the game is in trouble. Many will call Braun’s character into question, call him a cheater, and claim he is somehow unduly responsible for the game’s image.
All of it, of course, is nonsense.
If Ryan Braun did in fact take some kind of banned substance (I really hesitate to use the words ‘performance-enhancing’ as many of these substances have been proven to do nothing in that regard) he would be merely one of many, and one of the few to get caught. If he did take some sort of banned substance, the game, and Braun himself, will move on and ostensibly nothing will change.
People will point to his incredible numbers; his .312/.371/.563 career slash line, his .402 career wOBA, his 25.2 career fWAR, and his 161 home runs, and talk of them as if they mean nothing; as if every last ounce of talent in his being is caused by some synthetic elixir of the Gods that changes ordinary people into Babe Ruth.
If Braun is found guilty, the angry mob will demand a retraction of his MVP award, claiming that he would never have won it had be not been doping. In fact, one writer has already done that.
This is not to say that Braun should not be suspended if he did something wrong; if he broke the rules, then he should pay the price. But if he’s guilty, the insistent drone of the industry will proclaim Braun to be of bad personal character and claim that his numbers are hollow and now mean nothing; they will say all of this without a shred of real evidence or authority on the subject.
Of course, the only reason we’ll even remember all of this in a few years is because Braun is an excellent baseball player; and a power-hitter to boot. We don’t remember, or selectively forget, that J.C. Romero, Guillermo Mota and Edinson Volquez have all tested positive and been suspended under the new drug testing system. We don’t remember that Astros infielder Angel Sanchez was suspended while playing in the minors. And I don’t imagine anyone much cares. Those players don’t hit home runs after all.
And the rest…
Ken Rosenthal has some thoughts on PEDs in baseball in wake of the Braun business [FOX Sports]
The St. Louis Cardinals have signed 34-year-old shortstop Rafael Furcal to a two-year, $14-million contract [NBC Hardball Talk]. It’s a sad end to the Ryan Theriot-era in St. Louis. Bad week, Cards’ fans, bad week.
Despite missing almost all of the last two seasons with a broken leg, Angels’ slugger Kendrys Morales will be tendered a contract by the team [MLB.com’s Hot Stove Blog]. With the signing of Albert Pujols and a crowded outfield that includes three legitimate starters and Vernon Wells, the Angels may be looking to trade Morales to a team in need of depth at first base or DH [MLB Trade Rumors].
Speaking of Pujols, he and fellow new Angel C.J. Wilson posed in front of some cameras in Anaheim with their new jerseys on and probably said something about commitment and just wanting to win [NBC Sports].
The Cardinals’ low-ball offer of five-years, $130-million may have showed a lack of commitment and caused Pujols to look for satisfaction in SoCal [St. Louis Post-Dispatch].
It turns out, velocity is the most important thing for a pitcher [Hardball Times].
Dodgers first baseman James Loney didn’t tell the team about his being arrested on suspicion of DUI last month after he was involved in an auto-mobile collision [ESPN Los Angeles].
Sticking with the Dodgers, they have apparently been working diligently to acquire Daniel Murphy from the Mets [MLB.com]. Segue machine.
And finally, David Price interrupted a man peeing on his car and nearly engaged in fisticuffs. Tampa’s an awesome city [Tampa Bay Times].