Over the weekend, our little world of baseball got shaken up a bit when news was leaked that Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, the MVP of the National League as voted by the BBWAA, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs at some point during the MLB playoffs.
I’m often called a “steroids apologist” by those in favour of a more hard line approach to performance enhancing drugs in baseball, and to a degree that’s probably fair. I’m of the opinion that former MLB players, as individuals, shouldn’t be punished for their use of drugs during a time when such use was prevalent, not because of some moral looseness, but rather because of the extent of the use and the inability of anyone to properly decipher who was using and who wasn’t.
In my mind, punishing former players through avoidance on Hall of Fame ballots is made further laughable by the inability of any expert in such field to provide evidence that so called performance enhancers actually enhance performance in a predictable way.
To a certain degree, my opinion stretches like a cover over the current players. I’m of the belief that baseball players still use performance enhancing drugs, just as in any other sport, despite the limited number of those getting caught. Again, I would never defend that use. It’s essentially cheating. However, it’s always seemed rather ridiculous to chastise those who do test positive for a lack of foresight or moral ineptitude.
They, like many, see a way to get ahead and take it, despite its place outside the rules. It’s a risk, and knowing the punishment as they do, users see it as an acceptable one. It’s unfortunate, but it happens.
What’s far more distasteful to me than its part in the game is the way in which many baseball journalists, making up for years of blind eye turning, pretend to be personally insulted by drug use, as though while standing on their own moral high ground, they are shocked and appalled and personally insulted by a player taking any means necessary to improve their performance.
Put plainly, this grosses me out.
For his part, Braun is adamant in his claims of innocence as he undergoes the appeal process for what would be a fifty game suspension. However, as he attempts to reconstruct his ingestion of every material during that time, it’s unlikely that he’ll be successful in convincing Major League Baseball of his innocence.
And The Rest
Manny Ramirez has been officially reinstated after another positive test for banned substances induced his premature retirement from Major League Baseball last season, but how will he deal with not being the hot commodity that he once was? [ESPN Deportes]
The trade that brought former Chicago White Sox closer Sergio Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Nestor Molina could have been an even bigger deal, including names like Carlos Quentin, John Danks and even Gordon Beckham. [MLB Trade Rumors]
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price wisely didn’t fight the man urinating on his car. [FOX Sports]
The Boston Red Sox are going to make Daniel Bard a member of the starting rotation this coming Spring. [Boston Globe]
It seems ridiculous to me that Albert Pujols would be insulted by the way that his former team handled negotiations. A five year deal with a high average annual value was unlikely, but it was part of the St. Louis Cardinals attempting anything they could to keep him on their team. [St. Louis Post Dispatch]
Felix Pie signed a Minor League deal with the Cleveland Indians that could pay the outfielder as much as $1 million if he can turn it into a Major League deal by making the team out of Spring Training. [Twitter]
The Los Angeles Angels aren’t interested in your offers for center fielder extraordinaire Peter Bourjos. [FOX Yard Barker]
It’s ridiculous to me that Tim Raines doesn’t receive more consideration for baseball’s Hall of Fame. [The Hardball Times]
Today in reasons why Joe Maddon is better than you: Here’s a picture of him getting hands on during his annual “Thanksmas Dinner” for those less fortunate. [Twitter]