Brewers leftfielder Ryan Braun had a difficult offseason, to say the least. After testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone during the 2011 playoffs, Braun quietly launched an appeal which was made public when a source leaked the news of his positive test to ESPN. Despite the vitriol from certain members of the media and of the public, Braun kept quiet and went about the appeal process in a professional manner. As we all know, he eventually won his appeal and as a result, will not face a 50-game suspension in the upcoming season.

He will, however, have to face those same media members and that same public who thought it wise to completely discredit an entire career worth of achievement based on one, ultimately faulty, positive drug test.

Adding to the fun is the fact that Braun went 0 for 2 in yesterday’s game and he is now 1 for 15 with a home run, three walks and five strikeouts[Adam McCalvy, MLB.com]. When Drew Silva of NBC Hardball Talk posted a link to the story, you just knew the comment section was going to provide some fun, as it usually does.

Here’s a sampling:

 “His PED case didn’t take a mental toll on him. It was a physical toll, as in he can’t take PEDs anymore.”

What’s more disturbing is that 50 people gave this the ‘thumbs up’ while only 18 gave it ‘thumbs down.’

“Coming down off the juice is wearing on him.”

The ratio is currently 29-13 on that one.

“Hmm….Curious. Why such the drop off? He should be flying high on his vindication. Or he is suffering an “unexplainable” low.”

26-6.

The insinuation that somehow spring training stats matter at all, and that they are somehow proof of Braun’s apparent guilt is approaching new depths of inanity.

You may be asking yourself why I would choose to write more than 300 words on internet comment trolls discussing something as completely useless as spring training stats and the answer is simple. It’s Sunday. It’s March. And no, you’re a slow news day.

And the rest.

Hey, the Blue Jays lost yesterday [Bob Elliot, Toronto Sun]. Twice! The losses snapped Toronto’s 11-game winning streak this spring. It means absolutely nothing, but an 11-game winning streak is pretty awesome wither way. Also, at the time of this writing the Blue Jays are on Canadian cable television for the first time in 2012.

Jeff Mathis says you can take your modern hitting stats and shove them! [Richard Griffin, Toronto Star]. As much as I’d like to credit Mathis for the things he brings to the table other than his historically poor hitting ability, I just can’t get around a career 45 wRC+. He must be the best “intangibles” catcher in baseball.

San Diego Padres newly acquired rightfielder Carlos Quentin needs surgery on his knee and will be out four to six weeks [Dan Hayes, Twitter].

Chase Utley’s knee continues to be an issue and could delay his start to the season [Jim Salisbury, CSN Philly]. Utley’s knee problems are arthritic and will never go away. It seems unlikely that he’ll ever be the same, which is sort of sad. Utley was one of the best second basemen in baseball during his very short-lived prime.

With the injury to catcher Salvador Perez, the Royals might be interested in acquiring free agent catcher Ivan Rodriguez, although no offer has been made and Pudge seems reluctant to join the team just yet.

Yoenis Cespedes apparently turned down a six-year, $36-million deal from the Chicago Cubs [Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times]. Cespedes, of course, accepted the Oakland A’s offer of four-years and $36-million. As Wittenmyer notes  the article, not only was the annual salary a consideration for Cespedes, but he also wanted either four years or eight or more, not in between.

84-year-old broadcasting deity Vin Scully has announced that he will no longer call Dodgers’ road games in Colorado. He will instead call all home games and road games in California and Arizona [LA Times, Twitter]. I think it’s time we all acknowledge how much worse the game of baseball will be the day Scully retires. It might be wise to start planning for some sort of rehab program so we don’t all lose significant portions of our adulthood in Scully-withdrawal.

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