Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers

You know the drill by now. Pull up your favorite image of Ryan Braun looking sullen, dig into the text editor window and tell the world what you think about Ryan Braun. HOT TAKES, COMING YER WAY. If you prefer a bolder approach in instructing others what they think or perhaps you like finding new ground expressing your by vehement non-outrage.

They came in waves. First, immediately after the news broke, come the “here is my take” pieces. Then the “here is what the players think” piece are intermingled with the “I’M SO DAMN ANGRY” pieces, which are little more than accredited journalists calling Ryan Braun mean names for 800 words.

Somebody, somewhere, has something insightful to say about Ryan Braun’s 65 game suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinc (predictably, Grant Brisbee is the leader in the clubhouse). Braun didn’t “actually” fail an untainted drug test but the league and its investigators found more than a little bit of evidence suggesting Braun did more than use Anthony Bosch as a consultant, as the Brewers slugger previously stated.

Just a few days later, there isn’t much left of the Braun story. Some are attempting to free the Brewers from his contract but much of the Biogenesis talk is already onto Alex Rodriguez and what he eventually gets (lifetime ban?), rather than attempting to make real sense of what happened with Braun. What Ryan Braun actually means.

Somebody else can parse Braun’s mea culpa and contrast it with his previously defiant comments, blowing up the contradictions between smearing of a sample collector and his recently feigned contrition. Yes. Ryan Braun lied and lied some more, refusing to fess up when he had everything to lose.

The outrage cycle around baseball grows more insufferable by the day. While Ken Rosenthal’s take on the matter was particularly sharp, there still aren’t any winners in this matter. That players who were dumb enough to deal with a clown like Bosch are getting their comeuppance, the scarlett letter system among baseball fans and writers serves no purpose, so far as I can see.

Ryan Braun cheated. He broke rules which the league and union collectively bargained and agreed upon in their Joint Drug Agreement. However uneasy such agreements make you, Ryan Braun broke a very clear law governing the game. Ryan Braun does not get to decide which rules he abides and which he thinks are silly.

Neither Ryan Braun’s suspension nor the coming discipline for Alex Rodriguez et al will change the drug culture in baseball on their own. The financial rewards still outweigh the costs for players at the top of the game. If the threat of punishment was it all took to prevent crime, Houston would be Vienna.

The players, as a collective and individually, are changing their tune on the matter. While the union will (and should) still protect its members, more and more “clean” players are voicing their displeasure with the users in their midst. Especially when more than the players fighting tooth and nail for their baseball life make their feelings known. When somebody like Max Scherzer makes noise, people start listening.

But what, exactly, do we hear? It’s just a din, an endless screech of outrage or justification fueled by speculation and personal agendas. I don’t know that I’m tired of it, I just know I need to take a break from it. Which is a real shame, because it is not an issue that will disappear because baseball doesn’t want to confront it.

Things will likely get worse before they get better but, with the players throwing their support behind honest to goodness efforts to clean up the game, they will get better. Already this week I’ve heard many players expressing “level playing field” sentiments, both on and off the record. They want it and the game wants it. Which is about all anyone can hope for, if a “clean” game is the goal.

There are still shocking hypocrisies within the baseball culture but conflating those other issues with enforcement of the JDA serves no purpose. PEDs are the issue at hand because they started costing people money. They will remain the hot-button topic right up until some other problem provokes a spike in consumer confidence. The end.

As I said, the death of insight.