Ryan Braun Suspended For Season, Should Be Ashamed
Monday night Major League Baseball began the task of handing out the suspensions in the ongoing Biogenesis case against what has widely been reported as some 20 players. Ryan Braun, the first to be suspended, was one of the most notable names on the list. Braun will miss the remainder of the 2013 season (65 games) including postseason. The Milwaukee Brewers won’t have to worry about that seeing as though they are 18.5 games out of first place. The suspension is going to cost Braun around $3.5 million in salary for what he would have made for the rest of the season.
Braun is currently in the sixth year of an eight year deal that was extended in 2011 adding five more years. He will make $11 million next year and $13 million in 2015 before the extension kicks in that will earn him $105 million through 2020. When the Brewers signed him to the extension they had no idea that he would test positive for elevated levels of testosterone in the offseason immediately following his MVP season.
Unfortunately for MLB, Braun was not suspended on a technicality of a mistake made by the person responsible for administering the test. After that incident Braun has been a polarizing figure in baseball and hasn’t been well received outside of Milwaukee. The fact that Braun was suspended Monday is a good sign that the other players, namely Alex Rodriguez, will not be skating free of a suspension of their own.
In an issued statement earlier Braun said that: [quote]“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country.”[/quote]
Two things come to mind in regard to his comments: First, Braun took the Lance Armstrong approach up until this point in time. He denied the test results in the 2011 offseason and made a big deal about the testing system and the integrity of the test taker. Braun’s public stance wasn’t as intense as Armstrong’s but he most certainly went out of his way to take shots at the process. Dino Laurenzi Jr., the drug testing employee hired by MLB, took a beating by Braun who said Laurenzi’s collection process was “suspicious” and “concerned” him.
This means that he attacked a result that we all can deduce, especially now, was completely accurate. Deny, deny, deny until the evidence is so overwhelming that there is no other option other than to admit guilt and try to sweep it under the rug. With a statement that includes “I realize now” when talking about his mistakes is laughable. That is the same thing as saying, “I’m only sorry I got caught.”
Braun should be ashamed of his actions.
Players around baseball are becoming more vocal these days about getting these types of things out of the game. Los Angeles Dodgers utility man, Skip Schumaker, was quoted Monday in a conversation with the media as saying,[quote] “I have an autographed Braun Jersey in my baseball room that I’ll be taking down.” He also added that he thought that Braun should be “banned for life.”[/quote]
The second thing that immediately comes to mind is the question of “when will these guys learn?” The answer is not easily known considering that it has been a decade of allegations and huge turn in the process of getting proper testing in baseball. The problem will continue as long as guys find incentive to do it.
The most recent player to cash in, although not the richest example, is Melky Cabrera. After leaving the New York Yankees Cabrera landed with the Atlanta Braves with a 2010 salary of $3.1 million. After only hitting .255 in Atlanta he established some value with the Kansas City Royals when he hit .305 with 18 homers. Only one of his previous five full season saw him hit more than eight.
So after making only $1.25 million for Kansas City Cabrera gets $6 million from the San Francisco Giants going into the 2012 season. Up until August 14 he hit .346 with 11 homers and 60 RBI, was named to the All-Star team, and took home the All-Star game MVP honors. MLB then stepped in and administered a 50-game suspension after he failed a drug test. It would make perfect sense that a team would not want to reward such behavior from a guy that hadn’t produced these numbers without it right?
The Toronto Blue Jays gave Cabrera a 2 year/$16 Million dollar deal this past offseason. This means that by taking banned substances he was able to increase his salary by almost eight times. Where is the justice in that? In 2013 he has only hit .278 with three homers. So much for the lofty power numbers Melky.
The list of players that have benefited from PEDs is too big to name so I won’t. The fact is that no matter what the outcome is of the remaining players on the Biogenesis list (which also includes Cabrera) there has to be a continued effort on the part of the front offices that are signing these players to be more diligent about who they are signing.
I don’t believe we will ever see an end to players trying to cheat but there can’t be a reward attached to the cheating in order to keep the game at a level playing field.