At roughly 5:30 PM EST, Matt Garza was traded to the Texas Rangers. Less than 10 minutes later, everyone forgot about that deal.
That’s because in the same timeframe where we were evaluating the prospects that the Chicago Cubs acquired, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was given a 65-game suspension for PED (Performance Enhancing Drug) use. Braun becomes the first player connected with the Biogenesis clinic to be suspended, and will not appeal his suspension.
Remember his original 50-game suspension handed out during the 2011 off-season? Players and fans do. According to Yahoo! Sports MLB columnist Jeff Passan, players around the league are furious about the suspension, calling for him to be banned longer, while his own teammates are glad he’s gone because of the lies.
Oh yes, the lies. His once confident statement after the original suspension was overturned has now turned into a monologue from Charlie Brown’s teacher. The statement seemed wrong to begin with, but now it brings sheer hilarity looking back at it.
This is my biggest problem with the whole thing. Braun dragged Dino Laurenzi Jr.’s through the mud, similar to what happened during Lance Armstrong’s confession earlier in the year. I understand that you want to save yourself during something like this, but Braun could have simply said that he was happy with the results of the appeal and that he will be putting this past him. There was no need to attack Laurenzi and ruin his reputation. I wish that Braun would issue a public apology to Laurenzi about how he handled the appeal process, but unfortunately I don’t think he’s big enough of a man to do such a thing.
Plus, it would be hypocritical to be upset with him just because of PED use. This is coming from a guy who rooted for Mark McGwire for years, and accepted him with open arms when he came back as the St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach in 2010. The game absolutely needs cleaned up, but I can’t say that the reason why I’m most upset at Braun was because he cheated. It’s how he handed it when he originally got caught.
I’ve also seen some tweets and posts about taking away Braun’s 2011 NL MVP and giving it to Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. I believe that Kemp deserved it at the time, but retroactively giving it to him sets a bad precedent. Unfortunately, we can not prove whether Kemp was clean or not, and if you take away Braun’s award, then you have to go back even further to strip guys like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Alex Rodriguez of their awards. MLB is looking to clean up this mess, not add to it.
The question now is – to steal a phrase from wrestling legend Goldberg – “Who’s Next?” The aforementioned A-Rod seems likely to receive the next suspension, while someone like Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz might want to take a ban now because he is a free agent after the season. Other players such as Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta and Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon are also on the Biogenesis list, and their absence could affect their team’s playoff chances going forward.
Ryan Braun is the first domino to fall, but he certainly won’t be the last.