Giants Are MLB's Modern Dynasty

Fitting End to MadBum's October

How Does PED Admittance Affect Ryan Braun's Image?

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
How Does PED Admittance Affect Ryan Braun's Image?

Say goodbye to Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun for the rest of the 2013 season.

While you're at it, say goodbye to what was once a squeaky-clean image. Once one of the top good guys in the league, it is now official that Braun is among the game's biggest villains. And a real throw-back style of baseball villain, at that.

If you missed it, the following appeared on MLB's official Twitter account on Monday afternoon.

This suspension isn't happening because MLB beat Braun in a fair fight. This suspension is happening because Braun chose not to fight. He decided to make it easy on himself by just admitting instead.

"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," said Braun in a statement issued via MLB.com.

Braun acknowledged that he wasn't perfect in the past? If he says so. I don't recall him saying anything of the sort, but maybe that's because my memory is going straight to a different word that he was so fond of using once upon a time:

Innocent.

Braun repeatedly professed his innocence the first time MLB charged him with performance-enhancing drug use following the 2011 season. He chose to challenge MLB's ruling on the grounds that it was "B.S." and ultimately walked away the victor. It turned out that there had been a violation of baseball's chain of custody procedure, making the urine sample that got Braun in trouble invalid.

As Braun saw things, this was all he needed to bust out the "I" word.

"We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side," he said in a victory statement, via the Journal Sentinel.

And later, during a press conference conducted at the outset of spring training (via ESPN.com): "The simple truth is that I'm innocent. The truth is always relevant and the truth prevailed."

Courtesy of MLB Advanced Media via MLB.com.

Braun really, really, really wanted everyone to believe him. He wanted everyone to believe that he had been wrongfully accused, and that it was therefore wrong to convict him in the court of public opinion. He demanded the benefit of the doubt.

But as much as Braun wanted everyone else to accept it as true, he hadn't been declared innocent. He had merely been declared not guilty. His victory was won not with innocence, but with cleverness. Trusting the word of a clever man isn't always easy.

Braun tried to be clever again when Yahoo! Sports first linked him to Biogenesis in February, saying in a statement (via the Journal Sentinel) that his association with the wellness clinic and director Anthony Bosch had nothing to do with PEDs. Braun's excuse was that he had used Bosch as a consultant while preparing for what he reminded everyone was a "successful" appeal the year before.

Even after ESPN reported that Braun was among the players that MLB was seeking to target with suspensions due to their connections with the PED clinic, he continued to act like he didn't have a care in the world. 

"The truth has not changed," he casually told reporters, via MLBlogs.com. "I don’t know the specifics of the story that came out today, but I’ve already addressed it, I’ve already commented on it, and I’ll say nothing further about it.”

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

He stuck to the same old refrain earlier this month after ESPN reported that a suspension was coming Braun's way.

"In regards to that whole crazy situation, the truth still hasn't changed," he told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com and others. "I'm still going to continue to respect the process and not discuss anything in the media. Beyond that, the vast majority of stories that have come out are inaccurate. But aside from that I'm not going to say anything else tonight."

Here was Braun once again wanting so badly to be trusted. Except this time, he also seemed to want the same thing that some notable stars of the late 1990s and the early 2000s wanted when they started to feel the heat: to be left alone.

Certainly the last thing he wanted people asking was, "How long can he keep this charade up?"

As it turned out, not long at all.

Only a couple weeks after Braun was insisting that the truth hadn't changed, he's given up on his version of the truth. In no time at all, he's gone from proclaiming his innocence to readily accepting what MLB was accusing him of being two years ago: a cheater and a liar.

All those who were skeptical of Braun for so many months can feel vindication. All those who felt compelled to stand by him for so many months can only feel disappointment and, justifiably, anger.

And now there they all are standing together, united against Ryan Joseph Braun. The mission at hand is to look back at all he's accomplished as the work of a fraud.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

What about Braun's brilliant debut campaign in 2007, in which he homered 34 times and won the Rookie of the Year? Knowing what we know now, there's no way to trust that it was all for real.

His five straight All-Star appearances from 2008 to 2012? Some, if not all, of those should have gone to players who were playing the game the right way.

His back-to-back 30-30 seasons in 2011 and 2012? Who knows if he would have been able to achieve those without, you know, help.

His MVP from the '11 season, in which he hit 33 homers, stole 33 bases and led the National League in OPS to help the Brewers reach the playoffs? There was already an outcry that it should have gone to Matt Kemp. Now we can look back on it with more certainty and conclude that, yes, it should have.

Looking back with a skeptical eye is warranted in this case, but it must be noted that that's about all anyone can do. The accolades and numbers Braun has racked up in his career aren't going anywhere. The same goes for the numbers in his bank account.

Braun signed a five-year, $105 extension with the Brewers in 2011 that will last him through at least 2020. By the time that extension kicks in, his suspension will be old news and it will only have cost him less than $4 million, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell.

Braun gets to keep his numbers and will continue cashing his paychecks once his suspension is over. That's just how it is. He shall remain a successful baseball player on paper, which cares little for how he became a successful baseball player. As far as paper is concerned, whatever he did worked just fine.

That makes Braun a relic from a bygone era, and that makes him a figure that Major League Baseball neither wants nor needs.

 

Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

 

If you want to talk baseball, hit me up on Twitter.

Follow zachrymer on Twitter

Load More Stories

Follow Milwaukee Brewers from B/R on Facebook

Follow Milwaukee Brewers from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Out of Bounds

Milwaukee Brewers

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.