Braun Over Brain’s — MVP?
December 10, 2011 29 Comments
I’m going to jump to conclusions. I don’t need to wait for all the evidence to come out. Ryan Braun used performance enhancing drugs. Guilty until proven truly guilty. Right?
If it is indeed the case that Ryan Braun will be suspended 50 games for steroid use, a little black rain cloud is once again hovering over Major League Baseball. They will have big decision to make. Should Ryan Braun retain his MVP trophy? To strip or not to strip? That is the million dollar question.
The thing is, this million dollar question isn’t very difficult. It shouldn’t be a question. Ryan Braun’s MVP trophy must be taken away and given to its rightful owner – Matt Kemp.
No, Ryan Braun probably is not the only star player in the MLB currently using performance enhancers. At this point in time, with any brains and proper means to do so, the system can be cheated despite the much stricter system that has been implemented. However, Ryan Braun has been caught and having been caught so shortly after his stellar season raises a few red flags to say the least.
The effect of PED’s is no doubt different from individual to individual. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that the potential effects that PED’s can have can be enormously beneficial for a player. Steroids may not hit the ball for the player or increase hand-eye coordination and athleticism, but to dismiss the effects of performance enhancers because of the unquantifiable nature of the issue is crazy.
If proven guilty, I’m not sure how you can argue that steroids could not have played a role in inflating Ryan Braun’s numbers for 2011. He won the MVP race by a fairly small margin of 56 points. His .332 average, .397 on base, .994 OPS and 111 RBI’s are all skewed. By how much those numbers are inflated can never be determined but the grey area surrounding the figures is enough in itself to discredit Ryan Braun’s season.
For all we know, Matt Kemp is on the juice. The bottom line though is that he has not been caught. He is the deserving MVP because, for all we know, he has done it au naturel.
In an era supposedly free of performance enhancers, Ryan Braun gave himself a leg up on the rest of the competition. More like a giant Sasquatch leg but you get the idea.
In Ryan Braun’s case, we have no pre-steroid numbers to refer to when putting his 2011 numbers in context because, for all we know, Ryan Braun has been using steroids since he entered the league in 2007. As alluded to earlier, 2007 was the year after the MLB finally implemented a severe penalty for positive drug testing. He has put up similar power numbers in all of his 5 seasons in the bigs. Unlike Barry Bonds, Braun’s 2011 season stats do not feature a suspiciously colossal increase.
Even so, Ryan Braun cheated. He may have been voted the most valuable player in the league but he was assisted. Whether the assistance was more similar to that of a clumsy intern or a trusted employee shouldn’t matter.
Marion Jones forfeited every one of her medals earned after September of 2000. Ben Johnson was forced to give back his gold medal that he “earned” at the 1988 Summer Olympics.
Ryan ought to return his MVP award as well.
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