Ryan Braun: The Most Valuable Performance Enhancer?

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The National League MVP Ryan Braun reportedly tested positive for a banned substance. This news is disappointing. Braun represents the new generation of baseball stars. He represents the clean slate Major League Baseball is working from. Gone are the McGwire’s, Bonds, and Palmeiro’s. We still live with Alex Rodriguez, but his stature in the game is grossly declining to near irrelevance.

Braun is appealing the test. The most disconcerting issue, and call me old-fashioned, he knew about the results a month prior to winning the MVP. I don’t know what he should or could have done. However, Braun remains a winner as he reportedly will continue to collect on his contract.

Major League Baseball lost credibility during the “Steroid Era.” Braun’s failing this test does nothing for the game. It does nothing for the fans. Should Braun lose his MPV Award? Should his career statistics have the famed asterisk with a footnote: “failed MLB drug testing in 2011?” Each baseball writer, fan, executive, and player will need to decide for themselves.

A rigidly enforced drug policy works great if MLB is serious about the penalties. The irony is Major League baseball reinstated Manny Ramirez this week. To effectively enforce the drug policy, players who fail these drug tests need excommunication from Major League Baseball. Never to return again. Is expulsion from the game effective? The answer to that question lies with some former members of the 1919 White Sox and an all-time hits leader not in the Hall of Fame.

Now is the time to crack down once and for all on PED use. Not all of us fans want inflated numbers. If a player is truly phenomenal, their talent will show without any enhancement.

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