As of this writing, it appears Braun hired Biogenesis as a consultant and that’s why his name was on a piece of paper in this office, maybe that changes, maybe it doesn’t. It is important to know we don’t really know at this point, but we do know a large part of the baseball media lost their damn minds over it.
They shouldn’t. No one really cares about PEDs.
Well people do, if it happens to a player or team they dislike. Part of being a fan is coming up with reasons to hate guys wearing a different color uniform. If it happens to their team (unless the player is unlikable, see: A-Rod and Sammy Sosa) people really don’t care. Bonds is a legend in San Fran, Ortiz in Boston, McGwire in St Louis, etc etc.
To be a baseball fan today, one has to look past the abhorrent segregation that plagued the game for over a century, gambling, amphetamine abuse, billionaire owners ripping off taxpayers to build stadiums and the exploitation of players throughout its history. Steroid use in the sport is nothing new, and in 2013 after all of the above, there is a reasonable expectation that the average fan cares much more about watching the games than the stuff that goes on outside the field, otherwise they would have left a hell of a long time ago.
Its a lot like the NCAA, really.
To be an NCAA fan you have to block out a LOT of off the field stuff. There are players making schools millions of dollars who receive next to nothing in terms of compensation. And they are blocked from professional leagues for anywhere from 1 to 3 years, so they have no other choice. Today hundreds of athletes will sign letters binding them to a school. In return the school can drop their scholarship at any time for any reason. Its a pretty neat system they got going.
Both the NCAA and MLB can’t get out of their own way because they too often assume their fans actually care about the off the field stuff. To think that a baseball fan who has put up with all kinds of off field crap throughout their life actually cares that Ryan Braun’s name is on a piece of paper at a clinic in Florida is just as crazy to think a college sports fan actually cares that some Ohio State football players got free tattoos or Nevin Shapiro took some Miami players out to dinner.
My plea to the NCAA and MLB – know that your fans put up with a LOT in order to follow your sport, and stop worrying about a constant PR battle to win something you can never win. If you’re going to have rules, make them simple and easy to inforce. Don’t routinely bungle investigations by obtaining information illegally (University of Miami football) or pitch a hissy fit when your process fails (Braun). Treating players like the bad guys is not the answer and for the love of God, please stop giving a crap what the media is focused on in the moment.
As annoying as Passan and the like are, people read their stories and its hard to fault them (despite some of the leaps of logic they take) for reporting a story. If you posted an article titlted “Here’s a reason you can heckle Albert Pujols,” I’m going to read it.
Did Braun use something he shouldn’t have? Maybe, its definitely becoming harder to really say that in all certainty he did not. If the MLB wants to suspend him, go for it but do it because you actually have a process, not because a reporter found a name on a a piece of paper for you. The process of dragging out investigations, reopening investigations, firing arbitrators, and starting investigations again every time the Yahoo bosses tell Jeff Passan or Charles Robinson to generate pageviews beyond exhausting. Please stop.