It's official: Major League Baseball has suspended Ryan Braun for the remainder of the 2013 season.
Braun has accepted the punishment, meaning there will be no appeal. There will be no hope that he beats MLB once again. In fact, the amount of games missed was apparently negotiated between Braun and MLB.
The suspension spans 65 games. Not 50. Not 100. Not for life. So, I don't know. I guess the two sides came to an agreement. For my part, I think anything more than 50 games is absolute baloney. This is the first time that he has been actually suspended, he should not be suspended for more than set 50 game penalty for performance enhancing drugs.
Because, you know what, he wasn't technically suspended for that. He was suspended for violating the Joint Drug Agreement in the Basic Agreement. His actual violations were not specified. So well PEDs are probably what he was suspended for, MLB won't even come out and say it.
Here is Braun's statement (which also makes it sound like he did take PEDs), taken from the Journal Sentinel:
"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. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it is has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love."
I don't know. It's kind of like when news broke way back in 2011 that Braun first tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. It leaves a weird feeling in the pit of one's gut. It sets up a lot of disappointment for the Brewers. It's sad that this is going to cause a decade of hate around the country for the Milwaukee baseball club. There are still people who don't like the Giants because of Barry Bonds. The dislike of one guy using PEDs is taken out on a whole ballclub. My favorite ballclub, your favorite ballclub. My beloved Milwaukee Brewers.
It's going to be hard watching reactions across the internet and TV. It's already hard following Twitter. It's hard to know that Jeff Passan is sitting somewhere with a stupid "told ya so" smirk on his face. It's hard to know that there are so many people like him who feel the same way.
I know there are going to be Brewers fans who disown Braun. Maybe some will say they never liked the guy. Some will say that he should be cut from the team or traded, or never play again, or whatever. Some across the league will call for his MVP to be revoked.
But Ryan Braun will come back in 2014 and start in left field for the Brewers and he'll probably be good. He'll probably be really good. He'll be clean, because he doesn't seem dumb enough to use for a second time. We don't know how often or exactly when he used performance enhancers. He didn't test positive for years, and hasn't tested positive since his very public almost-suspension. Thus, I can't imagine he won't still be one of the most talented players in baseball when he does return.
He's out for 65 games. A weird number, but it will allow him to rest up from all his minor injuries in a lost 2013 season. This season was done a long time ago. This suspension doesn't much hurt the Brewers on-field product. In fact, it's about as good as the team could have hoped for. Now we continue to see what the Brewers have in Logan Schafer and perhaps Caleb Gindl and Khris Davis. The Brewers can use this as an opportunity. The team should come out OK from this from a baseball standpoint.
Braun will be hated by fans everywhere. He already was after the 2011-2012 offseason. That will intesify further, though. It will be something he'll have to overcome. He won't get the Andy Pettite treatment from fans. Maybe they'll lighten up a little because he finally sort of admitted to and apologized for his transgressions, but most will still despise him.
Congratulations Bud Selig, you got your feather in your cap you so desperately needed.