Monday, May 28, 2012

Who's Cheating Who?

Since I haven't written about baseball for awhile, let's take a quick moment and revisit a big story from earlier this year. Here's the OPS of a mystery player. I'll keep this to just age and OPS, to keep things simple.

2007 - 24 - 1.004
2008 - 25 - .888
2009 - 26 - .937
2010 - 27 - .866
2011 - 28 - .994
2012 - 29 - .995

Pretty damned consistent, and elite, right? Well, sure: it's Ryan Braun, the controversial 2011 MVP, the guy who skated on a 50-game steroid suspension this last winter under what many people consider to be a technicality.

And, well, I'm going to add something else to the mix here. Braun's games played, from when he became a regular.

2008 - 151
2009 - 158
2010 - 157
2011 - 150
2012 -- 44 (out of a possible 47)

So, we've got a guy who hasn't shown any noticeable performance difference from last year, when his detractors feel like he was on the juice. We also have a guy who, unlike past abusers, hasn't seemed prone to the ordinary aches and pains of the needle boys. We've also got a guy who doesn't seem to be roided out when you just look at him, not that this is a big indicator, really. (Oh, and while we're popping bubbles of zombie dumbness, please note that Braun's performance is remarkably unchanged from the years when he's doing the job with Prince Fielder behind him, and this year, when it's all kinds of folks.)

So, and here's the funny part... is there a point when everyone who went crazy on this guy, demanded that he give the MVP trophy back, and spat venom to the skies that he was a cheating cheater cheater... admits they, well, might have possibly been wrong, and that he could possibly have been innocent beyond the technicality?

See, that's the problem with the current reality of steroids: as soon as you are presumed guilty, you will be that way for the rest of your days. Braun's going to be a steroid cheat for non-Brewer non-fantasy owners for the rest of his days. Dodger Fan, and Kemp's crowd, is always going to think that there man is one MVP award shy of where he should be. (And by the way, I kind of agree with them: Kemp's 2011 was similar or better in a far more difficult home park for hitters, and I've never really gotten the gist of how the best player and the most valuable player are different things, seeing how the best player award doesn't exist.)

Whether, well, he's a cheat or not.

Oh, and here's a fun spanner in the works that I picked up when I was doing the image search for something to go with this little note...

Type in "Ryan Braun Cheat", and Google will suggest "Ryan Braun Cheating Jew."

So maybe there's a little bit more to this, hmm?

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