Ryan Braun and FedEx

Ryan Braun—All American

The man that finished a close second in the National League batting race in 2011 (ever-clever José Reyes of the New York Mets beat him out—by collecting a hit and benching himself on the last day of the season: Reyes won’t be remembered as another Ted Williams with that move), Ryan Braun has seen his name cleared of illegal-substance ingestion because an open FedEx office was not found. The now well-known story takes on a further Surreal touch with Braun’s filmed “press conference” in front of no reporters—at least within my (Evander) sight. His suspension suspended, and absent an injury, Braun will start the season for Milwaukee.

Is this any way to run a sport?

The issue of questionable and/or illegal-substances ingestion is complex. Chewing tobacco. Alcohol. Pot. Uppers. LSD. Crack. HGH and Steroids. Platelets’ injections. Why the fuss? Players have turned on, fueled by all of the above and more. Batters have set records. Pitchers have thrown perfect games and no-hitters, so it has been claimed, with hangovers and even while tripping.

There are issues of the right to privacy and the right to one’s body; there are issues on maintaining competitive balance and excellence.

Ryan Braun was clear to proclaim that only in Major League Baseball is an American guilty until proved innocent.

By finding a loophole to drive a truck thro, Braun and his handlers have succeeded in making a mockery of major-league drug-testing.

Sadly, the message sent (not by FedEx) to young people, regarding steroid ingestion, is twofold. Part of the message, though most are too young to understand it, is that a Dream Team of attorneys can turn commonsense upside down. The second part of the message: “Steroids (and similar substances) are really OK if your hero resorts to them and doesn’t have to pay the piper.”

Steroids taken for performance enhancement are insidious: dangerous substances that alter the metabolism in ways that are not completely understood, particularly over time.

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About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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3 Responses to Ryan Braun and FedEx

  1. ronkaplan says:

    Hold the phone. There are obviously differing opinions about acquittal vs. innocence; unfortunately, thanks to the bunging of the collection/transmission procedure which led to the ruling we may never know the “truth.” But why do you say “Braun’s filmed ‘press conference’ in front of no reporters”? Then who were those people –who clearly identified themselves as members of various news organizations — asking questions after Braun was finished reading his statement?

  2. Thank you for both comments. I have an ad hominem reaction to “the steroids issue,” and we do “know the ‘truth.'” Players who test positive are not role-models. Worse are players who make self-righteous observations about being “guilty until proved innocent” following exoneration…on a technicality. I have a fundamental concern regarding the message sent to talented young people: the player on the rim of making the varsity, or the one seeking an edge for promotion from Triple-A to the major leagues. “If star Ryan Braun could do it, so can I.” Chemical enhancement, by itself and in many forms and areas of life, is not intrinsically bad generally speaking. Steroids, however, represent a whole other area. Their distant-seeming, quality-of-life ramifications are not well enough communicated in my view. The overriding “tone” of the Braun story is, sadly: “My lawyers dazzled ’em with the footwork. Look how clever we are.” Regarding the press conference, it appeared “under-peopled” as I viewed it. I did not see (oops) these good reporters. Thank you for pointing this out!

  3. ronkaplan says:

    Obviously not a lawyer here, so my language might be incorrect and inelegant, but having listened to numerous podcasts and having read several opinions since Friday, I agree that some of Braun’s statements at the press conference can be construed as technically inaccurate. I wonder if he had written the whole thing before the facts of the decision were handed down because for him to say “the truth” had come out seems incorrect. The only thing that came out as far as I can tell — without being privy to the actual decision — is that the process was royally screwed up. That’s not the same thing as what Braun wants the public to believe. I offer Slate’s “Hang up and Listen” podcast of Feb. 27 and ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” of Feb. 24 for further information that does not cast Braun in a very good light.
    But enough about Braun. That Downton Abbey’s a really cool show, in’it?

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