Open curtain: A dark grey mist hovers over the right batters box. It stands about 6-foot tall and weighs about 200 pounds soaking wet. For what it used to be, this mist was once a fiery, energetic ball player, but because of recent allegations, the only thing that remains of him is a mist of doubt and confusion.
Ryan Braun’s innocence will forever be cast into a shadow of skepticism.
Braun has taken the MLB world by storm. The reigning MVP of the league, Braun has produced gaudy numbers over his five-year career. His batting average over the course of his career steadies at an eye popping .312 and his 161 homeruns rank extremely high in the league over the last five years.
However, the phenomenon that is Ryan Braun, catapulted himself in the limelight in the dog days of last summer. Braun lifted his Brewers club into the playoffs, winning their first division title in 29 years.
They were ousted by rival St. Louis in the National League Championship Series in six games after a divisional series win against Arizona. Thrust into the bright lights was Braun. He was a household name. Kids imitated his swing at local parks. He was the talk of ESPN for weeks. How could it get any better for him? Reword that question. How could things get messed up?
Well, simply, mention the S-bomb of baseball, steroids.
ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that in October of 2011 Braun had tested positive in a drug test, and had recorded the highest testosterone level of anyone tested before. He was facing a 50-game suspension if he did not appeal. Lights off. Curtain down. The show of Ryan Braun was finished.
Or was it?
A spotlight peers down, and snoops behind the curtain. There is Braun. On the floor, beaten up but still functioning. He stands up. The spotlight shines on him once again. His face now jeered in the public eye after a horrible performance. Begin Act II.
Act II begins as Braun calls for an appeal, and…wins? Braun comes up with the best performance he has had in years and calls out the MLB on a legal technicality and for his final speech asserts himself as innocent.
The test was not conducted by procedure and his testosterone levels were raised so high because of a prescription medicine to treat a private medical issue. However, the audience is still weary on these assertions, and for good reason as well.
With the advent of steroid testing in the mid 2000s, players have been caught and suspended for the use of performance enhancing drugs. But how can this one player, one who has not gained an inch, not gained one shred of muscle, be accused of such wrong doing? Skeptics will question his personal medical issue and others will write him off as a cheater.
But let us wait. The Ryan Braun show is not over yet. Act III awaits us. It is up to Braun to write it for his audience.
Time will tell when this slugger rises to the stars, or comes crashes down to the dirt.