Braun's Uphill Battle
As much as Brewers' fans will want to sugar coat this and even be in complete denial about what is happening with NL MVP Ryan Braun, one thing is for sure; this is going to be a struggle for the superstar. MLB has been very strict with its drug testing policies. Braun tested positive for a banned substance and the MLB isn't going to care how it happened or if Braun had unknowingly ingested something that made his test turn out the way it did.
The burden is now on Braun's camp to prove there was something wrong with the test results. His reps have hired prominent athlete attorney David Cornwell to go to his defense. (He's also represented NFL WR Randy Moss and NBA PG Gilbert Arenas.) Leaks have come out that the test results were so high that there may have been a mistake with the test.
Whatever the defense is, it will have to be very good because in a lot of fans and baseball experts’ minds, the damage will already have been done. In my eyes, Braun will have to be completely cleared of all of this for his career to be deemed clean and honest. This kind of stigma can stay with an athlete for an entire career and beyond. Something like this could be a black cloud around him forever.
This not only affects Braun, but it puts a huge strain on the ball club. Prince Fielder is as good as gone and Braun faces a 50 game suspension to start the 2012 season. Those two were the heart of the lineup and there were periods of the 2011 season in which Braun and Fielder flat out carried the entire team on their backs. Losing the number 3 and 4 hitters in a lineup would hurt most teams around the MLB, but losing players like Braun and Fielder would be utterly devastating for the Brewers. The Brewers as a team combined for 693 RBIs during the 2011 season. Braun and Fielder had 231 RBIs combined. That's exactly 1/3 of the teams RBIs from only two guys. Needless to say the team would be swimming against the current when the 2012 season begins and they don't have either Fielder or Braun in the lineup.
Let's hope that there was something severely wrong with Braun's testing process and results.
On a friendlier note: The pursuit of free agent 3B Aramis Ramirez has apparently ended. The Brewers and Ramirez have agreed to a three-year deal. I will post more when I find out the details of the signing.