Say you ain't lyin', Ryan


by Andrew Coughlin

Brewers fans will always stand behind their guy.  That was the case last year when Ryan Braun, the Brewers and its fans all dodged the proverbial bullet, as the star player was cleared from serving a 50-game suspension for a positive drug test sample. 

Braun was exonerated, even if it was a technicality that set him free.  He backed up his exoneration with his play.  He had an outstanding 2012 season, arguably better than his 2011 season; the year he tested positive for synthetic testosterone. 

The PED cloud was hanging thick over his head at the beginning of the 2012 season, but slowly began to dissipate and get thinner and thinner as the season wore on; his stat line getting bigger and MVP talk was again attached to his name.  He finished second in the MVP race.  A distant second to Giants catcher Buster Posey, some writers even refusing to give Braun their first place vote.  The cloud that slowly faded away had reared again after the season, in the form of the MVP ballot and the voters that chose its winner; a kind of punishment thrown on Braun, although having been cleared, for having association with PEDs.

Months after the MVP was announced, the cloud was creeping away again.

Not so fast. 

A new report out of the Miami New Times has surfaced and guess who's name is on it?  Braun's name is plain to see, along with his former roommate at the University of Miami, Detroit Tigers pitcher Cesar Carrillo.  One thing lacking from Braun's name that is tied to the others on the list: a specific name or identity of a banned substance or PED.  The only thing next to his name is a number. 20-30K, presumably a sum of a payment for services rendered.  The man behind the list is Biogenesis clinic owner Anthony Bosch.  Braun came out very quickly and said his attorneys used Bosch as a consultant for his 2011 drug suspension appeal. 

It's a very plausible excuse, but right now, before all the facts come out, it really doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter what the link was, big or small, credible or sketchy, he is linked to PEDs for a second time.  The black cloud that came and went has come again.  It's over Braun's head and this time it's a black thunderstorm cloud with lightning and wind, that will not be going away anytime soon.

The MLB will investigate this and the truth will come out, but guilty or innocent, Braun will now be linked to PEDs on two fronts.  As much as any Brewers fan will want to believe him and his reasons, he is going to be viewed as a player who has doped, at least for the immediate future.

As elated as fans must have been last year when Braun was cleared, they must be equally as disappointed with this latest news.  However rocky the storm gets, Milwaukee Brewers fans will remain loyal and stand by their guy.


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