Saturday's news that NL MVP Ryan Braun's performance-enhancing drug test came up positive has turned the baseball world upside down. Very much like when Alex Rodriguez ultimately admitted to steroid usage back in 2009.
I won't sit here and say Braun is for sure guilty, because he's not. Innocent until proven guilty. That's how America works, right?
But either way, Braun's name and good image are being dragged through the mud. He may not have been for baseball what Tim Tebow has been for the NFL, but he was pretty darn close. The Brewers have utilized their outfielder's popularity to help promote the team and the city while the league has been quick to have the reigning MVP help pump up the game's image.
Justifiably so, I might add. Up until about 24 hours ago, Braun seemed like one of the best people in baseball.
Now that this news has come out, however, it could change the entire game. Baseball was supposed to be the cleanest professional sport and the new CBAs were supposed to do more to get the game even cleaner. The league has been doing its best to try to rid the sport of all performance-enhancing drugs.
And then the MVP gets busted. That doesn't look good. At this point, maybe the only person that could help make the game look worse than Braun just has is Albert Pujols, what, after his quarter-of-a-billion-dollar contract and all the attention he received after leading the Cardinals on the most improbable of improbable playoff runs that culminated into a World Series win in St. Louis.
Al Yellon over at SBNation has a great column examining the impact Braun's test has had -- and could have -- on the game.
My question is, how did it even get here? How was Braun so careless as to even find himself in this position? Professional athletes -- especially baseball players -- should never put anything into their body without checking and double-checking with the team's training staff that it won't make them test positive in PEDs.
It's either carelessness or ignorance on Braun's part that he even tested positive, whether he is actually guilty or not. Either way, he makes himself and the game look bad.
This saga isn't over and likely won't be anytime soon. But it's important to watch closely as both Cubs fans and baseball fans. Whichever way it goes, the ruling will have a big effect on the game and the Brewers. If Milwaukee is without their best player and Prince Fielder does indeed leave town like all are assuming, it will be an awfully wide-open NL Central that will already be without Albert Pujols.