All is not lost, Brewers fans--waiting for shoes to drop in the Ryan Braun case
It was good to be an orthopedic surgeon in these parts Tuesday night, what with all the people leaping to conclusions about the Ryan Braun PED situation. Ankles snapped like potato chips as folks hopped off the team bandwagon amid word the Brewers All-Star faced a 100 game suspension for using banned substances.
Trouble is, he HASN'T been suspended and nothing's been proven.
Cynics outside the area no doubt have already convicted the slugger, but it was troubling to hear how many folks even around here were/are willing to find him guilty. Granted, a Cardinals fan living in Jefferson City, Missouri may be a little more willing to rush to judgment. Still, a disturbing number of local backers seem willing to pour the gas on the ol' number 8 and sparking a match.
Put the Zippo back in your pocket, at least for now.
The real story that broke Tuesday night is the fact that Biogenesis owner/sketchy "wellness" broker Tony Bosch is going to talk with MLB investigators. Sources tell the network that the upshot could be suspensions for Braun and some 20 players, sit-downs of 100 games. But until Bosch speaks and we know what he's said, it's all speculation.
MLB has piles of paper, some with names and PED's and cash payments. No one has been able to connect the dots or validate their authenticity--until now. Bosch's decision to speak, sparked by ongoing federal probes, is motivated by the fact he's broke and legally jammed up. He's no choir boy, to be sure, and he's already said Braun bought only his advice (about a past PED test gone bad), not any banned substances. Is that his story, and will he stick to it? We don't know, and until we do, talk of suspensions and the 2013 season going down the toilet is premature.
Fact is, the 2013 campaign is ALREADY swirling down the bowl but not because of Braun. He, Jean Segura, Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez are the few members of this current congregation of talent playing up to or beyond expectations. That nine game win streak that had us dreaming of free George Webb burgers earlier was an aberration--this team didn't look right in spring training and hasn't hit on all cylinders all season long, save that week and a half of excellence. And, there's little you see right now that makes you feel that's going to change, is there? Scooter Gennett pacifies fans who want Rickey Weeks out of both the lineup and the state. And, even if the Crew goes on an unbelievable tear the rest of the way, there's a whole division that has to play some really bad baseball the rest of the way in order to climb out of the cellar.
If Bosch names Braun as a user, the MLB process has to play its way out: appeals, arbitration and all manner of things happen that will add months to the process. Braun could end up playing the rest of the season, albeit under a reinvigorated PED cloud.
Let's hold our collective horses, then, and let this thing play out. Baseball got what it wanted Tuesday: a vocal, willing-to-spill-his-guts Bosch. Until his bucket tips, though, no one is convicted or suspended. ESPN should get credit for getting the story, but to their discredit, it seems they sensationalized their "get" with premature conclusions about punishment before any crime has been proven.
In the meantime, keep those snapped ankles elevated and wait for some more shoes to drop.