For reasons that can’t be explained, some men are just pure evil. As Alfred Pennyworth in The Dark Night says, “some men just want to watch the world burn.”
It’s scary to think that there are people who walk this Earth that want nothing more in life than to reign supreme above their fellow human beings so much that they would be willing to lie, steal, or cheat to surpass us all.
In January 2013, the Miami New Times reported that several Major League baseball players were connected to an anti-aging clinic in Florida called Biogenesis. The founder, Anthony Bosch, had allegedly given performance-enhancing drugs to over 20 baseball players, players ranging from minor leaguers to the likes of Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez.
Just before the Biogenesis scale became national news, I wrote a blog about Lance Armstrong’s final plea for forgiveness before he and his storied career rotted away. It was painful and harsh, but it was the bitter truth the world needed to hear. I hoped I wouldn’t have to write something like that again, but it appears justice needs to be served once more.
So here I begin.
Ryan Braun first became a big league sensation in 2007 when he was called up to play for the Milwaukee Brewers. In his rookie season, he became the fastest player to hit 30 home runs in a career, doing so just 94 games into his career. From there, his level of play and popularity only grew. Teaming up with Prince Fielder for several years, the two power hitters became the deadliest one-two punch in the National League.
Braun had his best season in 2011, hitting 33 home runs, 111 RBI’s, and batting .333. He won the National League MVP award for his play, beginning to raise questions as to whether he was the outright best player in baseball.
But that was the calm before the storm. The storm was headed Braun’s way.
Before the 2012 Major League baseball season began, Braun tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, and was suspended for the first 50 games of the season. He appealed the suspension, and because of a technicality where the lab technicians improperly handled Braun’s urine, an arbitrator overruled the suspension and Braun was a free man.
In his beautifully delivered speech after the suspension was overturned, Braun declared on national television that his was a “victim of a failed process.”
Sound a bit too good to be true?
Braun went on to have another sensational year, hitting 41 home runs, 112 RBIs, and a .312 batting average. He was selected as an all-star, and finished second in the National League MVP voting.
Once again, life was good for Braun.
While Braun was smashing home runs, making millions of dollars, and looking pretty for the cameras, underneath the mask, he was really scamming us all into believing that he was the victim, when this whole time he was really the conspirator.
Then in January, the storm rose again, and Braun was back in the spotlight for something he believed had long surpassed him. What Braun didn’t understand was that you can’t hide from the truth forever.
The truth is that Braun was a fraud when he failed a drug test the first time; he was a fraud when he got away with it, and he’s a fraud now. You can never outrun the truth, because as Braun learned the hard way, the truth will always have its day.
Major League Baseball dropped the heavy on him last week when they suspended him for the rest of the season for his role in the Biogenesis scandal. Braun is only the first of what looks to be several players receiving major suspensions for their connection to Anthony Bosch and his former Florida clinic.
Sadly, it looks as though Alex Rodriguez will be facing even harsher punishment for not only his connection to Biogenesis, but also his attempt to interfere with baseball’s ongoing investigation. This could be the end of what was once a storied career now in shambles.
As much of a win as this is for baseball, this is easily a loss for them too. It’s a win because finally Bud Selig and his new system have done their job; catch players who attempt to enhance their skills by using PEDs. But yet, it still stings the image of the game.
I applaud Major League Baseball for their pursuit of justice and attempt to wipe the slate of players who have infiltrated the game with PEDs. But the Biogenesis scandal comes to show that baseball is still a long ways away from ridding itself of its greatest villain.
This isn’t simply a battle; this is war, and the world needs to understand that wars can last a lifetime. Major League Baseball may win this battle in fashion, but don’t think the war against PEDs is over. It has only begun.
Players like Braun will always be around. Sadly, that’s the world of sports. The fact of the matter is that there will always be people who make it their mission to use any tool or weapon to get ahead of their peers, even if it means bending or breaking the rules.
It’s shameful to see Braun and his company of cheaters make it so far without being caught, but men like him have to live with something far worse than being suspended or losing millions of dollars. For the rest of their lives, when they look themselves in the mirror, they have to see someone who not only lied to the world, but worst of all, lied to themselves. That is pain that never goes away.
I agree with Braun. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes, and we all make decisions we regret. Because of that, I believe in giving people second chances. However, Braun is a different case.
You can take Braun’s apology as you wish. If I were you, I would take Braun’s apology at face value, because at the end of the day, that’s all he is: a face with no value.
I don’t believe in a person who deceitfully lies and repeatedly makes us believe something that is anything but the truth. Braun’s actions suggest that nothing can change his character or his actions. He will always be a man trying to reach the pinnacle of his profession, with or without regard for the rules and ethics of this sacred game.
Frauds like Braun aren’t people who forgive for what they’ve done. No amount of money can change who they are, what they’re made of, or what they believe in. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
I believe there are still good people out there who care for the integrity of baseball and will continue to fight the war against PEDs so that the majority of players who are clean can continue to resurrect this once great sport.
This is just one small step for baseball. But hopefully in the years to come, this moment will be remembered as one giant leap for America’s Pastime.