Two days ago, I asked how to combine “Brewers” and “schadenfreude” in response to the unfortunate acceptance of arbitration by setup man Francisco Rodriguez, which could cost the Brewers $13 million or more. You came up with Brewenfreude.
But that wasn’t Brewenfreude. This is Brewenfreude.
Today, ESPN’s ‘Outside the Lines’ is reporting National League MVP and Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug during the 2011 MLB playoffs, and is facing a 50-game suspension. The suspension has not yet been announced because Braun is appealing the decision.
Braun, 28, helped the Brewers to the playoffs, and himself to the MVP award, on the strength of a career-best .332/.397/.597 season, in which he hit 33 homers. During those playoffs, Braun was given a urine test, which revealed an elevated testosterone level – and the testosterone was synthetic. To confirm the results, MLB reached out to the World Anti-Doping Agency for their review.
After the second review, Braun was informed of the results in late October. The Brewers say they haven’t heard anything about it from the Commissioner’s Office. Ostensibly, they’re just learning about it now.
A spokesman for Braun issued a statement in response to the report:
“There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan’s complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program. While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated.”
Hmm. See that word “intentional” in there? That’s lawyer-speak for, “yeah, well, maybe he did it, but he didn’t mean to do it!” When your spokesman is already saying things like that, it doesn’t look good.
You know what else doesn’t look good?
ESPN adds the following discussion and previous quotes (now cringe-worthy quotes) from Braun:
Asked if he were surprised that Rodriguez had been exposed as a steroid user, Braun was quoted saying, “I don’t know if I would say I was surprised. I feel like it was so rampant, so prevalent, in baseball during that time period that not much surprises me anymore. If anything, I was surprised he got caught, that it came out this long after he supposedly did it.”
On whether he had ever been tempted to try performance-enhancing drugs, Braun said, “It’s never something that I sought.”
MLB.com wrote that Braun then showed “a flash of his sense of humor and his well-documented self-confidence” by adding, “I would never do it because if I took steroids, I would hit 60 or 70 home runs.”
Braun was speaking to the website prior to the news conference at which Rodriguez admitted his use.
“… The best thing he can do is come out, admit to everything and be completely honest,” Braun said. “The situation will die a lot faster if he tells the whole truth.”
Yikes. This is ugly, not only for Braun and the Brewers, but also for baseball. We don’t need the highest of high profile players ONCE AGAIN coming under a cloud of suspicion. As much as I joke about “schadenfreude,” I’m truly saddened and disappointed about this. And, if the Brewers are genuinely learning about this for the first time right now, I feel bad for them. Their offseason plans would have undoubtedly been different if they knew this was looming. Now, it’s probably too late.
But then I remember that the Cubs have to compete with the Brewers. And then I remember that the Brewers signed Ryan Braun through 2020 on a contract that will pay him more than $100 million from 2016 to 2020.