Major league baseball should be ashamed.
The punishment handed out to Milwaukee Brewers’ product Ryan Braun was way too flimsy to suit the crime.
The damage the lying, former National League MVP did to countless lives and the sport he plays is immeasurable.
Braun admitted, though certainly not in actual words a man would use, that he wasn’t truthful when he denied taking any performance enhancing drugs. He admitted it in a cowardly fashion by accepting the slap on the wrist that baseball offered him, which means he will miss the rest of what was shaping up to be a dreadful season for him and the Brewers.
I know why baseball let him off virtually unpunished. The sport needed someone to cave in order to make going after the others who are suspected easier.
What would have been a better punishment? Make him play the rest of the season and incur the wrath of baseball fans who were slapped around by his lies. Make him play out a virtually meaningless season. Then suspend him for the entire 2014 season.
Braun will lose about $3.4 million by missing the rest of this season. But he is still owed more than $100 million through the rest of his contract, which runs through the 2020 season. My hope is that the Brewers find a way to void that contract. Perhaps if the team could get out from under that pact, then maybe it could release him.
Braun was gutless enough to try and shift the blame on the people responsible for collecting and delivering his sample.
What Braun proved through this entire ordeal is that he cares for nobody except Braun. He has no passion for the sport, for the Brewers’ franchise, for his teammates or for his fans. Certainly there is no other explanation for making such a mockery of the process baseball has in place to catch cheaters.
If Commissioner Bud Selig believes that singling out Braun, giving him soft punishment to try and encourage deals with the other offending players, is going to give the public at large the feeling that the sport is taking a hard line against these drugs — he’s a fool.
Braun has damaged baseball far more than any single person I can think in the history of this sport.
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Thanks to Hoosier Park last Saturday for giving me a fourth opportunity to drive in a celebrity race at the track. Thanks also to Joe Putnam for being a great co-pilot and for letting me take the reins for more than half of the race.
I was able to lead for a while down the backstretch before settling back into the No. 2 hole. Coming down the home stretch, several horses went wide and passed me as I bided time on the rail. Eventually the horse in front of me drifted out a bit and gave me the opening for which I was waiting. I ended up third. It was great fun, and I’d do it again if asked.