It was a sunny South Florida day in 2003, I had taken the opportunity attend a University of Miami baseball game. The Hurricanes were down 2-0 against a not too shabby Georgia Tech team.
This freshman stood at the plate, his name, Ryan Braun. First pitch was high and inside. The pitcher made a mistake on his second pitch as Braun connected and hit a laser into right field effortlessly. In that series Braun went 7 for 13 with two homeruns and nine RBI’s.
During the next 2 years the Hurricanes went 50-13 with Braun leading the charge.
When looking at Ryan Braun’s past two seasons, it is easy to dismiss him; he pled guilty of using illegal performance enhancing drugs he also held a press conference where he denied any such thing.
With that said we are a nation that forgives, sometimes even forget. That hasn’t been the case for Braun so far. He’s been booed and scrutinized throughout games.
But in the midst of all these jeers and negativity surrounding him, we are failing to comprehend a special something about Ryan. The one thing that no scandal or anyone else for that matter can take away from Braun is his gifted abilities to play the game.
Considered a 5 tool player from the very beginning, Ryan Braun is the complete package in today’s major league baseball.
Baseball is composed of both talent and athleticism. It takes talent to learn the mechanics of the game. To a certain degree athletic ability alone drives success for certain players which may not be very talented.
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Alcides Escobar is a name that comes to mind, whose offensive capabilities are extremely limited, but is an excellent athlete on the field and has been the starting shortstop for the Royals the past four seasons.
When it comes to Ryan Braun, it is obvious that he is a super talent just by looking at him play daily or by looking over his historical stats. The numbers are simply amazing at all levels of his career.
Ryan Braun represents talent in every aspect of the game itself. Whether it’s his .300 30/30 seasons average or Braun gunning out someone at the plate with his cannon of an arm. We come to realize that Braun has that gift!
“The Hebrew Hammer” he is called around the world of baseball. Up until the Biogenesis scandal, Ryan Braun was pretty much MLB’s poster boy. He was a role model citizen and a super star player.
Call to the Pen
But things change when you’re involved in any sort of scandal, specially, when you are involved in a scandal that has tainted the game this past decade. What we see now is a Ryan Braun who missed half a season in 2013, suspended for 65 games.
This year he is on the verge of finishing the season with career low numbers at every category. It becomes easy to dismiss him and scrutinize and even doubt his real ability as a superstar.
Well my fellow readers, I am here to put perspective where it belongs. To remind you that what Ryan Braun has accomplished throughout high school, college, the minors and now the majors is an extremely hard thing to do with or without the aid of any substance.
In my opinion he has paid the price for his mistake, he is reminded of it every single day of his life by the crowd’s negative reaction upon his at bats, by the suspension that took him away from the game he loves for half a year and by his below career average performance this year.
In contrast, recently a certain player from a different sport was suspended two games initially. His crime? He was the aggressor in a domestic violence dispute that was recorded while it happened.
Has Braun not paid the price for having too much synthetic testosterone show up in his drug test?
Has he not served enough time for not being honest from the very beginning? Braun said initially he had nothing to hide, over and over again.
It was his word against Biogenesis, the root of all evil in baseball. Let’s say for a second we give him the benefit of the doubt.
Could he have been lied to at some point in time? Would it be so far-fetched when the other party involved is accused of other?
I’ll take the odds on both and say that Ryan Braun will have a comeback season in 2015…
At the end of the day following legal advice, Braun admitted to using PED’s and served his suspension instead of appealing. Was there more to hide or was this a decision of someone who simply wanted to put this entire nightmare behind him?
Be upset, forgive him if you desire or don’t if you think otherwise. But, let’s recognize talent when it is on full display and part of the history books. Forgiveness is in the heart of each and every one of us. You are entitled to whatever feeling you have towards Braun after the scandal.
However, don’t fail to decipher talent when it is present. It has been present practically since Braun’s days in high school.
He has dominated at every level of the sport and that is something that can’t be said otherwise. That is something that can’t be ripped from the books.
Braun is guilty by his own admission to failure to comply with the league’s drug policy. Braun however is not guilty of lacking talent or passion.
As is usual the case only time will tell whether Braun will return to form next year. Only time will tell if fans finally let go and move on from the incident.
I’ll take the odds on both and say that Ryan Braun will have a comeback season in 2015.
Not only will he have a successful season but this whole scandal will be three years past him, enough time for everyone to forget, forgive and accept greatness in all of its purity.