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MLB Awards and Steroids in Pro Baseball
Cheating in Sport
If a player tests positive for PED's are they cheating?
I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed when the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player award was won by Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. Braun had a great 2011 year, being a main reason why the Brewers won the NL Central division, but I just felt he didn’t have the same statistical numbers as another National League player did.
Looking at the year, from a purely statistical point of view, I thought Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp had a better year. Kemp flirted with the Triple Crown for most of the year and finished the season leading the NL in both home runs and runs batted in (RBI’s). He finished third in batting average behind Jose Reyes and Ryan Braun. His third place showing in batting average was .13 behind Reyes and .08 behind Braun. In the other two categories Braun finished tied for sixth in home runs with six less than Kemp and fourth in RBI’s knocking in fifteen less than Kemp.
Where the MVP voting has always gotten controversial is whether the MVP has to come from a winning team or not. Sure putting up monster numbers has to be a great feeling but making it to the postseason has got to feel even better. The Brewers benefited from Braun’s great year on their way to capturing the division crown while Kemp’s Dodgers struggled mightily in the NL West and floundered to a third place finish.
I have always disagreed with the mindset that the MVP, or the CY Young award which is given to the league’s best pitcher, has to go to a player from a winning ball club. Both of these awards are intended to reward an individual player for their accomplishments and achievements from the season. Since these are individual awards the rest of the players should be excluded from the formula. I don’t believe it is fair to punish an offensive player for the team having a poor record because the team’s pitching staff is horrible and can’t keep the ball from flying over the fence.
Every year players are omitted from individual awards, especially when the participants for the All-Star game are announced. Fans, annalists, etc. all dissect who made it and who didn’t so my reasons above can easily be categorized with all of the other opinions on an award recipient. It does get a little bit dicey when some controversy erupts regarding an award winner; something like steroid use maybe?
Steroids in Baseball
Back in December of 2011 Braun tested positive for elevated levels of synthetic testosterone. Testosterone is a normal hormone in men and sometimes it becomes elevated for a few different reasons. The key here is that the tested urine samples detected synthetic testosterone. Synthetic testosterone will come from some kind of medication or drug and not from our own body’s natural fluctuation of the hormone.
Of course Braun has denied knowingly taking any kind of performance enhancing drug (PED) and has filed an appeal of the ruling. He has issued statements that prescriptions he had been taking were the culprit in the positive tests.
If Braun’s appeal is unsuccessful he is slated to be suspended for the first fifty games in 2012 which is almost one third of the season.
I’m certainly not going to pass judgment on Braun and I really hope the tests are not accurate. Ryan Braun is a young star in the league and really seems like a nice guy.
Steroid Use in Sports
Questions have come up if he should be allowed to keep his MVP award which he just accepted over the weekend. I think that he should because Major League Baseball (MLB) will never completely know how many players were juicing during the steroid era. The late Ken Caminiti won the 1996 NL MVP but later admitted to using steroids during that season.
If Braun’s suspension is upheld, and the critics keep pushing for MLB to strip him of his MVP award, does that mean that the league should also take away a deceased man’s award? Personally, I don’t see it happening.