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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Doug Glanville: If Ryan Braun doesn’t win his appeal, he doesn’t deserve to be the NL MVP

Hey…how can Hank Aaron’s home run record get “asterisked away” when his was a single (guffaw) pep pill-fueled record to begin with?!

But in Braun’s case, if he’s guilty, this wouldn’t be hard at all. Everything would be right in front of us, in plain view. Just a short time before he got the award, he had failed the drug test; it was a banned substance, banned for the reason that it supposedly creates an advantage. Therefore, his season was advantaged. His MVP award was not based on playing within the rules, so why can’t the award be taken away?

Slippery slopes only stop being slippery when you take a stand, when you take off your skis and put on some mountain-climbing boots. So let’s go against the grain with a precedent-breaking, unapologetic stand. It is hard, it bucks the system, but no greater exclamation point could be made on the steroid era than this. It is not like we would be asking to void contracts and World Series titles (ideas welcome, however). People still got paid and paid well for making the PED choice.

I get it. I love baseball too and I hate that the records are tarnished. I hate thinking about the racism that Hank Aaron endured to be a home run champ, only to watch it get asterisked away. Baseball fans don’t really like change very much. We are slow to adapt, and we like to know where we are in the big picture. I also get it that every baseball era had its issues: The exclusion of people from the game based on race, or war-time challenges, not to mention cocaine, the deadball era and gambling. Today’s players are no more or less morally sound than those of yesterday—that is the stuff of wishful nostalgia—but we can take another dramatic step in a no-tolerance drug culture, today.

Repoz Posted: December 13, 2011 at 11:28 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, brewers, steroids

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   1. Addison Russell T. Davies (chris h.) Posted: December 13, 2011 at 02:11 PM (#4014908)
I disagree, but I still really enjoy reading Glanville's stuff.
   2. Rally Posted: December 13, 2011 at 02:18 PM (#4014916)
I don't want to open that door. But if we do, and go back and take away the MVPs from guys like Canseco, Caminiti, Bonds, Sosa, A-Rod, etc., then we might as well go all the way and take the awards away from guys like Dawson, George Bell, Justin Morneau, Ryan Howard, and other players who simply didn't deserve them. And also Juan Gonzalez, who didn't deserve his awards and was probably juicing as well.
   3. Bob Tufts Posted: December 13, 2011 at 02:25 PM (#4014924)
But in Braun’s case, if he’s guilty, this wouldn’t be hard at all. Everything would be right in front of us, in plain view.


Not exactly. There are shades of grey involved here, as guilt is being determined in the (uggh) court of public opinion and a lab outside the bounds of a court of law - and even in a court room setting, guilt is not an absolute truth.
   4. MM1f Posted: December 13, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#4014933)
Conceptually, what is the difference between revoking Braun's MVP and denying Bonds or McGwire the Hall of Fame.

On a practical level, the difference is obvious. You aren't revoking an honor from them, you're simply not bestowing it. But they were both Hall of Fame locks based solely on their performance on the field. Steroids is the only reason they wouldn't be allowed into the Hall.
on
So is there is a big difference, in principle, between taking away an award you've already given to Braun and denying an honor Bonds and McGwire had earned?
   5. Clemenza Posted: December 13, 2011 at 04:40 PM (#4015110)
...but we can take another dramatic step in a no-tolerance drug culture...

As if this would be a good thing.
   6. Meramec Posted: December 13, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#4015152)
So is there is a big difference, in principle, between taking away an award you've already given to Braun and denying an honor Bonds and McGwire had earned?

Absolutely.

The first is hard and will lead to lots of negative publicity for the BBWA. The second is easy and leads to lots of simple-to-write sanctimonious columns for the BBWA members.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: December 13, 2011 at 05:10 PM (#4015178)
So is there is a big difference, in principle, between taking away an award you've already given to Braun and denying an honor Bonds and McGwire had earned?


Do you think Braun wins the MVP if he failed the PED test in mid-September? I really doubt that, which would be mostly consistent with not voting for Clemens and Bonds* (a position I happen to disagree with).

Also consistent would be opposing the banishment from Cooperstown of a current Hall of Famer who admitted to use in the past (should that ever happen).

But otherwise, you simply can't compare the one to the other.

* The difference being MLB's position on PEDS during the time Clemens and Bonds were alleged to have used, but there's nothing we can do about that.
   8. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: December 13, 2011 at 05:19 PM (#4015204)
then we might as well go all the way and take the awards away from guys like Dawson, George Bell, Justin Morneau, Ryan Howard, and other players who simply didn't deserve them. And also Juan Gonzalez, who didn't deserve his awards and was probably juicing as well.


Because when someone advocates one thing, it's best to assume their argument entails advocating a whole lot of other unrelated things.

Slippery slope fallacies make arguing so much fun!
   9. OCF Posted: December 13, 2011 at 05:21 PM (#4015210)
The storm that didn't happen:

There were no writer-voted MVP-type awards for 1919. In an alternate history, suppose that there were, in the modern form. Then I think there's a very good chance that the AL MVP would have been Joe Jackson (to a paleo-saber chorus of "Ruth wuz robbed", of course). And the AL CY might have been Ed Cicotte. (Or Cicotte could conceivably been the MVP.) What would the writers have done then when the full scandal broke in 1920?
   10. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: December 13, 2011 at 05:32 PM (#4015232)
There were no writer-voted MVP-type awards for 1919. In an alternate history, suppose that there were, in the modern form. Then I think there's a very good chance that the AL MVP would have been Joe Jackson (to a paleo-saber chorus of "Ruth wuz robbed", of course). And the AL CY might have been Ed Cicotte. (Or Cicotte could conceivably been the MVP.) What would the writers have done then when the full scandal broke in 1920?

Is there any evidence of Jackson or Ed fixing games prior to the World Series? Modern MVP and Cy Young voting has to be sent in before the postseason starts. I can't imagine there would be much huffing and puffing over the regular season awards if there was no evidence of gambling on regular season games.
   11. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 13, 2011 at 05:41 PM (#4015258)
Doug Glanville went to Penn. 'Nuff said.
   12. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 13, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#4015263)
Actually, I usually enjoy reading Glanville. But he was wrong here, for the reason stated in @5.
   13. ray james Posted: December 13, 2011 at 06:24 PM (#4015328)
The first is hard and will lead to lots of negative publicity for the BBWA.


Will it? How? Most people support the penalties on PED users. it's more likely to lead to positive publicity for the BBWAA.
   14. OCF Posted: December 13, 2011 at 06:29 PM (#4015335)
I can't imagine there would be much huffing and puffing over the regular season awards if there was no evidence of gambling on regular season games.

There would have been plenty of huffing and puffing. I'm quite sure of that. I don't see those writers making the distinction you're making. The fact that the awards ballots would have been submitted before the postseason is part of the reason why Jackson and/or Cicotte would have won (over the likes of Ruth, Cobb, Veach and Johnson) - no chance to get a sour reaction from the World Series itself. Although at first it would have been just that - a sour reaction. It took a while for the scandal to build.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: December 13, 2011 at 06:33 PM (#4015343)
Will it? How? Most people support the penalties on PED users. it's more likely to lead to positive publicity for the BBWAA.


And this is where Walt is correct. The steroids issue is really a no-win issue for the BBWAA here (or the Hall of Fame when it coms to the users/suspected users and their eligibility for the Hall). For every person who would be offended if the BBWAA allowed Ryan Braun to keep his MVP, there is a (not equal in number, but equal in conviction) person who would be just as outraged if they stripped him of it.
   16. Ron J Posted: December 13, 2011 at 06:43 PM (#4015360)
#6 I don't support taking the award away, but I don't see it as likely to be a net negative. Particularly if it's done as a re-vote as opposed to simply handing the trophy to Kemp.

And AROM, the difference between this and all of the other injustices is that you have a specific reason -- a positive test in the time frame that the votes cover. With the results coming out after the votes had been cast.

And yes, I'm aware that the positive test came after all of the ballots were in. There's no particular reason that has to matter either way (that is to say that you could have a revote if the positive test was during the regular season, during the regular season and playoffs -- whatever)
   17. Bob Evans Posted: December 13, 2011 at 06:54 PM (#4015382)
there is a (not equal in number, but equal in conviction) person who would be just as outraged if they stripped him of it.

Even though they lack conviction, they're still going to be pretty loud. You can't dismiss them.
   18. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: December 13, 2011 at 06:57 PM (#4015388)
When baseball has penalties for PED use and the process is followed it is OK. However, it is never enough to just let it play out and assign the punishment, let's add onto it! Let's decide, based on a morality play, what the additional punishment should be! Yeah, I love me some mob justice!

Sigh. If he "did the crime" then he should face the punishment, which includes (I suppose) endless moralizing articles. But I wish it didn't.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: December 13, 2011 at 07:13 PM (#4015410)
Even though they lack conviction, they're still going to be pretty loud. You can't dismiss them.


I'm doing just the opposite. I'm stating that these institutions are in a difficult position (more the Hall of Fame than the BBWAA, which shares a lot of the responsibility for the no-win position it's in). Each can or must choose a side, but by doing so it will anger/offend the other side.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: December 13, 2011 at 08:35 PM (#4015516)
I'd say this is one of Glanville's more poorly written pieces (well, based on excerpt).

The first paragraph is fine (whether you agree with it or not, it's logical). The second paragraph ... "ideas welcome"? C'mon Doug, you know you can't void contracts, this is all covered in the CBA. Punishment for steroid use is clearly spelt out so there are no "ideas" to be had on that. I do suppose MLB can void WS titles anytime it wants but the logic of "this one player on the winning team cheated therefore ..." is a bit extreme (good enough for the NCAA though!). Then in the third paragraph -- regardless of how you feel about the steroid/greenies analogy, to list off every one of baseball's issues, including cocaine, and skip over that the sport was speed-fueled for about 50 years with nobody batting an eye? One suspects willful ignorance.
   21. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 02:24 AM (#4015890)
Pfft, another guy who never played the game going on about the supposed morals of those who did.
   22. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: December 14, 2011 at 02:25 AM (#4015892)
i'm setting the over/under of posts that don't realize IT'S A TRAP at 3.5.

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