Tuck: Major League Baseball Is Steroid-Free
Did he? Didn't he? How history judges Milwaukee Brewers OF Ryan Braun from here will be interesting. The National League MVP's reputation has been stained one way or another, but it will only become a conversation in the future if he continues to play on a future Hall of Fame level.
By the time he could voted in though, voters probably will have determined how to handle those either found guilty of using PED's or those perceived to having used them. The next class up for enshrinement into baseball's HOF includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and others. I imagine at some point a decision will be made on them, and that will happen before guys like Braun, Manny, or ARod come up for induction.
What I do know, is that baseball will not be dealing with us wondering who did or didn't do PED's anymore. The new drug testing baseball implemented within the last decade eliminates that confusion. MLB decided, with a helpful nudge (or pushing) of our government, to take this very seriously, so they have. Players are not going to be "cheating" any longer. Now players may claim innocence, or challenge the results of a test, but the testing isn't going anywhere. Players are being forced to comply.
The Blue Jays Jose Bautista, a late bloomer that has crushed 97 homeruns the last two years, by far the most in baseball, has come under the most public scrutiny. He's been unfairly targeted by the slings and arrows of media and fans because he broke out later in his career after never showing the kind of power potential he's exhibited the last two seasons.
Unfortunately for him, we are jaded by the last 2+ decades. We've seen and wondered about these crazy seasons and then were offered up a rational explanation with the discovery of steroids and HGH usage in baseball. So now too many assume that is the reason for Bautista's success.
It is not. Bautista claims to have been tested 16 times over the last two seasons. That doesn't seem very random, does it? But it does show baseball is willing to investigate the curious cases, and are going to make sure nobody is doing anything wrong.
So while it might be unfair to Bautista, it also validates his success. It also should make baseball media and fans trust that the sport is clean and those that aren't will be punished.
Braun's case is unique, but I also know that he will be tested more frequently, errrr, randomly now, and that should ensure that he won't do anything illegal (again).
I think we can all agree on that. Doubtful we all will ever agree on the Hall of Fame arguments though.