By DiMarkco Chandler
Milwaukee Brewer outfielder Ryan Braun is having another MVP year in spite of having played under the specter of testing positive for using a banned substance. The 28-year-old All Star was the National League Most Valuable Player in 2011, receiving 20 of 32 first place votes and narrowly beating out Matt Kemp who received 10 first place tallies.
Braun’s 50 game suspension was overturned last February when baseball arbitrator Shyam Das ruled in his favor, but that didn’t remove the probable reality that the All Star used an illegal substance, especially since the ruling turned on a technicality. Instead of finding evidence that Braun was clean of using a banned substance, the arbitrator made his decision based on a faulty process. In other words, the sample was not handled according to baseball protocol.
What made the ruling so controversial was the fact that 27-year-old Matt Kemp, who put up better numbers than Braun, would have been named MVP if the violation had been sustained.
Now Braun is back in the news together with Kemp. This time he will be batting in the 3 spot for the National League in the 2012 All-Star Game. This time Braun has good reason to feel vindicated; with 306 batting average and a league best 24 home runs of the left fielder has demonstrated that perhaps he was unfairly accused. In a statement reported by usatoday.com Braun said, “I dealt with some things that I hadn’t dealt with before that made it that much more challenging… I said from the very beginning that the single best thing I could do to move on was to have success and do some of the same things I’ve done.” Further commenting to USA TODAY Sports, Braun said, “The fact that I had a decent year last year, in light of all the offseason drama certainly I was motivated to come out this year and have another great season.”
What make’s Braun’s situation so ironic again this year is the fact that he is in this year’s All Star game while Kemp will be sidelined with a hamstring injury.