Major League Baseball doesn’t rewrite history, so there’s no changing the fact that Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun is the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player and not Matt Kemp. However, Braun’s trophy might be getting a little less gleamy.
Braun is currently challenging a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug, report Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn of ESPN.com.
If the finding is upheld, Braun won’t have to give back his trophy, but he will have to give away 50 games of the 2012 baseball season to a suspension.
My opinion: A positive drug test doesn’t make Braun’s 2011 season less valuable. He still did what he did. It does call into question how he achieved that value and open the door for you and me to judge him how we will. But my view of history is that it chronicles what happened, for better or worse. History isn’t what we’d like things to be – it’s what was, like it or not.
Whenever I consider baseball’s long, plentiful history of misbehavior, I’ve never been in favor of bringing an eraser to the record books, and I’m not going to start now. If Braun is guilty, his punishment will be his suspension and his tainted reputation. I’m not excusing his behavior. I’m just not pretending that he didn’t deliver on the field, illicitly or not.
The fact that my MVP vote would have been for Kemp regardless is a separate issue.