No, Buster, Braun Shouldn’t Give Back his MVP | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

In his Insider-only column today, Buster Olney suggests that the best way for Ryan Braun to start rehabilitating his image would be to offer to give back his MVP award at the BBWAA awards dinner tonight, all while maintaining his innocence. I’m not an Insider subscriber, so I can’t read the whole article, but based on what Olney and others are saying on Twitter, I gather that the main thrust of the idea is summed up by this paragraph from the publicly available intro:

The best chance for Braun to extricate something good from his situation would be to stand up on the dais Saturday, hold the NL MVP trophy in his hands — and offer to give it back to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America at its annual New York dinner, even while maintaining his innocence. This gesture would elevate Braun and separate him from the legions of athletes who have issued denials in the face of accusations of performance-enhancing drug use.

Suffice to say, I disagree. But more important than my disagreement is the mindset I think Olney is portraying here. What sort of person would think more highly of Braun if he did something like this? I believe it would be someone who views Braun’s positive test as a potential hero’s tragic downfall, which can only be overcome through some act of noble sacrifice. In other words, I think giving back the MVP would only elevate Braun in the eyes of a sportswriter. The average fan would see it as an admission of guilt, so from a PR perspective it really makes no sense. But the Buster Olneys of the world would love it, as it would fulfill their desire to see sports as a world of mythological heroes making grand gestures and struggling with mortal temptation in their quest for honor and valor. Unfortunately for them, that’s just not accurate. Entertaining and enjoyable as they may be, these are games, mere games, played by men, not gods.

Suppose Ryan Braun gives back his MVP award tonight. When he hits a go-ahead home run at Wrigley Field next season, will the legions of Cubs fans prepared to scream “CHEATER!” bite their tongues as they think of the selfless sacrifice he made for the sanctity of the game? No, they will merely shout it with all the more conviction that they’re correct, because it was never about the sanctity of the gameā€”it was all about the sanctimony of the sportswriter.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Joe Bartolone says: January 22, 2012

    ‘Braun could say something along these lines when he speaks Saturday night :

    I want to thank the Baseball Writers’ Association for this award. But you all know, I failed a drug test in October, right in the middle of the playoffs.

    I don’t believe I did anything wrong. I didn’t take any drugs meant to enhance my performance. My case is under appeal, which was heard here in New York this week, and I remain hopeful that the decision will go my way and that I can be ready to help the Brewers at the start of the 2012 season.

    But I also understand the importance and the stature of the Most Valuable Player Award, which has been won by the likes of Ted Williams and Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax and Cal Ripken. I do not want my situation to cast any negative light on the award, and if the Baseball Writers believe it’s in the best interest of baseball that somebody else would be the NL MVP for 2011, I am here to offer back this award, for the sake of the sport we all love. Thank you.’ (Buster Olney’s interpretation of what Braun should say at the BWAA banquet.)

    I’m glad he didn’t say that.

    and ps…cubs fans can’t say anything…they had sammy and he got caught corking his bats…if anything they would shout: “WELCOME TO THE CLUB!”

  2. kris says: January 22, 2012

    Corking bats and turning into the incredible hulk from roid use. You’re right, cubs fans really have no room to talk.

  3. Scott Wardius says: January 23, 2012

    I find Buster Olney’s comments completely hypocritical considering he’s given Mark McGwire a vote into the Hall of Fame. So a player, who we know was taking SOMETHING, is okay to be enshrined into baseball immortality… but another player, who’s facts about his positive test result have yet to be known by anybody outside that arbitration hearing, needs to hand back the MVP award? Riiiiiiight…

  4. Ben says: February 1, 2012

    Canseco, Caminiti, Bonds, Tejada, Rodriguez should have all returned their MVPs, right Buster?

  5. Julius Willenbrock says: March 10, 2012

    What we’ve experienced during the last a long period is responsible for some people to question ‘Can we trust Microsoft?’
    There is absolutely no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is certainly time for work. And time for love. That leaves few other time!


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