This is merely a hypothetical piece, but almost necessary to fuel some food for thought. Onward…
So the Brewers Ryan Braun was popped for a failed PED test. I suppose all those who thought that we were past the so-called steroid era, we might have been a slight bit naive (Chris Hannum says as much in his latest piece). Not knowing the average Milwaukee Brewer fan, or other Braun apologist, I’m not going to speculate on how fans reacted as a result of the result. Do they support him still? Do they believe he’s clean? Is his MVP status tainted now?
Either way, Brewers fans will have their day when Braun (eventually) takes the field next season. But on our side of the world, what if one of your favorite Tigers players was popped for a failed drug test?
Tough to answer, only from a standpoint of who it is, their star power, their role, etc. I’ll assume that if Justin Verlander or Miguel Cabrera were to test positive, that would send most of the Tigers fandom into a state of disarray. Especially Miggy, who has seen support despite his trouble with alcohol in the past, but what if he were perceived as a cheater? How would that sit with the average fan?
For me, it doesn’t matter. No matter who it is: whether it’s Ramon Santiago, Max Scherzer, etc… if you fail a test, you fail to earn my full trust as a fan from here on out. The players are fully aware of the rules, what to take, what not to take. And I don’t really care to argue that we should “allow ALL players to just use PED’s already” (as I have heard all too often). Ultimately they’re not good for you, short or long term.
More importantly, if my favorite Tigers player was making a boatload of money, then found to have tested positive, then that would be a bigger problem for me. Braun recently signed an extension totaling over $100MM, which if I were in the Brewer front office, would irk me a bit. If Verlander, for example, now an MVP and Cy Young winner, were to test positive, a season after signing an extension, I just might find it hard to have a rooting interest… knowing he might have cheated to achieve himself the greater good.
All in all, what is really damning about all this is the perceived “phasing out” of the steroid era, when in all reality we may never truly get away from it. Players will still try and find that edge, even if it might put them “over the edge.” Whether or not Ryan Braun was guilty of his drug test, it won’t matter much. Mostly since the court of public opinion will always have that verdict ready. For the rest of his career, he’ll have this cloud of suspicion over his head.
Let’s just hope that no one has to worry any Tigers facing those clouds of suspicion. I for one enjoy the game of baseball too much to have to endure those potential cheaters that might be lurking on my favorite team.
Follow me on Twitter at @DisplacedTgrFan.