It’s Ryan Braun, cheater. Ryan Braun, disgraced. Pretty much Ryan Braun, liar.
But it’s still Ryan Braun, 2011 National League most valuable player.
Nothing is going to change that, nor should it. That vote is history. It’s in the books, and sorry Heisman committee, there is no changing it. There is no going back redoing a vote taken in 2011 because of evidence that emerged in 2013.
Braun accepted a suspension Monday for the rest of the season for a violation of the baseball’s drug policy, a violation left intentionally vague.
There will be no court battle this time, no showy indignation, no getting away with it. That all happened after Braun was selected MVP. He tested positive in the postseason and then was able to overturn the test by claiming it was improperly handled.
After winning in court, much to the outrage of Major League Baseball, Braun said this: “Today is for anyone who has been wrongly accused and everyone who stood up for what’s right. It’s about future players and the game of baseball.”
If voters had known before the 2011 season ended that Braun had violated baseball’s drug policy, Kemp would have won the MVP award in a blowout. That was clear in an informal survey taken by The Times during the trial.
But ballots are due before the final game of the regular season, and MVP voters cast their ballots with the best information they had available at the time. And Braun won.
There’s no going back. Baseball has never tried to take an award from a player for any reason. It’s not going to start now, and shouldn’t. You can’t go back and change the numbers players put up, whether they were later found to be using steroids or fingernail files or betting on games. The results happened. Start rewriting things and the record books would be chaos.
So Braun forever will be the 2011 MVP. He also will be forever a tainted ballplayer. He never will be looked the same or held in the same regard, but he will be the MVP. Kemp backed Braun after Braun's first illegal substance scandal, though in his heart of hearts, you have to wonder what Kemp really thinks now.
Braun apparently understood that this time he was up against more powerful forces and there was no point in fighting the suspension. Either way, the Milwaukee Brewers have the second-worst record in the NL, he has a thumb injury and will still have $84 million left on his contract starting next season.
He can serve his ban, then collect his checks, and still be the MVP.