Back in December, just as I was starting this blog, the baseball world was stunned by a 50-game suspension levied against the Brewers Ryan Braun. The reigning NL MVP allegedly tested positive for PED's. I wrote my reaction here. Being a Pirates fan, I attempted to be objective and believe I did a good job. Personally, I took issue with how quickly Braun was crucified in the court of public opinion. The general consensus seemed to be that Braun was guilty, even prior to him exercising his ability to appeal the suspension. Detractors pointed out that no player had ever successfully won an appeal against the MLB. Others called for the MVP to be stripped from Braun and given to runner-up Matt Kemp, again prior to any appeal.
Those calls now seem premature at best and rooted in bitterness at worst. Today, it has been announced Braun has won his appeal. All signs point to the Brewers outfielder starting the season in uniform and on the field. And, at least according to the judicial process, that's where Braun should be. Critics will still say that Braun is selfish, a whiner, or soft. Those may or may not be valid accusations. Even if they are, Braun is also a world-class baseball player. Now, it seems it's been proven that he's a world-class baseball player based on his own natural talent and hard work, and not because of performance-enhancing drugs. Hopefully, eventually the court of public opinion will come to the same conclusion. I know I have, even if I'm going to hate seeing him play against the Pirates this coming season.