Thatís right. Pitchers, catchers and position players reported to camp last week and the first full-squad workout was held last Saturday. We officially can declare that "Theyíre baaaaaaack."
Unfortunately the players are not the only thing that has returned. Earlier this month, Jeff Passan and Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reported that the 2012 NL MVP runner-up, Mr. Ryan Braun, was listed in documents obtained from Biogenesis, a now-defunct anti-aging clinic in Florida. The Yahoo! report came out a week or so after The Miami New Times broke the story about Biogenesis supplying drugs to some pretty big names in sports.
Braun immediately issued a statement acknowledging a relationship with Biogenesis, whose owner, Tony Bosch, was hired as a consultant by Braun's camp during Braun's successful appeal of a failed test in 2011.
Iím not here to tell you what you should believe regarding the story or Braunís statement, and the truth is it doesnít matter what I say. If you have an opinion on the situation, chances are itís etched in stone.
But since youíve made it this far, I may as well share my opinion. And PLEASE, if you are still reading, open your ears and attempt to understand the words that are coming out of my mouth, errrr fingers.
You may recall that last year I went on the offensive and advocated that perhaps some performance-ALLOWING drugs should be legal. Amphetamines, more commonly known as "greenies" were used in baseball on a regular basis prior to 2006. So, it was OK before but the guys who use them now are cheaters? What about the hundreds, maybe thousands of players who used them for decades to "get up" for a game? They get a pass? Itís a long season, and everyone is looking for a way to keep their bodies and minds in peak condition. I believe that, without a doubt, there should be a distinction between performance-enhancing and performance-allowing drugs.
Ryan Braun may indeed be guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs; this I never have denied. Sure, I hope like heck that heís clean but ultimately I cannot be 100% certain. He has a contract worth millions of dollars, and is under pressure to live up to it. But on the flip side of the coin, there is but one person who knows with 100% certainty what Ryan Braun has or has not done.
What gets me most is the people who already have convicted the man -- again. Donít get me wrong -- I understand why fans of other teams would want, and even hope, that Braun is indeed a cheater. Fine. I'm not a fan of convicting people in the court of public opinion. Never have been. Ken Rosenthal of The Sporting News has an excellent take on why you shouldnít be so quick to convict.
Major League Baseball is conducting a full investigation into the Biogenisis lab, and Mr. Braun has said he will cooperate fully. My hope and assumption is that when the dust has settled, Braun still will be clean. However, I will say this, right here and now: The day Ryan Braun sits out the first game of a PED-related suspension will be the day of the final "Peace & Glove" on Gazettextra.com. I enjoy doing this, but Iím that confident the truth will set him free.
Please tune in next week when we shift the discussion to 2013 Brewers baseball!