Ryan Braun would be in line to start in the MLB All-Star Game if voting closed right now — he’s currently the third-leading vote getter amongst NL outfielders (trailing Charlie Blackmon and Andrew McCutchen, about 20,000 votes ahead of Giancarlo Stanton). The numbers show that fans care very little about PEDs — which isn’t exactly groundbreaking news, or even anything but rational, at this point — but, more compellingly to me, it shows that they don’t mind stumping for a willful slanderer.
When Braun failed a drug test in 2012, he reportedly told other players that Dino Laurenzi Jr., who collected the urine sample, was a Cubs fan and an anti-semite. Braun won the appeal on that drug test, but his name would surface on the Biogenesis list and he was suspended for the final 65 games of last season. Braun says he has made amends with Laurenzi.
It’s not as though Brewers fans (and one would presume they are driving the votes) are rewarding Braun for a stellar comeback chock full of dingers this season — he’s got seven home runs and 23 RBIs, which rank 27th and 41st, respectively, in the NL.
Though the MLB won the war in the Biogenesis battle with A-Rod, and Braun and the rest of the accused players took their medicine with comparatively little resistance, the league emerged victorious in part by reportedly knowingly purchasing stolen documents. There are also very legitimate questions as to whether the whole ordeal was a worthwhile endeavor to begin with. More than anything, votes for Braun may be an act of fan defiance against MLB for its heavy-handed tactics.
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Related: Ryan Braun in 2012: “I’m a Victim of a Process That Completely Broke Down and Failed”