Second Chances Are Earned, Not Deserved


Jul 21, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun reacts after striking out in the 11th inning against the Miami Marlins at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The title says it all. America is known as the “land of second chances” and there are many in the baseball world who want Ryan Braun to get this second chance. Allow me to be the exception.

Ryan Braun was suspended for the rest of the 2013 season earlier this week, a suspension that amounts to 65 games. Braun will lose out on about $3.4 million in pay over this time, for a team that isn’t close to contention. Reports are beginning to circulate that Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez faces a worse fate. A lifetime ban is being talked about within the MLB for A-Rod, who is attempting to get back onto the baseball diamond ASAP.

In A-Rod’s case, a ban would end his baseball career, but that was pretty much over to begin with. A 39-year-old with two bad hips, he didn’t have much left in him. He will be able to take his millions and just go sit at home. The only thing he will lose: any chance that he had to go to Cooperstown.

Now Mr. Braun’s case is a interesting one. He’s gone from completely denying any use, defaming the character of others, to now not appealing a suspension and going home.

This man has lied to the baseball world, and more importantly the Milwaukee faithful that supported him throughout this. But what is still unknown is what is his suspension for. MLB will say it was for a “violation of the MLB Drug & Wellness Policy”. That doesn’t give any information as to what he did. Reading between the lines here, by taking the suspension and not appealing, it seems as if Braun knew the MLB was onto him and just took this deal to get a clean slate.

The problem: he doesn’t deserve a clean slate.

Second chances are earned, not deserved. As mentioned in the beginning, the title says it all. Braun hasn’t earned a second chance and he shouldn’t get one. If baseball is really serious about cleaning up this problem, then Braun should be thrown out of baseball for good. That will make a statement to any player, that baseball isn’t messing around.

For lying, cheating the game and other players and defaming a guy’s character gets Braun a 65 game suspension. He gets to come back fresh in 2014, most likely giving him an extra year to play later in his career, and everyone should act like it never happened?

The Brewers, as an organization, needed to make a tough decision a couple of years ago. Would the future involve Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun? They let Fielder walk to the Detroit Tigers and locked up Braun with a huge extension. Anyone in Milwaukee want a time-machine? Now these fans are stuck with a guy who cheated not only the fan base, but his teammates, the organization, other teams and baseball as a whole.

When will enough be enough for baseball? They just give these guys slaps on the wrists and hand out second chances to play what is supposed to be a “gentlemen’s game”.

At some point, MLB is going to regret allowing these guys back into the league so easily. If a person lies and cheats outside in the “real world”, they have to pay the consequences for those actions. In baseball it seems as if it’s an alternate society. Baseball has banned a player in Pete Rose, the all-time hit king, for gambling but only suspends cheaters of the game. It appears to be upside down.

Baseball has prided itself as a sport of integrity. Rapidly, that is fading. MLB needs to get itself back on track. First thing to do, ban these guys from the game. Make a statement that no matter who you are, if you cheat this game and lie about it, there’s no place for you in MLB. While they may be concerned about the public backlash, it will end up making more people respect MLB as a group.