Kemp, who finished 2nd to Braun in the 2011 NL MVP vote, thinks that Braun should be stripped of the honor:
When he said it's not for him to decide, that's the truest thing he's ever said. In fact, the Baseball Writers Association of America has made it clear that they're not going back and changing anything. Which is the exact reaction they SHOULD have.
This is an extremely slippery slope, and let's be honest about it. No one wants to open this Pandora's box of revoking awards and other honors.
What happens if the BBWAA actually went through with Kemp's suggestion and stripped Braun of the 2011 MVP? What's next? Do we take away Barry Bonds' MVP awards that he won while clearly benefitting from some sort of chemical enhancement from 2001-2004? Do we rewrite the record books and reinstate Hank Aaron and Roger Maris as the all-time and single-season HR champs, respectively? Would we take away Roger Clemens' Cy Young awards that he won after leaving Boston?
Even if you were to do that, what do you do with the awards? Vacate them, or just give them to the next qualified player?
Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk shows just how difficult that can be, particularly in the mid '90s, when we have no idea who was clean, if anyone. Calcaterra cites the 1996 AL MVP voting, in which the top three vote-getters were Juan Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Belle. Some other guys in the top 10 that year: Mo Vaughn, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Brady Anderson and Ivan Rodriguez.
In case you're looking for some more off-the-wall lunacy, look no further than the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which posted this gem saying that the Brewers should "get rid of" Braun to prove a point.
[Brewers owner Mark] Attanasio has a chance to make the Milwaukee Brewers franchise an example for the rest of professional sports: He can do that by getting rid of Ryan Braun."
This editorial was obviously written by people with absolutely zero baseball knowledge whatsoever.
Exactly how does one get rid of Ryan Braun? There are really only two ways:
1) Trade him.
2) Cut him.
Either way, you won't be setting an example in any way, shape or form whatsoever.
If you trade him, you've done nothing. Now another team has a new franchise player, and you've only done something that happens to dozens of guys every year.
If you cut him, you actually reward Braun. The Brewers would still have to pay every dime of the $100M remaining on his contract, and then he would be free to sign with any other team he chooses. So theoretically, he could sign with the St. Louis Cardinals for the league minimum, and help them beat the crap out of the Brewers for the next 7 years... all while still getting rich on THEIR dime. That doesn't sound like much of a statement to me.
At this point, the outrage surrounding Braun has reached hysterical levels. You'll hear a lot of people throw around the word "steroids," despite the fact that there is zero evidence that he has ever used steroids. In fact, so far he has only been caught using testosterone boosters, which isn't actually illegal in and of itself, until your testosterone levels reach a certain point.
Most people wouldn't be able to tell you exactly what Braun was taking, or how it helped him, or what kind of player he will be moving forward without PED assistance. Yet they still want him banned for life, stripped of his awards, and think that this 65-game suspension (more than prescribed by the CBA) is too light.
Let's stop being crazy. Think with your brain, not your heart. Leave the self-righteous piety at the door. Alex Rodriguez will be the next one to be suspended, and then who knows how many others will be targeted by MLB's current witch hunt.
Some, like ultimate pompous douchebag Dick Vitale, will claim that the game is tarnished forever.
How do you cheer for him? Well, it's easy. If you genuinely love to watch the game of baseball, and the Brewers are your favorite team, then you'll root for guys who help your team win.
My enjoyment of baseball is not based on the pharmaceutical enhancements enjoyed (or not enjoyed) by the players. It's because I love the game of baseball. This won't change it. Ever.