When I think of post-peak steroid era users in baseball, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, or Robinson Cano aren’t the first names that come to mind. That dishonor goes to former Brewer Ryan Braun. The 2011 NL MVP began his career by regularly tallying 100-plus RBI, 30-plus home run seasons. He accomplished each feat in five of his first six seasons, and then those assholes at the league office made him pee in a cup.
In the last eight years of his career, he only hit more than 30 homers once, and never surpassed more than 91 RBI in any season. The power fell off as well. Having never slugged below .500 pre-piss test, and even leading the league in that stat twice, Braun only managed two more years of above. 500 slugging.
Because he was in Milwaukee, he was able to fade into relative obscurity and played out the remainder of his career as “Oh, hey, isn’t that Ryan Braun?” He wasn’t a bad player. He just wasn’t a perennial all-star and MVP candidate even if he was getting paid like it.
I wouldn’t be shocked if that’s the outcome for Fernando Tatis Jr. when he returns from an 80-game timeout for testing positive for PEDs. The fizzling superstar will still be capable of contributing and might have the occasional strong season — he’s only 22. Braun, who got popped when he was 28, didn’t even reach the majors until he was 23. So there’s still plenty of baseball ahead of Tatis, and the 14-year, $340 million deal the Padres signed him to all but guarantees he’ll be doing it in a San Diego uniform.
The team didn’t try to void his deal after the motorcycle accident earlier this year (aka the reason why he wasn’t on the field in the first place), but we’ll see how they feel after pulling off a massive deal for Juan Soto and some other smaller moves to make a run at the playoffs and beyond. It’d be absolutely savage if the front office voided Tatis’ deal to break the bank for Soto.
Who knows, maybe GM A.J. Preller buys the — to use one of my father’s favorite adjectives when I offered up some particularly egregious bullshit alibi — limp excuse that Tatis tried to pitch him. Mistaking ringworm medicine for PEDs happens all the time, and if that’s what happened, fine. I’ve read a few mostly fair reaction op-eds bitching about his maturity, and one even blaming his generation.
Regardless of the shortstop’s motivation, there’s got to be insane internal pressure being the son of an 11-year big league vet. Fernando Tatis Sr. was a solid pro during his career, and that same reality could be what’s awaiting his son on the other side of his suspension.
It’s not a horrible life, especially if you’re still getting paid — ask Ryan Braun.
The Punt God deserves worse than Buffalo
Rarely does expectation meet the hype, but the highly anticipated debut of Buffalo rookie punter Matt Araiza rose to the occasion.
If ever there was a punt worthy of Pat McAfee emptying his bowels over, it’s an 82-yard howitzer. That kind of ability to flip the field is such an underrated weapon. It’s a shame he’s going to one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Bills punted 53 times all of last season, good for seventh fewest in the league. The Texans, on the other hand, had the most (88) punts a year ago, and at least there’d be a reason to watch Houston had they drafted him.