Why the BBWAA is not inconsistent with Braun stance

Posted By on December 12, 2011 12:48 pm

A lot of you out there in the Twitterverse are killing the BBWAA today for the statement that Ryan Braun won’t lose his MVP, even if he’s suspended for a violation of baseball’s drug policy. You want to know how the same organization can hold PED users accountable when it comes to the Hall of Fame (see McGwire, Mark), but not for annual awards.

But you’re looking at it wrong.

The point is not whether PED use is right or wrong, or whether it should be considered in voting. The question is whether you can rewrite history.

Braun already won his MVP. Can’t go back and erase it now, or you’d have to do it with Barry Bonds and Ken Caminiti and Alex Rodriguez, and take away a Cy Young or two from Roger Clemens.

As it relates to the Hall of Fame, if someone had been elected to the Hall and then was found to have use steroids — something I’m certain will happen eventually — you’d have a similar situation to this. I don’t think the BBWAA would be trying to get anyone booted out of the HOF after he’d been voted in. (Of course, that’s slightly different, because the BBWAA owns its annual awards, while the BBWAA only votes for the HOF as a service to the HOF, which ultimately has the final say on its membership.)

Look at Kirby Puckett. He got elected to the HOF in 2001. In 2003, we started to hear that maybe he wasn’t such a swell guy after all. Maybe he no longer met the “character clause.” (Oh wait, we only care about a person’s character when it affects his stats!)

Anyway, no one ever suggested that Puckett should be removed from the Hall of Fame.

Here, maybe the writers wouldn’t have voted for Braun if the vote were taken today, but it doesn’t work that way. Barry Zito wouldn’t have won the Cy Young in 2002 if we re-took that vote either.

Bottom line is you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. Baseball can do what it wants with Ryan Braun. The public can think what it likes about him. But 32 voters can’t get in a time machine and pretend they never voted.

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