Originally posted on The Sports Rocker  |  Last updated 7/28/13
If you've been under a rock, or don't pay attention to Major League Baseball, Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun has been suspended 65 games for violating the leagues substance abuse policy. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez could be next, at least that's what all the drama between the Yankees and Rodriguez seems to be leading to.The problem for baseball isn't necessarily that these two got busted (again), it's that every player from here on out that suddenly puts up numbers not normally associated with that player will be viewed through a juiced up lens.That happened to Orioles first baseman Chris Davis earlier this season, just ahead of the All-Star break. Davis has been in the league for a number of years, starting with the Rangers. He was never a full-time starter, but he never put up eye-catching numbers either. His biggest output was in 2009, where he knocked 21 homers. To put that in perspective, last year he hit 33 home runs, whereas this season he already has 37 and leads the American League. Sports fans shouldn't be surprised about the accusation, or even the suspicion. Baseball players will be talking down PED's until fans see fit to not be skeptical.Aside from Davis, other players are also facing critics. Albert Pujols signed a large contract with the Angels before the 2012 season, and he's practically been a flop, comparatively speaking, on the West coast. Currently out with a foot injury, Pujols is suffering through his second season in LA with a career-worst batting average. Sadly enough, his worst batting average for his career was last year. Last year was also his worst in the power categories as well: Lowest home run total for a season, lowest slugging percentage, and lowest number in total bases among categories. (His baseball-reference.com page). I'm not the only one that has brought up the idea of Pujols on steroids. Pujols has always denied any links to PED's, but . . . there's always the "but."Another player that went from good to amazing over night is Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista. And yes, that issue has already come up. From Bleacher Report, in 2011:After hitting only 59 home runs in his first six seasons, over the course of 575 games and 2,038 plate appearances, Bautista exploded in 2010, hitting 54 home runs with 124 RBI and 109 runs while taking 100 walks and leading the AL with 351 total bases. Not only were the numbers all career highs, but many of Bautista's numbers were better than the combined totals of any two previous seasons combined.Even the best baseball fans are suspicious of everything in today's baseball world. We can't look at any suddenly great performance and simply appreciate it. There's always the "I wonder if" question in the back of our minds. It will happen again. It's practically guaranteed at this point. But it will still be a sad day in baseball when other star sluggers have to hold a press conference to apologize for past transgressions. As a baseball fan, I'd love to apologize for the skepticism, but Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez make that hard to do.
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