Starting Lineups: A-Rod Paves Braun's Road To Remdemption


Is Alex Rodriguez’s failure a blessing in disguise for Ryan Braun?

Rodriguez has proved to have nearly as irresistible of an ability to throw dirt on his own grave as he did to do virtually everything imaginable on a baseball field a decade ago. Yet, as he fights to save his already scarred-beyond-repair face, there is another recently disgraced figure in Braun looking to make a return of a different kind.

Coming back from a 65-game suspension for conceding to his involvement with the same Biogenesis clinic that has driven a 162-game stake through A-Rod’s rep, Braun has an undoubtedly difficult road ahead of him. He will be tasked with the job of resurrecting the Brewers, who plummeted into abyss a year ago, as well as the job of being the active public enemy number one in every stadium he is announced into. There will be the expectation of proving it wasn’t the “help” — rather it was the man — that created the player he formerly was believed to be. The life of the 2011 MVP, the one who rubbed shoulders with Aaron Rodgers and was the greatest thing to hit Milwaukee since Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, is gone forever.

It is a situation that would seem as the most undesirable way to go about collecting $133 million (what he’s guaranteed through 2020) that there could be. However, there could be a silver lining in the end, if all is truly on the up and up now for Braun. Because he is walking in a lane that nobody ever convicted by the MLB or the court of opinion that hovers above has, he has enough time to force people to get over it.

Yes, he’ll have to walk through the mud of the next few years, as he rightfully should. But Braun now has an opportunity to directly benefit from the denial of Rodriguez, as well as the activity that awaits him. When he initially admitted his guilt, he was seen as the scum of the business. Yet just this quickly, A-Rod has outdone him in both lowlife of image and severity of punishment. Also, his timing is unlike any other PED incrimination previously as well. Contrasting from the outcome of Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens, he is in the middle of his career, not the end, and has plenty of at-bats to guise the fall of the middle of his career with. Differing from Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa, he was great before suspicion and will have the chance to prove it again, even if it is in the shadow of doubt. And perhaps most important of all, he can make the decision to not be a complete jag-off like A-Rod unwaveringly remained.

Despite it all, he has a chance to make good for himself, and while he’ll keep a black eye, in comparison, he won’t be the shattered stained glass window that Rodriguez has become. And a chance to rebuild his reputation against the wind of the landfill that is A-Rod’s is a pretty decent shake to get, all things considered.

So even in his infinite selfishness, perhaps A-Rod has given a gift to someone besides himself after all. Imagine that.

Here is what else is spinning in the world of sports (and abroad) today:

R. B. I. Baseball Is Coming Back!—SI

Anthony Bennett’s Historically Bad Rookie Season—SB Nation

Chicago Cubs Unveil Clark, Its First Mascot—AP Sports

The Making of Cristiano Ronaldo: How The 2013 Ballon d’Or Winner Grew To Be The Best In The World—Goal

Blue Meth Reported In New Mexico—Huffington Post

Supreme Court Denies NCAA’s Attempt To Halt ‘likeness’ Settlement—Eye On Sports

What Happens When The President Sits Down Next To You At A Café—The Atlantic

The Bud Selig Retirement Tour May Be Coming To A Ballpark Near You—Hardball Talk

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