So, Don Mattingly proposes re-voting for NL MVP if Ryan Braun is denied his appeal of a positive drug test for a banned substance. Fair is fair, right? Performance enhancing drugs are bad, right? What Mattingly suggests (via ESPN) sounds noble and seems to appeal to fairness, as long as you ignore that he is manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and thinks Matt Kemp should have won MVP.
"To me Matt was the best player in the game last year," Mattingly said. "Ryan had a great year too.
"But you guys (the media) always ask me about unwritten rules, about catchers and stuff like that. Then we have the unwritten rules about voting, because he wasn't on a winning team. You guys gotta get your unwritten rules together."
Ah, good ol' unwritten rules. And that's the rub, isn't it? (In the world of performance-enhancing drugs, there's the Clear, the Cream and the Rub.)
There's nothing actually written anywhere saying "you'll be stripped of the MVP" if you get caught using banned substances. If Braun's appeal is denied this month (as it probably will be), he will be suspended for the first 50 games of the upcoming Milwaukee Brewers season. That's his penalty. That's the punishment any player in his position can expect. Enacting some kind of ad-hoc retroactive justice would be bad news bears. There's no precedent for going back and re-voting for awards, and to go looking for one invites chaos.
If we're going to slip into our time machine and strip Braun of the award, why stop there?
There's no way the Brewers get to the NLCS without Braun in the lineup, of course. What happened wasn't fair to the Arizona Diamondbacks, so we need to do the playoffs over. Strip the Brewers of the NL Central title, give it to the St. Louis Cardinals and make the Atlanta Braves the wild card. We can start the playoffs over just before spring training starts. (Do you think the Los Angeles Angels will let the Cardinals borrow Albert Pujols for '11 Playoffs 2.0?)
If we're going to clean up the game, let's clean it like we mean it!
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