Tonawanda News — Eventually new evidence surfaced when Braun’s name turned up on a list of people owing money to the shady owner of a shady anti-aging center known in baseball circles to be a steroid dispensary.
I’ve loved baseball since I was a boy. It’s the thinking sports fan’s game of choice. It has intellect, intrigue, power, grace and its own set of quirks that keep those who seek to explore its vast landscape interested for a lifetime. Ballplayers — not just guys who play baseball but real ballplayers — are fascinating creatures. They growl, grin and spit. They’re tough as nails but most of the time conduct themselves with all the seriousness and maturity of a 7-year-old.
Don Mattingly was a ballplayer. Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron were ballplayers. So were Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Bob Gibson. When I watch today’s players I see a handful of guys who will someday join that pantheon — Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is top of mind.
Baseball fans revere these men.
And so I smiled Tuesday because Ryan Braun is not a ballplayer. He’s a guy who’s paid to play baseball.
This 2013 season has had its share of fascinating story lines. A youthful slugger in Baltimore we all pray isn’t doping, Chris Davis, is on pace to break what purists still call the single season home run record, set by Roger Maris at 61.
Thanks to the likes of Braun, Davis has had to confront questions about his success head-on. I smiled again when he refused to recognize Barry Bonds as the home run champ. When asked how many home runs it would take for him to consider himself the all-time single-season champ, he replies “62” — ignoring the gaudy 73 four-baggers Bonds slapped while on the juice.