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Ofman: I Really Want To Believe Ryan Braun

Ryan Braun. (Photo by Mark Hirsch/Getty Images)

Ryan Braun. (Photo by Mark Hirsch/Getty Images)

George Ofman George Ofman
George Ofman has been at this for 39 years. Starting at Southern...
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By George Ofman-

(WBBM) I want to believe Ryan Braun. I really do. Very nice guy, terrific hitter, all around great baseball player.

But Braun escaped a suspension in 2011, relying on a technicality. He tested positive for elevated testosterone levels but his specimen was mishandled. Tampered with. Someone else goofed.

It worked. The National League’s Most Valuable Player won his appeal.

He escaped.

Now his name appears on the list from Biogenesis, the South Florida clinic that allegedly provided PEDs to some high profile baseball players.

Yes, Ryan Braun is under scrutiny again. And once again, he has an alibi, or story, or myth. It’s not a mishandled specimen. (Can’t go to that well twice). No, this time it’s about using Tony Bosch as a consultant. The notorious Bosch is the co-founder of Biogenesis and Braun said he paid him as a consultant in order to strengthen his appeal regarding the high testosterone level the year before. You know, the one in which the specimen was mishandled. This is sounding a tad suspicious. Braun was using this guy to make him look better in a case in which just about everyone believes he cheated.

Bosch is a scumbag, a bad guy with a very sketchy past. Braun is a citizen, rookie of the year, MVP. He’s the real deal, right?

When you know you cheated and got away with it and then appear on the list of a guy who has documents of who took what and for how much, it’s hard to believe anything. Alex Rodriguez is on the list. He’s already admitted to PED use. Melky Cabrera is on the list. He was suspended last season for cheating. When you’ve been caught before and wind up on the list of some guy dispensing drugs, heads turn, eyes roll and people talk. It’s called guilt by association. It’s nothing more than that because an investigation is ongoing to determine fact or fiction. But guilt by association isn’t a good thing. And Braun’s statements appear to legitimize this list several players claim they shouldn’t be on. Gio Gonzalez, the 21-game winner for the Nationals last season, is disputing it. Danny Valencia is shocked he’s even on the list — claims he never met anyone from Biogenesis or ever heard of the company.

This is very odd, isn’t it?

Braun said the monies owed to Bosch were merely compensation for his appeal the prior year. It’s all about the mishandled specimen. Braun says he has nothing to hide and will fully cooperate with this investigation. He has never had any other relationship with Bosch. He has an excuse. He’s a good guy who did no wrong.

And I really want to believe Braun because he comes off as such a genuine guy. He’s the role model type. I’ve interviewed him several times and I always came away thoroughly impressed. After everything baseball had been through, Braun represented the new breed: clean and respectful of the game. He’s the “Hebrew Hammer” whom The Sporting News has at No. 7 on its list of the current top 50 players in the game

But we have to look back to late in 2011 when Braun’s test for testosterone was off the charts, just the way his numbers are on the field. The results were insanely high. Braun never argued those results, just the way the specimen was handled. And he escaped punishment, but not the wrath of opposing fans who booed him.

How in the world can anyone boo a role model?

I really want to believe Braun.

I also really wanted to believe the tooth fairy left a quarter under my pillow when I lost a tooth or when my dad said a hair would grow on the palm of his hand if I finished my dinner.

People wanted to believe Richard Nixon never lied or Lance Armstrong never cheated.

And people still believe President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

Most people are gullible from time to time. Some are gullible all the time.

I really want to believe Ryan Braun. I’m just having a real hard time doing it.

George Ofman is a sports anchor and reporter for WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9FM.