Not long ago, Braun was on his way to baseball immortality, one could fairly presume, before getting busted for using performance enhancing drugs. And in the process, he tossed his reputation into the trash heap when bringing down a working-stiff drug tester, falsely accusing him of tampering with his specimen sample.
So now every time Braun has a big game, fans and media alike will subtlely, or not so subtlely, bring up the possibility, as remote as that might be now, that the Brewers' slugger is cheating again.
The Toronto Blue Jays also had a good week and currently sit atop the American League Eastern Division. And their most productive player thus far, outfielder Melky Cabrera, hit homers in four straight games. Of course, Melky has his own history of PED use, getting busted two seasons ago while with the San Francisco Giants. Last year, in his first season in Toronto, his numbers dropped like a rock, and he hit just three homeruns in 372 at-bats. He has already topped his total of dingers from last season in just 55 at-bats.
Talk around baseball reverberated around whether Melky was juicing again as well. And while it is improbable that Cabrera would be stupid enough to be back on PEDs, as a second violation would pretty much finish off his career, speculation abounds.
And this is a huge problem for baseball, even as Commissioner Bud Selig, now in the last year of his tenure, is doing victory laps over his own perceived conquering of the Steroid Era. It's an issue because baseball is still a "game of shadows," with fans still unable to embrace a player's, any player's, hot streak without a little voice in their head wondering aloud if what they are seeing is truly worth believing.