Apr 1, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun (8) walks back to the dugout after striking out in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Red Sox host the Milwaukee Brewers in their home opener on Friday, and there will certainly be talk about Ryan Braun and how he is received in his first game outside his home ballpark since accepting a 65-game suspension last season. In the past, fans at Fenway have been vocal against both the alleged and proven PED users, most notably the “A-Roid” chants when Alex Rodriguez has visited Boston. But should Red Sox fans really be booing or chanting about PEDs when these players visit Fenway?
First, a trivia question: what do Marlon Byrd, Mike Cameron, Brendan Donnelly, Chris Donnels, Eric Gagne, Kent Mercker, Mo Vaughn, Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz have in common? Answer: All have either tested positive or been strongly linked to PEDs and played for the Boston Red Sox.
Granted, most of these players played with the Red Sox before they were named in the Mitchell Report, which came out after the 2007 season. That 2007 campaign was just happened to be a year in which the Red Sox won the World Series with a roster that included four players linked to PEDs (Donnelly, Gagne, Ramirez, and Ortiz). Sure, only Donnelly and Gagne were on the Mitchell Report from that World Series club, but do you really think Manny Ramirez didn’t start taking PEDs until he was busted with the Los Angeles Dodgers? And what about David Ortiz, one of the most beloved Red Sox ever? Do we all really forget the fact he tested positive in 2003?
I grew up playing baseball in the steroid era. I had high school teammates on steroids, and knew many of my opponents, who were also ‘roided up, wound up getting college scholarships and minor league deals based largely on the improvements they made after taking PEDs. I say this to express that I get why players would and still do take PEDs. I have seen the life-changing effects (both good and bad) they can have.
If you want to boo the star player on an opposing team, be my guest. Heck, I will even join you in the chorus of boos, but make sure you know why you are doing it. Is it because Ryan Braun is the player who could most impact the game at the Red Sox expense, or is it because of his PED past? Do not chant “STER-ROIDS”, because when you do, you are calling out your own team in the process.