When Major League Baseball released its first tabulation of the fans' All-Star voting this week, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun was only third among National League outfielders, with 1.1 million votes.
He trailed Los Angeles Dodger Matt Kemp (1.9 million), and St Louis Cardinal Carlos Beltran (1.2 million). That would still put Braun in the starting line-up for the National League on July 10 in Kansas City. And by most standards, that status would be quite good.
Not for Braun.
The Brewers left fielder and reigning National League Most Valuable Player has lead NL outfielders in votes each of the past four seasons.
He led all National League vote-getters last year at any position.
But that was before a rocky off-season in which he tested positive for elevated testosterone levels and was suspended for 50 games shortly after he led the Brewers into the National League Championship Series. Ultimately, he successfully appealed that 50-game suspension by attacking a sloppy "chain of evidence" by the firm conducting the drug test.
Since then, Major League Baseball has fired Shyam Das, the arbitrator who overturned Braun's suspension.
This week, MLB announced changes to its drug-testing policies as a direct result of Braun's case. MLB had the support of the players' union in those changes.
For all it is doing, Major League Baseball cannot touch Braun.
But All-Star voters can.
And in their own way, they just did.
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