We watch professional sports to see the embodiment of human excellence, and—if anything—mainlining a liter of Siberian tiger testosterone in the on-deck circle only exaggerates that quality. That’s not to say that professional athletes should use performance-enhancing drugs, but I think fans are generally willing to amnesty a slugger’s medicine cabinet in exchange for 500-foot home runs. Ryan Braun won’t have a problem being accepted by Brewers fans, and the media shitstorm awaiting him in Milwaukee will be a whole lot less intense than in New York or Los Angles. In sum, there’s no reason to believe that Braun won’t return to form in 2014.
Pujols, on the other hand, will be battling a different kind of adversity: health and age. His time with the Angels has been marred with injury and the pressure of living up to his enormous contract, but—with Mike Trout becoming the face of the team and hitting in front of The Machine—Pujols is in position to have a monster year.