Thoughts on Monday’s News

Oh kay sew…

In case you’ve been without access to information for the past 48 hours or so, the Brewers’ Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the season prior to Monday night’s game against the San Diego Padres.

I couldn’t comment on it right away because I was at the visitation (and then funeral on Tuesday) of my father-in-law. Many of you have been very kind in your words regarding that situation and I appreciate you. I got home on Tuesday evening and posted a few words on Twitter finally then. What I said, in paragraph form was this:

I’m still digesting the Ryan Braun news in as much as I have a lot of things read. A more fully thought out take will be on the blog. TBS, three quick points: 1) No hypocritical baseball writer gets to tell me how I should feel. 2) Come Feb ’14, Ryan Braun is eligible to help the Brewers win baseball games which is the reason we’re all fans of the team. Therefore, I’ll support his efforts to that end. And 3) All I ever asked for was for Braun to get the benefit of the doubt. We know Braun was going to be suspended as a result of this investigation, but there is still a LOT we don’t know, most of which matters little if at all. Braun accepted a suspension, IMO, for a handful of reasons. I’ll get into all of those in the blog post.
Well if you hadn’t yet realized it, this is that blog post.
Despite reportedly desiring at least a 100-game suspension for Braun, MLB offered the 65-game suspension as a compromise with an agreement that Braun would not appeal said suspension. He probably also had to make an official statement taking some kind of responsibility for everything that’s gone on since October of 2011. So why do I think Braun accepted those terms? It’s really a confluence of things.
  • MLB felt that they had enough information gained from the testimony of Biogenesis employees to suspend Braun
  • MLB felt that any suspension levied would hold up to an appeal
  • The 2013 season is a lost one for the Brewers (at least in terms of playoff contention)
  • Braun didn’t want this to linger into the 2014 season when the Brewers could once again potentially compete
  • He was as worn out by all of this as he said he was in his statement
  • His thumb injury won’t heal without rest anyway and if he might have lost these games to the disabled list anyway, then the games were going to be potentially lost regardless
  • Games lost in 2014 cost more salary than games lost in 2013
  • The off-season can be a fresh start in some ways for Braun and the Brewers

And now in a “stream of consciousness” in dialogue style of writing, I’ll expound more on all of those bullet points.

This is basically a best-case scenario for Braun and the Brewers, outside of his never have been entangled in all of this to begin with, of course. Braun can let his hand heal properly. Braun can enter 2014 completely healthy and ready to contribute to winning baseball games. Braun won’t have to deal with overabundant fans booing him on the road during a season known to be lost.

The Brewers will get their extremely talented baseball player back for a full season of contribution. The Brewers will have plenty of time to develop marketing strategies and other necessary things from a business perspective as they relate to and include Ryan Braun. (Would anyone be surprised if the media guide featured Segura and Gomez on the cover next spring?) The Brewer brass also have plenty of time to decide how they want to publicly deal with the scenario as it has currently presented itself.

Prinicpal owner Mark Attanasio has already stated that he forgives Braun despite his disappointment. Doug Melvin has stated that he’s glad that at least the ballclub can move forward with playing out the 2013 season. Teammates have been weighing in as well (I’m working on compiling a lot of that, just to make it available.) and eventually Braun himself will again speak on this subject. It might not be this month. It might not be this season. It might not be this year. But Ryan Braun will once again address the media and field some questions. It’ll happen.

But between now and whenever then is, we’re left to our own devices. We can speculate, gesticulate, or obfuscate. We can whine, cry, piss, and moan about how “wronged” we were or how “evil” Braun is or how much he owes apologies to every one he’s ever met. We can stand up and shout from the rooftops about game cheating, gummibear eating, and Diamondbacks beating. We can tell everyone how morally righteous we are and how we can’t believe that this could happen. We can scream “abominable”, “unfathomable”, “unthinkable” and stump like we’re somehow better than any other flawed and imperfect human being. We can click our keyboard keys and speak on traditional media airwaves and post on social media. We can let everyone know of our indignation and exasperation.

Or maybe…

Maybe we can come out to Miller Park and enjoy the best place to be for six months every year. Maybe we can support the Milwaukee Brewers because, BREAKING NEWS, the active roster has 25 men on it, and the organization has over 150 players in it, all of whom aren’t the current subject of your righteous umbrage.  Maybe we can use this as a reminder that the name on the front of the jersey means more than the name on the back. Maybe we can just flat out continue to love the game that we’re already fanatics of.

I don’t want to get into the multiple and independent studies about how the effects of PED use are neglible in the sport of baseball. I don’t want to get into the argument that Ryan Braun never actually publicly admitted to anything other than making some “mistakes” and remind you of the old adage which states “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Instead, for now and until something changes, I’ll watch this game I love, support the players in the uniforms (as varied as the versions are) which mean they play for the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, and just appreciate the game of baseball.

After all, Everth Cabrera is about to lead off the game I’m at for the San Diego Padres. You know what? He’s on a list from Biogenesis too. You know what else? It honestly doesn’t really bother me all that much. He’s playing and Braun isn’t. Many players are playing right now while Braun serves a suspension with some agreed upon terms. I’m not self-righteous enough or pompous enough or sanctimonious enough to the point where I’ll consider myself “better” than these mortal men who may or may not have made some mistakes.

Oh, and one other thing, in absolutely no way am I going to allow a pack of hyenas to dictate my feelings and thoughts about a subject that I am more than capable of determining those things about for myself. If someone feels that they were personally wronged so strongly because either a player cheated or more so because they were lied to and their outlet for that burning rage is to author columns about it…well, that’s on them, I guess.

I must include one tweet from someone who sums up this part of my post perfectly.

I’m not really sure how well all that flows, but it’s there for your consumption.


  1. DJ

    You summed up my feelings perfectly. I will continue to root for the Brewers, including Braun. It will be nice to not have that hanging over the clubhouse any more. He has been suspended and, unless he fails another test, he should be able to go through spring training and prepare for baseball.

    Now, on to important stuff. Who is Nick Delmonico and how soon do you think he’ll be in Milwaukee?

  2. Barb Caffrey

    I agree with you completely. I think Ryan Braun cannot discuss some aspects of his case; at first, my own blog post discussed how frustrated I was (and am) with Braun’s “non-denial acceptance of responsibility” considering I still don’t know what, exactly, he’s apologizing for — I’ve only heard rumor and innuendo, not actual facts — much less what MLB believes he did in the first place (again — rumor, innuendo, leak city and the ruination of Braun’s reputation in the court of public opinion).

    Basically, Braun agreed to take this suspension and is the first player to have done so, but he’s gotten absolutely no credit for this in the national media and very little in the local media. Instead, he’s mostly been vilified because he gave no specifics, yet as Mark Attanasio (owner of the Brewers, which of *course* you know BN, but not everyone out there will) just said, Braun *cannot* speak about certain aspects per Braun’s own agreement with MLB.

    That means, again, that MLB wanted Braun to be hung out to dry and vilified by the court of public opinion. Braun apparently cannot even defend himself, or not very well at any rate, because until all the other players either accept suspensions or the appeals are all done and over with, MLB apparently doesn’t want the details from Braun’s case to get out there in case any other player can use them for his own benefit.

    (This is my best guess and interpolation, mind you. I have very few facts to work with, except MLB’s relentless pursuit of Braun and their previous and obvious viewpoint that Braun’s a cheater, no ifs, no ands, no buts, and he must be treated like the worst cheater who’s ever cheated. Which does not make sense to me, never has, and never will . . . but then again, I don’t understand why MLB would want to pursue such awful long-term PR for their own short-term ends.)

    Ultimately, Ryan Braun has to live with Ryan Braun — that’s one of the few good quotes (this one from Kirk Gibson, manager of the D-backs) that’s come out of this mess. I noted that ex-Brewer Lorenzo Cain was not as bad as most of the other players who’ve commented on the record. (ex-Brewer Nelson Cruz only said “no comment, as he’s another player on the list that MLB apparently wants to pursue and will go after no matter what they have to do, even if it looks darned sleazy to the rest of us.)

    I’m frustrated with how this has gone about mostly because I believed Braun. I still, oddly enough, believe Braun — I don’t think Braun cheated to gain an advantage. Since he may well have taken a PED (as he’s admitted to “some mistakes,” that could mean anything at all), he might’ve taken it in order to stay healthy, which isn’t at all the same thing as taking something to gain a competitive advantage to my mind. (Unless your competitive advantage means you can stay on the field? When every ballplayer wants to do so, and needs all the help he can get? How can I vilify a man for doing what he must to keep pursuing his dream, much less his own livelihood?)

    So as a columnist and writer — no matter how little-known I may be — I feel bad because I truly believed Braun. But I’ll get over it if Braun shaded the truth or even if Braun outright lied, over and over again — because really, when it comes down to it, Braun has to answer only to himself, not me, and not anyone else (save perhaps to his family), no matter what the national pundits may think, and no matter how much they may bloviate.

  3. David Moertl

    You make good points, but c’mon, really, you focus on MLB in relation to the solidness of evidence with respect to Braun accepting the suspension, which a homer is apt to do. Fact is, Braun accepted the suspension, not because he is worn out, which he surely is, but because he is guilty. Period. You have a great thing going and are a talented dude, but pull up out of the dung pile. Everything you wrote benefits one person, Braun. That is not a positive to the fans at all. Seriously, apologetics doesn’t fare well for the objectivity that you should be keeping. I am a fan of your blog, btw.

    • Brewer Nation

      I appreciate the compliments among the detractions, but I don’t understand why you said that I should be maintaining objectivity. My feelings come from my fandom because that’s what I am.

      The term “homer” tends to carry with it a negativity that I don’t feel I deserve at all. Homers don’t see fault in anything, can’t be convinced that something is wrong with their team. It’s all spin, all the time. I’m critical plenty.

      • David Moertl

        From that perspective, I apologize. You do a great job and I didn’t mean to hammer you, but I guess I did. I am a homer, much more so when I was younger, and totally understand. I just have lost the rose tint in my glasses, I guess. You are entitled to your thoughts, for sure. I do stand by the Spirit of my argument but should have taken in the view before firing away.

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