All right, Ryan Braun, that’s enough. Time to shut up. See you in at Spring Training, big fella.
I’m sure Ryan Braun was told that the reaction to whatever apology he issued would be negative. There’s nothing columnists and talk show nitwits like more than climbing on their soapbox and trashing another man’s ethics. As a matter of fact, I enjoy it myself.
Some people were going to be satisfied only if Braun had cut off both hands and announced he was going to spend the rest of his days working in soup kitchens. Otherwise, he was going to get trashed for whatever he said.
He offered a little more detail than most guys do and blamed no one except himself. He didn’t offer dates, names, places for how he scored the stuff, but that was his choice. None of it was going to change anyone’s mind, but nothing is going to do that.
I hope those editors at the Milwaukee Journal whose sensibilities were so offended by Braun using performance-enhancing drugs that they demanded he be shipped out of town can find some peace. I hope those poor boys and girls can still stomach living in Wisconsin when Braun steps to home plate next season.
Now Braun ought to shut up for awhile. He’ll have to face reporters on this topic at some point, most likely next spring, and he won’t make people happy then, either. As Brewers GM Doug Melvin said, Braun just needs to get back on the field next season and produce.
If he plays well, he can begin to write a different ending to his career. He’ll never erase this chapter of his legacy, but he can leave people with a different memory. Those who beat their chests and say Braun let them down with his ethical failings need to take a long look at themselves.
Braun is a great baseball player. Speed and strength. Balance and vision. He has a high baseball IQ. He’s a joy to watch. Speaking as someone who has lived in a former NL Central city the last 13 years, it was amazing watching the damage Braun and Prince Fielder did in the middle of that lineup.
To transfer a moral component to their greatness as baseball players reflects our own failings more than theirs. Again, though, I digress.
Braun took banned substances because he wanted to be a better baseball player. Maybe he did it because he was injured. Or maybe he’s insecure about his abilities. Regardless, he blurred the lines between ambition and judgement. Lord knows, he wasn’t the only one. We want these guys to care as much as we care, and some guys got carried away.
Whether they did it to make millions or break records or win a World Series, we’ll probably never know. Now that would be the perfect apology.
This whole Braun thing has been fascinating. First, the leaks about him testing positive. Then his ridiculous denials and unconscionable trashing of the specimen collector. He didn’t utter one believable word. Still, some some people believed him.
Finally—and this is the part of his apology I liked most—Braun did what he should have done. He looked himself in the mirror and said, “Okay, enough.” At least it appears that’s what he did.
He decided to negotiate a suspension and move on. Next season, he starts fresh. Well, not fresh completely. Those poor Milwaukee Journal editors will still be running down the street screaming in horror. Mostly, though, we’ll sit back with our brats and beer and see what kind of player he’ll be.