Brewers Look To Move On After Braun Suspension Despite Strong Ties To Player
Brewers officials had "been in the dark" about the status of LF Ryan Braun until yesterday afternoon, when Braun came to Miller Park to inform team President of Baseball Operations & GM Doug Melvin, manager Ron Roenicke and teammates "that he had been suspended for the remainder of 2013," according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. Melvin said, "We can move forward starting tonight. ... I'm somewhat happy that this is over with so we can move forward." He added, "Obviously, I'm disappointed. He's a very important player to our organization and to the ballclub and to our performance on the field." Melvin "declined to detail the tone of his conversation with Braun." He indicated that it was Braun's decision as to whether he "owed fans a more detailed explanation than the statement he issued" yesterday. Braun "pulled several longtime teammates aside for private discussions before addressing the full team for 5-10 minutes at about" 3:00pm CT (MLB.com, 7/23).
FOOL ME TWICE: USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale writes the people "really getting punished" by the Braun suspension are Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio and the "rest of the organization who believed" in Braun. The team signed Braun to a five-year, $105M extension in '11 "when he still had four years left on his previous deal." Braun was "going to be the face of the franchise for the next decade, a wondrous talent with a charming personality." But now the "face of the franchise will be disgraced every day Braun puts on the uniform through the year 2020" (USA TODAY, 7/23). In N.Y., Tyler Kepner writes Braun "fooled Brewers staff members who believed he was clean." He also fooled Attanasio, who "made Braun the centerpiece of the franchise." This "stings for the Brewers, much more than" a suspension of Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez "would hurt the Yankees, who have other established stars." The Brewers "have lost players like" Yankees P CC Sabathia, Dodgers P Zack Greinke and Tigers 1B Prince Fielder in recent years. Their identity is "tied strongly to Braun" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/23).
TIME TO COME CLEAN: ESPN's Buster Olney wrote Braun "owes an apology to the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization." The team gave Braun "a big contract, and then signed him to a massive extension." The Brewers are a "small-market franchise and they signed him to be their Cal Ripken." Now Braun is "no longer that, and can no longer be that, because his professional reputation and marketability are destroyed." He is "not only a cheater, he is a cheater who lied about it, then attacked to protect the lie." This is "a crushing blow for the Brewers’ franchise" (ESPN.com, 7/22). ESPN WISCONSIN's Drew Olson wrote as the "face of the franchise," Braun "needs to come clean with specific info about his PED regimen" (ESPNWISCONSIN.com, 7/22).