Brewers' Attanasio Addresses Braun Situation, Says Team Has No Plans To Trade Him
Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio yesterday made a "surprise visit" to the Miller Park press box and "ducked no questions" about the season-ending suspension of LF Ryan Braun for violating MLB's Joint Drug Agreement, according to a front-page piece by Tom Haudricourt of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Attanasio said that he would counsel Braun "in ways to go about repairing the damage he has done to his reputation and career as well as to the franchise's." But Attanasio made it "clear it would take considerable time for Braun to make amends, if that even is possible at this point." He said of Braun, "He wants to do the right thing at this point going forward. This was the first step in coming forward and accepting the penalty and being the first player to do that (in the Biogenesis investigation). That's the first step, and it's a baby step. But it's a step in the right direction." Attanasio said that he had "no inclination" to try and trade Braun "despite the pleas of some." He said, "Right now, the full expectation is to keep him. And the full expectation [is] that he's going to do the right things, he's going to say the right things, and he's going to put in a lot of hard work to get back in folks' good graces." Attanasio continued, "That's going to take some time. It's not like we're going to be at opening day next year and we're going to be through this." Attanasio said that Braun "understands he needs to face the media and answer questions." But he added that Braun is "unable to do so because MLB's investigation is still active" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/25).
NO PRECEDENT FOR THIS: Attanasio said there was "no road map" for Braun to follow in repairing his image. He added, "This is a unique circumstance here. I told Ryan that this is going to take time. No matter how open, honest, truthful, sincere he is in the next press conference, that is one step in what is going to be (many). It is going to take time. Everyone will know when, if he gets over that threshold, that he has gotten over it, because the community will be in a position that they can embrace him again" (AP, 7/24).
REWARDING FANS FOR SUPPORT: Attanasio yesterday said that team execs were "working on plans to 'give back' to fans to make up for the suspension of ... Braun and the team’s dismal season." He said that he was working with Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger and Exec VP/Finance & Administration Bob Quinn "on a way to reward fans before the end of the season" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/25). Attanasio said, "This community has been terrifically supportive of the organization and the circumstances we find ourselves in. The sponsors have been great and frankly I think the fans have been great, coming out to the park still. We’re going to do some things ... in a way to give back to the fans not only in going through this (Braun suspension) but what otherwise has been a difficult and frustrating season for us. We’re working on some ideas on ways to give back to the fans between now and the end of the year, in a meaningful way, to show our appreciation for their support" (JSONLINE.com, 7/25). Meanwhile, YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan wrote the call for the Brewers to void Braun's contract "is wrong, and it is excessive, and it is oversimplification and extrapolation at its worst." MLB contracts, especially the "long-term ones like Braun's five-year, $105 million extension that doesn't even kick in until 2016, are marriages." There are "good ones and bad ones." Passan: "If the Brewers hadn't given him that extension, would anybody be calling for its invalidation? Of course not" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/24).
SELIG DEFENDS DRUG PROGRAM: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday "defended baseball's fight against performance-enhancing drugs," but declined to discuss the suspension of Braun or "whether other stars will also face penalties." Selig said, "People have been thorough. I said last week the process would be comprehensive, thorough, fair and we have spent thousands of hours doing these things. ... We're doing this in a very disciplined, thorough, fair and sensitive matter." He added, "I'm proud of what we've done, we will continue to enforce the program" (AP, 7/24).