« Strange Brew

Braun out for the year, so now what?

by Jon Henseler

(maybe he can do Doug Melvin's laundry for a while too)

First off, on a scale of 1 to 11 with 1 being 'awesome' and 11 being 'so awesome mine goes to 11', how dominant are my photo-shopping skills? I mean you can barely even tell that I took a Braun headshot and put it on Dwight's face. Impeccable.

Anyhow I know there's going to be (and already is) a lot of 'BLAH BLAH BLAH!!' about Ryan Braun today but I felt like Strange Brew had to have something up about it. I guess my main sadness/embarrassment/disappointment is that it would appear from his statement that he is guilty of SOMETHING. Was it straight steroids or PEDs or herpes medication, we'll never know unless Braun or MLB wants to tell us. And my guess is that will never happen. Which is a shame because if Andy Pettite taught us anything about the 'steroid era' it's how to handle these situations. Just cop to it. Own it and eventually people will either forget or get over it. What people remember is Rafael Palmeiro wagging his finger like he was training for a Geico commercial during the Senate hearing. What people remember is Mark McGwire 'not wanting to talk about the past.' What people remember is Sammy Sosa turning into Baxter and forgetting how to speak English. We remember if people lied about it. Now that's not to say Braun wouldn't still wear a scarlet letter even if he admitted to whatever it is he is guilty of in February 2012. But the everyday sports fan is much more forgiving to athletes who admit their mistakes from day one. 

Now I know there are still Brewer fans out there that are getting very 'conspiracy-y' shall we say and saying that Braun didn't admit to anything specific, that he realized MLB wouldn't let up so he accepted the best resolution for the team, or even that he's 'admitting mistakes' because that was apart of his plea down to 65 games and nothing more. Look nobody wants to believe Ryan Braun is clean more than me. I've defended him from the second the story broke in 2011. He's our generation's Robin Yount. A great player and great community guy. A guy that was destined for every Brewer record, 3,000 hits, and the Hall of Fame. Some of that may happen, time will tell. But if you truly believe that Braun did NOTHING at this point and following his statement yesterday, then you're playing in the Dumb and Dumber 'so you're saying there's a chance' realm of optimism. Again, what he did, what he's guilty of, we don't know. Now with that said this was absolutely a witch hunt by the MLB. They were angry he got off (grow up) on a 'technicality' and weren't going to rest until he was suspended. But historically speaking (not really) sometimes the witch hunt finds an actual witch. 

So now where do we go from here? From a pure baseball perspective, this is best case scenario for the Crew. He's only gone for this season and we aren't going anywhere anyway. As far as I'm concerned Ramirez can go have a Summer of Aramis too and sit out the rest of the year to get his knee 100%. In terms of Braun's long term prognosis, it's probably too early to tell. Fans are angry today. A lot angrier than I expected. And while trying to find a rational, objective conversation on Facebook or Twitter is like trying to baptize a cat, there are some serious barbs being thrown his way from former believers. I suppose the crappiest thing is that all of those records and accomplishments are tainted if this is all true. What happens if he gets to 3,000? What happens when he breaks Yount's team home run record? Do we cheer? Do we care? I dunno. Part of me feels like that might be something of a solution. Just cancel every PED abusers stats. Like Braun can still play, can still help his team win a World Series, but his stats stop as of today. Really the ONLY solution for MLB, if they truly want to rid the game of steroids, is lifetime bans on first offense. That will never happen, but that would probably deter a lot of activity. 

Overall a pretty sad day to be a Brewer fan any way you slice it. Regardless of what you choose to believe about Braun, this has to go down as one of the worst seasons in franchise history. Not just for the record we have but for all the extraneous stuff that has gone down. And that's saying something considering we've had years where Jose Hernandez batted clean up and Ben McDonald was our 'ace.' Let's just hope Segura, Gomez, and Peralta continue to develop and we can blow the cartridge out next season.

PS: Two questions I've seen being tossed around: #1-If Braun is guilty, and the Brewers could just walk away from his contract no questions asked, would they/should they? And #2- If you could go back and give all of Braun's money to Prince and make him the face of the franchise, would you? I know, two question with a TON of variables, but for the sake of conversation two points worth pondering.

Double PS: Braun did slip in my man crush coach's poll. Rodgers now goes from '1A' to just '1.' Eric Church now sits at 2, Tom Selleck at 3 and Linda Hamilton at 4.