Ryan Braun continues to say all of the right things to the right people in his return from a 65-game suspension. His most recent step came Sunday, meeting Milwaukee Brewers fans on a large scale at the team's "On Deck" fan festival.
Braun already had spoken in apologetic tones with the media on a small scale, and has made phone calls to Brewers season ticket holders asking forgiveness for lying about his involvement with Biogenesis, a business reputed to distribute performance-enhancing drugs. "On Deck" was a little closer to what a game will be like for him; it drew about 14,000 fans.
Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes:
Braun acknowledged he had a "challenging conversation" with one fan.
"It wasn't surprising in any way," he said. "I made a mistake, I made a big mistake. I don't expect everybody to be supportive or everybody to be understanding or everybody to understand where I was coming from. Certainly I didn't anticipate the amount of support I received."
Braun is also aware it will be a process for him as far as fans accepting him following his suspension.
“I don’t ever know if I could apologize enough for what’s occurred, you know? I just continue to move forward and obviously I’ll be apologetic. I wish I could go back and do things differently, but I can’t. All I can do is move forward and make the best of the opportunities presented to me.”
The next post about Ryan Braun probably will be how the fans are treating him in spring training in Arizona. The one after that will be about the reception he gets at Miller Park on March 31 on opening day. The one after that, unless it's about some colossal three-homer game, will be about the reception he receives at the Brewers first road game. By then, the last public apology should have been made.
So it comes down to this: There's nothing else that Ryan Braun can do except stay clean (or, let's face it — avoid getting caught) while continuing to mash taters. If you feel Braun owes you an apology (and he has lied about PEDs, so it's possible you do), call or write the Brewers and ask for one. He might call you back. But he's been punished. Do yourself a favor and accept it.
For the rest of us who are over it, best of luck to Braun playing right field — he's going to need it. But he ought to hit 40 home runs and bat over .300 again. That's what we've enjoyed about him all along.
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