Lat­est juicer claims he’s sorry

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - SPORTS BASEBALL - By Tim Dahlberg

HE’S sorry, though you might have guessed that al­ready. No real sur­prise here, be­cause they’re al­ways sorry once the lies crum­ble and the fraud is ex­posed.

Ryan Braun wants you to know he’s ashamed of what he did. Has no one to blame but him­self. Loves the game of base­ball so much.

We knew this was com­ing, be­cause this is the way it al­ways works. A con­trite state­ment now, per­haps some tears on Oprah later, and the next thing you know Braun will be stand­ing in left field in Arizona next spring as if the whole thing was just a gi­ant mis­un­der­stand­ing that a sim­ple ballplayer couldn’t avoid.

Might be bet­ter than the way he started spring train­ing last year. There, as you might re­mem­ber, he de­fi­antly pro­claimed his in­no­cence while ques­tion­ing the in­tegrity of a sam­ple col­lec­tor whose big­gest mis­take was not know­ing which FedEx of­fice was open on week­ends.

“If I had done this in­ten­tion­ally or un­in­ten­tion­ally, I’d be the first one to step up and say, ‘ I did it,”’ Braun said then. “By no means am I per­fect, but if I’ve ever made any mis­takes in my life I’ve taken re­spon­si­bil­ity for my ac­tions. I truly be­lieve in my heart, and I would bet my life, that this sub­stance never en­tered my body at any point.”

It was, of course, ut­ter hog­wash, and Braun knew it. But he didn’t stop there.

“I’ve al­ways stood up for what is right,” he said. “To­day is about ev­ery­body who’s been wrongly ac­cused, and ev­ery­body who’s ever had to stand up for what is ac­tu­ally right.”

Fast for­ward to Thurs­day night when Braun re­leased a state­ment sig­nalling his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cam­paign is well un­der way. Well writ­ten for a guy who makes his liv­ing hit­ting base­balls, it cov­ered most bases. The talk­ing points were there, even if Braun wasn’t ac­tu­ally talk­ing. Be­lieve it at your own risk. “I un­der­stand it’s a bless­ing and a tremen­dous hon­our to play this game at the Ma­jor League level,” Braun said. “I also un­der­stand the in­ten­sity of the dis­ap­point­ment from team­mates, fans, and other play­ers. When it comes to both my ac­tions and my words, I made some very se­ri­ous mis­takes and I can only ask for the for­give­ness of ev­ery­one I let down. I will never make the same er­rors again and I in­tend to share the lessons I learned with oth­ers so they don’t re­peat my mis­takes.”

There’s more, of course, but you get the point. No ques­tions, please, about that cream and lozenge that Braun con­ve­niently says were used only to heal an in­jury and only for a short time.

Those will all be han­dled by Oprah. Be­sides, all seems for­given in the club­house al­ready.

“It cer­tainly was enough for me,” Mil­wau­kee man­ager Ron Roenicke said. “I think it’s enough for his team­mates.”

It’s not enough for the fans Braun cheated and lied to along the way, though. It shouldn’t be enough for Matt Kemp, who lost an MVP ti­tle to a juicer.

And it cer­tainly isn’t enough for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who might have been on their way to a World Se­ries in 2011 had they not run into a hit­ter they couldn’t seem to get out in the play­offs.

In­stead of lis­ten­ing to Braun, lis­ten to Arizona man­ager Kirk Gib­son, who saw this com­ing even be­fore Braun’s state­ment.

“I said this a long time ago: I think that peo­ple should have an op­por­tu­nity to ask him some ques­tions and have him an­swer them un­re­hearsed,” Gib­son said last week. “Some­thing tells me he’s get­ting re­ally pre­pared for just about any­thing that they could throw at him.”

For­give Gib­son if he’s a bit sus­pi­cious. He was in the dugout for the Diamondbacks on Oct. 1, 2011, when Braun went 3 for 4 and scored two runs as the Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers opened the play­offs with a 4- 1 win over Arizona. Braun went 9 for 18 in the se­ries, juiced on testos­terone and bat­ting in the cen­tre of the Brew­ers lineup.

— The As­so­ci­ated Press

Ryan Braun

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