Last night, the Brewers and Cardinals played on ESPN. Nationally televised games obviously garner more attention from markets outside Wisconsin, so it was interesting to hear the ESPN commentators talk about Ryan Braun and his PED suspension to such a wide audience.
ESPN released a transcript of comments made by Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and John Kruk.
Dan Shulman: “There’s the suspension, there’s what he did to deserve the suspension, there’s the statement as opposed to sitting in front of microphones and taking questions. There’s been very little public face time for Ryan Braun. How do you guys look at the whole situation, the whole scenario with Ryan?”
John Kruk: “The last time he had a public statement about P.E.D.’s he kind of fibbed to all of us. He was very believable, that Spring Training day in 2012 was very believable. I walked out of there thinking ‘I believe the guy.’ Now I don’t think there’s anything he can say to the fans or anyone else that would make him believable at this point”.
Orel Hershiser: “I got to spend some time with him right after that [Braun press conference] during the season and I’ll tell you what, I rode in a golf cart around the ballpark and he was in the golf cart for about five minutes and I said to him, ‘I’m going to go on the air tonight and I’ll support you if you tell me you didn’t do it.’ He said ‘I didn’t do it.’ He gave me five minutes about how he didn’t do it. It’s not only disappointing for me, it’s personal. I got lied to within about two feet of each other.”
Shulman: “The great unknown is what are the numbers going to be next year? How good of a ball player will he be? How long was he doing it?”
Hershiser: “I would love to see someone finally step forward and give some of the money back. I would love to see the players – I know the Players Association and agents wouldn’t allow it – but for complete redemption say, ‘you know what? I set some standards taking this stuff. And – if I don’t approach those standards – then let’s give some of the money back.’ It’s hurt the organization, its hurt baseball, it’s hurting the salary structure, it’s hurting everybody.”
Kruk: “You sign a guy that you believe is not on P.E.D.’s and he is, then all of a sudden he gets caught and decides ok, I’m not going to take them anymore, you aren’t getting that player….you can forgive a guy for making a bad choice, it’s hard to forgive a guy for basically coming out in Spring Training and lying to everyone. And not only lying, but basically ruining a guy’s life – the collector. That guy’s life has got to be a living you know what. I think fans can forgive Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte. Those guys have been forgiven because they have come out and said ‘yes, I did it.’ They were honest about it. But I think people don’t want to be lied to. If you did it, say ‘yes, I did it’ and if you’re caught, admit it.”
This segment didn’t advance the Braun discourse in any meaningful way, but such comments made to a national audience are always noteworthy and provoke discussion. It’s also discouraging that these comments made more news than the Brewers’ victory in a tight National League postseason race.