MILWAUKEE (WITI) — The Milwaukee Brewers confirm that outfielder Ryan Braun was calling season ticket holders on Thursday, September 5th to apologize for his actions involving performance enhancing drugs.
The fans being called were 20-game season ticket holders, season ticket holders and some individual ticket holders. Team officials say Braun will not be calling everyone.
The idea of calling Brewers fans was apparently Braun’s entirely. He approached the team about a week ago and officials gave him the list of names and numbers to call. The team did not give Braun any kind of script from which to read.
“It was Ryan’s idea, and his initiative. He reached out to us and said he wanted to call season seat-holders and some fans. We said great. We gave him some names and the contact information for some full season and partial season seat-holders, individual ticket purchasers. We didn’t give him a script. We didn’t tell him what to say or what he should say. He said ‘I’ll go from there.’ He’s obviously started calling and started having some direct one-on-one conversations with fans. I suspect it might have taken a little bit of time for some of the fans to realize it was really Ryan Braun instead of an imposter, but I think he’s started those calls and he’ll keep making calls,” Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger said.
Some fans receiving the calls from Braun don’t believe it is the Brewers outfielder — so it’s apparently taking a few moments for Braun to establish that fact with each caller.
“The feedback that we’ve gotten, again, they were initially skeptical that it was Ryan. When they realized that it was, they respected the fact that he reached out and was talking to them. I think, you know, regardless of how you feel about Ryan or what he needs to do, I think, you know, they’re going to respect him doing this. And again, he doesn’t know what the response is going to be on the other end of that phone call. He may be calling a season seat-holder that may just find him, you know, his conduct so unacceptable that he will never forgive him. He may hear that on the phone. I think Ryan understands that, you know, he is calling blind and is expecting a whole range of emotions and reactions. I think even the fans that are very upset have said that they respect what he’s doing. And again, it doesn’t mean that one phone call cures all ills. But again, for him to reach out is, I think, at least an indication that he understands the depth of the effort that is needed to redeem himself, and he respects that the personal touch is important and necessary,” Schlesinger added.
Schlesinger told FOX6 News he feels Braun knows rebuilding his reputation among Brewers fans and Wisconsin sports fans is going to be a very long process.
“I don’t want to speculate, because I haven’t personally talked with Ryan about his next steps or his next plans. But I do think Ryan understands that this is Wisconsin. The connection that the fans have to the sports teams and their athletes is very personal. You know, I think fans expect a lot of the sports teams that they support, and they expect a lot of the players that they admire and root for. And when the trust is damaged, it’s a personal thing for a lot of fans. I think Ryan understands that Wisconsin is different than most states. Brewers fans are very intense Brewers fans, very loyal fans. You know, I think he knows that it’s a long process. And that process is going to take a lot of different forms. But I don’t have a lot of information on next steps or specifics other that I do, I’m confident that Ryan understands that there’s many things he needs to do,” Schlesinger said.
Major League Baseball announced on July 22nd Braun was suspended, effective immediately, without pay for the rest of the season, and Braun is accepting the penalty. There was no appeal.
Braun didn’t look like he could be stopped during the 2011 season, leading the Brewers to the National League Championship Series, and claiming the National League’s Most Valuable Player award.
However, in December of that year, a report of Braun testing positive for performance enhancing drugs surfaced and the spectre of a suspension loomed.
A month later, Braun accepted his MVP award against a backdrop of controversy.
In February of 2012, arbitrators ruled that the chain of custody for Braun’s urine sample in question was compromised, clearing Braun from any MLB punishment. He forcefully defended his name at a Spring Training press conference.
Roughly a year later, Braun was back in the spotlight, connected to the disgraced Biogenesis Clinic in Miami, along with several other Big Leaguers. Braun claimed the connection was simply for consulting services during his successful 2012 appeal.
On July 9th, ESPN reported Braun’s refusal to answer investigators’ questions about the clinic and his possible PED usage subjected him to punishment once again.
Braun’s suspension will amount to 65 games.