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Ryan Braun gets standing ovation in return (Video)

Ryan Braun was given a hero’s welcome in his return to the Milwaukee Brewers’ lineup for Opening Day on Monday. A few boos could be heard from the fans at Miller Park, but the overwhelming majority gave Braun a standing ovation in his first at-bat.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. For the most part, baseball fans just want to see production. Braun is the Brewers’ best player and Milwaukee was a far less exciting team to watch after he was suspended for the final 65 games of the 2013 season. The fans cheered even louder later in the game when he picked up his first hit of the year.

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You could argue that Braun is worse than most steroid users. Not only did he cheat, but he also let his lying get to the point where he almost cost innocent people their careers. He lied repeatedly to protect his name at the expense of others, and Monday was yet another example of how most baseball fans ultimately care about one thing — the long ball.

Ryan Braun reportedly calling Brewers season ticket holders to apologize

Ryan BraunMilwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has a long road to forgiveness ahead. After repeatedly lying about his history of performance-enhancing drug use, the 29-year-old was eventually outed as a cheater and fraud. He threw urine collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. under the bus and attacked the collector’s character. Now, Braun is trying to do what he can to make amends with those he has wronged.

That includes the fans. Chris Patterson of CBS 58 in Milwaukee reported on Thursday that Braun has been personally calling Brewers season ticket holders to apologize. Pat Guenther, owner of Kelly’s Bleachers bar and restaurant, told Patterson that he got a call earlier this week from someone he initially thought was screwing with him.

“Hey Pat this is Ryan Braun,” Guenther recalled the voice saying. “Right then and there I knew it was his voice based on interviews I’ve seen on TV. I knew damn well it was his voice.

“I said what can I do for you? He said, I messed up, in a nutshell, I messed up. I just want to reach out and say I’m sorry. I cut him off right there. I said you know Ryan, I think you’re an amazing athlete and this speaks volumes to your character to reach out to a small business owner like myself and let us know that you are going to do better.”

Guenther has been a season ticket holder for more than 20 years, and his bar is popular among Brewers fans. He described Braun as “humble” and said he is willing to forgive and forget.

“Who hasn’t made a mistake?” Guenther asked. “People move forward. I think that’s what Ryan is trying to do. He’s moving forward. He has no other option. Be better, help his ballclub win games and win the hearts of Brewers fans like he has for many, many years.”

The Brewers have tried to come up with their own cheesy ways of apologizing to the fans, but none of it is going to matter. As we have learned countless times in the world of sports, on-field performance is all that matters. If Braun returns, stays clean and produces, the fans will adore him again in no time. If he can’t hit without juicing, he’ll remain a villain.

H/T Eye on Baseball

Brewers fan Karen Eidem asked to remove Ryan Braun ‘Fraud’ shirt by stadium staff

Brewers-fan-Ryan-Braun-fraud-shirtMany Milwaukee Brewers fans are still stunned by Ryan Braun coming out and admitting that he cheated. Braun won an appeal for a positive drug test last year because of an error in the collection process of his urine sample, and many people thought he was out of the woods after that. Now that he has been suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season, most fans feel betrayed.

Earlier this week, a Brewers fan named Karen Eidem attended a game at Miller Park with a Braun T-shirt that she modified to read “Fraud” across the back. It was a clever way of showing her disappointment in the situation, but it did not last long. A stadium staff member told her that if she didn’t change or turn the shirt inside-out she would be asked to leave the ballpark.

“I mean it was obviously meant as a joke, but to put me in a position where I’m the one to be perceived as doing something wrong, that kind of bothered me,” Eidem said, according to NBC 4 in Milwaukee.

Eidem had every right to be bothered. Her shirt did not include any offensive phrases or vulgar language. It certainly didn’t offend any other fans in the ballpark, most of whom probably felt the same way she did. As it turns out, the Brewers agree that she was treated unfairly.

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John Axford signs pregnant Brewers fan’s baby bump (Picture)

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Milwaukee Brewers pitcher John Axford has joined an elite club. Not all professional athletes will get the opportunity to sign a baby bump before their careers end, but Axford was recently given the privilege courtesy of a Brewers fan named Kristin Corcoran.

As you can see from the above photo that Concoran shared on Twitter on Monday, Axford was a good sport and signed her belly during an autograph session with fans.

“Thanks for the autographs & for reassuring that signing my belly wasn’t the strangest request you’ve had!” Corcoran wrote.

Unlike the stomach former Kentucky star Terrence Jones signed last year, Axford signed the woman’s shirt instead of her actual belly. Had Concoran lifted her shirt up, Axford may not have told her it wasn’t the most bizarre request he’s ever gotten.

H/T Big League Stew

Cancer survivor Ben Rouse attends all 162 Milwaukee Brewers games

Ben Rouse is no stranger to defying odds. To the average person, attending all 162 Brewers games in one season may sound like an impossible task. To a 25-year-old who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007 and is currently in remission, the word “impossible” doesn’t exist.

“You only live once, and you might as well do something when you can,” Rouse told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel after completing his tour across North America on Wednesday.

Rouse spent more than 680 hours inside MLB ballparks this season, and he documented his journey with a blog along the way. He was formerly a 20-game partial season-ticket holder with the Brewers, but when he told the team he wanted to attend every game of the season — home and away — they were happy to help. The Brewers upgraded Rouse to a full season ticket package and got him a ticket to every road game. He says he had to spend about $6,500 while following the Brew Crew everywhere they went.

Rouse’s daily blog, Ben Rouse’s Brewers Mission 162, helped raise awareness for the Be The Match Foundation, an organization that helps find donors for those in need of bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplants. After being diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia in 2007, Rouse underwent various treatments including chemotherapy. He received an umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant in 2009 and has been in remission since.

“Why not do it at 25?” Rouse asked. “Who knows what my body will be like in 20 years, 30 years.”

As expected, his 162-game tour was filled with mind-boggling feats and statistics. Rouse ate 100 sausages, threw out two ceremonial first pitches, traveled 43,000 miles and saw 48,000 pitches. Perhaps even more impressive, he missed only 110 pitches. Most importantly, he showed people that doing something you put your mind to is entirely possible, no matter what the circumstances. If Ben Rouse can fight leukemia and attend all 162 games of the Brewers season, all the while raising money for a great cause, what’s our excuse?

H/T Big League Stew

Fan has tattoo of Bernie Brewer holding rifle over dead cub (Picture)

We’ve seen plenty of fan tattoos in our time here at LBS, but none have been as ferocious as this one. One Milwaukee fan has a tattoo of Brewers mascot Bernie Brewer holding a rifle and standing over the bloody corpse of a dead cub, all while grabbing his crotch. Think of it as a hardcore version of one of those bumper stickers of the cartoon figure taking a leak on something else. That’s hardcore.

H/T Hall of Very Good via Hot Clicks
Photo via @JucheMane