Milwaukee 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