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Milwaukee Brewers giving fans $10 vouchers in wake of Ryan Braun drama

Brewers-fan-Ryan-Braun-fraud-shirtThe Milwaukee Brewers were not exactly a playoff team before Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the season, so you can understand why the suspension may have been the final straw for some of the team’s fans. In an attempt to avoid a major drop-off in ticket sales, the Brewers are offering fans $10 vouchers for the month of August.

The promotion, which is called “Fans Eat Free,” allows fans to use the voucher toward concessions, merchandise or future tickets. While the team would not specifically say that this is a way of trying to apologize for Braun, we all get the point.

“This has been a challenging season for all of us, but the one thing that has never wavered has been the tremendous support we have received from fans who love the Brewers,” Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said, according to TMJ 4 in Milwaukee. “We wanted to do something meaningful to show our appreciation, and we will strive to provide the best fan experience possible.”

For whatever reason, sales of Braun merchandise have reportedly increased since his suspension was announced last monday. Perhaps fans will use their $10 vouchers to continue buying his stuff. Can you use them on beer? That would probably make the most sense at this point.

H/T Deadspin

Zack Greinke disappointed in Ryan Braun

Zack GreinkeZack Greinke finally expressed his feelings about Ryan Braun’s admission of guilt and suspension, and he said he is disappointed with his former Milwaukee Brewers teammate.

Greinke was teammates with Braun on the Brewers in 2011, the year Braun won MVP and tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during the team’s playoff run. Greinke was also with the Brewers for the first half of last season when Braun denied doing anything wrong in his now infamous spring training speech. Greinke wanted a few days before sharing his feelings about Braun’s admission of guilt and season-long suspension, and he finally opened up on Friday.

“The main thing is, yeah, he lied to us,” Greinke said via the LA Times’ Dylan Hernandez. “He forced us to lie for him, threw people under the bus in order to help himself out and didn’t care, blamed others for his mistakes and it’s just a lot of things you don’t expect from people.”

Greinke saying Braun “blamed others for his mistakes” was a reference to the MVP suggesting the sample collector tampered with his sample to lead to the positive test. Greinke also said he believed Braun when the outfielder said he was clean.

“Oh, yeah, 100% believed him,” Greinke said. “Everything was so convincing. He had people to blame. He seemed like a really good guy. He was a good teammate at the time. You don’t know the guys that he was pinning it on. I’m not positive, but I think everyone 100% believed him at the time. Especially the next year, he looked just as good as the year before. His numbers his whole career, Hall of Fame numbers. How could you not believe him? He was so convincing.”

Greinke says he’s thought about it a lot and it’s “upsetting” that Braun still has not really apologized for using and lying about it. He explained in detail some of what made him so disappointed

“Just the fact that he was willing to use anyone that got in his path. The closer you were to him, the more he would use you. It’s just disappointing that a human being could be like that.”

Greinke clearly gave a lot of thought to the matter and is extremely disappointed with Braun. But he’s not alone. Both Aaron Rodgers and Matt Kemp shared similar feelings and said they didn’t like being lied to.

Braun may be able to rebuild his reputation over the rest of his career, but it seems like he has done some serious damage among his teammates and colleagues.

Aaron Rodgers on Ryan Braun: ‘It doesn’t feel great being lied to’

Aaron Rodgers Ryan BraunAside from Ryan Braun himself, there were very few people who looked more idiotic than Aaron Rodgers when Braun’s suspension was announced. Rodgers, who became very good friends with Braun due to their similar ages and career paths, was extremely vocal in defending Braun back in 2011 when Braun failed a drug test.

At Green Bay Packers training camp on Friday, Rodgers broke the silence on the situation and explained to reporters how a friend let him down.

“I was shocked, I really was, just like many of you were,” Rodgers said, via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I was backing up a friend. He looked me in the eye on multiple occasions and repeatedly denied these allegations and said they were not true.

“So, it is disappointing, not only for myself as a friend, but for obviously Wisconsin sports fans, Brewer fans, really baseball fans. It doesn’t feel great being lied to like that and I’m disappointed in the way it all went down.”

While Rodgers probably could have been quieter in defending his friend and not bet a Twitter follower a year’s salary that he was clean, you almost have to feel sorry for him. We all want to support our friends and believe what they are telling us is true. On Friday, Rodgers wouldn’t even say if he was committed to still running a restaurant with Braun.

“That’s yet to be determined,” he said. “I don’t regret backing a friend up. Obviously in hindsight a more measured approach would obviously be a better course of action. I definitely believe in forgiveness and moving forward. He has a tough task in front of him moving forward with his career, on and off the field.”

But is he still considered a friend?

“I was disappointed in the way it went down … I trusted him,” Rodgers said. “That’s the thing that probably hurts the most.”

Again, I doubt Rodgers would have been so vocal if he did not believe Braun. Like many others, he was duped. Next time he’ll know to keep his opinion to himself rather than flaunting it in public.

Brewers say Ryan Braun merchandise sales have increased since suspension

Ryan BraunMilwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun let down an entire fan base after admitting this week to using performance-enhancing drugs and accepting a suspension for the rest of the season. But despite losing an endorsement deal and $3.8 million in salary, Braun is still generating revenue through merchandise sales.

According to Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger, there has been an increase in the sales of Braun merchandise since the suspension was announced on Monday.

“We will continue to offer Ryan Braun’s merchandise for sale at our team stores at Miller Park,” Schlesinger told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday. “Ryan is a Milwaukee Brewer. It is within each fan’s right to decide whether to purchase his merchandise or not. While it has only been a few days since the announcement of Ryan’s suspension, we actually have experienced an increase in sales of Ryan Braun merchandise. We are not speculating as to the reason for this increase, but it’s the reality.”

As of now, the Brewers are planning to hold onto Braun. He is under contract with the team through 2020, so pulling his merchandise from the shelves would make no sense. The team probably won’t be putting out any advertisements that encourage fans to snatch up No. 8 jerseys, but discontinuing them is not an option.

The increase in sales could be a coincidence, or it could be a similar situation to Aaron Hernandez jerseys selling for big bucks on eBay and other sites. Relax, I’m not comparing Braun to an alleged murderer — I’m simply saying there are some people who may wonder if Braun will ever play for the Brewers again and might consider his Milwaukee gear to be a collector’s item.

It’s also possible that fans are buying Braun shirts to do what this fan did with hers. One thing we do know is that sports fans forgive quickly. If Braun serves his suspension and comes back the same player (and drug-free), plenty of fans will be willing to embrace him again.

H/T Big League Stew

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.

[Read more...]

Ryan Braun loses endorsement deal

Ryan BraunMilwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun will forfeit the $3.8 million remaining on his 2013 salary as he serves a suspension for the remainder of the season, and that isn’t the only money he will be losing as a result of his association with performance-enhancing drugs. On Tuesday, Braun lost one of his biggest endorsement deals.

According to ESPN.com, a privately-owned brand of convenience stores named Kwik Trip, which has more than 400 stories in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, has dropped Braun as the face of its company. Braun had been linked to Kwik Trip for four years, headlining the store’s television and radio commercials.

Kwik Trip has also cancelled a promotion where a winning entrant would have won a luncheon with Braun at his Milwaukee restaurant, Graffito. A winner was scheduled to be chosen in a little over a week, and a representative from Kwik Trip told ESPN.com that the company is expecting to be paid back by the sports marketing agency that set the promotion up.

[Related: Matt Kemp sounds off on Ryan Braun suspension]

Some of Braun’s other endorsements include Nike and SURG Restaurant Group, which are evaluating their arrangement with Braun at this point. The president of SAM BAT in Canada, which manufactures Braun’s RB8 bat, said the company will continue to do so.

“We’ve had a good relationship with Ryan and we don’t anticipate that changing at this point,” Arlene Anderson said.

If Tiger Woods survived with Nike, Braun can too. He’ll still make plenty of money with the more than $100 million he has remaining on his Brewers contract, but his pockets may not be as fat as they could have if he wasn’t caught cheating.

Matt Kemp on Ryan Braun: ‘I’m disappointed, I don’t like to get lied to’

Matt-Kemp-Does-Not-Want-MVPAmong the many people that Ryan Braun has cheated by using performance-enhancing drugs, you could argue that Matt Kemp is one of the most significant. The Los Angeles Dodgers slugger had an incredible season in 2011, but Braun was named the NL MVP despite Kemp having more homers, RBI, runs and stolen bases than the scorned Milwaukee Brewers outfielder.

Braun was probably given the honor over Kemp because he led the Brewers to the playoffs, whereas LA was under .500 most of the season before rallying to finish 82-79. On Tuesday, Kemp was asked for his feelings about Braun’s suspension and admission.

“I’m disappointed,” Kemp said via the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t like to get lied to. I don’t think anybody likes to get lied to. I think a lot of other people feel the same way. I’m not the only one in that boat. I’m just another one of those guys on the list that are disappointed in what has come about in the last couple days.”

Kemp supported Braun after the Brewers outfielder failed the initial drug test. He said he considered Braun a friend and believed the Milwaukee star was clean. That’s why he now says he’s disappointed and was “lied to” by Braun.

Though Kemp said at the time that he did not want the MVP if Braun were found guilty of cheating, he was clearly disappointed with the outcome of the vote, as evidenced by his tweet about the voters creating a monster. But Kemp maintains that he still does not want the MVP award even though the man who won it is an admitted cheater.

[Related: Logan Morrison uses Ryan Braun situation to take shot at Marlins]

“I was in a race to win the MVP, I got second. It is what it is,” Kemp said Tuesday. “The voters had an opinion about who they wanted to pick as the MVP. That’s who they picked, that’s who they felt was the MVP. You have to respect them for that.”

Kemp is probably right that you cannot go back and give the award to him, but maybe a note should go down in history to say Braun used performance-enhancing drugs during the MVP season. And as fans and media, we cannot forget that Kemp truly deserved the MVP award that season.