Ryan Braun Credits Brewers Fan Base as Reason for signing in Milwaukee Long-Term

Three-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year Ryan Braun is signed with the Milwaukee Brewers through 2020. Three years ago Braun signed an eight-year contract with the team that ran through 2015. Both sides decided to extend that deal with a five-year $105 million contract last month that surprised many people. At the deal’s peak, Braun will only be making $19 million annually. Sluggers like Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, and Ryan Howard are all making more on an annual basis this year, so it’s fair to say Braun is potentially sacrificing more money on an annual basis by signing with Milwaukee long-term. So why did he do it? He explained his decision on Jim Rome is Burning.

“I think the biggest thing is the fan base,” Braun told Rome. “The fans have been incredibly supportive, not only of me but of our entire team and our entire organization. It’s truly a special place to play. The more time I’ve spent here the more I’ve enjoyed it, and the more time I’ve spent in other cities I think the more I appreciate it here.”

“I’ve really enjoyed my experience here to this point, and moving forward I just really believe in the direction of the organization. I’m excited about being a part of a group of guys who’s trying to change the culture, trying to change the environment where we’re perceived as a winning franchise and a winning organization.”

Rome followed up by asking about the chances Fielder also signs with the Brewers long-term. It was a difficult question, but Braun handled it perfectly.

[Read more...]

Ken Macha Felt Rebuffed by Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder

It was only 2008 when the Brewers seemed like an up-and-coming team. They reached the playoffs for the first time since 1982 and had their first 90-win season since 1992. Alas, the team lost ace CC Sabathia in free agency despite offering him a big contract, and Ben Sheets later followed. There was optimism in Milwaukee because the team still had franchise players Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, both of whom had become All-Stars and MVP candidates. Though last year’s team was in first place all the way until early July before falling out of the race, this year’s team never had a shot.

The easiest target for blame was the pitching. Yovani Gallardo was good but got hurt and only made 24 starts. Randy Wolf got roughed up to start the year before settling in. The bullpen was a mess aside from the mustached one, and every flier they took flamed out. The other targets were the aforementioned sluggers, Braun and Fielder. Expected to carry the offense, Braun had his worst season as a pro and needed a late surge to post nice season-ending numbers. Fielder was similarly bad, posting his worst season since his rookie year in 2006. While Braun has a long-term deal and Prince is searching for one, manager Ken Macha became the casualty getting let go by the team.

On his way out, Macha made sure he wasn’t the only one carrying the blame. He explained his efforts to reach out to Braun and Fielder that were turned down by the sluggers:

[Read more...]

So Marisa Miller and Ryan Braun Made a Commercial and … Yeah

There’s no doubt you can put a few athletes and big names together in a commercial and have it be a success. That by no means is a rule as we’ve come to find out. Take for instance this highly anticipated, online-only commercial for Remington, featuring super model Marisa Miller and slugger Ryan Braun. You would figure anything featuring Marisa Miller would be hard to screw up, but I think the producers of this commercial managed to do it. Judge for yourself:

I think Jimmy Traina at SI put it best: “First, the spot is 2-plus minutes, a little long for a commercial. Second, the acting, dialogue and double entendre’s is on par with what you’d see in a porno (not that we’d know).” I agree with both points. I would also add that you don’t find out until the last 30 seconds what product is actually being advertised. When you’re putting together a commercial, getting across exactly what you’re advertising would probably be the top priority. Maybe not in this case. And was that my boy Matt Money Smith doing the narrating? I think so!

(video via The Angry T)

Braun: Brewers Didn’t Expect to Win

For anyone who’s played team sports, you know that attitude is just as important as talent. If you’re well-prepared to win, focused on winning, and believe you’re going to win, there’s a good chance you’re going to win. But sometimes teams really don’t approach games with a winning mentality, and sometimes they’re just going through the motions. Maybe it’s because of money issues, maybe because the team’s performance isn’t all that important to an individual, or maybe because partying is more important than winning. Whatever it may be, resident LBS stud Ryan Braun felt that his team didn’t expect to win this weekend.

“I almost felt like this series, we didn’t expect to win,” Braun said after the Brewers dropped their fifth consecutive game and ninth in a row on the road.

“We were competing; I know everybody tried hard. But it’s not about trying hard. You’ve got to expect to win. I almost feel like we never really expected to win any of these games. I just kind of had that feeling.

“It’s just a feeling. Every time we were winning, I just didn’t feel we expected to win. It was like we were just content to be there and compete. I don’t think we necessarily expected to win.”

And why do we care what Ryan Braun says? Because he’s one of the best hitters in all of baseball, and he went deep on possibly the best starting pitcher and best closer in the world over the last two days. And he couldn’t hit off of yours truly in high school, going 0-for-4, and every time I see him go deep it’s a swift kick in the ass for my self-esteem. But honestly, what he describes could be a reality. What he’s talking about is the same reason I didn’t have the Rays finishing ahead of the Orioles even though I thought they had more talent. Just having good players is one thing, proving you can win is another. And Braun is also talking about guys stepping up against the best competition, showing you belong with the big-boys like the Red Sox. Maybe that is the problem with the Brewers because they certainly are better than what they’re doing.

Could Ryan Braun Win ROY AND MVP?

(AP Photo/Darren Hauck)

I guess I haven’t quite touched on the depths of my attachment to one Mr. Ryan Braun, rookie third baseman of the Brewers. See, Ryan is probably the trunk of the far-reaching San Fernando Valley baseball tree through which I am connected to several current major leaguers. I was a year ahead of him in school, and pitched against him when his name topped several city statistical categories. As an 11th grader, Ryan could crush a fastball, but he really hadn’t seen too many good breaking balls. Being the junk baller that I was, I gave him a steady diet of the slow stuff, causing him to take an ofer against me — 0-for-4 without hitting a ball out of the infield. Clearly, I will be rooting for Ryan to have a Hall of Fame career; the better he does, the better I look, and the more I’ll be able to brag about my Al Bundy-like moment. Now that I have gotten my disclaimer out of the way, onto the actual baseball analysis.

There is no player in the NL dominating offensively as much as guys like A-Rod, Magglio, and Morneau are in the AL. Furthermore, none of the current above .500 teams in the NL have any one single offensive stud that is carrying the team. Team-by-team, the MVPs are probably Jose Reyes, Chipper Jones, Chase Utley, Aramis Ramirez, Russell Martin, Eric Byrnes, and Chris Young (the pitcher). Which brings me to the first place team in the Central — the Brewers.

There was a point in late May/early June when Milwaukee began to sputter. It was around that time when JJ Hardy started to cool off offensively, Rickie Weeks was hurt, and the dynamite platoon of Craig Counsell and Tony Graffanino fizzled. Enter top prospect, Ryan Braun. Since being called up, Braun has posted Pujols-like rookie numbers. He’s batting .345, slugging .670, and OPSing 1.062. He has 16 home runs, 43 runs scored and 43 RBIs in just 51 games. He’s also stolen 8 bases for good measure. Sure, his defense has been spotty, but his studly offensive has more than made up for the fielding woes.

With 63 more games left on the Brewers’ schedule, Ryan has the chance to put together a pretty complete season. If he keeps this pace up, he’ll wind up with a 30-home run season, all the while carrying the Brewers offense. If they’re able to hold the Cubs off in the division with Braun continuing to carry the offensive load, then not only will he be the runaway Rookie of the Year (which he’s already locked up now that Hunter Pence is hurt), but he will be a top MVP candidate. Amen for the Jewish brethren.

Also check out all my other 2007 baseball predictions.