By Steven Keys

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a great city on the shores of the Great Lake, Michigan.

It’s as cultured & diverse a metropolis as its “big shouldered” neighbor to the south (Chicago) but is best known, like most cities are, by its clichés: beer (MillerCoors®), blue-collar biz (Harley-Davidson®, Briggs & Stratton® and SC Johnson (Wax)®), baseball (Brewers®) and bratwurst (Usingers® & Klement’s®).

Get ready, here comes the meaty line.

It’s too bad the Fed doesn’t tax phony-baloney because it’s piling so high in Brewers’ country the revenue could pay off a good slice of the national debt.

And I’m not talking about Ryan Braun phony-baloney, either. That comes later.

I’m talking about the feigned-outrage flowing from too many Milwaukee fans, scurrying from Braun like mice on a sinking ship, under guise they were misled by the Brewers’ star prior to his recent revelation and post-MLB ‘11. That’s a baloney sandwich I won’t bite.

‘Would you like some hypocrisy with that baloney, Ma’am?’

Everyone over the age of seven knew full-well that back in late 2011 (Dec), Ryan Braun was a juicer, a PED proponent, after news broke he’d twice tested positive under baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention & Treatment Program.

But Braun shocked the sport community when arbitrator Shyam Das cast deciding vote to void Braun’s suspension (2-12), claiming procedure had been violated after a sample-case was stored overnight in the collector’s home, though, Braun didn’t challenge the sample identity, seal-integrity or gradation, all which the Montreal lab had affirmed.

After the first successful player appeal of a drug-suspension (so egregious a ruling a retort by MLB looked probable, now we know why they held off), Ryan gave his ‘victory’ speech in Arizona and too many Brewers’ fans & media dumbed-it-down, embraced their tainted hero and quickly pinned an “exonerated” medal on Ryan’s puffy chest.

It was 100% pure farce.

But now, when Brauny’s come mostly clean in cutting a union-approved deal with MLB on Biogenesis probe (could’ve done w/out “I‘m not perfect“ line, Ryan), apologized and accepted a suspension (65G: less $3.5M ‘13, keep $113M-Gtd), rather than validate his measured honesty, regardless its inspiration, those same defenders use Mr. Brewer as a scapegoat, a beast of burden to carry-away their own sins of indifference & distortion, accrued when they buried their heads and looked past his bad test reports in 2011-12.

Ironic, this time last year I was panning this arrogant, ethically-challenged but damn lucky Ryan Braun, who years after PEDs were banned (‘06) was boosting (testosterone through the roof), but now am advocating for that same man (kinda-sorta’) as many of his ardent supporters are bailing on the guy left & right. Life is a wild ride.

Ticketholders who would’ve dumped beer on your noggin if you’d dissed Ryan at Miller Park early last year (now you’re ushered out), have become emboldened on RB’s recent (gulp) admission and are turning in their fan-club badges (“Brewers Fan” / BSO / Paul / 7-26);

Major leaguers are airing complaints (“Players Feel ‘Betrayed’” / AP / 7-24-13, “Zack Greinke“ / SI / B. Kotloff / 7-27-13), and we wonder what took them so long;

And then there’s Aaron Rodgers, man with the golden arm & toothy grin who sells the slogan “double-check” but claims unawares of buddy Braun’s positive test results in 2011 and has joined the chorus of former-supporters supposedly “shocked” at being “lied to” by Ryan (“Aaron“ / AP / 7-26-13). ‘One baloney sand with side a’ “Little Lies (FM ’87),” hold the mayo.’

As for ownership, Brewers’ GM Doug Melvin may have more feelings on the subject but gives out the standard line: “I‘ve talked to Ryan,” it should help the “club move forward” and we will “focus on the field (Fox video / 7-22-13).” Next.

I can understand wishful thinking, even blind faith on the part of fans when their hero’s exposed as a PED cheat and they’re not ready to let go. But when he finally gets smart and takes steps in the right direction, that‘s when you really need your backers who you’d hope live by the credo, “in for a penny, in for a pound.” You’d hope.

And what of precedent? What about future suspected-PED users who end up on MLB’s hot-seat? After seeing the fan-fade on Braun, they might balk at a deal, just roll the dice and never come clean. A-Rod and rest of the Biogenesis names can’t like their choices.

The avalanche of outrage tripped by Braun’s news-release (“mistakes”) is what lay in store for Roger & Barry if they ever have an epiphany & open up. Fans in San Fran, Boston, NYC, Houston, wherever people deluded themselves and cheered strongly-suspected or known juicers, will feel naked, exposed by later revelations of PED use and will scramble for scapegoat-cover.

But the message has been sent (MLB), hopefully received (MLBPA), now it’s time to let the healing begin. Come next spring, pitchers won’t want to face Ryan Braun.

Aaron Rodgers may be guilty of wanting it both ways (friend & victim) or simply lack the wherewithal to speak-his-mind when he had more to lose (Greinke), but Rodgers used a word which Miller Park faithful and fans everywhere should get behind: “forgiveness.”

Mind you, this is not full-fledged forgiveness for the ‘11 MVP, the kind where the subject comes in with clean hands. No, Brauny’s up to his elbows in muck: cheating (users post-06), lying as matter of course, throwing the occasional challenger under the figurative bus (JDPTP-collector ‘11), and then some dirt just for being a self-righteous, nincompoop who, like a child, weakly let PED peer pressure & greed govern his craft and his character.

This is a qualified forgiveness, where the subject must always display his hands (full testing) and accept the HOF is out of reach, while the baseball community must accept responsibility for enabling prior PED use, sneer at hypocrisy, walk towards the light and spare the goat. Poor guy munches grass all day.

And in a State where the motto reads “forward,” that should be right up Brewers Alley.

Steven Keys
Can o’ Corn
Photo Credit: Yount & Braun / Royalbroil / 4-22-12 /

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