The Ryan Braun apology tour might be coming to a telephone near you. Already, the Milwaukee Brewers slugger has said he's sorry to teammates, colleagues, friends and the vague blur of the public for using performance-enhancing drugs and lying about it. Now he's personally apologizing to total strangers. Braun on Thursday reportedly made calls to Brewers season ticket holders after he requested their contact information. He's got plenty of time to use the phone, given his 65-game suspension.
Braun might not have called buddy Aaron Rodgers yet, but he has called the owner of Kelly's Bleachers, a sports bar in Milwaukee. And if other Brew Crew fans are like Pat Guenther, who's had season tickets for 20 years, Braun should be on easy street again in no time.
CBS-TV 58 in Milwaukee has the details:
"Hey Pat this is Ryan Braun," Guenther recalls. "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."
So he did what anyone in the service industry would do.
"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.' "
I tend to think like Pat Guenther does about people. Guenther seems to be a forgiving sort, and good for him, though I'm not comfortable feeling like I have to forgive Ryan Braun for anything, or that he owes me a darned thing, much less an apology. I wish he had been straight with everyone in the first place, mostly because I'm not among the crowd that thinks he's wronged the game in some horrible way. I wish Braun had said from the start that he did PEDs to heal his injuries, or even because he thought he'd become a better player. The entire discourse about PEDs would have been better for it. Instead, he instituted a coverup that included actions much more devious and deceitful than any drug use.
Braun made the call to Guenther, and presumably others, on the same day his partners in a local restaurant group — which includes Rodgers — terminated their agreement with him. He's losing his restaurant as he tries to regain credibility. It sounds like Guenther is giving him some.
"Who hasn't made a mistake? 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."
Guenther also used the words humble and kind to describe Braun — which sounds outrageous, but then again, he didn't call me. Not that I need him to apologize. Not that he's going to call. But if he did, I just wouldn't believe a word he said.