Can Braun regain Milwaukee's goodwill?
Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun cheers after hitting a game-winning home run in the 8th inning against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park Sunday, September 28, 2008. Photo: Image by Benny Sieu/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MILWAUKEE - To say that the final realization of Ryan Braun's guilt has disappointed Milwaukee baseball fans is certainly an understatement.
However, Journal Sentinel sports business writer Don Walker says that the now-suspended Brewers star can return to the good graces of Brewers fans and the community - after the passage of time and an greater admission of responsibility.
"I think he can, but some time needs to lapse," said Walker on 620WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."
"He needs to make amends to restore his image, not only for himself, but for the damage he has done to the franchise. Perhaps he makes very selected appearances, maybe does a talk show with someone he trusts, offers his apologies to not only the fans, but other people he may have hurt."
Walker called Braun the Brewers' "face of the franchise" on and beyond the field.
"He often showed up at community events. He was around town, ran some restaurants. He had the sort of image of the guy who belonged to Milwaukee...that's all gone right now."
Braun will not play for the remainder of the 2013 season, which means he could theoretically take a seven-month break from the Milwaukee community.
"Next March, that's very much a possibility," explained Walker.
"It is true that we won't see him much, if at all, until next March. That might be enough time."
Will that be enough time, however, to get in the good graces of the franchise itself?
"In terms of his relationship with the franchise, I think they're going to be wary for some time," said Walker.
"You wonder if that's going to continue next year. People will rally around him for some extent...but things have changed now. The words he uttered back in the spring of 2012, they just ring hollow right now, and that certainly hurts a lot of people."