Posted by Steve
A year ago I wrote a post about Ryan Braun that was not well-received by many. What I criticized him for last year has amazingly become a strength in just one season: his plate discipline. He has made tremendous strides in this area, and a year after his OBP was in the low .300s, it’s now .409. He’s currently only seven walks shy of his total for all of 2008. While last year he was just a free swinger with power, he is now an offensive force. This was exactly what I was referring to last year and what I hoped he’d improve on. He deserves to be an All-Star starter this year.
I was planning on a lengthier post about Braun improving into an elite player this season, but recent events have me taking a different route. Braun, who hasn’t been afraid to share his opinion in the past, did so again on Sunday. This time, however, he crossed the line with some of the things he said. He told reporters after the Cubs game that the Brewers need to make a move to add pitching. You can read his full comments in the link, but here are the highlights.
Regardless of the reasons, we’ve got to find a way to throw the ball a little bit better for us to have success. When you’re constantly behind in games, it’s not easy and not fun.
Their starting pitching was clearly a lot better than ours in this series. All four guys we saw in this series are No. 1, worst-case, No. 2 type starters. They make big pitches in big situations. You’re not always going to get hits in those situations.
Here’s what bugged me about these comments. First of all, does he think the Brewers’ front office isn’t aware of the situation? Does he think Doug Melvin saw his quote and said to himself, ‘You know, I hadn’t noticed it until Ryan pointed it out, but our pitching hasn’t actually been that good!’
Secondly, calling out the pitchers specifically is way out of line. Last year after the Brewers were swept out of Boston, Braun made similar “we need to play better” type comments, but those were in reference to the team in general. Here he’s really point the finger at just a few players.
It seems that Doug Melvin shares that opinion, because today he dropped the hammer. Highlights:
To make the statements he made and also get on his teammates like that, it was irresponsible on his part. It just ticked me off.
We all work every day from 9 a.m. to midnight, and basically 12 months a year,” said Melvin, referring to his baseball staff. I’ll be glad to have Ryan help if he wants to. I’ll give him a badge and he can be my deputy.
I think he made a fundamental mistake. I didn’t hear our pitchers complaining when we lost a 1-0 game (to New York last week) or the 2-1 game in 10 innings in Chicago.
They didn’t say the hitters weren’t doing their job. He’s hitting in front of one of the best hitters (Prince Fielder) in the game.
Melvin is peeved. I should mention that I don’t expect this to be a big issue. Braun will likely apologize for his comments tomorrow, and it should be water under the bridge soon enough. Mainly, I just wanted to post some of Melvin’s sick burns. I encourage you to check out that link, because there are more quotes than what I pasted.
How long until someone creates a Deputy Braun shirt? I know I’d buy one. I think his new nickname needs to be The Deputy.
Edit: And sure enough, after I wrote this I headed over to Brewerfan to find this gem.