Nearly two years after the Milwaukee Brewers eliminated the Arizona Diamondbacks from the 2011 playoffs, Arizona manager Kirk Gibson would like to have a few words with suspended Brewers’ slugger Ryan Braun.
Gibson told the Associated Press Sunday that “cheaters” such as Braun take opportunities away from players to have moments such as Gibson’s iconic pinch-hit home run off Oakland Athletics’ closer Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
“If I get a chance to see Braun, I’ve got a question for him right to his face, you know?” Gibson said. “Is he about rehearsed (enough) by now, you think? About ready to come out? He’s probably practicing at the theater school somewhere. Just you look at how things like that can influence people’s opportunities and an opportunity to do something like that.”
Gibson went on the Braun tangent when asked about the famous home run off future Hall of Famer Eckersley.
Of course, if there’s anyone in baseball with the right to be a bit chapped about Braun, it’s Gibson. After all, it was his team that Braun torched to the tune of 9-for-18 with four doubles, a homer and four RBI in the 2011 National League Division Series. Gibson said what he would like to discuss with Braun would be about that series.
It was after the same month as that series that Braun’s infamous performance-enhancing drug screening test was administered, the one he successfully appealed in 2012. Sources close to Braun told USA Today, as reported by SportsMedia101, on Friday that the 2011 NL Most Valuable Player planned to speak soon about his 65-game suspension and that he would admit to taking PEDs in 2011.
Braun was 2-for-3 with a run scored during Milwaukee’s decisive 3-2, 10-inning victory in Game 5 of the series between the Diamondbacks and Brewers in 2011.
“I mean, all things considered, we should have won a game,” Gibson said of Game 5. “All things considered, the last game, we tied them up and had a chance to win it. But there were other times in my career where I did overcome cheaters with my teammates. We had our chance.”
Gibson had initially defended Braun after the positive test, implying the player should be given the benefit of the doubt.
“I’d been listening to his line of (expletive),” Gibson said Sunday. “So you take it at face value.”
Gibson also said he would be curious to hear what Braun had to say.
“I’m not surprised that he hasn’t addressed people,” Gibson said. “He probably doesn’t give a (expletive) about me. But you know, he’s got it really good and I was one of the guys who went through many things—work stoppages, etc.—so he could do that. So I would hope he respects me and everyone who stood up for him that came before he played the game.
“If he thinks he’s giving back to the game, he has a different idea of how to give back than I do.”
Braun has begun the process of reaching out to teammates and others in the Milwaukee organization. Pitcher John Axford, the team’s player representative to the Major League Baseball Players Association, told MLB.com he had spoken to Braun on Friday.
“He definitely gave us more insight on things that have gone on,” Axford said. “I would expect that to be known [publicly] soon, too.”
Axford said it was important for Braun to reach out to key players on the ballclub before going public.
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