One of the great things about being at music camp, and then up in the mountains for a couple of weeks, was being spared the news.
Not that I am not concerned with the state of the world, or condition of our country, and such. It is just we get so hammered by the news and tweets and internet updates and repetitions of the same story with gossip, scandal and opinion dominating so much of what could just be a straight news story--if that--that the news sort of becomes like being bonked on the head with an inflatable hammer after awhile.
So, while it was interesting being away early in August when a cluster of baseball players were rather unceremoniously suspended for the balance of 2013, I really did not care.
Truth is I was not really interested in what any of the players in question had to say, or why. They did what they did, and while I understand wanting to get every possible edge to be successful in any field, the rules are the rules, and well, you break the rules, and then get caught, and you suffer the consequences.
I am actually of the opinion that even when we break a law or rule--and that could be something as simple as lying or cheating on a test--we will subvert ourselves in some other way, even if we get away with the original misdeed in the first place. That is because deep down we know when we are cheating, and in a way we are our own version of Santa Claus, as in "we know when we are sleeping and we know when we're awake."
However, Ryan Braun did cop to his HGH use, and accepted his suspension for the remainder of 2013 before I left, and the reality is I did find the outfielder's simple acquiesence somewhat refreshing. I mean, generally folks go the complete denial route until caught and/or punished. And, then they generally acknowledge that thanks to Jesus, they are forgiven for their misdeeds (and as Bill Maher has pointed out, has anyone ever heard of Jesus not forgiving someone, irrespective of the transgression?).
But then a week ago, Braun decided to take it a step further, and made a pubic apology for his misdeeds, including apologizing to Dino Laurenzi Jr., who was accused of mishandling the urine sample that almost got Braun suspended prior to the 2012 season. It was that technicality that put fantasy players in a tizzy, not knowing whether 100 games of Braun was better than nothing, or if the suspension would have a successful appeal.
Of course, those who took the Braun crap-shoot were rewarded with a .319-41-112 season, and there was virtually no cloud hanging over Braun in 2013. Or so we thought.
That made Braun a clear first-round pick, but all we got out of him in an injury-plagued season were .298-9-38 totals over 61 games.
Meaning Braun figured out a way to indeed pay himself back--and many of us as well--with a seriously sub-par season.
And, while we did have to expect first that Major League Baseball would indeed target the guy who successfully thumbed his nose at the system a little over a year ago, I do wish Braun would not have made his public apology.
Not that I am against taking responsibility for one's actions, but it reminds me clearly of both being a kid, and having kids, and demanding that I either provide an apology, or be given one, depending upon my situation in life as a child or a parent.
In particular, I remember the air of resentment my kids carried when their mother told them to say they were sorry, for the act of contrition was not voluntary, and as I agreed with my mate Lord Zola just the other day, most of the time the source of the apology was more the result of being caught as opposed to actual remorse over a misdeed.
I would like to think that Braun's confession was sincere, just as I am almost always willing to give a transgressor a second chance. However, the whole thing does ring in a Shakespearean sense, echoing these lines from "Hamlet": "Thou doth protest too much."
Of course, we are just talking a game here, and hardly anyone's life hangs in the balance, although as Todd did note to me, it would be great for Braun to go into a draft year without any semblence of a cloud hanging over his head.
For, in 2014 there will be both the questions of the enhanced season, and whether or not Braun is really healthy, mentally and physically.
Personally, I hope he is both, and that he returns to being one of the better players in baseball simply because it is fun to watch a person who really knows how to do their job, especially an athlete performing publicly.
As for the apology, the best thing Braun could do is simply shut up, go about his job and prove to us why he was--and ideally still is--one of the best players in baseball on the field. If he does that, everything else good will certainly follow.