- Associated Press - Saturday, August 24, 2013

He’s sorry, though you might have guessed that already. No real surprise here, because they’re always sorry once the lies crumble and the fraud is exposed.

Ryan Braun wants you to know he’s ashamed of what he did. Has no one to blame but himself. Loves the game of baseball so much.

We knew this was coming, because this is the way it always works. A contrite statement now, perhaps some tears on Oprah later, and the next thing you know Braun will be standing in left field in Arizona next spring as if the whole thing was just a giant misunderstanding that a simple ballplayer couldn’t avoid.

Might be better than the way he started spring training last year. There, as you might remember, he defiantly proclaimed his innocence while questioning the integrity of a sample collector whose biggest mistake was not knowing which FedEx office was open on weekends.

“If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first one to step up and say, `I did it.,’” Braun said then. “By no means am I perfect, but if I’ve ever made any mistakes in my life I’ve taken responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart, and I would bet my life, that this substance never entered my body at any point.”

It was, of course, utter hogwash, and Braun knew it. But he didn’t stop there.

“I’ve always stood up for what is right,” he said. “Today is about everybody who’s been wrongly accused, and everybody who’s ever had to stand up for what is actually right.”

Fast forward to Thursday night when Braun released a statement signaling his rehabilitation campaign is well under way. Well written for a guy who makes his living hitting baseballs, it covered most bases. The talking points were there, even if Braun wasn’t actually talking.

Believe it at your own risk.

“I understand it’s a blessing and a tremendous honor to play this game at the Major League level,” Braun said. “I also understand the intensity of the disappointment from teammates, fans, and other players. When it comes to both my actions and my words, I made some very serious mistakes and I can only ask for the forgiveness of everyone I let down. I will never make the same errors again and I intend to share the lessons I learned with others so they don’t repeat my mistakes.”

There’s more, of course, but you get the point. No questions, please, about that cream and lozenge that Braun conveniently says were used only to heal an injury and only for a short time.

Those will all be handled by Oprah. Besides, all seems forgiven in the clubhouse already.

“It certainly was enough for me,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. “I think it’s enough for his teammates.”

It’s not enough for the fans Braun cheated and lied to along the way, though. It shouldn’t be enough for Matt Kemp, who lost an MVP title to a juicer.

And it certainly isn’t enough for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who might have been on their way to a World Series in 2011 had they not run into a hitter they couldn’t seem to get out in the playoffs.

Story Continues →