Sitting here writing this colum it's shocking me that I am sitting here just two days from pitchers and catchers reporting having to write this column, but mum's the word on whether Braun is indeed suspended or not. It's maddening to say the least because we've known when the hearing was and word leaking out of the hearing was that Braun and the rest of the world would know no later than a week or so after.
That week has come and gone and then some without a clear word on what the heck is happening. The only thing we've heard are the constant "He's 100% innocent" comments out of the Braun camp and the Dan Patrick assertion that according to sources "it was highly likely" that Braun would be exonerated of all charges.
While it's nice as a Brewers fan to dream about that actually happening with each passing day it's becoming more and more worrisome that it won't. Is it time for us as Brewers fans and writers to
accept that whether he didn't actually take PED's or not he's about to be suspended and we won't have him for the better part of 2 months?
That's exactly the reality that we are facing and more importantly Doug Melvin and Ron Roenicke have been preparing for all offseason. The idea that he could be suspended for not actually taking a PED, but for taking something for another condition that included a "banned substance" that has a legit medical reason seems a bit harsh and ridiculous. But that's for another day and another story all together once we have all of the information in front of us.
For me it's a blessing and curse that ESPN chose to report that Braun had failed his drug test and was appealing the 50 game suspension. A curse because here we are nearly four months later and we're still no closer to the truth/resolution of the situation. A blessing because without that report Doug Melvin and his staff may not have had a clue about it in the first place as the league, according to Melvin, hasn't even notified them of a failed drug test.
That piece of information has helped them prepare for possibly losing Braun by adding a very interesting prospect in Norichika Aoki from Japan. Having a former Japanese batting champion in your midst's as a backup plan for Braun and available to platoon in the outfield as a whole is priceless at this point in time.
You have to wonder if Melvin and the Brewers even go after a player like Aoki without the knowledge of Braun possibly being suspended for 50 games. I highly doubt they spend the money to do so, but they need a bat with losing Prince Fielder and possibly Braun, so pairing him with the free agent pick up of 3B Aramis Ramirez or at least allowing the Crew to move the lineup around without losing much is important to say the least.
Now we could very well be on the verge of knowing the results as we are supposed to know by the time players are to report, but we've been told for the better part of a month that we'd know the results soon so I don't trust that information one bit. All I know is I'm sick of playing the waiting game and can't wait to move on one way or the other and you have to imagine the Brewers players, managers, and front office are feeling that way as well.