They felt sick, angry, cheated, deceived.
Not only did Ryan Braun let down scores of baseball fans Monday, he riled up players all around the majors.
The guys who used to be in his corner. The guys who make up the union membership.
“Watching him talk right now makes me sick,” Skip Schumaker of the Los Angeles Dodgers said. “I have an autographed Braun jersey in my baseball room that I’ll be taking down. I don’t want my son identifying what I’ve worked so hard to get to and work so hard to have — I don’t want him comparing Braun to me.”
The Milwaukee Brewers slugger accepted a 65-game suspension Monday for unspecified “violations” of baseball’s drug program and labor contract.
Just last year, the 2011 NL MVP dodged a 50-game penalty when an arbitrator overturned his positive test for elevated testosterone because the urine sample had been improperly handled.
Then he held a news conference at spring training in Phoenix and read a defiant statement, insisting he was innocent and “the truth” was on his side.
Jason Bay watched it on television, just like everyone else.
“I think for me what makes me mad,” the Seattle outfielder said, “basically it just kills all the credibility of anybody.”
Reaction poured in after Major League Baseball banned Braun without pay for the rest of the season and the postseason, the beginning of sanctions involving players reportedly tied to a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.
Plenty of it was pretty harsh.
“I think everybody’s frustrated, especially the players. I think we all feel a little bit cheated,” Mariners pitcher Joe Saunders said.
Schumaker thinks Braun should hand over his MVP award to Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who finished second in the 2011 balloting.
“In my opinion, he should be suspended — lifetime ban. One strike, you’re out. It’s enough. It’s ridiculous,” Schumaker said. “He lied to a lot of people. I was convinced, after that MVP, that he didn’t do it.”