Brewers pull Braun from festival

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Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Thursday, January 26, 2012
— The Milwaukee Brewers and Ryan Braun avoided what at best would have been an awkward situation by announcing Wednesday that the National League most valuable player was withdrawing from the team’s annual fan festival Sunday.

Braun was scheduled to participate in “Brewers On Deck” at the Frontier Airlines Center, but team principal owner Mark Attanasio announced it was mutually agreed that he would not attend due to the “sensitive” timing as the all-star leftfielder awaits the verdict of his appeal of a reported positive drug test.

Attanasio’s statement said: “In working through the logistics of this weekend’s ‘Brewers On Deck’ event in Milwaukee with Ryan Braun—and knowing how much he enjoys interacting candidly with Brewers fans—we came to the conclusion that this is too sensitive of a time in the confidential process for him to attend this year.

“I speak for everyone at the Brewers, including Ryan, in thanking our fans for their understanding and patience.”

Braun is facing a 50-game suspension for a reported positive test for a banned substance in early October at the outset of the playoffs. That result was leaked to ESPN in early December.

Braun, who immediately proclaimed his innocence, appealed that test result and his case was heard last Thursday and Friday by a three-man panel in New York. That panel has 25 days to render its verdict, which could come at any time before that deadline.

The decision to withdraw just days before the event created speculation that the Brewers had been informed that Braun would be suspended. But a person familiar with the process said no ruling had come.

Brewers vice president of communications Tyler Barnes said he could provide no further details about the decision for Braun to withdraw from the event.

“Mark’s statement speaks for the entire organization,” said Barnes.

Braun was scheduled to participate with current and former players in autograph sessions and photo opportunities with fans during the day-long event. But he also would have faced questions from local media about his situation and has been instructed not to comment prior to an arbitration verdict.

Braun made his first public appearance since the positive test was reported when he accepted the 2012 NL MVP award at the Baseball Writers Association of America awards dinner Saturday night in New York. He did not answer questions about his positive drug test but referenced it in his speech by talking about “adversity” and “challenges.”

“Sometimes in life we all deal with challenges we never expected to endure,” Braun said in that speech. “We have an opportunity to look at those challenges and view them either as obstacles or opportunities.

“I’ve chosen to view every challenge I’ve ever faced as an opportunity, and this will be no different.”

Some might have viewed “Brewers On Deck” as such an opportunity, but the club and Braun came to the conclusion that the timing was too awkward and sensitive, especially with the arbitration ruling pending.

Last updated: 7:14 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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