Who cares what Ryan Braun said yesterday?

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I touched on this some last night when I talked about how Ryan Braun doesn’t answer to anyone apart from his teammates, those he personally lied to and people he directly harmed as a result of his lying. Those are folks to whom he owes apologies, not anyone else. Certainly not the general public.

But I am fascinated this morning how hung up people are on the words he used in his public statement yesterday.  The height of this comes in Buster Olney’s column today in which he parses, line-by-line, Braun’s public statement to show us just how disingenuous and insufficient it is.

Why do we care?

We know for a fact that Ryan Braun lied last year. We know for a fact that he has cheated. We know, pretty clearly, that Braun is not a good person in a lot of ways and that we couldn’t trust him as far as we can throw him.  Now ask yourself: if you knew a person like that in your life, would you listen to him at all? Would you care about a thing he says? Or would you ignore it as the words of someone you already know everything you need to know about. Of course Ryan Braun is being self-serving. He’s been nothing but self-serving. This is a surprise now? This is where we should be outraged? People have spent the past year saying that the words which come out of Ryan Braun’s mouth are worthless. Why, now, do we expect anything else?

Players owe us nothing. We have come to think they do due to some romantic and childlike notion about what professional sports are all about, but they really and truly owe us nothing. They owe things to their teams and teammates and the people in their lives, but common fans who don’t know them from Adam really aren’t owed a thing.  At the same time, we do not owe them loyalty or our credulousness. We are free to call Ryan Braun a lowlife if he acts that way, but if we are feel betrayed by them we have no one to blame but ourselves for putting trust in them that they neither earned nor deserved.

Ryan Braun could have sung all four verses of the “Star Spangled Banner” yesterday, followed by an announcement of his allegiance to Lucifer. I wouldn’t care. People are what they do, not what they say. Especially people who have said garbage in the past. Why do we care about his words?

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.