Friends of Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun spoke to USA TODAY on the condition of anonymity. They said that Braun will soon come clean about everything and apologize to those who got hurt along the way.
From Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY:
Braun, according to his friends, is ready to soon admit that he used performance-enhancing drugs in parts of the 2011 season, the reasons why he did it, and publicly apologize for the lies and deception.
His friends, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because Braun has yet to make the announcement, said he plans to apologize to everyone from Commissioner Bud Selig to urine collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. to his teammates and peers.
And for the first time, he will admit guilt.
The people close to Braun said he is eager to be the anti-Alex Rodriguez and is desperately trying to distance himself from the New York Yankees third baseman.
We learned earlier tonight that a former friend of Braun’s has filed a defamation lawsuit, ostensibly the latest bridge Braun has burned. It will be interesting to see if his new strategy will pay off, if it will help him regain the trust he lost over the last three years.
The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.
The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.
In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.
Most of the time anyway.
Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:
One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.
The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.