Rob Vosters
Dear Ken Macha

Respect Your Elder

By - Jul 8th, 2009 07:32 pm
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Dear Ken Macha,

Can you tell that the sports media is bored right now?  Ryan Braun says what everyone, including other Brewers, already knows — that the team played terribly against the Cubs and is not going to compete in the second half without adding some sort of help via trade — and suddenly a non-controversy is born.

The local media framed Braun’s comments as disrespectful and harmful to team chemistry, but Braun’s comments were anything but. Do you think your players aren’t aware of when they’re playing poorly? Considering no one else on the team spoke up to disagree with Braun’s assessment, I’d say it’s quite clear that this wasn’t just a lone superstar shooting off his mouth. If anything, Braun’s comments represent an unencumbered mentality that breaks away from the traditionally rigid code of baseball and sports journalism.  Writers and sports radio hosts spend so much time speculating on who the Brewers should trade for, who should be benched and who isn’t performing right. Yet when their opinions are confirmed in a moment of extreme candor it’s such a shock to their sensibilities that it suddenly becomes more than a statement of truth — it becomes a flagrant act of disrespecting your elders.

The media-created outcry over the comments even prompted your boss, Doug Melvin, into the fray, which only fueled the fire.  Yet, surprisingly, his comments, which actually could be taken as disrespectful and patronizing (“I’ll be glad to have Ryan help if he wants to. I’ll give him a badge and he can be my deputy.”) were accepted without sparking another round of the bogus flamewar. Then Braun apologized publicly, unlike Melvin, and everything was resolved just in time to start the series against the Cardinals. How convenient, eh?

Now, Ken, you’re considered a pretty stand-up guy and, thankfully, you were able to steer clear of this brouhaha.  But from a public relations perspective, Melvin’s inability to keep his mouth shut turned an honest comment on a slow Sunday afternoon into a mock news story all the way through Tuesday, pulling the team’s attention away from the more motivational comments made by Braun. Maybe Melvin isn’t feeling so great after trading away Tony Gwynn, Jr. (.303/.374/.401 starting for SD) for Jody Gerut (.111./.179/.111 barely playing for MIL) or perhaps he’s just feeling the pressure of finding someone, anyone, to trade with in a market that isn’t doing him any favors. Either way, Ken, let’s hope a stronger performance against the Cardinals will bring the focus back where it belongs.

Best Regards,
Rob Vosters

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