Damage control for suspended Brewers OF Ryan Braun began in earnest Thursday, with written apologies to his teammates, employer, fans and Dino Laurenzi Jr., not necessarily in that order. While granting that perhaps Braun’s mea culpa was sincere, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s frequently-called-at-the-Tube-Bar Michael Hunt sums up the credibility problem thusly ; “If Ryan Braun were to tell you that his name is Ryan Braun, you’d ask for two pieces of identification and double-check your sources.”

Naturally, you would have preferred for Braun to personally deliver the apology instead of issuing a communiqué through his employer. That way, you could have read his eyes, his body language and maybe even his level of sincerity for pulling such a con job.

Then again, Braun had a lot of people buying into his story more than 18 months ago even as the evidence rightly screamed that he hadn’t played by the rules. So who’s to say that these are even Braun’s words as opposed to rhetoric crafted by the high-priced Hollywood spin-doctors he has paid to repair a severely damaged image?

Unlike Philadelphia and Chicago and some other places that first run everything through a skepticism filter, we tend to be a little kinder and more forgiving when it comes to the professional athletes who represent this city. But because Braun played us all for saps, he caused us to look at everything a little more critically, especially the words attributed to him forevermore.