Major League Baseball | National Football League | St. Louis Blues | St. Louis Cardinals

Rams’ Naysayers and Braun’s Reluctant Regret

I’m intrigued by the negativity exhibited by so many local NFL observers about the 2013 Rams. Of course, they express their opinions via text to the station (“the Rams won’t win six games,” or “if you think the Rams can win 10 games, I want some of what you’ve been smoking”) under the cloak of anonymity. I wonder if those people are haters, haven’t really watched the team, or are big fans of the 49ers, Seahawks or Cardinals. Any objective observer who watched the Rams last year, and then saw their offseason acquisitions, knows that they’re capable of winning double-digit games. Not that they will, but they were capable of winning 10 last year. They suffered a last-second loss at Detroit, missed a game-winning field goal in Miami, and were a missed field goal and a Brandon Gibson penalty away from winning in San Francisco. They could have won 10 last year.

How ridiculous was Ryan Braun’s “apology?” As his statement said (he didn’t face any questions):

“Here is what happened. During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn’t have used. The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation. It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately.”

Really, Ryan? You’re telling us that you risked suspension to combat a nagging injury? And for a short period? Really?

I’m not buying it. Nor am I on board with Braun’s statement’s conclusion. “I am dedicated to making amends and to earning back the trust of my teammates, the fans, the entire Brewers’ organization, my sponsors, advisors and from MLB. I am hopeful that I can earn back the trust from those who I have disappointed and those who are willing to give me the opportunity. I am deeply sorry for my actions, and I apologize to everyone who has been adversely affected by them.”

Braun will never earn back the trust of the fans. Perhaps he’ll get his teammates on his side, but certainly not his opponents. I found it interesting that he names his sponsors. I do buy that he wants to earn back their trust, but I hope he doesn’t. Yes, we live in a forgiving society, but this is a two-time loser who, even in this apology, never admitted that he used performance-enhancing drugs to enhance his performance, who never admitted his role in the Biogenesis scandal, and who gave only cursory attention to the collector he got fired, Dino Laurenzi Jr. This Braun is a bad guy. We should never trust him again.

The big 101 ESPN Fantasy Football draft is Saturday. I have the fifth pick, and I’m pretty sure Adrian Peterson will go first, Calvin Johnson second and C.J. Spiller fourth. Number three is an X-factor. I want either Ray Rice or Jamaal Charles. If both are there, who would you suggest I take?

I hate to pile on Jake Westbrook, who’s a good guy, a great competitor, and is living up to his career numbers this season. He’s had an awful couple of months, but just because he got off to a good start, nobody should have expected that he’d exceed his career numbers. Factoring in the time he was out with injury, Westbrook is on pace for a .500 record and an ERA around 4.50. I hope during spring training you didn’t expect anything more. His only problem is that he’s pitching poorly when the Cardinals need him most.

Blues owner Tom Stillman told us that the Blues will join Nashville in trying to keep the red out. The Blackhawk fans travel exceptionally well to every league city. What the Blues and Predators are doing is forcing fans that buy a ticket to a Hawks game to buy another game, too. No single-game tickets will be available for Blackhawks or Red Wings games in St. Louis. The Preds are going a step further, as president and COO Sean Henry said, “Only those in the zip codes that we unlock can buy the Blackhawk game and a second game. So we’re breaking down every barrier we can to keep the red out.”

There’s nothing wrong with trying to maintain a home-ice advantage. I’m glad the Blues and Predators are doing something about it. Certainly, some Chicago fans will buy two games and put the second one on StubHub, but at least it’ll make invading our building more difficult.

In a shocking development, Danny Amendola is hurt and didn’t play for New England against Detroit … I think Lindenwood’s Andrew Helmick absolutely could be an Amendola-type receiver in the NFL … I said weeks ago that I think Georgia’s Aaron Murray could be the top pick in the NFL draft next year. I can see why SEC coaches picked him over Johnny Manziel as the first team all-league quarterback … CBSSports.com’s Pat Kirwan has the Rams going 8-8 … The NFL fined Robert Griffin III $10,000 for wearing an Adidas-made “Operation Patience” T-shirt during warm-ups on Monday night. I bet in Washington, Adidas sold way more than $10,000 worth of those shirts after Griffin wore his. League rules: You must wear Nike on the field at all times … Joe Kelly is a stopper… The Cardinals will make the playoffs. No way Arizona could ever catch them … Interesting question earlier this week, as to whether or not St. Louis has the best collection of coaches for any city with NFL, MLB and NHL. Fisher, Matheny and Hitchcock are good, but I think the Bay Area with Harbaugh, Bochy and Todd McLellan and Pittsburgh with Mike Tomlin, Clint Hurdle and Dan Bylsma, who have all been to the finals or won it all, are better. But I like our group.