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The video above is from May, before Ryan Braun’s baseball world fully collapsed. He was out in a star-of-the-city capacity, helping the Milwaukee Brewers build homes with Habitat for Humanity in May of this year.
We all know what happened not too long after that — Braun accepted his suspension from Major League Baseball related to the Biogenesis scandal, and has since been trying to get back in the good graces of fans and, apparently, humanity as a whole.
Now, SBO the New York Daily News has a new photo of Braun spending part of his weekend helping build homes for veterans through Habitat for Humanity. And on the first weekend of the NFL season no less. He’s joined by his mother, as they help on a project in Sylmar, Calif.
It’s easy to look at the Daily News’ cheeky Braun pic and see a guy who’s trying desperately to rehab his image. It goes hand-in-hand with those phone calls he made to Brewers season ticket holders.
But to be fair to Braun, he’s been helpful to Habitat for Humanity in the past — and not just earlier this year. In 2008, Braun gave his $10,000 Rookie of the Year bonus to Habitat for Humanity. Specifically, after helping with a project in the L.A. area.
No matter whether you think Braun is an opportunist or he’s a guy trying to do some good, you have to give him credit for at least doing something productive for society at large during his commissioner-mandated time away from MLB.
It’s a strange question for a reporter to ask someone who plays for one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball: “How have trade rumors affected you guys?”
How have they affected them? As in, might you guys be playing better if not under the scrutiny of possible trades? It’s not the like the White Sox would be pushing for a playoff spot if not for the harsh glare of July 31, and they’ve simply underperformed as of late. They’ve been a lost cause all season, even when they were 24-24.
Paul Konerko answered the question well, though. The expletive Konerko uttered rhymes with “gritty” but is not as flattering:
“We were [gritty] before the rumors.”
To see what he said uncensored, check out this tweet from reporter David Schuster. While Konerko might be biased, his statement accurately describes how the White Sox have played all season. That’s why they’re dumping relief pitchers and trying to dump Jake Peavy and perhaps others as the trade deadline approaches.
It’s been a rough season all of the way around for Konerko, who has been banged up, just turned 37 years old and is slugging .353 with seven home runs in 312 plate appearances. And he didn’t exactly come into the league a young man’s skill set. This could be his final season with the Sox, and his final season in the majors, and while it has to end sometime, it would be a shame to do it on this note.
And no matter what else the White Sox can work at the deadline, this season still has been — in the (NSFW) words of the groundskeepers from “Major League”: