Reports: Braun Contacted Votto for Support


Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of published reports (ESPN and Yahoo! Sports) state that Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun contacted Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Reds first baseman Joey Votto and others in an attempt to gain support in light of his positive test for synthetic testosterone. The hope was that the players Braun contacted would publicly voice a backing of Braun.

But the news doesn’t end there.

Braun contends that urine collector, Dino Laurenzi, Jr., was anti-Semitic. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Braun had been told of Laurenzi, Jr. being anti-Semitic, but Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports cites that a Laurenzi, Jr. source notes that the anti-Semitic claim is “untrue”.

Braun also informed the players that Laurenzi, Jr. was a Cubs fan. A little sabotage, mission? Now appears that the sabotage was more from Braun’s end of things. Sure, the means in which Braun’s sample was handled was deemed to be insufficient, but now we hear of this?

On the surface, I can honestly understand the anti-Semitic claim as Braun is Jewish. Not saying I buy it. Were you drawn to Braun’s side when he delivered his address after his 50-game suspension was overturned? Some were, and some weren’t. What we now have is the classic “he said, he said” game since the Laurenzi, Jr. source disputes this allegation.

However, I do not understand the part about Laurenzi, Jr. being a Cubs fan. How’s this playing a factor? The Cubs and Brewers are in the same division? Really? That’s part of your smoking gun here? That holds absolutely no water whatsoever.

Think about it for a minute, maybe two. If Laurenzi, Jr. was after Milwaukee, wouldn’t you think he was also after other NL Central players as was allegedly the case with Braun? Wouldn’t we have already heard of suspensions to the likes Votto, practically any player on the Cardinals roster and/or a Pirate player or two? Wouldn’t that lend a little credence to this?

Wait. There’s more.

Passan also reports that Braun was recently sued by longtime friend Ralph Sasson. Sasson contends that Braun’s agent, Nez Balelo, paid him $5,000 to get some information on Laurenzi, Jr. Five grand gets you that dude’s anti-Semitic and a Cubs fan. Bucks well spent.

Sasson also contends that Bruan used PEDs during his days at the University of Miami.

(Editor’s note: A tweet just hit shortly after this publication. More details of the lawsuit can be found in a piece by Tom Haudricourt.)

Olney adds that Braun should speak on the matter very soon. At this point, I wonder if anyone, anywhere would actually believe Braun, let alone be willing to listen to him.

(Edit #2: John Fay reports that Votto denies being contacted by Braun. From Fay’s post…

"“As far as a phone call, I have no problem getting AT&T into this if they like,” Votto said. “There was never a phone call. It’s so silly to have to comment on this. That was really odd. I heard about it last night and it really bothered me. There was not that phone conversation.“I don’t know him well enough.”"

Votto also sates that he would never take sides until the conclusion of the process since he “doesn’t take chances.”)