DENVER -- The stereo inside the Marlins' clubhouse was playing Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." A handful of players were lounging on sofas in the center of the room, watching Kevin Millar gab on the MLB Network.
And then came the news of the Ryan Braun suspension. In my 14 years covering the Marlins, I have never once seen a clubhouse react at once like it did Monday. The stereo was turned off quickly. Players seated at their lockers jumped from their chairs and congregated around the television to watch the news unfold. For at least 10 minutes, not a single word was spoken. Players were hushed and serious.
Within minutes, reporters were whisked out of the clubhouse so that players could discuss the Braun issue privately among themselves.
Pitcher Kevin Slowey: “First, I’m disappointed that a fellow baseball player would choose to do something like that. It seems that he’s acknowledging that he somehow violated the policy. Second, I think everybody in the clubhouse, all we really want is a fair and balanced playing field when you go out there competing. It’s good to know that the drug policy in major league baseball is working and guys who are choosing not to follow that policy are feeling the repercussions.
“We’re all in support of a policy that would eliminate cheating from the game. We feel that it’s a hard enough game as it is. So anytime anybody is suspended, you’re sort of disappointed in whatever actions took place to get them suspended. And also there’s a part of you that says clearly the system that we have in place is working, and we’re thankful for that."
First baseman Logan Morrison, shedding humor on the situation: “You know we’re clean. We haven’t scored a run in 37 innings."
Morrision said Braun looked "different" to him during the Marlins' just-completed series in Milwaukee.
“He probably knew about this for a while. I just thought he acted differently (during the just completed Marlins series). Something was weird. The way he was acting, he was different than he usually is.”
Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos is the last pitcher to face Braun before the suspension, striking him out in the 11th inning Sunday when Braun was sent in to pinch-hit.
“I was more happy to strike him out because the fans were cheering him on when he came in,” Ramos said. “They were like, “He’s going to win the game.’ So I kind of took a little offense to that. But, as far as all this stuff coming out now, it’s kind of a little more sweeter, I guess, knowing his last at bat was going against me."
Manager Mike Redmond: “I think it’s definitely a negative. I don’t know all the facts of the case. But, on a suspension and whatever the facts are, for these guys to still be involved in this stuff just baffles me. It just baffles me. The education’s there and everybody knows what you can and can’t take. I sit there and I'm baffled that this continues to really be a black cloud over the game."