Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

April 30, 2012: Career Night for Ryan Braun

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Remember this date: April 30, 2012.  Why?  Because it was the night Milwaukee Brewers LF Ryan Braun hit 3 home runs and a triple.  Braun accounting for 15 total bases, raised his batting average to .294, his HR total to 7 (which now leads the team), his RBI total to 16 (which also leads the team), and he’s now scored 17 runs.

This, obviously, is the best hitting night of Braun’s career.  It’s the first time he’s hit 3 HRs in a game.  It’s the first time he’s accounted for so many total bases in a game.  And it gave him a way to silence the critics over his 2011 MVP Award (especially due to the PED controversy, which Braun has put behind him after his not-guilty verdict by arbitrator Shyam Das), too — a “win-win-win,” all things considered.

But you’d never have expected this sort of output from Braun going into last night, because the Brewers played the San Diego Padres in Petco Park.  This particular ballpark is known as a pitcher’s park, where “baseballs go to die” — and is about as antithetical to hitting and hitters as it’s possible to be.  In fact, it’s so antithetical to hitting that Braun is the very first player to ever hit 3 HRs in one game there — and Petco Park has been open since 2004.

Braun didn’t let that stop him, nor did he let his so-so stats coming into the game (before his monster night, Braun was hitting .263 with 4 HRs and 11 RBI) stop him, either.

A few of Braun’s words, quoted from the Reuters article:

“I’ve been pretty terrible the first few weeks, really inconsistent with my swing.  I’m glad I was able to have a good game and contribute to a victory.”

That you did, sir.

A really good article from the Washington Post reminds readers that as of the first of this year, San Diego started considering whether to bring the fences in due to the lack of overall offense.  Here’s the first few paragraphs of this excellent article by Matt Brooks:

Big, beautiful and barely half-full most nights, San Diego’s Petco Park has long been considered a pitching oasis and wasteland for power hitters.

“In four of its eight seasons of existence, the Padres’ home stadium has ranked 29th or 30th (dead last) in home runs per game. And with power alleys of 401 feet in left field and 400 in right, it’s easy to see why.”

Ryan Braun heads for home after his third straight round-tripper. (Denis Poroy – GETTY IMAGES)

Here’s what Braun says about bringing in the fences at Petco Park (courtesy of the same Washington Post article by Brooks, referenced above):

“There’s no doubt this is one of the more challenging if not the most challenging place to hit home runs in the league,” he told reporters. “I think for fans, you want to see offense. Offense is exciting when teams are scoring runs. It’s a lot of fun for the fans to watch. So I think if they did do that, it would make it more of a neutral ballpark. As of right now it certainly favors pitchers pretty substantially.”

Even so, Braun had a career night.  We can only imagine what he’d have done in a different ballpark, but it’s hard to believe that anything could top three HRs (none being “cheapies”) and a triple.

Brew Crew Ball points out that Braun’s 15 TBs are a Brewers franchise record.  And with his 13 multi-homer games, Braun has moved into seventh place, all-time, on the Brewers leader board (first on the list is Prince Fielder, second is Gorman Thomas, and third is Brewers Hall of Famer Robin Yount).

Congratulations, Ryan Braun!

(And in case you were wondering, here’s the video from MLB.com of Braun’s historic night.)

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Written by Barb Caffrey

May 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm

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