Braun's adventure brings laughs a day later
Brewers pranksters capture stumble with athletic-tape outline
MILWAUKEE -- At the time, Ryan Braun found his belly flop on the basepaths frustrating as it cost him a run, a home run and an RBI. By Thursday morning, he was able to laugh about it.
His teammates found it pretty funny, too.
Before batting practice Thursday afternoon, Brewers pitchers Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo -- with a little help from bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel and third baseman Casey McGehee -- made a police-style "chalk" outline using athletic tape.
Braun did not come out for the Brewers' optional batting practice, but he got a look at it once photos of the tape outline starting circulating via Twitter.
"That's OK if he doesn't see it," McGehee said. "We can still laugh at it."
Marcum, who said the outline was Gallardo's idea, imitated Braun's two falls -- one with his arms and legs spread out and the other on his side -- as the others laid down tape around him. They also added a tape outline on the protective screen used at third base during batting practice to document the initial moment when Braun began to lose his footing.
McGehee taped a bat between the outlines and the screen, calling it a "speed bump."
Any questions about the team being too tight in a series against the second-place Cardinals, especially after losing the first two games, were answered by their pregame prank.
"We're just a group of guys that like having fun," Marcum said. "We lost two games in a row, but we still go out there and have fun and play the game the way it's supposed to be played. That's the kind of attitude the guys in this clubhouse have. We've been having fun from Day 1."
On Wednesday, Braun crushed a ball off the wall in center field that caromed away from Cardinals center fielder Allen Craig in the third inning. After not hustling out of the box because he thought it was either a homer or an out, Braun flew around second and third, losing his helmet in the process before gravity took over.
After stumbling a couple times, Braun finally went airborne and landed face first along the third-base line. He still had a chance to score, but after falling again, he was tagged out in a rundown.
"The further I get away from it, the funnier it becomes," Braun said. "There's nothing you can do about it at that point. There's no reason not to laugh about it because you can't go back and change it.
"Once I saw Eddie [Sedar, Milwaukee's third-base coach] sending me, I think I got excited, and I tried to run faster than I needed to and lost my form. I felt it coming. There's not much you can do at that point."
Braun's triple tied the game, but had he maintained his balance, he could have given the Brewers the lead, notched his first career inside-the-park home run and collected his 26th home run of the season.
Instead, he provided a lot of laughs for those in the stands, friends and family, and anyone who saw the highlight played over and over.
"I've gotten a lot of trash talk today from every one of my friends who plays another sport," Braun said. "All of my basketball and football friends are texting me about my lack of athleticism. I take a pride in my athleticism, so I've been taking a lot of trash talk."
Braun declined to name-drop, but one of his friends was right there in the stands. Former NBA star Reggie Miller lives in the same Malibu, Calif., neighborhood as Braun and was clad in Brewers gear Wednesday night. They went to dinner after the game.
"He was laughing about it," Braun said.
Braun did see the silver lining, though: "I think I'm fortunate I didn't get hurt."
Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.