CINCINNATI -- Brewers slugger Ryan Braun felt the same sense of indignation that swept the sports world after the Green Bay Packers' stinging loss in Seattle on Monday Night Football. The difference between Braun and the rest of Packers Nation? Braun has quarterback Aaron Rodgers' cell number. So the National League MVP and the NFL MVP spoke via telephone on Tuesday, when Rodgers was still trying to make sense of the Seahawks' controversial winning touchdown, and Braun was preparing to lead the Brewers into a must-win series against the Reds.
What did Braun say to his buddy? "I'm not going to get into our personal conversations," he said with a smile. But Braun did say this: "We all watched the game, and I think we saw the same thing everybody else saw. It's unfortunate when a game ends like that, when everybody recognizes what actually happened. And the difference between football and baseball is it's like the equivalent of 10 games for us, because [the NFL] is a 16-game season. It's a difference between us being 10-0 versus 0-10. When you think about that, it just feels unfair. It doesn't feel right." Braun and Rodgers struck up a friendship several years ago and remain close friends, with Rodgers making several visits to Miller Park over the past two seasons and Braun visiting Lambeau Field as recently as Sept. 13 for a Thursday night game against the Bears. They each lent their names to a Brookfield, Wis., restaurant that opened earlier this year. Braun watched the Monday night game with some teammates after the Brewers traveled from Washington D.C. to Cincinnati and reported that "everybody was mad, angry, disgusted." "It makes me appreciate the fact we have our real umpires day in and day out," Braun said. "You realize those guys do the best job they can, and you want the guys who are most qualified to be calling games with what's on the line. All of us work so hard, you want the most qualified guys making those decisions. This is our livelihood, this is our profession. We take a tremendous amount of pride in what we do, and you want the people who have the best chance of getting the calls right to be making the calls. "It makes me appreciate we don't have to deal with replacement umpires at this level, because I can only imagine how frustrating it would be." Could Braun sense Rodgers' level of frustration? "I think he just felt like the team, that they shouldn't have put themselves in that position," Braun said. "He felt that they could have played better and not even been in that position. They'll be all right. He obviously has high expectations for himself and the team and that offense."