MILWAUKEE -- Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger said club officials had reached out to "a good number" of sponsors and season seatholders in the 48 hours after Ryan Braun's season-ending suspension in an effort to gauge public sentiment and begin planning for the offseason.
"The feedback has been highly supportive and understanding," Schlesinger said in an email Wednesday. "Our partners understand that the brand is much bigger than any single issue or player. We are very appreciative of the support and loyalty of our partners as we move forward through what obviously is a challenging time."
Chief among the challenges is the fact Braun is the face of the franchise, with seven seasons and more than $125 million left on his club-record contract. His image is prominent around Miller Park, and as of Wednesday it was believed there were no plans to change that.
On Monday, he acknowledged "mistakes" and accepted a suspension for the Brewers' remaining 65 games for violations of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
"Monday's announcement was difficult for everyone who loves the Brewers, including all of the members of the front office," Schlesinger said. "However, we are focused on moving forward and providing the best experience for our fans and partners for the balance of the season. No single incident, problem or player defines the Brewers, and this is a challenge that we will overcome. We cannot say enough great things about our fans, season seatholders and corporate and community partners. Their support and loyalty is greatly appreciated."
Several players have made similar overtures, including Rickie Weeks, who was part of a previously scheduled season-seatholder luncheon Tuesday, and catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who addressed fans directly at the end of his weekly radio hit on Milwaukee's SportsRadio 1250 WSSP.
"I want to say one more thing," Lucroy said. "I wanted to make sure [fans] understand we still have guys on this team who are playing. We want you to come out and watch us, come out and support us. Honestly, we need that. ... I want to make sure people understand we need them in a pretty tough time."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.