In what was perhaps a moderately surprising result, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun beat out Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp by a comfortable 56 point margin. The award was not undeserved; Braun’s .433 wOBA and 179 wRC+ just edged out those of Kemp, making him the most productive offensive player in the NL. Braun also becomes the first Jew since Sandy Koufax in 1963 to take home the prize.
Today, I caught up with Braun over the phone.
Ryan Braun: Hello?
Eric Augenbraun: Hi there, is this Ryan Braun?
RB: Yes it is. Who’s this?
EA: Hi, this is Eric Augenbraun of the baseball website NotGraphs. I was hoping I could ask you a few questions.
RB: Yeah…Wait, how did you get this number?
EA: Well, it’s a long story, but the short version is that I paid off someone at your restaurant.
RB: Wow bro. That seems…unethical.
EA: Maybe. But it’s a cutthroat business I’m in. You do what you gotta do to get the scoop. Anyways, now that I have you, do you think maybe you could answer a few questions?
RB: I guess. Try to make it quick though. It’s been a crazy day.
EA: Great! So, NL MVP. That’s quite the feather in your yarmukle! How does it feel to be the first Jew since Sandy Koufax (who, coincidentally, was born Sanford Braun) to win the MVP?
RB: It’s a great honor. Just to win the MVP in general is special. I don’t even really think too much about the religious angle. I mean, I understand that my heritage makes a lot of people proud, and Sandy’s a legend, so I’m happy about that. But honestly, I think my religion might mean more to other people than it does to me. I wasn’t Bar Mitzvahed, I don’t celebrate the holidays, and I friggin’ hate Jewish food. Just the thought of matzah makes me constipated.
EA: Never mind, that was probably inappropriate. Moving on, does it bother you when people pronounce your last name “brawn” instead of using the proper German pronunciation, which sounds more like “brown?” For instance, my last name is Augenbraun, which means “brown eyes” and is pronounced OWG-IN-BROWN, but all my life people have called me AWG-IN-BRAWN. It used to annoy me, but after a while I decided that because I have no actual German ancestry, I have no real stake in making sure people pronounce my name properly. Do you feel the same way?
RB: I never really gave it much thought, to tell you the truth. Isn’t “brawn” like the normal American way to pronounce it? I think it would sound weirder if people started calling me Ryan “Brown” instead, dude.
EA: Yes, you’re probably right. Final question: How will you be celebrating your MVP win?
RB: First, I’ll be going out for a nice dinner with my family. Then I think me and Kemp are going to go clubbing in Hollywood.
EA: Oh man! You’re probably going to have a lot of sex with really attractive people tonight.
RB: Don’t want to jinx it, but yeah, probably.
EA: Well, that about wraps it up. Thanks for your time. Be safe out there and make sure not to operate a motor vehicle if you are over the legal BAC limit.
RB: Will do. Take care.