Some Brewers On Deck fans miss Fielder, Braun

MILWAUKEE -- Sunday was the annual Brewers On Deck event, and though fans say there are high hopes for this season, they couldn't ignore two big players who weren't present: Prince Fielder, who signed a nine-year contract with the Detroit Tigers last week, and Ryan Braun, who decided not to appear after recently testing positive for a banned substance.

Milwaukee Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio announced last Wednesday Brewers Ryan Braun would not make an appearance during Sunday's Brewers On Deck event. Attanasio issued the following statement: “In working through the logistics of this weekend’s Brewers On Deck event in Milwaukee with Ryan Braun—and knowing how much he enjoys interacting candidly with Brewers fans—we came to the conclusion that this is too sensitive of a time in the confidential process for him to attend this year. I speak for everyone at the Brewers, including Ryan, in thanking our fans for their understanding and patience."

Braun tested positive for a banned substance, and could face a 50-game suspension. Braun's grievance appeal before an arbitrator to avoid that suspension began last Thursday.

Fans Sunday said there is excitement for this coming Brewers season, after a division championship and a trip to the National League Championship last season, but there's also disappointment, after Fielder signed a nine-year, $214 million contract last week with the Detroit Tigers, and Braun is facing a possible 50-game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance. Braun is in the process of appealing that 50-game suspension. "Every time I come here, Braun's the guy. That's the fan favorite, but it's an understandable situation in why he's not here, so I can't really argue with it. I can't complain. It's understandable," one fan said.

Some fans Sunday said they're trying not to focus on the setbacks. "Prince - it is what it is. He's greedy - that's the truth of it," one fan said. "On Facebook (people said) 'oh, it's bad, Braun's not going to be there.' Who cares" Are you here for Braun, or are you here for the Brewers? I'm here for the Brewers," another fan said.

Instead of focusing on who wasn't there Sunday, some fans were excited about who was. "The pitching staff hasn't gone anywhere," one fan said. "There's at least a thousand people here, easy. Two-thousand if you've got 250 people waiting in line for Nyjer Morgan," another fan said.

One Brewers fan said focus and positivity will be key for the Brewers this season. "If the team as a whole can keep a positive attitude, I think they'll be fine."