Below is a video of a) Braun's reaction to Dempster throwing a pitch near his head; b) Braun homering; and c) Bob Brenly freaking out about Braun homering.
(My thoughts after the jump.)
Okay, first let's establish some facts. The Comcast broadcast showed a lot more of Braun's reactions than the FSN one, possibly because the former has an interest in playing up the dramatics while the latter prefers to do the opposite. Or maybe the Comcast crew is just that much better, I don't know. Either way, unless they have mlb.tv or Comcast SportsNet Chicago (or read this post), Brewers fans are going to have different information about the brouhaha than Cubs fans, which is bound to lead to unnecessary arguments.
Moving on, Dempster did not hit Braun, at least that I can see; I think the replays at the beginning of the above clip show the ball hitting the bat and not his helmet pretty clearly. Nevertheless, the ball came pretty damn close, and that's really what's important. As we've seen, Braun (understandly) takes offense to being pitched at high & inside, and you can see him voicing his complaints to Cubs first baseman Micah Hoffpauir. Now, was Dempster's pitch intentional? I don't know, but I'm not going to fault Braun for suspecting it might have been, given what's happened to him already this year and his dramatic home run the day before.
The Cubs broadcast shows that Braun was indeed hollering a bit as he approached home plate during his home run trot, and he certainly stared down Dempster after getting out of the box. I can understand taking offense to that, but I think context has to be considered, namely Braun's heightened anxiety from the previous plate appearance; homering off the guy that, intentionally or not, buzzed your tower has to be cathartic. Cubs fans will no doubt point out the additional context of Braun's history of somewhat flamboyant home run celebrations, and that's valid, but I think the key here is that this is was not a premeditated, elaborate ritual, but rather a spontaneous outburst of victory after a perceived direct challenge. I'm more on board with the antipathy toward his standard airplane-arms saturnalia.
Okay, so that's how I feel about it; Bob Brenly, the Cubs color announcer, clearly feels a bit different. In fact, besides making fun of the size of Braun's eyeballs, he said the following:
Braun had some issues with some rib muscles early in the season; he may have some issues with his rib muscles as this season progresses if he acts like that on every home run he hits.
I'll leave it to you to decide whether Brenly is advocating violence against Braun or merely predicting it. I guess it's a good thing Brenly didn't get the Brewers gig and have to manage someone he so detests, eh?
As a Brewers fan, I'm by nature subjective here, but I'm giving Braun a pass on this one considering the circumstances. What do you think?