DENVER -- Marlins players crowded around the clubhouse television Monday at Coors Field as news broke that Major League Baseball had suspended Brewers slugger Ryan Braun for the remainder of the season.
Fewer than 24 hours before, Braun stood in the batter's box in the bottom of the 11th inning against the Marlins in a game Miami would eventually lose, 1-0 in 13 innings. Braun struck out against reliever A.J. Ramos in what now marks the slugger's final at-bat of the year.
Soon after the news broke, pitcher Kevin Slowey addressed the team in a closed meeting.
"I think everybody in the clubhouse, all we really want is a fair and balanced playing field," said Slowey, a player representative with the Twins earlier in his career who now serves on a union executive subcommittee. "We're thankful for a policy that clearly is working, whether it's as quickly as we hoped or as often as we had hoped, it's good to know that what we're doing in Major League Baseball with the drug policy is working and it's making sure that guys who are choosing not to follow that policy are feeling the repercussions."
Despite his involvement with the Players Association, Slowey said he had no prior knowledge a suspension would be handed down soon. He found out, along with the rest of his teammates, when the news broke in the clubhouse.
Any frustration among players that Braun was able to initially avoid a suspension right after the violation had not materialized among the Marlins, Slowey said. But they did express the expected disappointment that another member of the baseball fraternity was apparently caught in violation of the league's drug policy.
"I think there's a sense of disappointment anytime somebody in the baseball family -- and that's what it is, there are only a handful of guys that are players at any given time," Slowey said. "When somebody chooses to violate a program and gets caught, you're kind of disappointed in that person as you would be a family member."
Marlins manager Mike Redmond expressed similar frustration in seeing another of professional baseball's brightest stars get caught breaking the rules.
Slowey and Redmond both noted that it's a sign of progress that baseball is ridding the sport of illegal drugs better than ever before. But that can't silence their disappointment.
"For these guys to still be involved in stuff just baffles me," Redmond said.
"I know Major League Baseball has done a great job of cleaning up the game and [implementing a] testing policy and all that stuff, I know it's working. But at the same time too, it seems like we'll go through a lull and then all of a sudden, bam, here comes another guy that gets suspended. That's got to stop."
Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.