Chris Mascaro
Monday March 10th, 2014

Ryan Braun (Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Ryan Braun, the 2011 NL MVP, is a five-time All Star with 211 career home runs. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

After his 65-game suspension last season for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, Ryan Braun knows he's going to catch some flak from fans around baseball this year.

But it doesn't faze the 30-year-old.

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"Dude, say what you want about me, but I am strong,'' Braun told Bob Nightengale of USA Today on Sunday before Milwaukee's game at Cubs Park in Mesa, Ariz., which drew a Cactus League record 14,770 fans. "Mentally, and emotionally, I am strong.

"This doesn't bother me. People may have something new to yell now, but it's really no different than anything I've gone though. I've never gone to Chicago and had them cheer for me. I've never gone to St. Louis and had them say, 'I hope you do great.' Nobody's fans have ever cheered for the opposing team's best player.

"I'm sure it will be a bit adventuresome at times this year, but if anything, it's probably better now. Normally, you go to Philly and Chicago, and they're talking about your mom, your sister, your girlfriend, whatever. So, now, it will be just about me.''

Braun was the first of 14 players to accept a suspension in the Biogenesis case last July.

The 2011 NL MVP hit .298 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs in 61 games last season, breaking a string of five years with at least 25 home runs and 100 RBIs.

Braun, who has been serenaded with chants of "M-V-P-E-D," said he's not going to talk about his suspension any longer — mostly because nobody would believe him, he said.

"There's just no reason to get into it and continue to bring this stuff up,'' he said. "It's bad for baseball. It's bad for the team. It's bad for me. It's not good for anyone.

"Well, it's probably good for [TV] ratings, or else people wouldn't continue to do it.''

Milwaukee went 74-88 last year after two straight winning seasons. SI WIRE: Manny Ramirez not yet ready to retire from baseball

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