When Ryan Braun stepped to the plate for his first at-bat this season—his first Miller Park plate appearance since serving a 65-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s performance enhancing drug policy—it wasn’t the usual instance of a franchise’s premier player taking his opening swings of the year in his home stadium. Some people booed to voice their utter displeasure with his past doings; others sought to compensate for the unfamiliar smattering of long vowels when No. 8 was announced with overzealous cheering and standing ovations; and most in the ballpark existed in a confusing limbo of not quite knowing how to feel about supporting a statewide hero-turned-villain: not happy with his actions, but well aware he makes the Milwaukee Brewers better.
No matter which camp you hail from in this confusing and oft-polarizing fan dilemma that’s launched a million drunken arguments and CAPS-laden message board pissing matches, you’re in luck. Nobody gives a shit how you feel about Ryan Braun.
Almost a month into the season, the infamous outfielder leads the Brewers in home runs as well as runs scored, and he’s in the team’s top three in hits and stolen bases. That, in addition to his .300 average and astounding .948 OPS has helped Braunie regain the trust of some fans. Other fans, perhaps deservedly so, aren’t quite ready to welcome their flawed star back into favor with open arms yet. There’s also a vocal faction of fans that feel as if a stranger’s mistake was a personal affront to their system of morality. This last group will likely never forgive Braun for damaging the sanctity and lily white reputation of a pastime with a rich history of segregation, decades of overlooked amphetamine abuse, and ruffian “thugs” disrespecting antiquated unwritten rules.
While we respect the passion of the ardently anti-Braun class of Brewers fans, Milwaukee Record has some reasons this group should probably just move on because, again, nobody cares and nothing will change.
Ryan Braun shouldn’t have been your kid’s role model in the first place.
When the Brew Crew slugger eventually fessed up to his wrongdoing, overbearing and misguided parents were lamenting the loss of a role model. Moms and dads were beckoning to the heavens (and Twitter) to vent about the impending difficult conversations with their sons and daughters who’d been so tragically abandoned by their idol. Those same parents pondering how to tell their kid about Ryan Braun should’ve, instead, been asking themselves why they bestowed the lofty duties of role model on a man they’d almost certainly never met personally just because he excels at striking a speeding leather orb with a piece of wood.
In short, professional athletes are predominately people in their 20s or 30s who are talented enough to play a game for an escalated wage due to the scarcity of those who can provide that form of entertainment at such a high level. That’s where it should end. A child’s parent or guardians—preferably those with a rational and realistic view of professional athletes—usually make for much better role models.
Destroying or modifying your Braun jersey is an incredibly stupid form of protest.
It’s one thing if you might not reach for that Braun jersey as your go-to Brewers jersey nowadays. We don’t blame you. But the idea or burning your jersey or modifying it with the oh-so-cleaver “Fraud” lettering and/or replacing it by buying another jersey to show where you stand on the Braun debacle is an asinine means of voicing displeasure. Still, people appear to be replacing the piece of wardrobe they thought would be in fashion until at least 2020 with clothing emblazoned with the names Gomez, Lucroy, Segura, or (OH GOD!) Hank written on the back. Essentially, Braun’s fall from grace is making fans want to spend money on stuff sold by the organization that still employs the guy these people hate. Sound logic.
Dino Laurenzi Jr. had a role in Dino Laurenzi Jr. getting fired, too.
Publicly shaming sample collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. was certainly a shitty decision that was indicative of Braun’s desperation to clear his name. Yet Laurenzi’s since-damaged reputation would be in pristine standing (excluding the whole Cubs fan part) had he followed simple protocol. By failing to ship the sample in a timely manner, Laurenzi opened himself to scrutiny and delayed the inevitable suspension a season. Braun’s assertions were almost certainly the deathblow, but a delayed trip to FedEx made such a dastardly tactic on Braun’s behalf even possible.
Braun will be with the Brewers for the long haul.
If you’ve read this far down, you’re likely aware that baseball has this little thing called a guaranteed contract. Braun is set to make $113M between this season and 2020. If, as so many casual fans suggest, Milwaukee releases Braun, a team can pick him up off waivers for the minimum salary for a player with his service time—next to nothing—and the Brewers will still be on the hook for the remainder of the salary through 2020. Others want him traded for top-tier talent, despite Braun’s trade value being at an all-time low and the unlikelihood of moving such a large and lengthy contract. We’ve even seen a couple of calls for Braun to make up for his deceit and retire from baseball altogether. That’s a pretty expensive apology.
They don’t really need Braun now the way they are swinging the bat. Move him to Miami for Stanton. I said that before.
— JS Comments (@JSComments) April 7, 2014
You won’t follow through on your boycott.
We’re willing to bet that bold pledge to never attend another game as long as Braun was on the team seemed like a much better idea when the Brewers didn’t have the best record in baseball. If you haven’t already broken your kneejerk boycott during this surprising start, it’s only a matter of time before you go back on your word. And when you finally do return to Miller Park (and you will), most fans will accept you back, realizing you made a regrettable error in judgment and there’s no use in continuing to bring it up. And should you somehow stay strong and refuse to come back, your seat is probably already taken by somebody else who came to see a fucking doghouse or a sweet-ass statue.