Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thoughts on Ryan Braun

It's a couple days late (I've been busy), but here are my thoguhts on Ryan Braun.  I'm disappointed, but I'm not condemning him to hell like some baseball writers are.  This is from my other blog, "The Infield Grass," which I have sadly fallen behind in updating. (You can find it here)

An Open Letter to Sports Writers
Ryan Braun cheated.  And like seemingly most people, he denied that he cheated.
Then came his announcement earlier this week that he was accepting responsibility for his actions (though he didn’t say what his “actions” were).
And that’s when you, the baseball journalists, chimed in.  Jon  Paul Morosi was one of the harshest critics, saying “Ryan Braun is all about Ryan Braun.”  He even threw out this slap in the face: “Braun is one of the most cravenly selfish figures in American professional sports.”
That’s right, Braun did this for Braun.
It had absolutely nothing to do with anything else.
It had nothing to do with the fact that owners pay the most money to players who may hit .230 but crush 40 home runs a season.
It certainly has nothing to do with the media’s glorification of the longball.  
And it definitely has nothing to do with the fans’ willingness to pay $60 a seat to watch a player hit a ball 450 feet.
Wait…it has everything to do with these things.
The home run is perhaps the most over-glorified feat in sports.  I say that knowing that two nights ago, as Nelson Cruz parked a ball on Green’s Hill in the Ballpark in Arlington, I jumped in celebration on a run that, at that point in the game, proved to be meaningless. But that is what fan’s want to see.
Fans want to see it so badly that they will pay ridiculous amounts of money for seats at a baseball game.  It isn’t uncommon for a family of four to drop $250 on tickets, hotdogs and drinks.  They’ll buy t-shirts and hats of their favorite player (probably one of the team’s big bats) and do so happily.
Owners see this opportunity for profit and happily hemorrhage money to home run hitters. Don’t believe me?  Then tell me why Alex Rodriguez has signed not one, but two contracts in excess of a quarter-billion dollars a piece?  Why is Ryan Braun currently guaranteed more than $100 million?  Why did David Ortiz, who couldn’t play defense to save his life at this point in his career, receive a two-year, $26 million deal just to swing a bat?
These guys aren’t getting paid that kind of money to hit doubles.
The media loves the home run, too.  ESPN’s Baseball Tonight dedicates an entire segment to the home runs of the day.  Chris Berman is known for his “back, back, back, back” call for home runs.  Which leads us to the most useless event in American sports – the Home Run Derby.
For three hours, we all sit and watch as baseball’s biggest sluggers try to hit as many home runs as they can.  Somebody lobs a ball to them and they crush it.  (Because that takes skill – the balls might as well be on tees.)  Fans “oohh” and “ahh” while baseball writers furiously scribble down notes on distance, form, etc.
So please, don’t come at me with your “holier than thou” mentality when you are part of the cycle promoting the home run ball.  Players, fans, owners, journalists – we are all guilty in this.  
Did Ryan Braun cheat?  Absolutely.
Does he deserve to be punished?  Absolutely.
Did he do it for selfish reasons?  Perhaps.  But we all patted him on the back and told him how wonderful he was when he was hitting those home runs, so why wouldn’t he do whatever it takes to continue?
As my grandmother always says – “Don’t ever point a finger, because there will always be three pointing right back at you.”


  1. I will admit I have been disgusted by the amount of players that say they "didn't" when they did and then beg forgiveness when their hands are caught in the cookie jar so to speak. Even when players are going out of their way to create fake web sites to elude being caught.....that's even more disgusting and they should be banned from the game when that happens IMO. So to combat the bigger ball parks and the lack of clean efforts by some MBL'ers I've chosen to go more to the Altoona Curve (AA) ball games because I appreciate the smaller minor league ball parks where it doesn't cost me donating my liver and spleen to the black market to have our family enjoy a good ball game. They cater to kids and families big time and treat the fans rather well. The players seem to appreciate being there as well as you can see it in how they play and talk with the fans. I do like your article and I do agree with what you said about the writers condemning him. However though if he wouldn't have lied about it then maybe he wouldn't be getting smeared so much.

  2. I agree with everything you said. I've never been to a minor league game, though I plan on going to one soon. And I think that PED use is disgusting and a travesty. I just feel like it is a bit hypocritical of fans, owners and writers who are saying that Braun is the worst human being on the face of the earth when we are the ones dying to see home runs.

  3. Robert Fick just came clean about his juicing use!