Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Take: A Milwaukee Fan on Ryan Braun

My thoughts on Braun: A Brewers Fan

[Editors Note: We wrote a bit about Braun both before the suspension and then also after.  Today, we get to see a Brewers' fan's perception of the situation.  We'd like to thank Joshua T. Foley for sharing this thoughts with us and hope you find it to be as thought-provoking and insightful as we did as you formulate your own opinion about Braun.]  

"At this moment, I am a sad baseball fan. I look at the game with a romantic eye, believing that every configuration of three bags and a plate is a Field of Dreams. I drove past Miller Park today and my heart sank for my team and my fellow fans. We all saw this coming to a head in one way or another. I will admit to optimism in the case of Ryan Braun, but not total naivete. In early 2012, when Braun vehemently defended his innocence, Brewers fans all wanted to believe him. I convinced myself that I believed him, but I ultimately couldn’t.

I’m not here to regurgitate the story or outline which parts of it I do and don’t believe. I simply wish to express how deeply heartbroken I am. I wish he hadn’t lied to all of us. I wish we didn’t have to go through this because he lied. I wish Brewers fans weren’t made to be total fools for loving this man as an icon, albeit a sports icon.

It’s hard for a small-market club to have or keep nice things. A club like Milwaukee is lucky to have a C.C. Sabathia or a Prince Fielder while they can, and we fully understand why we can’t retain them. That’s why Braun’s longevity and loyalty were so important. It may be a long, long time before we have another national star of that caliber to call our own. Not to mention, in the middle of a monumentally painful slide (96 wins in ‘11 to maybe 96 losses in ‘13), this development is a serious kick in the stones.

There is a lot of hate in my Twitter and Facebook feeds for Ryan Braun.  I can hardly blame these people for expressing their anger and frustration however they need to, but I choose not to participate at the moment. I won’t be burning a #8 jersey or vandalizing his restaurant (ironically, “Graffito”). I just need to go back to the park, sit in the bleachers under Bernie’s slide, and remember why I love the game and my team."

-- Joshua T. Foley

Josh Foley lives in Milwaukee and can be followed on Twitter at @joshuatfoley