Oh, my Ryan Braun, what did you do to me? My favorite team. My favorite player. Oh, what art thou done?
Everything that could be good in a baseball player, you ruined-and for what-a couple more homers?
Your swing was so smooth, smoother than Keith Stone, smoother than a baby’s bottom, smoother than my pinewood derby car after hours of sandpapering (Did anyone else do that or was that just me? It’s like I had a disorder: the car had to be perfectly smooth)
And don’t think for a moment I forgot about your hair. It’s as if the flow gods took a chunk of hair from Zeus and said, “This mortal is going to have some sick flow.”
We had such a good year. We won our first division title since 1982. You had a healthy .332 batting average complimented by 33 homers. You won an NL MVP. For once, I was proud of my team, proud of the players on my team.
But you shamed me. When I first heard the allegations, I felt embarrassed. Embarrassed that one of my favorite players actually broke such an important rule. I felt naked. I wanted to go home and wrap myself in a blanket and cry. I’ve always wondered how it felt to be a fan of a player accused of using PEDs, but I never liked Manny’s antics or Roger Clemens’s I’m-the-better than you attitude. I laughed at others when I heard such allegations. I shouted, “Cheater!” at my TV. I yelled. I yelled because of players like you. Because, I thought you were clean.
You seemed so sure of yourself. I never thought for a second, you, out of all players would even think of taking such drugs, much less actually using them. I was in denial. I cheered you on when you said you would appeal. Hey even a drug test can go wrong, right?
But as time passed, I moved on to acceptance. Oh, it hurts too much to say, but I must. Ryan Braun, you should be banned from baseball. It’s in the best interest of all of us for this to happen. You broke my heart, and for that I cannot forgive you. The game needs to remove the steroid culture that has permeated it since the days of Jose Canseco. It needs to remove any desire or even the remotest thought of using PEDs by players. What better way to stop such thoughts by banning a player who used it at the height of his career? What better way to prevent steroid use, with a strong, absolute ruling? If the game wants to be serious about moving on from the steroid era, it must set an example, and here’s a perfect opportunity.
I realize Ramirez was only given 50 games, and A-Rod was only given 15 games, but Commissioner Bud Selig has a chance to crack down on the use of steroids and you, Ryan, must be the sacrificial lamb. I’m all for second chances, but Ryan, a second chance you don’t deserve.
I wanted to tell my sons about the “Great Ryan Braun” leading the Brewers to prominence, but now I cannot even think of such ideas, for you left a void in my heart- a void that cannot be filled by a mere suspension.