In a profession where I write about sports, the sports hobby and assorted collectibles, I have learned to shrug and brush off another allegation that pops up with an athlete in professional sports. Oh well, it happens. Athletes are another segment of the general population – why should we act surprised when they act and do things ordinary citizens do every day?
As a fan, it bothers me a little more, as you don't know who you can really rely on any more. As a Milwaukee Brewers fan, the latest news surrounding Ryan Braun hit me like a truck. It shouldn't have. I know that. Saying all the right things and having a clean-cut image means nothing, and we've seen this script many times before in the past five years.
The denials and appeals aside, the damage is already done regardless of the outcome. The seed of doubt – perhaps already planted with any athlete at the top of his game – has now taken roots. Because this one impacts me personally as a fan of the Brewers, it hurts more.
Grow up, get used to it, shouldn't surprise you – are all reasonable responses to my whining. Just as I don't buy jerseys any longer because you never know how long a player is going to be with a team, perhaps you shouldn't emotionally invest in a player because you never know when something like this is going to happen. And don't bring up the "You shouldn't worship athletes anyway" card. Worship is too strong of a word. As a fan, you take interest in good players on your favorite team. When those players hurt your team wth their actions, it pisses you off.
The last 15 years in baseball with all of the performance-enhancing drug scandals, etc., have only further strengthened the notion that baseball in the 1950s and '60s was the game's Golden Era. Those players' games can't be tarnished and their records stand with no footnotes. And that's why collectibles related to those athletes are so coveted. No matter how many Mickey Mantle signed baseball are out there, you'll always find a willing buyer.
The last Ryan Braun public signing I saw, it cost at least $90 for his signature. In the future, will the line be out the door like it was for that signing?
And I'd love to be in the Brewers marketing department these days. The face of the franchise (and signed until for many years) is getting beat up across the country. Change the covers of the 2012 media guide and yearbook. Scrap those commercials for season tickets.
Good thing it's football season in Wisconsin. Two-thirds of the population don't know the Brewers exist during Packers season.