It's no secret that I love wrestling. I reference it all the time and I write about it on the side. It's my thing, but there was once a time when I thought I would never watch wrestling again and that's when Chris Benoit killed his family and himself.
My girlfriend at the time was pregnant with my child that I was completely unprepared for and our relationship was a bit... let's say rocky. My irresponsibility combined with her pregnancy brain and worries about the future combined with the general instability of our relationship in general had us on the rocks. Things weren't really looking good, but we were trying to make it work. For the kid maybe or ourselves or more likely because not trying and dealing with it seemed so damn horrible. We set up a date where we'd get dinner and she'd let me watch Raw and we'd just hang out. Try to have fun, try to have a good time, try to talk.
Before she came over I went online and got a message from my friend Graeme that Chris Benoit was dead and so was his family. I was in shock. This was one of my absolute favorite wrestlers and he was dead. Was he murdered? Was it a gas leak? I felt really bad. Our plans would have to change. I didn't want to eat. I was sad that this wrestler dude who had been apart of my life every week for nearly ten years was gone. Graeme, another guy Brando and I chatted online for hours as the news slowly trickled in. We watched the Raw that was a tribute to him and that slowly became the worst idea ever as before it was over the truth came out: Benoit murdered his family and then killed himself. He was the worst person ever. I felt horrible. I went from sad to depressed to sad and depressed that I was sad and depressed over a murderer. I couldn't experience joy. I jut felt sick to my stomach and I hated everything about life and this world and the way things are. This, as you can imagine, did not sit very well with the mother of my future child. She couldn't understand how I could be so upset about someone I didn't even know. She wanted me to pay attention to her and be attentive and not be so caught up in this fake world. Wrestling was on TV, but she was right there and I couldn't see what was happening right in front of my face. She didn't get it and that night after one of my favorite wrestlers of all time murdered his family and himself, we broke up. A bad night made worse.
After that I couldn't watch wrestling for a long time. It was a constant reminder of those bad memories and it wasn't fun for me anymore. I stopped playing wrestling games, I stopped reading news and results, got rid of my shirts, got rid of my books and I quit watching. Wrestling was over for me because some guy ruined it.
I'm not writing this because I want to compare Ryan Braun to Chris Benoit (or Aaron Hernandez) because I am a rational human being that can tell the difference between breaking a sport's rules and murdering people, but I can't help but to feel similar feelings.
When the original news about Ryan Braun came out I went hard into defending him. I believed him and I stood by him. I wrote posts, I made shirts and I tweeted like a maniac because I wanted to believe in him. I wanted to believe he wouldn't get suspended. If he said he didn't do it and if he said it in the way that you knew that he believed it, how could you not believe him? I was all-in on the Braun innocence train and in the end it made me a bigger fan of his. His perseverance and the way he dealt with the adversity really said a lot about him to me and I started to kind of love him. I even stopped making fun of him for being a douchebag. I was #TeamRyanBraun from that point forward. I drank the Kool-Aid.
And now we're here. I don't care that he did stuff because I'd like to get some of that stuff and do it right now. (You can use steroids and do yoga, right?) I don't even really care that he lied because what else was he going to do? It was really his only play. I don't care that he isn't a "good role model" or anything like that. Parents should be smart enough to teach their kids that guys in Affliction shirts make shitty role models. (See: everyone in an Affliction tee ever.) And, to be completely honest, I don't care that he isn't going to play for the rest of this season. If the Brewers are going to suck I'd rather see what (if anything) Caleb Gindl and Logan Schaefer can do. I'm not hurt or mad or sad or anything like that, I'm just... tired.
Much like wrestling didn't kill Chris Benoit's family, the Brewers didn't do anything wrong. I'm not over the Brewers, but at the same time it doesn't feel real fun to me right now. You've probably noticed this based on my writing schedule and my general malaise regarding the blog, but it's been wearing on me for awhile now. I'm just sick of it. The fact that this is it, this is all there is, this is what it's like to be a Brewers fan in 2013. Everyone hates our best player and the things they say about him are true. (Well, mostly.) It's not going to get better with winning because the team can't win. He's not going to go away because, really, who'd want him and what would we even get for him. There is no hope on the horizon. There is no new Ryan Braun in the minors. This is who we are, this is who we're stuck with and this is the way it is going to be. It's not going to be fun.
I thought about using this post to retire Miller Park Drunk, but I don't think that's something I'm quite ready to do. I want to because if it's not fun then what is the point? I want to give it up and stop caring about this stupid team, but not like this. Ryan Braun doesn't get to do that. Besides, I have to believe that something will happen, someone will come along and I'll feel good about it again. I have to believe that I'll love it again. I have to. Something will happen and once again I'll want to spend all my time in our little Brewers universe. It's just the way things go.
But Ryan Braun? Ryan Braun can play good baseball and win awards and create goodwill and do whatever next year, but it won't be the same. I'll cheer and I'll be glad he helped the team win and I'll feel lucky that they drafted him, but that's as far as I'll be able to go. Our time, his and mine, has passed. I'm just tired and it's time for something new. Baseball is an emotional experience for me. If you don't care about the team or the players you are watching then I don't see a point in watching. It's probably why I don't do any writing outside of this place. I just don't care enough about non-Brewers baseball. The Brewers are baseball to me.It's why I have seen a combined four World Series games in the past four years and why I couldn't pick Yasiel Puig out of a lineup. I care about the Brewers, I just don't care about Ryan Braun anymore.