Four years ago the Brewers were coming off their first playoff season in forever, Ryan Braun owned the city, the sun was shining, the skies were blue, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and all was right with the world. The Brewers were embarking on their 40th anniversary season and were held up as an example of how to do things right. The Brewers built a playoff team through smart drafting and Ryan Braun was the clean, talented future face of the game. It was a simpler time, really.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country Alex Rodriguez was mired in a steroid controversy. Shocking, I know. While Braun was becoming one of the most popular baseball players in the game, he felt the need to stand by his friend who just so happened to be one of it's most hated.
"Everybody makes mistakes, and I'm not the type of person that's going to change my opinion about who he is just because he made a mistake," Braun said. "I wouldn't just disassociate myself with somebody just because he made a mistake. I don't think anybody is perfect, and I don't think he's ever pretended to be perfect."
Making a mistake and not being perfect... That sounds familiar, doesn't it?
"As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect," Braun said. "I realize now that I have made some mistakes."
Oh yeah, that.
Look, I'm not here to vilify Braun for any of this stuff. Not again. If anything, I am over it. What I didn't realize at the time that it all went down is the way that the world would turn on Ryan Braun for this. You need to remember that whenever people get that upset over things then it probably isn't deserved. If people got as upset about the atrocities the government commits every single day as they did about Ryan Braun eating some fucking lozenges then we might actually get somewhere in this lifetime, but that's not the way life works. Not anymore. People only care about minute bullshit that doesn't matter in the long run and they let talking heads get into their brain and rot it away. Johnny Manziel parties and signs his name on a photograph. BAN HIM FOR LIFE! Get lost with that stuff. Use your brains. Why can't college kids make money when universities make billions? Why are steroids even illegal? Why is weed illegal? Why do we have laws that stop people from doing what they want to do?
Okay, I'll get off my libertarian anarchist soapbox and get back to my point which is this: what a difference four years makes. Four years ago Ryan Braun was defending Alex Rodriguez when the whole world was turning on him. Now? Alex Rodriguez is apparently the one who threw Ryan Braun under the bus as Ryan takes his place as most hated man in baseball. This is baseball.
"It will be interesting to see what he has to say. I will say that I think he's done everything that he should have done [since the story broke] and the best thing he can do is come out, admit to everything and be completely honest. The situation will die a lot faster if he tells the whole truth."
So... hopefully Braun takes his own advice soon. He probably has to wait til some legal stuff or whatever is done, but then he can do a sit down with Oprah or Bob Costas or Dick Vitale and put it all out there and be forgiven because that's how it works now. We live in a world now where Mark McGwire can say he wishes he never did steroids and be loved for it when you know damn well he doesn't want to give any of that endorsement money he got for hitting 70 homeruns back. Big Mac Land stays. Lance Armstrong's biggest crime was waiting too long to do that thing where he sat down and the world hates him. When all he really should have done is said "Hey motherfuckers I beat cancer. Let's see you judging sons of bitches ride a fucking bike up a damn hill. Fuck you." Is Braun too late? Who knows? It all depends on how the self righteous winds are blowing that day. Doesn't matter. People will still call him a cheater and some people will still chant "steroids" at him like it matters. It is what it is. There will always be more dumb people than smart people.
Anyways, wouldn't it be cool if we could go back to four years ago? That was such a fun time. The Brewers existed in this weird world away from steroids and ESPN. Lady Gaga was a thing. We complained that they didn't even show Brewers highlights on SportsCenter. The idea of a Brewers player (especially Braun) doing steroids was laughable. (I even wrote about it.) Beers were a mere $5.50. The team was up and coming with its best days ahead of it. It was a wonderful time to be a Brewers fan.
As for right now... Oh, who am I kidding? It's still pretty cool. I just wish people would stop talking about stupid things. Let's talk about Khris Davis instead!
Tags: 40th anniversary, alex rodriguez, anniversary season, atrocities, baseball players, brain, brewers, controversy, game, lifetime, lozenges, minute bullshit, mistake, Ryan Braun, simpler time, single day, sky, sun, talking heads, vilify