I touched on this some last night when I talked about how Ryan Braun doesn’t answer to anyone apart from his teammates, those he personally lied to and people he directly harmed as a result of his lying. Those are folks to whom he owes apologies, not anyone else. Certainly not the general public.
But I am fascinated this morning how hung up people are on the words he used in his public statement yesterday. The height of this comes in Buster Olney’s column today in which he parses, line-by-line, Braun’s public statement to show us just how disingenuous and insufficient it is.
Why do we care?
We know for a fact that Ryan Braun lied last year. We know for a fact that he has cheated. We know, pretty clearly, that Braun is not a good person in a lot of ways and that we couldn’t trust him as far as we can throw him. Now ask yourself: if you knew a person like that in your life, would you listen to him at all? Would you care about a thing he says? Or would you ignore it as the words of someone you already know everything you need to know about. Of course Ryan Braun is being self-serving. He’s been nothing but self-serving. This is a surprise now? This is where we should be outraged? People have spent the past year saying that the words which come out of Ryan Braun’s mouth are worthless. Why, now, do we expect anything else?
Players owe us nothing. We have come to think they do due to some romantic and childlike notion about what professional sports are all about, but they really and truly owe us nothing. They owe things to their teams and teammates and the people in their lives, but common fans who don’t know them from Adam really aren’t owed a thing. At the same time, we do not owe them loyalty or our credulousness. We are free to call Ryan Braun a lowlife if he acts that way, but if we are feel betrayed by them we have no one to blame but ourselves for putting trust in them that they neither earned nor deserved.
Ryan Braun could have sung all four verses of the “Star Spangled Banner” yesterday, followed by an announcement of his allegiance to Lucifer. I wouldn’t care. People are what they do, not what they say. Especially people who have said garbage in the past. Why do we care about his words?
Major League Baseball just announced the details for the ceremonial and off-field stuff in connection with Games 1 and 2 of the World Series. The one most people were wondering about was the ceremonial first pitch. Sorry, Charlie Sheen fans. Sorry fans of “Major League” in general. Two real baseball stars are handing first pitch duties: Kenny Lofton before Game 1, Carlos Baerga for Game 2.
Lofton needs no introduction. He should be a Hall of Famer but is criminally overlooked, perhaps because he bounced around to a lot of different clubs. He made his name in Cleveland, however, doing three separate tours with the Indians, leading the AL in stolen bases for five straight years early in his career and putting up a line of .300/.375/.426 in ten seasons on the shores of Lake Erie.
Baerga played for the Tribe between 1990 and 1996 and was, for a time, quite the superstar, even if people don’t talk about him much anymore. His career fell off pretty quickly in that way that often happens for second basemen and/or stars who end up on the Mets, but there was a time when he was perhaps the biggest star on some excellent Indians teams. People had “will Carlos Baerga be a Hall of Famer?” conversations and stuff. The mid-90s were a special time.
Beyond the first pitches, the National Anthem will be sung by Rachel Platten before Game 1 and by the group Locash before Game 2. As I am an old man out of touch with most things, I have no idea who they are, but I am sure their fans are passionate and their renditions of the Anthem will be fine and non-controversial. Fox, MLB and the folks at major record labels are pretty good about that sort of thing and everyone will be especially vigilant in light of what happened with that Canadian tenors group at the All-Star Game. If nothing else, I bet you pick up the check for the Anthem performance after the song, and not before these days.
I realize everyone is super excited about the Cubs being in the World Series for the first time since 1945, with the chance to win it for the first time since 1908. But you’d think folks would remember that it’s just the Cubs — and not Chicago as a whole — who have been away from the Fall Classic for so long.
I know their recent struggles makes it seem like a long, long time ago, but the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. They were in the World Series in 1959 too. You wouldn’t know that, though, if you looked at some prominent media outlets:
I understand the impulse to tell the “a whole city is coming together!” story every time stuff like this happens, but there are a lot of White Sox fans in Chicago. A good number of them don’t give a crap about the Cubs. Many even resent them for being the glory franchise in the city in the eyes of many. They certainly don’t feel like there’s a championship drought afoot, and I imagine they’re somewhat cranky about having their team’s glory plastered over like this.