Dirk Hayhurst writes about Ryan Braun and the reception he might expect as he makes his way around the bigs in this first post-suspension season:
First basemen will slap tags on him harder, and catchers will—especially now that the home plate collision rules are in their favor—look to put a shin guard down in that ankle-breaking angle. He might even get beaned a time or two.
Yet, as indignant as players proclaim to be and regardless of how much “baseball justice” they dispense, they all understand why Braun did it.
Because baseball pays guys who can hit like Braun upward of $300 million.
Because fans will make a conscious effort to forget the bad you did as long as you produce.
Because players care more about winning than they do about cheating. Even teammates who have been lied to. Especially teammates.
Hayhurst talks about the PED-users he played with in the minors and the truth is that, even if a guy is a cheater, teammates will let it go as long as he’s helping them win.
Which is the same reason Braun got all of those cheers in Milwaukee the other day. The fans feel exactly the same way.