Bryce Harper Takes a Kick to the Face on Opening Day (GIF)
Ryan Braun Gets Standing Ovation from Brewers Fans in First Game Back from PED Suspension (Video)
How did the hometown fans react? They gave him a standing ovation when he came to the plate for the first time.
Take a look:
So what’s the reaction to this reaction? Well, it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect. Mainstream baseball media types are outraged that Brewers fans aren’t outraged:
Meanwhile, alternative baseball media types, like the folks at Deadspin, are outraged that the mainstream baseball media is outraged that the fans aren’t outraged:
Idiots? Nah, just regular fans, who cheer their team, and who will cheer anyone who can help their team win, and come to the ballpark not to have ethical debates, but to root for the the Brewers. That’s sort of the entire point of being a fan. There are MLB teams that employ drunks and women-beaters and rapists, and the whole enterprise would fall apart pretty quickly if fandom had a character clause.
As for this blogger, I think both sides are partly right.
Does cheating at baseball and lying about it make you, ipso facto, a scumbag worthy of disdain? Hardly. Do hometown fans usually overlook past wrongs and character flaws when a guy is wearing their team’s uniform? Absolutely. So the reception Brewers fans gave to Braun was neither appalling nor surprising, and the mainstream media folks should dial it down a notch.
On the other hand, the Deadspin folks (and their ilk) need to understand that it really is okay if people despise ballplayers who cheat. Yes, MLB’s PED witch hunt is full of hypocrisy. But still, baseball is a game, and games are only fun when everyone follows the rules. Monopoly, for example, would not be fun if you could just put hotels on your properties without paying for them. If you were playing Monopoly with somebody who did that, you’d be mad at them because they ruined the fun of the game, right?
So in my book, if you want to cheer for cheaters, that’s fine. Forgive and forget. I’m just going to boo them. And that’s fine, too.