Friday, June 5, 2009

Ryan Braun: The first true sports villain in Wisconsin's history

Over the top? Perhaps. But let's face it, Ryan Braun is one of the most hated (and best) players in baseball. Since the start of the season he has skyrocketed from the middle of the pack, to the top echelon in the category of disliked baseball players among fans and colleagues.

Not here in Wisconsin of course, we love him. He's the future, the Albert Pujols of the (true) Brew City.

However, for those MLB fans who follow other teams (especially in the NL Central) Ryan Braun is probably the player with the biggest target painted on his head when he enters the batters box. Read any blog out there, read Deadspin, read Rightfieldbleachers reporting on what other sites's all there people, don't ignore it.

There are many reasons for this. Some do point the finger at his egotistical behavior and demeanor on and off the field. Some don't.

Seeing-off a towering shot to leftfield is NOT one of those reason people hate him. It doesn't help the cause, but many players do this.

Untucking his jersey isn't the reason either (except in St. Louis).
Or untucking his jersey to expose his washboard abs while rounding firstbase; this after hitting the walk-off homerun that put Milwaukee in the playoffs for the first time in 26 years. No, No.
No. These are all just part of the game.
Now, launching your own clothing line in the state where it's citizens tend to wear pajamas out to the bar (neighborhood joints), not the best idea. Indeed, he has an entrepreneurial spirit which can be applauded. But selling these tight fit shirts for 75-95.00 a pop seems insane.

He's catering to about 5% of his fan base. In fact, I would be hard pressed to find one of his tshirts on someone outside the downtown area of Milwaukee and perhaps the Eastside.

Granted, being married and a father to two young boys (5 months & 3 year-old) I don't get out much, let alone to the downtown clubs that Milwaukee offers. My idea of getting dressed to go out involves wearing a pair of jeans with a polo shirt and sometimes a Brewer Cap. So my fashion sense is thrown out the door and has been for some years now. This could be me just speaking from my ass with out a clue of any fashionable skills.

Continuing...Ryan Braun has also called out opposing pitchers and complained publicly to the media about pitchers trying to play chin music on him. That often times comes with the territory when you're as good as he is. Likewise with stare-down he gave Ryan Dempster of the Cubs a couple of weeks back, after he was beamed with a ball that didn't look too intentional.
Ryan Braun has also signed many endorsement deals that could spark additional envy amongst other players....especially those who play in a small-market town like Milwaukee.
My father even smirked after reading his story in the Journal-Sentinel regarding his clothing line. But he still said the man could hit, so who cares.

Call it jealousy or call is envy, most players in the league would love to be in Braun's shoes. He's the icon of Wisconsin now. Gone are the days of Brett Favre and Robin Yount being the ambassador of pro sports in Wisconsin. Heck, even Aaron Rodgers could take a back seat when it comes to Mr. Braun. Wisconsin may be a football state, but the Milwaukee Metro is a baseball city. Robin Yount is more coveted than Brett Favre down there, this according to a poll done by a few months back.

The neat thing about it? He's the first professional sports villain the state has ever had (if my memory serves me). Most of the leagues other fans (Cubs & Cardinals especially) dislike Ryan Braun. Most players in the NL, if not the entire league, dislike the man. Perhaps not to his face, but they do in their locker rooms and in their dugouts.

Name me a professional athlete who is/was a bigger villain than Braun in Wisconsin? There isn't.

Gary Shefield (during his time in Milw.)? No, far too young and he purposely sucked while playing here.

Tony Mandrich? Perhaps, but he didn't last too long....heck, he didn't last.

Anthony Mason of the Bucks? (He sucked while playing here)

Gary Payton? (He only lasted a half-a-season here)

Brett Favre? (Not until he left the Green Bay Packers)

There has never been a bigger "bad guy" or villain in Wisconsin sports, than Mr. Braun. Sort of like the Detroit Pistons of the late 80's....only not a fighter and he's one man.
I for one, like this. I may not (hell, I won't) buy his new skimpy man-shirts....but I will proudly don his jersey at all Brewer games I attend.

1 comment:

  1. all shirts come in size shmedium....way too tight for the straight, lol...