First, let me start by saying I have never been to an “On Deck” event. So when my neighbors said that they would be going on Sunday because it was free, naturally they asked if I wanted to join them. Initially I wanted to capitalize on the event being free, something that would (in all likelihood) never happen again. Then, I took a few minutes and thought this decision through. Seeing the players and being a part of the event would have been nice, but the truth was…I just didn’t want to go. But why?
Over 14,000 people attended the event. As someone who rarely enjoys enormous crowds and absolutely hates having to weave in and out of people to get anywhere, this would have no doubt pissed me off instantly. But this had nothing to do with why I did not attend the event.
The weather was miserable. Having to spend any amount of time waiting outside just so I can pay to have Mr. Belding sign a baseball and make it less valuable, would have probably drove me to finding someplace quiet to sit. Cut to me, sitting alone, at a fan event. Would have been an awesome time…and yet, that is not the reason why I stayed away either.
You could point to the fact that with that many people and each player only signing 250 autographs per day, that I could waste an entire day and only come home with a signed Michael Blazek baseball. Good point, that would be irritating. Still not the reason I chose to stay home.
The reason I stayed home was because of one man, Ryan Braun.
Look, you can say and/or feel however you want about the guy. That is your right as an American. I for one, knowing that he would be there, knew that the circus that would follow him around all day…would ruin my time at the event.
So it is not the guy directly who made me stay away from “On Deck”, but the low-level sports paparazzi who would follow him around like he was going to give them some sort of ground-breaking story. The fact of the matter is, he is never going to say anything other than what he has already come out with. We will never know the truth, we will never get a genuine apology, and our relationship with him as a player will never be the same. Yet so many “people” would be following him everywhere he went. Most of them caring nothing for the Brewers, or the event. Since it was free and Braun would be in attendance, I knew that the place would be a zoo. Unfortunately, this zoo would only have one exhibit and that just pissed me off.
The reason this event was free of charge, was in-essence, because of Braun. Which begs the question, “why on earth would you have him attend this event?”. Your PR people had to know that all kinds of riff-raff where going to show up and try to piss in Brewers fans lemonade, right? So why do something really nice for real fans, only to let haters and fakers take over the event? It just didn’t make sense to me, so I chose to not go.
My neighbors said that when Braun entered the event that he got a standing ovation. This bothered me tremendously. But, whatever…you are all adults and you can make your own decisions. Me, I would have stayed seated and done nothing. Why on earth would you applaud a guy who lied to all of your faces, repeatedly? Blows my mind, but I digress.
I was also told that there was a solid mass of about 80-90 people following Braun wherever he went. Can you imagine following one guy for 7 hours? All in the name of getting the exact same sound bytes over and over again: “I have not been forthcoming in the past”, “I made a huge mistake and have paid a huge price for that mistake”, “I deeply regret it”. Sound familiar? That’s because it is the same legally regurgitated bull crap that he spit out a few weeks ago. That is why I did not want to go to “On Deck”.
So, in the end it was not Ryan Braun being there that kept me away. It was all of the story seeking, TMZ contracted, crap vultures taking away from the spirit of the event. If I wanted to waste a Sunday watching aspiring sports journalists grovel for 7 hours, I would have just waited a week for the Olympics because then I can watch the groveling for 24 straight hours.
You can feel however you want about Braun and his little predicament, but get ready for the circus. With Alex Rodriguez out of baseball, for at least this season, Ryan just became public enemy number one in Major League Baseball. Every road trip will be filled with boo’s, taunts, and uncomfortable press conferences. Many of you were stronger than yours truly. I for one, was not ready to take on the spite circus just yet. That is why I chose to avoid Brewers “On Deck” yesterday.
Did you go to “On Deck”? I would love to hear your thoughts on the event in the comments below. Everyone views things a little differently, so please let us know how it went. Thank you.