That face…is how I feel inside. Photo: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
I thought it was time to dust this segment off, remove the moth balls, and get myself back into therapy.
If you have been living under a rock, in a bunker, or simply been sleeping since about 4:30 pm on Monday, then you probably didn’t hear that Ryan Braun has been suspended for the remainder of 2013. This stems from his admission that he “made mistakes” in regards to the BioGenesis investigation on PED use. While he did not directly say, “I took PED’s” he might as well have.
Right on cue, the haters came out and every national writer and their brothers cats best friends neighbor have written about it. I wanted to sooooo badly, but I resisted and called my therapist instead.
If you are new to this segment, I have a very dear friend who works as a therapist. A few months ago we were hanging out and I asked if they would be willing to do a segment for our site. My friend agreed, but under the condition I reveal nothing about who they are…including their sex, name, or where they practice.
Lucky for me, they were home last night and somehow suspected I would call. Here is the transcript of our therapy session from last night. (my dialogue is the Red L, theirs is in the Blue D…for doctor)
L: Hi Doc.
D: Hello Lou. Something told me you would be calling.
L: So you heard the news?
D: I heard whispers about it, sure. How are you feeling about it right now?
L: Really f@#$ing angry and betrayed.
D: Let’s start with the betrayal rather than anger. We will get back to that. What about Braun’s situation and the results of today make you feel betrayed?
L: The fact that I stood up for him. Not just on Reviewing the Brew, but when I was on other people’s podcasts, or talking with friends and neighbors. I intentionally kept my mouth shut about his situation, in the hopes that in the end it would all blow over. The fact is, I believed him. I believed every lie he fed me. He scooped his lies out of the bowl and told me the airplane was coming in; I opened my mouth and ate it. I ate every single lie he fed me because I believed that he was better than all of this. Turns out, he is no better than all of the guys I loathe; Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmero, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and of course Alex Rodriguez. Now I will spend the next 7 years listening to people bash him, without any recourse or defense. All I will be able to do is shake my head in disappointment.
D: Do you think that it was hard for him to eat his lies?
L: I don’t care! I hope that it was the most painful thing he has ever had to experience. He was given plenty of opportunities to come forward and just admit that he messed up. If he would have just come out after the 2011 positive test and said the exact same thing he said yesterday, I think everyone could have accepted it and moved on. Would he have been booed, of course. But at least he would have more respect on a national level.
D: Being a sports fan is difficult, especially as a writer. You now are directly associated with this, and as long as the Brewers are a bad team this is all people will talk about. Does that play into your feeling of betrayal? The fact that Ryan Braun’s life decisions are making your life more complicated?
L: No, I think that plays more of a role in my blind, seething anger.
D: Let’s do a little experiment. I am going to name two things and you tell me which is worse?
D: Liar or murderer.
D: Cheater or rapist.
D: Steroid user or drunk driver
L: Drunk driver.
D: Do you see what I did there?
L: Yes…it was very obvious. You are trying to show me that in the grand scheme of life, what Ryan Braun did is pretty low on the chain of terrible things. But in today’s society and with the way Bud Selig and the MLB treat PED’s and HGH, this is way worse.
D: How do you figure?
L: Josh Leuke, raped a woman. Took a lesser charge and served a 40 day prison sentence. No disciplinary action by MLB. Chris Perez had 1/3 of a pound of Marijuana delivered to him, under his dog’s name, nothing from MLB. Even our own Yovani Gallardo got a DUI with a BAC 3 times the legal limit…nothing from MLB. The system is broken and since that is the case, what Braun did is far more damning than any of those other incidents.
D: Just so we are clear. You feel like because of the way baseball and the media are treating this, that it is worse than rape, murder, or illegal drug use.
L: Ok, maybe I wasn’t clear. I do not personally believe that, at all. Those things are all far worse than lying and cheating, without question. However, the media and Major League Baseball have created an environment where that is not the case. And I am forced to live, work, and write in that environment, simply because I am a fan.
D: This is pretty simple Lou. You feel betrayed because you are a fan. Being a fan of a sports team is very difficult, because you allow yourself to be a part of something greater than yourself. It is “your” team, Braun is “your” left fielder, and now it is “your” responsibility to answer for a players’ actions and life choices. This is the classic “double edged sword” scenario. You are now guilty by association. Part of you feels like YOU lied and cheated and now you must suffer the same fate. It’s like a he broke a verbal contract that you never had. This is what is making you feel betrayed.
L: That makes a lot of sense, as you usually do.
D: But now I am going to walk myself into the deep end and try to address your obvious anger. (sigh)Hmm…can you pick one particular thing about this event that makes you angrier than anything else?
L: His press conference after he was cleared from the 2011 positive test.
D: Why that moment?
L: He walked onto the Maryvale field and told everyone, who was willing to listen, that he had never put any substances into his body and that the truth had won. It was a fancy little production and all it was…was a game of charades. He drew the “lie until it’s true” card and went with it.
D: At the time, did you believe him?
L: (laughs) Every f-ing word.
D: Don’t you think that you bear some responsibility for that?
L: For what? For believing what another person says? No. If I never believed anything anyone said, I would be a sad pathetic individual.
D: Agreed. But you also have to make a conscious decision to believe what someone says. For example, Buster Olney tells you that the Brewers are close to trading for Prince Fielder…do you believe him?
L: No, but Buster Olney is a proven and notorious liar. He tweets opinions and hearsay as fact at least twice a week.
D: Ok, but there are plenty of people who hang on his every word, aren’t there?
D: But you make the choice to not believe him, right?
L: Yes. But shouldn’t I believe the leader of my team?
D: Here you go again with the “my” team. Look Lou, you are not angry at Ryan Braun. You are just angry at Lou. Braun got you! He suckered you in just like every other Brewers fan out there. He was the world’s biggest manure salesman, and all of the Brew Crew faithful were buying. You have to admit that you are the reason for your own anger. Ryan Braun is just a guy…a guy who screwed up and backed himself into a corner. Look on the bright side, at least he came clean in the end.
L: I hardly see how that is a bright side.
D: He is going to be under a magnifying glass the rest of his career. If he goes on to put up amazing numbers from here on out, with no implications of drugs, maybe this will all blow over. It will take some time for people to let it go, but it can happen. A lot of people and fan bases never will though. But, if he does the right things going forward and can prove that he learned his lesson, you will forgive him. I know you.
L: That’s the thing though…I don’t know that I can this time. Had he fessed up right away, I could have easily let it go. But he fed us so much bull crap and threw that poor sample taker under the bus…I don’t know that I can ever forgive him for this.
D: Maybe that will be something for a future session. But I want you to hang up the phone feeling like you are in control of your anger and that the feeling of betrayal will subside in time. This is not the end of the world. If anything, it is the start of a new chapter. Try to enjoy all of the youngsters who are going to get more playing time. I have found that if you pretend to have fun, you can sometimes have a little by accident.
L: Did you steal that from a movie?
D: One of the Batman movies I think, but that doesn’t make it any less true. (pause and a little laughter) My prescription for you: pretend to not be mad and pretend to have fun the rest of the season. You will be better for it in the long run.
Now we talked some more after that, but I felt like this was a great place to end. Just read the last two sentences again:
“My prescription for you: pretend to not be mad and pretend to have fun the rest of the season. You will be better for it in the long run.”
This applies to all of us. Every Brewers fan or Braun fan who feels like they have been betrayed. We cannot take it out on the rest of the team, they are still there and they need us now more than ever. You can treat Braun however you would like, but as a Brewers fan…I chose to ignore Ryan Braun and root for MY team. Thanks Doc!!