Results tagged ‘ Roger Clemens ’
By: Ryan Smith
The term “bandwagon fan” is one that carries a negative connotation. The bandwagon fan only starts to support a team when that team is having some level of success. If the team is a historically bad team or is a team that is experiencing tough times, the bandwagon fan is nowhere to be found. To be labeled a bandwagon fan is often meant as an insult. The “true fans” have a sort of animosity towards the bandwagon fans because, well, they’re bandwagon fans.
I grew up a fan of two teams: the Milwaukee Brewers and the Boston Red Sox. I was a fan of the Brewers because I grew up in Wisconsin and was lucky enough to attend a game or two every year at County Stadium. I was a Red Sox fan because I actually got to see them play of television occasionally. I also wanted to be a pitcher when I was young, and Roger Clemens became my favorite pitcher for quite some time. When he bolted to Toronto, I stayed with Boston. To this day, I cheer for Milwaukee and Boston. It’s what I’ve always done, and while I may be more of a die-hard for Milwaukee as I attend more and more games each year, I assume I’ll always root for both teams.
Boston and Milwaukee. I’m not sure if there could be two more opposite markets outside of New York than those two. Red Sox Nation spreads far across the globe, with many lifers and bandwagon fans sporting Boston gear on a daily basis. Even when Boston struggles from time to time, they still sell out every game and do very well when it comes to merchandise sales. Frankly, Boston is such a large market naturally that the bandwagon fan does not make much of an impact to the day-to-day and season-to-season operations of the Red Sox front office.
I’m pointing all of this out because the Milwaukee Brewers are getting very close to the point where the bandwagon fans are going to disappear. And I have one message for Brewer Nation:
The Brewers need the bandwagon fans.It’s no secret that Milwaukee is the smallest of the small-market teams in Major League Baseball. From 2002-2006, the Brewers ranked no higher than 17th in total attendance in any of those seasons. In 2007, when Milwaukee finished above .500 for the first time since the ’92 season, Milwaukee’s attendance jumped to 12th in all of baseball. After that, the Crew finished 9th (2008), 9th (2009), 11th (2010), and 7th (2011). In 2012, the Brewers are currently sitting in 11th place once again.
It should be no surprise that as the Brewers started to find more success on the field, they also found more success at the ticket office. That’s how this whole system works. If the team is winning, the bandwagon fans will find their way to the ballpark. And when the team starts to struggle, the bandwagon fans will scatter.But as those attendance numbers so clearly point out, those bandwagon fans are immensely important when it comes to stimulating the Milwaukee Brewers economy. And when the Brewers are selling more tickets, more jerseys, more concessions, more everything, the front office is going to be more inclined to spend some of that money they are making. When those attendance numbers drop, so will the payroll of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Here’s my point: the self-proclaimed “true fans” of the Milwaukee Brewers should not be so quick to vilify the bandwagoners when they jump ship because, unlike Boston, we need them.
The cold, hard truth is that the next few years could be very lean ones in Miller Park. Zack Greinke could (and should) be traded in the next few weeks. Shaun Marcum’s recent trip to the DL should be seen as a blessing to Doug Melvin, because Marcum was quickly pitching himself out of Milwaukee’s comfort zone as far as his next contract is concerned. Rickie Weeks hasn’t been Rickie Weeks ever since he legged out an infield single last July against the Cubs, spraining his ankle in the process. The farm system has some decent pieces, but there’s not a lot that’s ready to be harvested for a while yet. Outside of Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo, and The Jonathon Lucroy, Milwaukee doesn’t have a lot of long-term promise on the current roster.
And if the bandwagon fans don’t find their way to Miller Park every now and then, things might not get much better any time soon.
So, to the bandwagon fans out there, I would just like to remind you about the fun times we’ve had these last few years. Remember the Sabathia craze? Prince’s monster shots? Braun’s MVP? T-Plush and Beast Mode? The NLCS? The tailgating? Even though times are rough right now, that can’t erase all of those memories, can it?
And to the “true fans” out there, I just want to remind you to invite those bandwagon fans out when you go to catch the game at a local sports bar. And when you are planning a weekend trip to Miller Park, remember to include those same bandwagon fans in your evite or your Facebook event. Above all else, do whatever you can to keep those bandwagon fans from straying too far.
Bandwagon fans, don’t be strangers to Miller Park. On behalf of Brew Crew Nation, this die-hard member wants to let you know that you are always welcome here.
When the decision came down yesterday that Ryan Braun would be exonerated of the charges against him for allegedly testing positive for a banned substance, I honestly was the happiest I had been since the initial announcement regarding the test had come out in December. That elation, however soon soured as I began to see that despite being found not guilty, the fight was far from over. So, what have we learned from all of this?
There’s a Reason That Testing Results are Supposed to Remain Confidential Until a Final Outcome is Determined
In a perfect world, we would not even be addressing this issue, and Ryan Braun would have reported to camp today with the public none the wiser to what had gone on in the offseason. That’s how it’s supposed to work.
Instead, we were treated to a 2+ month long circus as everyone and their mother tried to weigh in on whether Braun was guilty or not of violating the league’s banned substance policy despite not having any of the facts regarding what had transpired. Here’s the long and the short of it, baseball in many ways is an allegory for life in America. In this case there was a labor dispute between a worker and his employer over a test result, the employee invoked his legal right to appeal the finding, he had his day in court and was exonerated of the charge due to a testing inconsistency. If this had been Joe Six-Pack who worked for XYZ Company, this wouldn’t be considered news. The HR department would have handled the proceedings, end of story. Unfortunately, there was another court at work here, The Court of Public Opinion, which brings me to my next point.
The Court of Public Opinion Hates to be Wrong
Despite, a 3 person panel ruling 2-1 in favor of overturning the initial decision (and the 50 game suspension that it carried), some people just can’t accept the outcome. Some people just want to belong to a cause, no matter how ridiculous or unfounded the cause may be. This is what happened here as a (metaphorical) pitchfork and torch wielding mob took to the internet to let everyone know that no matter what the decision was, it was wrong because…well…because that’s what they had heard from someone.
Well, who told you that?
Uhmm…you know the guy, the one with the…face…yeah, and he has that show on that one channel (or maybe it was the radio)…well, he said he was guilty, so it must be true…right?
Again, without all the details who can say if the correct decision was rendered or not, but here’s what we know:
1) Braun has insisted from the beginning that he was innocent and that he was going to leave it up to the arbitrators to determine this based on the information that he planned to present.
2) Based on said information, Braun is exonerated of the charges.
3) Life goes on no matter if you agree with the decision or not. Kicking and screaming because you didn’t get your way will not change this no matter how long or how loud you do it. It’s like the Beatles said, “Let It Be”.
People Love a Good Conspiracy Theory
It’s amazing the leaps in logic that some people are willing to make in order to justify an opinion that is not factually sound. With this said, I would like to debunk several theories that people have used to justify why Braun was the only player in MLB history to successfully appeal a positive test result. And yes, I found all of these gems in the comments section of various articles today.
***Warning*** the lack of logic that follows may cause readers to believe that we have entered the times portrayed in Mike Judge’s film Idiocracy. Consider yourself warned!
1) Braun must be related to Selig. – Nope. There is no factual evidence to back up this claim what-so-ever.
2) Braun got his appeal overturned because Selig’s daughter owns the Brewers. – While it is true that Bud Selig sold the team to his daughter, Wendy Selig-Prieb, in 1998, it is also true that she sold the team to current owner Mark Attanasio in 2004. At this time, the Selig family has no vested financial interest in the team.
3) Braun got off the hook because he’s white. – Ah, the ever present race card. Too bad the PED issue has no bias when it comes to race. See Roger Clemens and Mark McGuire if you need further proof.
When the Deck is Stacked Against You, Face Adversity Head on and Keep It Classy
The final thing we should take away from this case is that despite all of the name calling and accusations that have been strewn around since this started, Braun has been a class act the entire way through. He could have easily come off the rails and started his own counter assault against his accusers, yet he took the high road and didn’t stoop to that level, maintaining that the truth would prove what he said all along.
And that is the most important lesson that we can learn from all of this. No matter how bad things may get, no matter how dark the road ahead may look, never loose sight of who you are and what you stand for. Braun has refused to let himself be dragged down by this mess, and stuck to his convictions and morals the entire way, and guess what, in the end he prevailed. It’s a lesson that we all can learn from.
By Nathan Petrashek
Over on Twitter, Jim Breen of Bernie’s Crew is terribly impressed with an article by Rob Neyer. It seems Neyer doesn’t take kindly to the Cooperstown voting style of MLB.com’s Terrence Moore, and Neyer just won’t tolerate a baseball writer who won’t vote for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.* Neyer takes Moore to task for his invocation of the so-called “character” clause, asserting that not even the legendary Mickey Mantle, with all his intoxication and womanizing, would have made it in the Hall. To prove his point, Neyer concocts a fictional twenty-year MLB veteran named Joe, whose body begins falling apart in the midst of a wild card race. Joe applies an unknown white substance recommended by a friend for a week to speed his recovery time. Relating “Joe” to Mantle, Neyer asks whether a player who routinely drinks himself into a stupor and shows up for work half-drunk should make the Hall over a player like Joe, who will do whatever he can – steroid use included – to play as well as he can.
As a blogger, I like Jim Breen’s work. He’s normally a very logical, thorough guy. Which is why I’m shocked that he couldn’t see through Neyer’s hatchet job.
The “character” clause states that Hall of Fame voters are to consider a player’s “integrity, sportsmanship, [and] character” in addition to the player’s record, playing ability, and contributions to his teams. It does not assign a weight to any particular factor, though obviously playing ability and records have come to dominate our discussion of what makes a very good player worthy of Cooperstown.
In fact, the character clause is deeply engrained in the Hall of Fame voting process. The battle over the clause was largely settled in its favor way back in 1991, when the Hall of Fame voted to exclude any person on a permanent ineligibility list maintained by the MLB. The rule change was a direct response to the case of Pete Rose, whose Hall of Fame case was otherwise undeniable. As a practical matter, the vote operated as a de facto exclusion on character grounds.
Despite the character clause, the Hall of Fame has its fair share of members with, shall we say, dubious moral records. As Neyer points out, Mickey Mantle was a drunk and a was famous for arriving at the ballpark hung over. Babe Ruth’s infidelity didn’t stop voters from naming him one of the first inductees in 1936. Orlando Cepeda, who was inducted by the Veteran’s Commitee in 1999, has been busted for marijuana possession several times.
But there is an important distinction to be made here. No one has ever argued, to my knowledge, that a player’s career was helped by their excessive intoxication, or infidelity, or recreational drug use. The fact that some members did these things does not speak highly of them, but the fact that they were able to succeed in spite of these failings says something about their abilities.
Unlike these human errors, steroids and other similar substances are taken for one reason: to give a player a competitive edge. They’re designed to make you faster, stronger, durable. And their roots extend so deeply beneath the numbers of some otherwise Hall-worthy players that it is virtually impossible to create a composite of the player had they not used such substances. Because of the veil of secrecy that surrounds steroid use, there is no meaningful “before” and “after;” no way to tell who a player truly would have been absent the drug use (though some may try). This is the most pernicious thing about baseball’s steroid era; even when you know a player was dirty (and figuring even that out is a difficult task), it is impossible to tell how dirty they were.
I, of course, find some sympathy for Neyer’s fictional Joe. Hell, I would vote for Joe for the Hall of Fame, if the numbers were there. Should a man’s legacy be for all time tainted because of one bad decision, made from noble intentions? But the occasional user does not, by and large, personify what we conjure up when discussing steroids in baseball. Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire were not one-time users who suffered an ethical lapse in the midst of a playoff race. Their alleged use was repeated, sustained, and deliberate; their denials amidst the growing evidence utterly unbelievable.
The most compelling argument that the pro-Hall bunch can muster again analogizes PED users to current Hall of Fame members, but this time the focus isn’t on hangovers or weed. It’s about amphetamines, stimulants that according to certain reports were rampant throughout baseball well into the first decade of the 21st century. If baseball writers have voted in known amphetamine users, the argument goes, why draw an arbitrary boundary to exclude steroid users?
But pointing out the failings of other Hall of Famers doesn’t make a case for the inclusion of PED users. As Joe Posnanski has noted, if we’re talking about playing records, the argument that “X player is in the Hall, and so Y player should be too” can be used to justify nearly anyone for inclusion. Pointing out the ethical lapses among current members does nothing more than make the case against inclusion for those members. It does not bolster someone else’s case for getting in. No, the current crop of alleged PED candidates – Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire – will have to make their case on their own, regardless of what Ralph Kiner did with some greenies in 1953.
For most of the upcoming Hall of Fame players who have admitted using PEDs (or for whom there exists a sufficient factual basis to conclude that they used), there’s no good way to separate what they did from what they put in their bodies. There are, to be sure, some players whose use may have been so fleeting that it should not bar them Cooperstown, but of course we have no idea who those players are. In any event, past history with Bonds and McGwire almost assures that a player’s denial will never be believed.
It is a sticky and troubling situation to which there is no good solution. I am thankful that I am not (and probably never will be) a Hall of Fame voter, for they are in the unenviable position of cleaning up the mess the Steroid Era left in baseball’s kitchen. And so my only advice is for voters to use both their head and their conscience when evaluating steroid use on their Hall of Fame ballot. The fact that Jeff Bagwell – a clear-cut, no-doubt Hall of Fame player – received only 56% of the vote based largely on unsubstantiated and baseless suspicions of PED use shows the writers need to use their heads more. But for the Bonds and McGwires of baseball, I certainly won’t fault guys like Moore for voting their conscience and taking full advantage of the “character” clause.
*Alleged steroid users, the both of them. Nothing has, as with most things steroid-related, been proven.