Jeers looking at you, kid: How to deal with Ryan Braun’s new haters visiting Miller Park
More Talkin' Baseball
Clearly, Ryan Braun’s spring training has been as much about perfecting his swing as it has been about learning to deal with the hissing fans of opposing teams who now see him as baseball’s new villain. He’s not the one who established the rules for the appeals process or just kept some piss in his office over the weekend, but he’s the one who’s been taking the majority of the shit from people who think he sullied the good name of a game. Braun appears prepared to shield himself from the verbal assaults of clueless fans both at home and away, and we should, too. So The A.V. Club has tried to empathize with the fans on the other side of some of the first few home series of the season or, at the very least, be ready to sink to their level.
Cardinals fans (at Miller Park April 6-8)
What they’ll say: What won’t they say? Besides peppering Braun with the usual syringe-themed zingers, Cardinals fans probably haven’t forgotten about that whole “we beat you in Game 6 of last year’s NLCS” thing. Though it’s doubtful they’d be clever enough to pull it off, chants of “Remember, remember, the 16th of October” would be a nice touch.
Why they’re really upset: Remember when Nyjer Morgan called Albert Pujols “Alberta?” So do Cardinals fans. Pujols may be currently doing time with the Angels, but out-of-towners will take any chance they can get to hate on Morgan.
Possible comeback: Politely nod and stare off into the middle distance. Maybe grab a beer. We may have to swallow our pride on this one.
Dodgers fans (at Miller Park April 17-19)
What they’ll say: The few (but vocal) L.A. fans in Milwaukee for this series will likely mix generic boos for Braun in with chants of “MVP” or “real MVP” when Matt Kemp steps to the plate.
Why they’re really upset: Dodgers fans have a fairly legitimate gripe since Kemp had better numbers in a few key categories but still lost out to Braun for the league’s MVP. But Kemp seems okay with it so everyone else should just shut up, too.
Possible comeback: Just genuinely cheer for Chris Capuano. It makes us look classy while simultaneously reminding L.A. fans that Capuano does indeed pitch for their team.
Astros fans (at Miller Park April 23-25)
What they’ll say: Something to the tune of “So long, cheaters! We’re going to the American League where no one significant has ever been embroiled in scandal.”
Why they’re really upset: They probably feel bad because their team lost 106 games last season, an unwieldy 40 more than the Brewers, and the last season or so before the team moves probably won’t be much better.
Possible comeback: Look into their sad eyes and realize how miserable you’d feel if the Brewers were moved to San Jose. Or just call Carlos Lee stupid or something.
Cubs fans (at Miller Park May 11-13)
What they’ll say: Do Cubs fans need another reason to heckle the Brewers? Probably not, so expect the always-clever “MVPee” chants to go along with the usual grunting, belching, and chortling.
Why they’re really upset: The Cubs finished a dismal 71-91 last season, and their 2012 payroll is 34 percent less than it was in 2011. Numbers like that don’t make for happy fans, and may even lead to the end of Chicago’s beloved “Wrigley Field North” phenomenon. We can only dream.
Possible comeback: Set aside any feelings of ill will and cheer for the Cubs’ new skipper—and all-around nice dude—Dale Sveum.