I struggled for a while on how to approach this blog entry. I know what I want to say, but I was afraid that it would sound preachy, or I would not be able to find the correct words and be unable to convey an idea that is far bigger than one (beginner’s) baseball blog. In the end I’ve decided to forge ahead, and just do my best. It will have to be enough. As I said, I’m not a writer, just a fan that wants to do some extra talking about baseball.
It’s likely we’ll soon have a resolution to the Ryan Braun situation. I firmly believe that individuals should be regarded individually. Even if every single player ever accused of cheating lied about their innocence and were proved to have used performance enhancing drugs, that does not mean every one accused in the future is guilty. I still believe he is innocent. If I had a reputation I’d be willing to stake it on this.
I’ll admit this is a new situation for me, which could explain what others perceive as my ‘naïveté.’ I have only been watching baseball since 2005, and so I have yet to see a favorite player fall from grace. I haven’t been burned as many times as life-long baseball fans who put their faith in an athlete’s word only to have their hopes dashed. A lot of fans who claim not to care about performance enhancing drugs are telling a lie of their own – they do care, and deeply. They just don’t want to get hurt again. They don’t want to trust, and be wrong. I get it, I really do. I’ve been there, in non-baseball situations.
Someday I might be in your shoes, but I plan to avoid it. Not because I think it could never happen to a player I love, but because I believe there is an alternative to choosing between not caring at all (and so being unwilling to trust) and feeling devastated and betrayed when it goes wrong: taking a chance on trust, because it is worth it. Trust requires a leap of faith. It requires opening ones self up to the possibility of being wrong, to disappointment, and to pain.
I think of how amazing it’s going to feel when my favorite player beats the odds and is exonerated. Or it’s going to feel really bad when he doesn’t. I welcome the experience either way, because the full range of human experience is only open to those willing to take the risks with the rewards. Baseball is more than a game to me. It is a microcosm of the human experience which offers many learning opportunities. I’m going to take this opportunity to practice trust, and depending on the outcome, forgiveness.