Nick Yohanek, a resident of Whitewater, Wis., was "all-in" on Ryan Braun after his rookie year. Braun was a clean-cut guy, Yohanek thought back then, the type of player you want to follow.
So, as Fox 6 in Milwaukee tells us, Yohanek spent the ensuing years building a collection of Braun memorabilia that cost him $15,000. That's a car. Maybe a couple years of college. The collection includes Milwaukee Brewers jerseys, signed baseballs, game-used cleats, a helmet Braun wore in the playoffs — stuff like that.
For Yohanek, Ryan Braun was worth it. Keyword: was. With Braun suspended the rest of the season and disgraced indefinitely, the collection's value — and Yohanek's respect for the Brewers star — have both plummeted.
From Fox 6's story:
“It’s arrogant, and it’s just at a different level,” Yohanek said about the doping allegations against Braun. “I can’t explain it.”
Yohanek is not just angry about how Braun’s suspension will impact his collection’s value – but how it will impact the value of the player to his family. Yohanek’s daughter, 7-year-old Clara, looked up to the Braun. After the suspension, Yohanek had to explain to his daughter what performance enhancing drugs were and why they were wrong. Now, Clara contends, the player is “definitely not” her favorite.
“He lied to people,” she said. “And it’s disappointing that he did that and it just doesn’t sound like him.”
Perhaps the most telling quote came form 7-year-old Clara:
"Now that Ryan Braun did that, it's not right to put Ryan Braun stuff up."
You know what they say: Out of the mouth of babes. Now, the Ryan Braun memorabilia will be packed into boxes and stored away. Maybe one day it'll be something more than a reminder of misplaced loyalty? Yohanek, instead, will build his Green Bay Packers collection.
Consider this another example of the perils of being a baseball fan in the PED era. Fandom nowadays is more than just clapping and hollering to some people. It's authentic jerseys and dedicated rooms in your house. It's big money and big commitment. It's also a big risk. What if you bet on the wrong guy, the dirty guy, the soon-to-be disgraced guy?
Nick Yohanek knows what happens.
"Now we just look naive."
BLS H/N: Eye on Baseball
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