You’re totally going to fall in love with Ryan Braun.
… as if I had to tell you that.
The Other J.J. woke me up with a text the other day telling me Braun was going to sign a big contract extending his time with the Brewers. By now we’ve all heard the arguments, and I have not heard a single Brewers fan who is not totally excited about this. What I see as the best part of this has already got some attention: by signing this contract, Braun is stepping up.
There were some people who were ready to call him their Favorite Brewer as soon as he joined the team. I was not, in part because a sports media guy told me a rumor the Brewers left him in the minor leagues at the start of last season so he could work out his prima donna issues (he still won the NL Rookie of the Year with the shortened season).
But this year, the real diva appeared to be Prince. Forget the vegetarianism; he said in spring training he wanted to grow his hair out so he could have braids like Manny Ramirez. At first I thought this was funny, but the more I thought, it started to smell like a quarter-life crisis. The “It’s just Manny being Manny” catchphrase doesn’t take into account that “only Manny can be Manny.” Prince should focus on being Prince. Last Friday, he turned 24, and shaved his head. When I was that age (i.e., last year) I had a terrible “I’m growing my hair out before I have to be a grownup” phase. Then I realized, I already am a fucking grownup. It’s time to start kicking ass and taking names. Hopefully, that’s how Prince is feeling.
The contract Braun accepted is at the same time an olive branch and a challenge to Prince. He could have gone for more, and so could Prince when his time comes. But Braun seems to believe that in order to win, he’s going to need some help. And right now, as Prince is slumping, he’s the new $45-million-man.
Now to the nicknames… There’s The Hebrew Hammer, but people have also tried to assign that to Gabe Kapler. Uecker usually just shouts “Ryan Brauhhn!” The Other J.J. prefers Brauntosaurus, which is good. The line that seems to have caught on the most is “What can Braun do for you?” a play on the UPS slogan.
I like Brauny, because it is very close to brawny, which Ryan clearly is. It can also be a play on the paper towel brand: “Brauny — the Quicker Picker Upper.” You “Price as Right” freaks will know that Bounty paper towels, not Brawny, uses that slogan, but the average consumer would probably confuse the two and the nickname would catch on. If Brauny ends up sponsoring paper towels, I want a finder’s fee. He can afford it.