Take a deep breath, Philadelphia. You are not the reason Ryan Braun went on an insane homer-hittin', fly-ball-catchin', Phillie-destroyin' blitzkrieg during the Phils' home opener on Monday.
No matter what Braun says, your loathing of him did not propel him to play what may have been the greatest single game ever played against the Phillies on Monday.
I mean, I'm sure it felt good for Braun to stick it in your ear, but you weren't the cause.
Braun's terrific diving stop of a sinking Carlos Ruiz liner in the second inning that saved two possible runs was not the result of you booing him. Nor were his three home runs or seven RBIs. Ryan Braun did not do all of this damage just to spite you and the atmosphere created by you and your fellow boo-birds, no matter what he and his teammates might say (quotes per The Daily News' Sam Donnellon).
"Seriously, as a competitor I really do enjoy it," he said. "For all of us, it's a challenging game and a long season. And playing in an atmosphere like this is something that certainly motivates you."
"I didn't think there was even the possibility that I could have a game like this," he said. "The game works in mysterious ways sometimes."
"I love it," Braun said. "I enjoy this atmosphere, I enjoy this environment. It's motivating for me, get that adrenaline going for me and makes the thumb feel a little better."
Ryan Braun destroyed the Phillies on Monday because of one simple reason. It is what he always does against the Phillies.
In 44 career games against the Phils, Braun has a career slash line of .392/.435/.739 with an OPS of 1.173 and 17 HRs. And in 20 games at Citizens Bank Park, Braun's slash line is .405/.467/.835 with an OPS of 1.302 and 10 HRs.
The booing did not make Braun do anything he doesn't already do against the Phillies. "Bad" Kyle Kendrick showed up yesterday, which certainly didn't help matters. And hitting a home run off of Brad Lincoln doesn't usually require much more than just showing up.
Did Braun perform well amidst the fury of many fans who, for some reason, felt personally affronted by his admitted PED use? Did he have a terrific game amidst fans who screamed at him and called him a "liar" and a "cheater?" Yes, he did. That he was not distracted by the Philly faithful's verbal assaults (which according to multiple Milwaukee players was much worse than he heard in Boston last week) is commendable and impressive.
But it's more likely his terrific defensive play in the second inning, which saved the Brewers from falling into an early hole, was more of a catalyst for his phenomenal day at the plate than anything that came out of the stands. Still, Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke really believes your words helped facilitate Braun's big day.
"Those guys who can turn it up?" Roenicke said after the game. "You don't want to be messing with."
Not mentioned, Ron Roenicke also believes in geocentrism and the tooth fairy. So, a grain of salt and all.
Braun is a Phillie killer. He has been for years, and it's really just that simple. That you may have been booing him while he did what he did yesterday is just pure happenstance.
Ryan Braun didn't kill the Phillies on Monday because of spite. He killed them because he's still a really, really good baseball player.