Life Lessons with the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers, Part 1: Ryan Braun

Ryan Braun is in the news for all kinds of naughty things he did and put into himself in order to be a better, more productive, healthier baseball player. Ultimately, I’m glad that he’s being punished and I hope he learns a lesson from all of this.

That lesson, the one I hope he learns, is not one of the ones that the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers tried to instill in me and my son when we attended a game at Miller Park last year and provided us with self-improvement themed baseball cards, which I had totally forgotten about until my hetero-sexual life mate, Bill Parker, brought his kids to my house last weekend and found them. Perhaps Bill should have learned a valuable lesson about not snooping, but considering I’m getting an entire not-entirely-unamusing NotGraphs post out of it, I have decided to leave that lesson untaught. Instead, in retaliation, I plan to show Monday’s video to his children when they’re teenagers (note: someone remind me to do this in about 10 years).

Anyway, in the meantime, here is the first installment of Life Lessons with the 2012 Brewers, starring Ryan Braun:


“To those you meet, be sweet: Having good manners is important. Learn them now and use them forever.”

Sure, you know how to say please and say thank you. You know to shake hands when you meet someone new, to look them square in the eye, and to smile and let them know that you’re relatively harmless. You weren’t raised in a barn, after all, and you know you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

But it’s not always easy to know what’s polite in every situation. For instance, if you ever find yourself in trouble, or might have done something morally questionable, you might be tempted to say nothing and hope you get away with it. That would be a bad idea, because it will only make it harder to make things right later. Make sure you say you’re sorry right away. Try not to be mean and implicate others as being anti-Semitic or out to get you. That would be rude. Also, don’t lie to your friends and get them to stick up for you, because that makes them feel bad later when everybody calls them out on Twitter.

Now, one caveat: I realize that good manners dictate that, when you are given something, you’ve got to take it and use it. You have to wear that sweater grandma gave you for Christmas at least once, and you have to eat baklava at your new girlfriend’s house, even though you’re not sure what it is, because her mom made it and you’re trying to make a good impression so that you and Rebecca can stay out an extra half hour and you can maybe get to second base in the back of your car with her after the movie ends and before you have to drop her off at home. But if you’re reasonably sure that what you’re being given is a performance enhancing drug, currently banned by the Joint Drug Agreement, it’s probably ok if you politely decline it, maybe using the excuse that you shouldn’t have filled up on bread, but that you’ll take one to go. Then you can toss your bakla…your lozenges or your syringes or your creams out the window once you’re out of sight of her waving, crazy parents, and maybe continuing this relationship isn’t such a good idea after all given all the dinner talk about honor, respect, family, and shotguns. Maybe it’s not too late to ask a cortisone shot to Homecoming.

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Mike Bates co-founded The Platoon Advantage, and has written for many other baseball websites, including NotGraphs (rest in peace) and The Score. Currently, he writes for MLB Daily Dish on SB Nation. His favorite word is paradigm. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBatesSBN.

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Per request, I have added a reminder to my August 2023 Outlook calendar to remind you to show that video to the children of Bill Parker.

Is there a card in this set that tells you (i.e. the fan) how to politely respond to Ryan Braun when he arrives for his first post-suspension at-bat?