Ryan Braun's 65-game suspension is over, and the Milwaukee Brewers slugger knows that opposing fans will have new material to use against him this season.
He doesn't care.
Fans are going to heckle star players no matter what. Along with the usual yelling, baseball purists everywhere can now get on Braun for his suspension. The 30-year-old won't let hecklers bother him, via USA Today's Bob Nightengale:
This doesn't bother me. People may have something new to yell now, but it's really no different than anything I've gone though. I've never gone to Chicago and had them cheer for me. I've never gone to St. Louis and had them say, 'I hope you do great.' Nobody's fans have ever cheered for the opposing team's best player.
Professional athletes occasionally have to handle fans getting personal and bringing up family members. Braun knows that he won't have to deal with that kind of stuff as much anymore:
I'm sure it will be a bit adventuresome at times this year, but if anything, it's probably better now. Normally, you go to Philly and Chicago, and they're talking about your mom, your sister, your girlfriend, whatever. So, now, it will be just about me.
That's one way to look at things. Talking about a player's family can cross the line, so Braun may be lucky that fans will not focus on his family as much.
The outfielder doesn't lack confidence. He has faith that he will be the same player that he was before the suspension:
If I perform like I've always done, I'll be one of the best players in this game. I don't need any added motivation of drama at work.
I'll just let my work speak for itself, as every artist should.
Not only is he a baseball player, but he is also an artist.
The controversial slugger is going to hear it from the fans on the road, but it will be interesting to see how he holds up if his home crowd boos him. Some Milwaukee fans turned on him last year after he was suspended:
Braun will have a lot to prove this year. Many wonder if he can continue to put up huge numbers now that he has been busted, so a slow start to the season would give opposing fans even more material.