I can’t believe it’s come to this, but Ronald Acuna Jr. is officially one of the most polarizing players in baseball. One of the most fun-loving human beings who just wants to play ball has become divisive among Braves Country.
It’s not as divided as some might think; I still believe an overwhelming portion of the fan base loves Acuna. But the minority who bag on him is deafening on social media platforms. The Braves superstar has been knocked for his eccentric celebrations in the States, which aren’t nearly as performative as those in his home country of Venezuela, where baseball games are a party.
Ronald Acuna grew up in an environment much different than most in Braves Country. In a conservative area of the United States, baseball in the south is all about playing the game the “right way,” which is much different than it is in Central and South America. And personally, it’s a more entertaining way to watch the game.
Regardless of how you feel about Ronald Acuna’s way of playing, calling into question his work ethic, etc., is absolutely ludicrous. I’m not just making this up. Some people genuinely believe he’s a lazy player. No matter how talented an athlete is, to excel at the professional level takes a different level of dedication. Ronald Acuna is no different.
Braves veteran Travis d’Arnaud reminded everyone of that — from a piece in The Athletic: “I saw him grind through the whole year to make sure he was able to play all the time, and all the work he was putting in to make sure he could play every day,” said Travis d’Arnaud, a veteran who knows plenty about coming back from surgery. He empathized while watching Acuña perform inconsistently and deal with physical and mental barriers. “(It’s) something that the people on the outside don’t see, but in the clubhouse, you see it every single day.”
It’s not even really necessary for me to write this and remind a minority in Braves Country that Ronald Acuna isn’t lazy. But if you don’t believe me, take it from Travis d’Arnaud, someone who has been around the block a time or two.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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