Even though there’s a very good chance that we won’t see him on Opening Day due to service time concerns, I’d imagine that most of the fanbase is counting the days until we can watch Ronald Acuna begin his major league career with the Braves. The Braves have had their fair share of exciting rookies make their way to the big leagues over the years but the hype surrounding Acuna’s impending arrival is truly something else.
He’s the consensus top prospect in the game right now and if all goes well, Atlanta will have an absolute gem of a player under their employ for the foreseeable future. Even though the Braves aren’t projected to do well, it’s still an exciting time to be a fan if only because we’ll get to see Ronald Acuna develop into something special.
So surely, this would mean that the Braves would do everything they could to make sure that Acuna is fully supported and backed as he hopefully starts to become a mainstay in Atlanta’s outfield. Surely the Braves wouldn’t do anything like have people from the past come in and try to change the way he goes about his business in order to adhere to an outdated idea of doing things “the right way,” right?
Welp. Here’s some news from Mark Bowman:
The Braves want Acuna to wear his hat straight and maintain a professional appearance while in uniform. But they do not want to change much about the fun-loving, flamboyant approach that has made him one of the game’s most exciting young players.
”The main thing he needs to remember is keep your head straight and respect [your surroundings],” Jones said. “Be humble, but a humble-cocky.”
To be fair, there are some points in that article that do make sense. After all, I don’t think that anybody wants a rookie to to play all lackadaisical while simultaneously acting like they own the place when they’re out there on the field. There’s a baseline that you want to reach and that does go a long way towards achieving longevity in this game.
At the same time, the part about the Braves wanting Acuna to wear his hat straight is absolutely ridiculous. Of all the things to be concerned about when it comes to a budding young player with loads of potential, this should be planted firmly at the bottom of the list. A crooked hat is not going to have any effect on how he plays defense in the outfield and it absolutely won’t have any effect on his performance at the plate.
As long as he does his best to help the Braves win, I could not care any less about how he wears his hat. You shouldn’t care about that and the Braves as an organization especially shouldn’t care about this. I do appreciate that Bowman noted that the team “doesn’t want to change much” about Acuna but the point is that they shouldn’t want to change anything. He’s gotten this far doing things his way and if he personally feels like he needs to make changes, then so be it. But he shouldn’t be forced to change just to uphold some form of tradition that’s badly outdated.
Plus, I could also go on about how it’s very interesting that he’s getting advice from a former player who was unquestionably great on the field but has some very relevant questions of character off of the field but I’ll just leave it at that.
The point is that if you’re focusing on something like this, then in the words of Kanye West, “you’re focused on the wrong things.” As far as we know, Acuna is a model citizen off the field and we all know what he’s capable of on the field. As long as there are no major issues that are actually concerning, then who cares about his attire?
If Ronald Acuna wants to be cocky, flashy, wear his hat crooked with a shiny gold chain while letting the rest of the world know exactly how good he is in the process, then let him do it. Doing things “the right way” hasn’t gotten the Braves past the Divisional Series since 2001, so why not let a guy do things his way and also send a message that he’s free to express himself however he wants to?
There’s no reason to try in any way, shape or form to stifle a player with the potential of Ronald Acuna. He’s already got enough pressure on him to fulfill his obligations as a pro ballplayer and he doesn’t need his own team getting on him about the way he wears his hat. Just let the man wear his hat however he wants and let everything else take care of itself. Let the guy focus on the things that are actually pertinent to winning baseball games and getting the Braves back on top in the baseball world. Let the man have fun playing a kid’s game for money.
Basically, let Ronald Acuna be Ronald Acuna.