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Posts Tagged ‘mlb’

the mitchell report and my breakup with baseball

I felt some weird obligation to get all worked up about the Mitchell Report (just go here, start at the top and keep reading down for all you need to know) , but I found myself just shaking my head sadly. It’s hard to build up outrage and shock when you’re really not surprised at the news blaring from your tv.

I slowly grew sick of baseball over the past few years. I’ve been a fan since I was a little kid. The New York Yankees were something my mother and I shared a passion for; later on, in those tumultuous teen years, baseball was the bond that kept our relationship from deep freeze. I loved baseball enough to choose a college major that involved sports and actually worked for the Yankees for one amazing summer. I even became a huge Atlanta Braves fan in the 80’s (that awesome team with Murphy, Horner, Ramirez…) so I could have a team to root for in both leagues. So I was never a casual fan of the game. I loved it. I lived it. I bled pinstripe blue.

I think it was right around the time of the 2002 All-Star game fiasco that my love of the game started to wane. I can’t really put my finger on a specific instance, but if I had to point to something in baseball that made me question the sanctity of the game, that was it. Or maybe it was when they started scheduling playoff games around ad revenue, forsaking all the kids who couldn’t stay up that late to watch their heroes. Maybe I was a little naive all those years to believe that baseball cared about the fans. The older I got, the more I saw that money rules.

There were other things. Greedy players charging ridiculous amounts of money to sign autographs for kids. The games becoming longer and longer as the league tried to stuff as many ads as possible into televised games. No more local games on free tv. Players more interested in celebrity than baseball. I used to see baseball as a boy’s game played by men; now it was a business staffed with publicity machines. The heroes of the game seemed different. They weren’t rugged, they weren’t down-home kind of guys. They were polished and spit-shined and spoke in crafted cliches in prepared statements. There was no hanging out after a game in search of an autograph or photo. There were long lines at scheduled appearances where you better bring your Visa. Players behaved like little boys with too much money and too much ego. The game lacked class (see, ’86 Mets, recent Yankees). The soul was gone. The passion was gone. Baseball was a corporate machine and, while you can’t fault a business for acting like one, the lack of passion in the sport made my passion for the sport die. It wasn’t like one day I woke up and said “I hate baseball.” It was a long, slow goodbye, like a breakup that takes place over a long time. One day you wake up and look at each other and say “When did we fall out of love?” And you get up, pack your bags and move on.

I stopped following the league as a whole and just kept tabs on the Yankees. I no longer knew the rosters of every team. I spent several years playing in one of those fantasy leagues where you lived and died by the stats you memorized; now I couldn’t even tell you the batting order of my favorite team. I stopped watching games and would just rely on my kids to tell me the score. I stopped loading up newyorkyankees.com first thing in the morning. My disdain for A-Rod was no longer a topic of conversation at family dinners. Still, I let my attachment to the game linger just a little, maybe hoping for a spark that would get it going again, or maybe just waiting for something else to happen that would break the camel’s back and let me turn my back on the game forever without feeling guilty about it. Breakups are so complicated.

On May 30, 2007, the Yankees reacquired Roger Clemens and that pretty much sealed the deal. It was over. I dropped that last tenuous string that kept me tethered to baseball and walked away.

Maybe I am a little outraged over the steroids investigation. I feel bad for all the little kids who looked up to these guys and are now disappointed and disillusioned. I feel worse for the kids who may take a message from this that cheating is how you get famous. I feel cheated myself for all the times I cheered the play of each of these guys (yes, I know they are allegations), if the plays they made and the home runs they hit and the pitches they threw were not born of their own talents, but feats manufactured by drugs and deceit. And even though I loathe Roger Clemens with the heat of a thousand fiery suns, I feel no vindication in his being named (or in the talk that he is the one who got Andy Pettite to get juiced). I just feel pity for him, and sad for all the kids who hero worship him.

There are some players on the steroids list that surprise me (Matt Williams, Matt Franco) but more that don’t. And that’s pretty telling.

(yes, I know it’s just an investigation and a report and nothing is set in stone here, but the fact that such an investigation was warranted says all you need to know about where the sport has gone)

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seligspeak

Barry Bonds tied the home run record, the sun still rose this morning, life goes and Bud Selig remains a small notch above Gary Bettman as the leader in Stupid Sports Commissioner sweepstakes.

“As I said previously, out of respect for the tradition of the game, the magnitude of the record and the fact that all citizens in this country are innocent until proven guilty, either I or a representative of my office will attend the next few games and make every attempt to observe the breaking of the all-time home run record.”

File that under things NOT to say when the sport you are in charge of is making front page news. While Selig unwillingly follows Bonds around the country is his pursuit of asterisk history, some PR person needs to follow Selig around, making sure he coats his words with a little sugar. Or, to follow the advice of my mom, to make sure he doesn’t say anything at all.

Or maybe he could just be totally honest instead of trying to sound like a criminal lawyer trying to find something good to say about his client. Like, “I’m pissed off that this arrogant jackass is breaking this record and I have to drag my old ass around the country to pretend to be happy for him and baseball when it happens. You know what? Fuck Barry Bonds. Fuck him with a baseball bat dipped in steroids. I hope he rips a tendon before he can hit his next home run. Screw you guys. I’m going home.”

I’d have to show some respect for that.

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*

Move over Gary Bettman. Bud Selig gets the Stupid Sports Commissioner spot this week.

“I’ve been having a lot of people who are stunned that I’m still at this. But, it is what it is,” Selig said before the game. Selig, who said last night’s was the eighth game he has attended in Bonds’ chase, added that the travel “has been a tough experience, I don’t mind telling you.”

I’m sure it’s been real hard on you, Bud. A baseball commissioner, going to baseball games. Go figure. And you know, while I’m sure it gets rough trying to act like you are excited that one of the most arrogant, self centered jackasses in all of sports is going to break a sacred record held by one of the most honored, respected men to ever play the sport, you’ve got to blame yourself for some of this mess, Bud.

About Bonds. I’m in the large majority of people who despise the man. I never liked him. Ever. He’s on my short list of “famous people I have long harbored animosity toward” (a list that includes Roger Clemens and Yngwie Malmsteen).

I guess what is bothering most about Bonds inevitably breaking the record is that someone with his attitude just doesn’t deserve it. I know that is unreasonable. But I can’t help but wish that the record would have been broken by someone like Aaron. Someone with class. Someone who appreciates his fans and is respected and liked. And not, maybe, juiced up.

Yes, I’m one of those people who will always see an imaginary asterisk next to the name Barry Bonds. Maybe Selig is one of us, too. Maybe he sees that asterisk and that’s why he hates following Bonds around, why this has been so “rough” on him. Because he helped create this media monster and now he has to sit back and watch while it stomps all over the public image of Major League Baseball.

Are there any Bonds fans out there? Is there any stadium he can break this record in – besides his own- where he won’t be booed as he rounds the bases? Selig must cringe every time Bonds takes a swing, waiting for that moment when the ball sails over the wall and baseball takes a big, steaming shit on itself.

How many days til hockey season?

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how about a community ass kicking?

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Friends and community leaders in Newport News plan to hold a “community hug” for Michael Vick tonight.

The Reverend Marcellus Harris says the community wants to emphasize Vick’s right to due process and that the rush to judge him is premature.

People never cease to amaze me.

You know what they should have instead? A community revenge night. Tie the fucker to a pole, dress him in a suit made of raw meat, then let all the dog that he and his cohorts trained to be fighters loose on him.

So we’ve got the Vick football scandal, baseball has steroids, basketball has its douchebag ref…..thank god the worst thing going on in hockey is only that it has a dumbass commissioner. THE NHL IS PURE!

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