December 7, 2013
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Tuesday, June 09, 2009
That's not an assertion by me, it's the name of a blog with a pretty straightforward purpose:
After the scandals of baseball, track and field and cycling, no one in charge took any responsibility - Not the athletes nor the "professionals" running each sport. There is an obvious problem in tennis. I first noticed this with women's tennis, but now see the same with many men. Tennis players do not naturally build up large muscles. I am going to make my case for the fact that steroids (or HGH) are running rampant in professional tennis. Anyone who follows along the posts here and still believes that tennis does not have a steroid problem is kidding themselves.
The vast majority of the posts are pictures of really muscular tennis players, with some historical comps thrown in to show just how huge the players are nowadays. I'm not a big fan of the "look how huge that guys is, he MUST be 'roiding" school of analysis, but if it's going to be applied to baseball, I don't see why tennis isn't fair game too.
And really, on that basis, I think the pics of ripped tennis players here make a far more compelling case than most of the pics you see of baseball players.
(Thanks to Ethan Stock for the link)
There have been gay baseball players in the past, there are almost certainly gay baseball players today, and there will no doubt be gay baseball players in the future. Jeff Pearlman is eager for one of them to come of the closet. I don't disagree with his general rationale. A lot of good could be accomplished -- and a lot of bigotry confronted -- by an active professional athlete coming out. I think, however, that Jeff misses a key part of the calculus facing any potentially out gay ballplayer:
How will Americans—especially those in the heartland—handle the juxtaposition? How will they respond? Answer: I’m not sure. It could be horrific. Worse than horrific. That said, Americans have been known to surprise. Maybe, just maybe, instead of heckles and catcalls, there will be cheers and standing ovations; curtain calls and sellouts. Maybe you will be branded a groundbreaker and a hero; will be referred to as “the Jackie Robinson of gay rights.” Maybe teams that once craved your production might shy away at first—until they realize you’re baseball’s biggest draw. Maybe fans will purchase your jerseys in droves. Maybe little boys and girls will sing your name. Maybe parents will urge their offspring to be just like you. Maybe the clubhouse, normally a sanctuary, will serve this role more than ever. Maybe teammates will stand up for your right to be yourself. Maybe your manager will say, “Gay or straight, he’s my guy.”
Those are all possibilities, but I think the nature of the reaction is kind of beside the point. Attitudes about homosexuality in this country remain way more screwed up than almost anything else, but I don't think the rejection/acceptance, hate/love matrix would be the biggest thing facing the player involved. Actually, I think it would be relatively easy for a person as famous as the first active gay ballplayer to tune out the haters and bask in the love he'd no doubt receive. Indeed, the haters would be positively cowed into silence (at least within earshot of the ballplayer himself) and the love, if anything, overplayed. People would fall all over themselves in order to accept, praise, and yes, cynically profit from a gay ballplayer.
No, the real problem would be the volume of the reaction, be it good, bad, or indifferent. And actually, I think the putatively positive reaction would be the worst part of it. How many interview requests would the gay ballplayer have to sit for? How many photo ops? Awards show invitations? How large would the paparazzi contingent around this guy be? The baseball season is a big enough grind as it is, so one can only imagine that adding a media circus to it would make it damn nigh intolerable.
If there's a gay man playing ball today, he has probably already dealt with hate and intolerance on a personal level, and if he reads the newspapers, he has already engaged it to some extent on a societal level. That stuff would be old hat. What he wouldn't be used to is being on the receiving end of the hype and overexposure orgy this great nation is truly capable of when it puts its mind to it. I can't imagine the player who wouldn't be utterly crushed by that, and because of it, I can't imagine the player who would want to subject himself to it, even if it presented itself to him with open and loving arms.
UPDATE: Take a gander over at the BTF thread on this, where commenter Sam M -- a gay Mets fan, which makes him 50% offensive to me -- has some very on-point comments along the lines set forth above. Most apt: "It'll be a lot easier to be Mr. Gay Larry Doby than to be Mr. Gay Jackie Robinson." I agree 100%.
Ten minutes to Wapner!
Judge Marilyn Milian, from "The People's Court," was at Yankee Stadium on Monday to present Rivera with a robe and gavel before the Yankees' game against the Rays, which was won by New York, 5-3. The producers of the TV show read about the kangaroo court, which took place before the game on May 20, and immediately thought to approach the club about staging a meeting with Rivera.
That's cool and all, but I have a feeling that there are some matters over which the kangaroo court presides that aren't fit for family viewing. Without going into too much detail, these guys spend a lot of time in a locker room, so you have to assume that not all fines are the result of failing to hustle down the line. This was interesting, though:
[Milian] sent pictures to her husband, Judge John Schlesinger, who was presiding over a case in Miami as she was e-mailing him evidence of her exploits.
I once saw a judge threaten to hold a lawyer in contempt because his cell phone rang in court, and this guy is sending and receiving texts while on the bench. Only in Florida.
For those who have missed it, there's an extremely lively conversation going on in this thread about the pros and cons of abolishing the draft. The only thought I have on it that has yet to be voiced (at least I don't think it's been voiced) is that while there is a lot of surface appeal to the argument that goes "well, in any other business employee X can go out and negotiate the highest salary," it misses something. What it misses is that in that scenario, employer X has different incentives than would a baseball team faced with total free agency, and that's that, unlike a baseball team, employer X would benefit quite a bit from competitor Y's having to shut its doors and going out of business due to its inability to attract and/or pay top talent. Baseball needs the competition to say viable.
I remain kind of where I was on this when I posted the item yesterday: (a) philosophically predisposed to favor freedom over baseball's version of servitude; but (b) wary of radical change; and (c) ultimately unsure as to how it all plays out. The pragmatist in me thinks that all weighs in favor of subtle tweaks over revolution, even if the concepts behind such a revolution are more intellectually satisfying. If that bothers you, well, that's just how a thirty-five year-old/father of two/Midwesterner/lawyer tends to approach things. If I'm going to go all-in on anything this week it'll be to get the Astros to let in outside food.
A final bit of draft business before things get going tonight: read this post on the economics of the draft from Steven at Fire Jim Bowden. Good stuff for anyone who really wants to jump into that previous thread.
It's been a a better blogging day than yesterday. I credit the 75 pages of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy I read before I went to bed last night. It always inspires:
More blogging in a few minutes, but for the time being I've been ordered to be on a conference call. Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to take a conference call. Call that job satisfaction? 'Cos I don't.
Tigers 5, White Sox 4: After the game, Ozzie Guillen was mad at his poor-performing team and said this: "If this was the 1980s, [none] of these guys would be in the big leagues right now, because if you hit .210-.230 and you can't execute, I don't think you should be out here." I was gonna be all clever and make fun of Ozzie Guillen the player, but he never hit below .245 in a full season as a starter. Not that he was good or anything -- in fact, he was quite awful with the bat -- but he framed the argument in terms of batting average, so I'll let it slide. Other things that wouldn't be here if it was the 80s: U.S. Cellular Field; Ozzie Guillen's belly, and the grown up version of every player on the roster short of Jose Contreras, who I think was born during the Ramón Grau San Martin administration. The first term. Zing!
White Sox 6, Tigers 1: On second thought, maybe I shouldn't have made fun of Old Man Contreras (8 IP, 1 H, 0 ER). Young Gordon Beckham, on the other hand, is now 0-13 to start off his career.
Rockies 5, Cardinals 2: Jason Marquis wins his eighth, which leads the National League. This has to be either evidence that wins don't mean a thing, or evidence that the talent gulf between the American and National Leagues is larger than ever, because I sure as hell ain't gonna admit that Jason Marquis is any good. My out: maybe the Cardinals are just really bad. They certainly are lately, as they were swept 4-0 buy Colorado, and were outscored 33-9 in the process.
Marlins 4, Giants 0: Sean West dominates the Giants (8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 6K). In contrast, Randy Johnson is now 0-1 for his career on short rest following the achievement of significant milestone games during which he fell on his ass while awkwardly fielding a dribbler to the mound. Seriously, you can look it up.
Yankees 5, Rays 3: Another hogshead of home runs in Yankee Stadium will no doubt have people again wondering about the place again. The Yankees will no doubt claim that the fences are the same distance from home plate as they were in the old Stadium. And if you don't believe them, they'll let you inspect the survey records, which have been on display down at Yankee headquarters for the past nine months. They can be found down in the cellar with the use of a flashlight, since the lights have gone. Be careful, though, because so have the stairs. Anyway, they're in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard." See for yourself.
Braves 7, Pirates 6: Yet another marathon ends with Bobby Cox's 2000th win with the Braves. Listen to him boast about it after the game: "All it means is that you're getting old and you've been around too long." Stay sassy, Bobby! Nate McLouth had a nice game against his old mates. Whenever I see something like this so quickly after a trade I wonder if the player's old team just hadn't gotten around to changing the signs yet. Worth noting that Andrew McCutchen had a better game. Not that this will stop all of the Pirates fans from complaining about their team's annual selloff.
Blue Jays 6, Rangers 3: Adam Lind jacks two dingers and has now matched his previous best for homers in a season with 11, set in 2007. He's also about 100 points of OBP and 150 points of slugging ahead of where he was that year too.
Athletics 4, Twins 3: The A's extend their winning streak to seven, which is their longest in three years. Scary moment for Aaron Cunningham, who was hit in the head in the fourth inning. He stayed in the game for a while, but was eventually taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion.
Padres 6, Diamondbacks 3: Adrian Gonzalez is leading the majors in walks, and was given three more free passes last night. This time Kevin Kouzmanoff -- who hits behind Gonzalez -- made someone pay for it, driving in four runs.