When people mention the Pittsburgh Pirates, you assume that nothing good can follow. But there are exceptions to that rule, at least if you believe Time magazine. Two weeks ago Time not only said the Pirates are doing something right, they also said the organization is an example to be followed.
It’s no secret that MLB spends a lot of money looking for fresh talent overseas. Many of the greatest players in the game today and in the past are products of that search. MLB has harvested the fertile fields of the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Curacao (just to name a few) to give us players like Big Papi, Johan Santana and Andruw Jones. That is not going to stop.
But Time raises the alarmist cry, decrying the conditions in the DR and castigating teams for not providing the same level of living standards the writer claims exist for young players in the US. At the same time, the article gets a little schizophrenic, insinuating that the DR will go the way of PR if baseball decides to treat them the same way it now deals with the territory. The article claims, “After the U.S. commonwealth became subject to the draft in the (sic) 1989, the
number of Puerto Rican signees remained flat, while those in the D.R.
What I read in that, though, is that despite Puerto Rican players now going through the draft, the number entering MLB each year stayed constant. If anything, that seems to imply that the system worked. Puerto Ricans still made it to the majors, they just followed a route that ensured they got their fair share. And if you can play, you’re going to get paid.
Look, it’s no secret that many kids see sports as a way out of a bad situation. That’s just as true in the US as it is in the DR. But do we crucify Nike for running basketball tournaments in the inner city where they can then get their hooks into promising young talent? Do you think Coach K runs a basketball camp each year out of the kindness of his heart? Both Nike and Krzyzewski realize that most of those kids are never going to make it, even at the collegiate level. And it’s not like they’re taking care of them when the inevitable happens and the dream of an NBA career shatters.
This is how sports operate. They offer the hope of a better future but that future is only available to a very select group. What happens in the DR is sad and most of these kids will never end up making it. But it’s even more sad that the government of the DR can’t provide basic services to its citizens and MLB is supposed to step in and fill the gap. At least baseball offers them a dream. That’s a lot more than the Pirates offer their fans.
Special thanks to L for the article
For those of you anti-technocratic individuals stuck in 2005 where MySpace is your second life, Andruw Jones is your homerun leader and The Emancipation of Mimi rocks your screenless iPod Shuffle, let me tell ya: it’s time to get with the program.
And by us I mean Red State Blue State — on Twitter, the hottest albeit most meaningless social networking site that has all the kids goin’ crazy.
And do it now.
Not convinced yet?
Here is but a small sampling of prolific “tweets” by the Royals hot off-season acquisition (read them; you will laugh):
i saw a guy at
todayz that looked like the deformed dude from Goonies, i have to tell
yah i got a weak stomach. He was over where i wassigning
autographs b4 the game and i thought it was gonna b game over for me,
but i made it… PHEWW signed his ball and all. that could
have been the weirdest moment of my life!!! 4real. Anywayz bout 2 watch Golden Child, “I want the knife…_… Pleassse”
oh yeah b4 i log i went 3-4 today and we won
red bull is amaZing
Got n 2 KC last
night. That plane ride was by far the worst i’ve ever been on. i
thought fasho i was a goner. The last 5 mins of the the
of the flight the
plane was movin like a Wakefield knuckleball lol. i just new that was
it 4 me… us but we make it.
John Buck had an awesome game. Right now tryin to make a mix tape 4
after we win, what we’ve been playin is terrible
(*note: it seems Coco was just as surprised as us that the Royals won again)
i guess when i get back of this road trip ill check out the night life. im bout 2 check out im hella tired Gnite.
You see, dear readers, sometimes the creative mind is no match for stream of consciousness junkets created by extremely talented yet severely uneducated athletes.
Amen to that.
And go ahead and hate me ‘cuz I take cheap shots at verbally challenged yet outspoken outfielders… just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.