While New York state takes the social lead in legalizing gay marriage, I think it’s appropriate to also give props to the professional athletes who have joined the proactive “It Gets Better” video campaign. Grant Hill, Kevin Youkilis, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and many more, have joined the cause to remind LGBT teens that they have a right to live happy lives, just like the rest of the world, and that the bullying stewing from ignorance and intolerance will eventually get better.
Chicago Cubs rookie second baseman, Darwin Barney, has also joined the cause. Chicago Tribune writer Paul Sullivan, wrote a nice piece about Barney’s involvement and, again, I highly commend Darwin for doing so. However, he did say something that must be corrected, something that is, at this point laughable for anyone to actually believe. He said:
“It hit home for me because … I have a few family members who are gay. There’s nothing weird about it. It’s a decision that you should be able to make and not be discriminated against.”
Darwin Barney, being gay is not a choice. There is no decision to make, just like I did not have a decision in what color my skin would be, or how tall I would eventually become.
One is either gay, straight or all of the above. There is no choice involved.
And this is something that needs to be understood completely if things are truly going to get better.
Hate me ‘cuz it’s still allowed, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Say what ya want about the mighty market divas of the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Dodgers. Go ahead and hate on A-Rod, slam Manny, spit on Youk… whatevs. Sometimes they deserve it; sometimes they don’t. It’s all a part of professional sports.
But no matter how infantile and annoying MLB superstars can be (yes, I’m looking at you, Milton Bradley), none of them quite qualify as being as toxically asinine as Nicolas Anelka and his band of busted b!tches that once formed the French national soccer team.
You think Roberto Alomar spitting on John Hirschbeck was bad? Imagine Roberto Alomar spitting on John Hirschbeck during the World Series, with a big nasty particle-filled loogey, and all his teammates joining in.
Yeah. That’s sorta what France’s World Cup was like. But at least it’s over. And now we can think about… things that are worse than France. For instance:
Duh. You knew that was comin’.
Rob Blagojevich’s Image
For all of you who live outside of Illinois, be glad you do; ‘cuz this Blago crap is just now gettin’ started for real. The lego hair, the smarmy and disingenuous smile, the creepy way he talks to every woman as if she were a dumb, money-chasin, cheap-trick-happy cocktail waitress… this dude is going to the joint. Eventually.
You knew that was comin’ too.
It makes me sick that he was in my neighborhood. It makes me even more sick to know that he was at Sox Park. And it makes me Bush-Sr-Throwin-Up-On-Japanese-People sick to know he tossed the first pitch to Mark Buehrle!
You didn’t think this could end with anything worse, did you? I’m pretty sure I heard the Astros’ team on-base-percentage was the worse on-base-percentage in the history of time, including all dimensions — even those we are unaware of yet…
That’s why they’re called the LOLstros.
Hate me. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
In 2005, the St. Louis Cardinals called up a 27 year-old lifetime minor leauger to get his first hacks at the big league level. That man’s name was John Rodriguez.
Don’t remember him? No worries. Most people don’t.
Mr. Rodriguez came on pretty strong during his brief glimpse of the Majors, hitting .295 with 5 HRs and 24 RBI in 149 at-bats. The folks in St. Louis liked him and his cinderella story so much that someone decided to grace Mr. Rodriguez with the nickname: J-Rod (a la A-Rod, K-Rod, YourMom-Rod, et al).
J-Rod *ahem* wasn’t a fan of the name. Why? Maybe because he wasn’t A-Rod! To be honest, he wasn’t anywhere close to being an A-Rod type player. His greatest downfall was was being born with the same easily nicknameable name as poster boy Alex while also having a first initial that contained just one syllable (you see, W-Rod would never work).
Flash forward to December 7th, 2009 and my trusty misanthrope of a colleague, Mr. Allen Krause, deigns us with the phonetically challenged nickname “Pla-Po” for his beloved (and now long gone from Detroit) Placido Polanco.
Pla-Po? Are you kidding me? How is that even pronounced? PLAY-Poh? Plah-POH? Ah, forget it; all I know is that it sucks.
So, please know, Mr. Krause, that from now on we are calling for a complete ban on poorly constructed nicknames, specifically on those you created. For those of you dear readers unaware, the following Krausian nicknames shall no longer be used, under any circumstances, lest you wish the worst on the baseball-politico community:
- Matt Holliday — Ma-Ho
- Barack & Michelle Obama — Bachelle
- Albert Pujols — A-Jols (read “A-Holes”)
- Dick Cheney — Dick-Chin
- Pablo Sandoval — P-Sand
- Harry Reid & Nancy Pelosi — Harry Nancy
- Carlisle Littlejohn — C-Lit
- Michael Cuddyer — Mi-Cudd
- Ann Coulter — ‘Lil Beotch (it should be “Big Beotch”)
- Kevin Youkilis — K.Y. Kill-Us
And of course, let us not forget to mention the ongoing ban against one of the crappiest nicknames of all time, also penned by Mr. Krause, for his dilapidated Mo-Town Tigers team:
‘Cuz unless finishing the AL Central in second place qualifies you as a ‘winner’, then this just needs to stop.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m brash, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
You know what this baseball season is lacking? A good brawl. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I saw a baseball brawl that really made me stand up and cheer. I mean, there are classics like Pedro taking out Don Zimmer and Jose Offerman charging the mound with a bat. But these happened years ago. Where’s the good stuff these days?
I’m not saying I’ve lost hope. The next few days will be all about the Yankees and Red Sox renewing their rivalry and we all know there’s no love lost between those two teams. Maybe Beckett throws some high heat and Melky takes exception. Or it could be Mariano throwing behind Youkilis and Big Papi comes charging out of the dugout to right that wrong. It could happen.
But most likely we’ll just see some baseball. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, New York and Boston squaring off is a time-tested showdown. Once again they’re one and two atop the AL East and seem to be heading for another late-season showdown.
Is it wrong, though, that I want to see the fire? I love the idea of A-Rod saying the wrong thing to Papelbon and the whole thing disintegrating into yelling, shoving and then flying fists. Maybe it’s because I’m from Michigan and the only thing we have going for us there is hockey. But Papelbon and Rodriguez throwing down brings a smile to my face.
Maybe, though, it’s just a natural reaction to other world events. When female Russian handballers are going at it like Tyson and Holyfield while baseball players are meekly sitting the bench when their teammates get beaned, well, you know something is a little mixed up in the world. What, you don’t believe me? Well, believe this:
My money is on the blonde.
-Video via Deadspin
Despite the late-inning dramatics and clutch hitting by Team America,
the World Baseball Classic will be especially notable to MLB managers
because of the rash of injuries that has hit the players. With
important team leaders like Chipper Jones, Kevin Youkilis and Ryan
Braun suffering injuries, how do you think this will effect teams’
decisions to let their players participate next time around?
The World Baseball Classic, still in its infancy, is similar in that it has yet to find the perfect balance of entertainment and logic. We, the viewers, cannot expect it to be the perfect international tournament it aims to be — not yet at least.
There are naysayers. There are those who feel the Classic is a colossal waste of time. There are general managers and agents and players and pundits who see it as a liability more than an asset. And I understand their points of view.
If I were Omar Minaya or Theo Epstein or Frank Wren and I was forced to watch my best players risk injury in the name of a “friendly” tournament with seemingly zero tangible gain, I guess I would be a little ticked off too. But I believe the World Baseball Classic is more than just a King Bud money machine meant to get more people interested in Major League Baseball around the world. To me, it is a showcase of the most talented players on the planet: a baseball bravura boasting a playoff-like atmosphere during the most boring weeks of spring training.
And whether ballplayers are playing in the WBC or in Jupiter, Florida or with their kids at home, guys are going to get hurt.
Just ask Joel Zumaya about his Guitar Hero hangup.
Or just ask Aaron Boone about his penchant for pickup basketball.
Or just ask Ken Griffey, Jr. about wrestling with his children.
And while the easy way out is to say let us put an end to this World Baseball Classic for good and focus on the regular season, players are still going to find ways to injure themselves on and off the field. Personally, I would rather see a guy get hurt for his country than a video game.
The WBC only happens every few years, folks. Eventually, the kinks will be worked out. In the meantime, the foreseen benefits of firing up an entire baseball-following planet are far and beyond more plentiful than the occasional injury risks inherited by players, teams and front offices.
The truth is: baseball (yet again) was light years behind the rest of sports in not having an authentic international forum. And while the rewards of the Classic won’t be seen for another twenty years or so when little Chen Jianguo and Mario Perugino and Ned van Flanders are all grown up and starting superstars in the Majors, I think we all owe it to the world to give this tournament a chance — and most of all, to enjoy it.
But just to be safe, we should all continue to pray to the baseball gods that our team’s best players escape injury free and refrain from jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Though I cannot necessarily prove this theory in conventional form, as an honest human being with an affinity for disclosure, I assure you that I have good reason to believe both Republican juggernauts Ann “She-Devil” Coulter and Rush “Just Call Me Jabba” Limbaugh were hunched over their television sets last night vehemently rooting against Team USA, praying to their hypocritical conservative god that Team Puerto Rico would find a way to quell the dreams and aspirations of US Americans worldwide.
It didn’t work.
Jimmy Rollins and David Wright became the baseball versions of Barack Obama and Joe Biden — once bitter rivals who put aside their differences, bridged the gap and brought home a win when it mattered the most.
Get over it.
That goes for my colleague, Mr. Allen Krause as well. Because we all know that Mr. Krause would rather see Rollins and Wright duke out that “choke-fest” moniker on the field — the last man standing to be crowned the argument’s winner; but if we US Americans are really about anything, we are about coming together in times of need, when it matters most.
Unless you are a Republican, of course.
And though Obama has done a fine job of staying the course early on in his presidency, it appears he finally gave in and enlightened the snickering skeptics and delinquent ditto-heads by unintentionally posing as a Tusken Raider for the cameras:
This unfortunate photographic gaffe comes on the heels of an equally embarrassing egregious error regarding the double-talk surrounding those suspiciously infuriating AIG bonuses paid out to the very individuals responsible for schmucking the company’s total worth in the first place.
Are the Dems backpedaling on their original outcries?
Does this reflect poorly on the majority administration?
More harm than good, I would say.
Should we blindly follow the GOP sideshow leaders and trust that malcontent dissension is the social bonding agent of the future?
Rollins and Wright. Braun and Lilly. Jeter and Youk.
There is a time and place to battle it out, folks. But when enemy minds come through together in the clutch? That, my friends, is what makes the United States of America the greatest country on earth.
Ah… If only politics would mirror baseball.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
A loaded topic like this can really only take us in one direction: The weirdness that is the World Baseball Classic. Pedroia and Jeter trotting off the field together after a put-out at second base? That just doesn’t look right. Wright and Rollins manning the left side of the infield? Did I miss something?
Now, I realize that this weirdness can also happen during the All-Star Game but that’s a once a year freak-fest where the players wear odd uniforms and the outcome has taken on a disproportionate level of importance.
This is the World Baseball Classic, the World Cup of Baseball. I want drama. I want to watch MLB teammates like Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez whip themselves up into a nationalistic fervor so intense that they come to blows and then both demand trades. I want Jeter to talk about the toxic environment created by the presence of Red Sox players and former Yankees. I want David Wright and Jimmy Rollins to use this forum as an excuse to decide the NL East crown in the most logical fashion possible, pistols at dawn on the pitcher’s mound.
But no. Instead we get stories like this, where injured players are sticking around and other players are happy to sit the bench or take limited playing time just for the honor of being part of this team. Where’s a T.O. or a Latrell Sprewell when you really need them? Can we really allow this love fest to continue unabated?
However, there is still hope for the Scrooges among us. So far the US team has made congeniality easy by eking out a win over Canada and then pounding Venezeula. But what happens when they are faced with real challenges by way of Puerto Rico or Japan? Only then will we see what these players are really made of and what happens when vexing developments explode inside cramped locker-room havens.
But until that time I’m going to swallow my bile and cheer like a pre-pubescent girl at an early 90’s New Kids on the Block concert as the announcers rattle off the Pedroia to Jeter to Youkilis inning ending double-play. USA! USA! USA!