As a young boy growing up in the middling middle-class of US America, my dreams were aplenty.
In particular, I dreamed of a day when I would succeed as a professional baseball player. Wearing the mask behind the plate, I envisioned catching the called third strike to win the World Series… rushing to the mound, hugging my pitcher, shouting til I lost my voice.
So too did aspiring to be a great leader. Always the smooth talker with a penchant for spontaneous charm, I reckoned I had the skills to become a good politician.
Neither dream became reality; and poor old me had to settle for co-writing a hit baseball blog.
But that’s okay.
I mean, I still wish I could have lived out those Major League aspirations… but when it comes to politics, I couldn’t be happier that I eschewed it all the way. (Yeah, I just said ‘eschewed’. I like that word. Eschew. Say it with me. Eschew.) Because to be honest, politics is boring as hell. Oh sure, the Jack Kennedys and Bill Clintons and Ronald Reagans and Barack Obamas make it look flashy and fun and cool; but most of what goes on behind the political scene is as boring as Tommy Lasorda is fat.
Of course, you wouldn’t know it by watching this clip, which just happens to be the most exciting exchange on the senate floor since Strom Thurmond admitted he still owned slaves. Okay, he didn’t admit that, but he probably should have.
Will the Senator from Connecticut please continue…
Oh, sorry. You’re still reading? Cool.
So, what did we learn? Franken is an ^ss. McCain is old. Lieberman is confused.
Don’t hate me. ‘Cuz I’m right.
PS, Thanks so much for all the kind well wishes you sent me on my birthday. Much appreciated! Fist bumps all around!
You don’t have to be gay or openly support gay rights to feel a little chill at the news coming out of Uganda right now. For a country that is supposed to be one of the brighter spots in sub-Saharan Africa (excepting the still turbulent north), the recent news and continuing coverage of a law that, if passed, would be one of the the most draconian and repressive anti-gay laws in the world is particularly troubling. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, though, considering that the “developed” world hasn’t really made that much more progress.
Don’t believe me? Here’s an example. Raise your hand if you saw Sacha Baron Cohen’s film Bruno this past summer. Ok, now keep your hand up if you enjoyed it. Yeah, a lot of hands went down there, didn’t they? And why is that? Was it any less funny than Borat? Were the stunts any less ridiculous? Did he take advantage of people to a greater degree than he did in Borat? I’ll admit that some of the scenes were over the top. But honestly, there was nothing there that was nearly as offensive as most of what happened in Borat.
So, why didn’t people like the movie? Well, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it has a lot to do with being uncomfortable. It’s easy to laugh at xenophobia. It’s easy to laugh at a village simpleton who doesn’t understand the way things are done elsewhere. But the in-your-face sexuality of Bruno is discomfiting. The character doesn’t hide who he is and rather goes out of his way to flaunt it. Even those who consider themselves supportive of gay rights seemed to find themselves ejected from their comfort zones by Bruno’s portrayal of such extreme sexuality.
These same currents flow even deeper in the world of sports. Imagine for a second if Tiger Woods had admitted to having multiple affairs with men. At this point, despite his so-called indiscretions, he still has his marketing deals and no one is really considering cutting them, even if they probably will use the affairs to leverage the rates they pay. But if it had been 11 men? Or even 10 women and 1 man? He’d be out the door faster than a neo-Nazi at a Rufus Wainwright concert.
Within Major League Baseball, only two players have come out and both of them did it well after their careers had ended. They knew that there was just no way that who they were would be accepted. The article linked above notes one particular anecdote that gets right to the heart of the matter:
“In his recently published memoir, Going the Other Way, [Billy] Bean
(not the A’s GM) recounts how Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda constantly made homophobic
jokes, even as Lasorda’s gay son was dying from AIDS.”
The sad thing is, an openly gay baseball player, or even football or basketball player, could go a long way towards helping people become more comfortable with homosexuality. As support for gay marriage has grown in the US, the statistics show that much of that has to do with knowing someone who is gay. When that someone you know is the guy who plays second base for your team, well, that just might have an even bigger impact.
This isn’t going to change overnight. Intolerance is a deep-seated problem that takes generations to truly root out. But like it or not, in the same way that athletes are held up as examples and role-models all over the world, our country is also held up as an example all over the world. If we want to criticize Uganda for its inhumane law, we should probably take a look closer to home as well.
Tommy LaSorda is fat. I mean really fat. So is John Kruk. Which current
ballplayer or manager is most likely to become grotesquely obese like
these two men?
Due to the recent developments and growing notoriety of Red State Blue State, it is certainly arguable that I may have lost any sense of humility I once had. My attorney has advised me to remain silent on this issue, so I will; however, I cannot stop myself from pointing out the increasingly shallow nature of my colleague, Allen Krause. After much deliberation, my agent has advised me to go ahead and tackle this insensitive inquiry despite the possible repercussions because “there is no such thing as bad press.”
So, Al, my aura and I will now address your lowbrow turn from inquisitive, thought-provoking debate:
Yeah, Lasorda is overweight. Kruk is overweight. A slew of baseball folks easily fit into that dangerous weight category. But you know what? That’s just one of the many reasons why I enjoy the game of baseball more than any other sport.
How many competitive sports do you know where a 300 pound man without muscle tone toting around a big, paunch beer belly can be considered a real athlete? Sure, the NFL has 300+ pound men all over the field, but those guys work out and look good (for the most part). Meanhwile, big slobby-lookin’ dudes like David Wells, Bobby Jenks and David Weathers thrive as dominant athletes… well, Wells (used to) and Jenks (does) anyway.
I find it quite satisfying seeing an everyday-lookin’ joe like Jenks or Kruk achieve all that success with such a corpulent physique. It reminds me that baseball is a game that anyone can play — fat guys included — so it creates the illusion that even I, a 29 year old, 5’8, 155 lb. Mandarin-speaking white guy with a 48 mph fastball and a slider that always hangs, could possibly make it to the Big Leagues. Okay, maybe I’m totally wrong on that… but you get my point.
Of course, this isn’t what Mr. Krause wants to hear. What he is really asking is which current manager/player is most likely to be the face of NutriSystem, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig.
That is the dumbest question I have ever heard, Al, and you should be ashamed for taking up such precious MLBlog space by asking it. The 2008 season has begun, your team stinks, my team is in first place, the Jason Grilli ERA Watch has dipped considerably (8.44 at the time of this publication), the Diamondbacks are the best team in baseball, the Sawx v. Evil Empire series is in full-force and all you can muster out of that skinny little head of yours is ‘who will be the fattest person in baseball?’
I see what you’re trying to do: you’re trying to paint me into a corner, force me to make a fool of myself and talk about something else so we will be distracted from the atrocities of the Tigers and your point of view. Mr. Krause, I will not subject our readers to such shallow diatribes.
But I will post some pictures of my favorite plus-size ballplayers, past and present:
So there you have it. 9 of my favorite players with above average appetites. All this writing about it is making me hungry. I think I’ll just have an apple.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.