When The Great Stupid starts affecting my enjoyment of baseball, it’s personal.
I’m not watching another baseball game this “season,” and whether I ever do again is up for grabs. Someone in Major League Baseball’s marketing department should take notice, because when the game loses people like me—that is, lifetime, sophisticated, passionate fans, it’s in trouble. For almost 15 years, I never missed a single Boston Red Sox game. I’ve watched games in 13 different parks and stadiums; I shared a season ticket to the Baltimore Orioles for several years. I managed hundreds of Strat-O-Matic table top baseball games; along with two friends, I created and marketed a Red Sox trivia game in 1986. In 1978, I risked my job at Georgetown by walking out of a mandated staff meeting because the Red Sox-Yankee single game play-off was about to start, and I wasn’t about to miss it.
I just gave a Smithsonian Associates program on baseball. Most of all, much of my personal philosophy was built on baseball observations and experiences. Fenway Park is the single place on earth where I am entirely happy, and I choke up every time Robert Redford gives his “God, I love baseball” speech in “The Natural.”
This week, however, baseball players refused to play their games in solidarity with an obnoxious NBA protest. I take it as a personal insult, and the fact that MLB took no action against the players as signature significance. These people are not merely unethical fools, but unethical fools who are smug and arrogant about it.
I will not waste my valuable time and fragile emotions rooting for such people. I have more self-respect than that.
This week’s madness..CUE!!!!
…began with the NBA’s players spontaneously deciding to boycott their games. Again, the supine league decided to let them do it, making vague virtue-signalling noises about how they support the players’ activism in pursuit of “social justice.” Well, let me refine that: it really began when the evil NFL, which happily makes billions encouraging players to destroy their brains, decided at the outset of the George Floyd Freakout to not only allow widespread Kaepernicking, but to encourage it. Next we had pro baseball and basketball trying to top each other in betraying their obligations to fans of their teams and sport by endorsing not just political messages embraced by players and exhibited in the stadiums, but offensive or infuriatingly meaningless ones.
Point One: We do not watch professional sports, or any sports, to be lectured on politics by athletes who usually have the current events acumen of 14-year-olds.
Point Two: They are paid millions of dollars to do what they do well, which is competing in a sport, not to be vocal, ignorant activists. They have no right to inflict their infantile, peer-pressure forged opinions on ticket-buyers or TV viewers, just as I have no right to interrupt a legal ethics seminar to explain what a blight Nancy Pelosi is on our democracy. I can do that here, but I am my own boss here. The NFL was right—insert blind pig joke—to ban kneeling, and it and the other sports were morons…CUE!!!
…to reverse themselves so BLM mobs wouldn’t come to their leadership’s homes and demand they raise their fists.
Point Three: While the NBA and MLB didn’t have the guts or integrity to suspend the players who decided they were just, just, too emotional to do their jobs this week, the players’ actions cost their teams and sports media money from lost ad revenue, and essentially consisted of a raised middle finger to loyal team supporters who looked forward to their games, all while accomplishing nothing—literally nothing—regarding “social justice.”
I’m not going to regurgitate what I wrote repeatedly when the knees were falling all over the NFL, but the short version is that these are incoherent, useless, grandstanding gestures by people who couldn’t explain on a bet what exactly they want to communicate other than “Do something!” and “Look at me! I care!”, or how it could possibly do anything for “social justice.”
I snapped when yesterday, the day after baseball’s sympathy strike, I listened to a snippet of two commentators—I think one was a former player andthe other a former GM— on the Sirius-XM MLB network talking about how impressive and noble it was for the L.A .Dodgers to unify in purpose because Mookie Betts had announced that he “didn’t feel comfortable” playing the scheduled game. This was the right thing to do, they intoned, because “this is a moment in history” that is more important than games, and the players were right to take a stand.
There went my head, right in the car. And how does taking a night off from your job address any social problems? What moment in history? You mean the “moment in history” where violent gangs of assholes are roaming the streets, setting fires and frightening people because Democratic elected officials are afraid of being called racists if they enforce the law? Or do you mean the “moment in history” where large numbers of an entire race has decided that the solution to its many problems (a significant number of which are of their own making) is to denigrate another race, trash their own country, demonize police, and demand increasingly unjust and destructive accommodations until they have seeded a race war, just like Charles Manson always wanted?
Mookie Betts has a contract worth more than a third of a billion dollars. Instead of not doing his job to pursue..something..why doesn’t he pledge, oh, let’s say 100 million or so to, oh, just as a wild example, exhort African Americans to cooperate with police like citizens are supposed to, and explian why this is in everyone’s best interests? As an aside, Mookie shows how nice people let fame and fortune turn them into jerks. I am glad the Red Sox traded Mookie. He now thinks he has special importance beyond how well he plays baseball. He doesn’t. He’s playing in my field now, and Mookie Betts has as much business publicly instructing the anyone on right and wrong as I have playing right field for the Dodgers.
The NBA’s acknowledged king of kings, LaBron James tweeted out “We Demand Change! Sick of it!” What exactly are you sick of. Lebron? He told interviewers,
“It’s just, quite frankly, it’s just fucked up in our community. I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but we are scared as Black people in America. Black men, Black women, Black kids we are terrified. If you’re sitting here telling me that there was no way to subdue that gentleman, or detain him, or before the firing of guns, then you’re sitting here you’re lying to not only me, you’re lying to every African American, every Black person in the community because we see it over and over and over.”
I’m sick of the Lebron Jameses who use their outsized influence to shoot off their mouths and tweets without knowing what the HELL they are talking about.
In the case of Jacob Blake, we know that police used a taser on him—I’d say that was one way to subdue him, wouldn’t you, Labron? We also know that while being told to stop, and not to reach into his car, he did exactly what he was warned not to do. Eventually we will be informed of whether police reasonably thought Blake was reaching for a weapon, justifying the police shooting. but the easiest, simplest way for that shooting to be avoided was for Blake to do what he was ordered to do.
If black women are terrified, I presume that among the things that terrify them are men like Blake, whom police were attempting to protect a black woman from. A criminal complaint held that at 6 a.m. on May 3, Blake entered his ex-girlfriend’s home in an attempt to retrieve his property, and while there, “penetrated the woman with his fingers” without her consent—that’s called “rape.” Then,
Blake, 29, was forbidden from going to the Kenosha home of his alleged victim from the May 3 incident, and police were dispatched Sunday following a 911 call saying he was there. The responding officers were aware he had an open warrant for felony sexual assault, according to dispatch records and the Kenosha Professional Police Association, which released a statement on the incident on Friday. That police union statement also claimed that Blake was armed with a knife at the time of the shooting — and had put one cop in a headlock and shrugged off two Taser attempts while resisting arrest….
This isn’t racial profiling. This isn’t sytemmic racism. Why are you grandstanding for this creep, Mookie? LeBron? Anybody? Do you even know the still incomplete facts of the episode? Of course you don’t. You’re being assholes, and your pathetic sports are not only allowing you to be assholes, they are applauding you for it. The theory is that somehow, this makes things better in America. CUE!
And hence, The Great Stupid.
Or is it George Floyd the athletes are protesting about? We know that Officer Chauvin wasn’t a racist, or if he was, he had done a marvelous job hiding it. We know he wasn’t intentionally trying to kill Floyd, just being negligently cruel and brutal because 1) he was that kind of cop and 2) Floyd–of course!—had resisted arrest. Now we also know that this week…
…prosecutors who have charged Derek Chauvin with murder released a document that suggests that he had nothing to do with Floyd’s death, which in all likelihood resulted from a drug overdose. Not only that, prosecutors have known that fact for months. At 7:30 p.m. on May 31, 2020, prosecutors “met” online with Dr. Andrew Baker, Chief Medical Examiner of Hennepin County, to discuss Floyd’s toxicology report….”
“So there they were, staring at the just-received and damning toxicology report that blew to smithereens the whole prosecution theory that the police had killed Floyd. To their undoubted dismay, Dr. Baker, the chief medical examiner, had to concede that at 11 ng/mL, Floyd had “a fatal level of fentanyl under normal circumstances.” He also conceded that the fentanyl overdose “can cause pulmonary edema,” a frothy fluid build-up in the lungs that was evidenced by the finding at autopsy that Floyd’s lungs weighed two to three times normal weight. This is consistent with Officer Kueng’s observation at the scene that Floyd was foaming at the mouth and, as found at autopsy, that his lungs were “diffusely congested and edematous.”
“In other words, like a drowned man, Floyd’s lungs were filled with fluid. And that was the obvious and inescapable reason why Floyd kept shouting over and over again that he couldn’t breathe even when he was upright and mobile.”
The memorandum ends with Dr. Baker’s devastating conclusion that “if Floyd had been found dead in his home (or anywhere else) and there were no other contributing factors he [Dr. Baker] would conclude that it was an overdose death.” It is quite telling that this explosively exculpatory June 1 memorandum was not released by the prosecution until August 25, 2020. All of which prompts these questions: First, why did the prosecution wait three months to release this memorandum?Second, if the prosecution had released this information in a timely fashion, would that have helped to quell the anti-police outrage that has fueled the nationwide orgy of rioting and looting? Third, in light of Floyd’s toxicology results and the medical examiner’s assessment that Floyd’s fentanyl overdose caused him to essentially drown in his own bodily fluid, why haven’t the charges against all of the police defendants been dropped?
Never mind; Facts Don’t Matter. Are the players grandstanding because of what happened to George Floyd, which may have been entirely his own doing? Was it because of what happened to Blake when he tried to harass his alleged rape victim? Is it all just a primal scream expressing nothing useful at all, and yet an empty, juvenile and obnoxious gesture that we are supposed to respect…why, because the screamers are athletes? Being led by black athletes? What?
Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Baseball, released a statement saying in part, “I have said both publicly and privately that I respect those decisions and support the need to address social injustice.” 100% empty rhetoric. What does “address social injustice” mean? Fred Wilpon, the owner of the New York Mets, released another statement saying, “The entire Mets organization remains committed to creating meaningful change in our society.”
What meaningful change? Where were the competent journalists who demanded answers to that question?
Well, I guess that was a rant. And I don’t even feel better.