Maintaining a blog ain’t easy. Coming up with something of value to say everyday… Tough gig.
I’ll admit it, I’ve been lazy this summer. It’s not like things haven’t crossed my mind, but the idea of sitting down and writing has escaped me. Not good for a writer.
Maybe I should take some banned substances… You know, juice up. I guess in the writing game an equivalent might be plagiarism. Yeah, I’ll just shoot my own writing up with some bigger and stronger ideas. Borrow a few things. Hell, if I don’t get caught, what does it matter. No harm, no foul. I’ll hire a coach, make him swear to keep our dealings secret or maybe even have him ghost write. If I get called in front of a government panel or perhaps some fans, I’ll just take the 5th. So what if they made my books best sellers. They don’t need an explanation. Fine me… Sue me… I’ll always be back.
There is a malaise in this country that I have never seen or felt before… or at least felt this strongly. It started in the Bush years… We seemed resolved to the fact that our country was going down the toilet and there was nothing we could do. So we let things happen… horrible things… war and lies and the demolition of the very Constitution that created this great country. We were depressed and sad and angry, but resolved. This was the way it was and would be for while. Ah well.
Same thing with baseball, which according to my wife and our friend is now a conversation as taboo as politics.
“Oh let’s not talk about that again…”
“Let it go…”
But I cannot let it go. It means something and should mean something. People seemed okay with Manny’s suspension. The anger lasted a second, and then all they could talk about was his return, where he was celebrated like a war hero.
Why do we ignore those who have never strayed, yet celebrate those who have collapsed and fight back? I get it, I do. It makes a much better story on the news or talk shows to talk about your drug binges and crime sprees and how you hit bottom, only to claw back to the top… To say you were on the straight and narrow is boring… But you know what, it ain’t easy… It’s a struggle and a fight and a battle every day. And we need to show that kind of dedication some loving, too.
The only one in LA, seemingly, who did not buy into this Manny love was the brilliant Bill Plaschke of the LA Times. He has not been happy and is not afraid to speak his mind. When Manny’s name came up again in a recent leak from the MLB report on banned substances and it was noted that he tested positive in 2003, and several other years, there was but a squeak… Oops.
So the Red Sox World Series victory was tainted… Oops. Funny how the same Red Sox fans vilified A Rod when his name was leaked… But I think that is part of the problem. Fans tend to “protect” their own. If it is an “enemy” then he is a doer of evil… but if it is one of their own… He made a mistake… he paid a huge fine… he paid his dues…
Yes, Manny Ramirez lost more money than most people make in a lifetime… But how many people have paid into that salary… People who pay for tickets and food and Manny jerseys and shirts? People who should not be spending as much as they do for those items… These are the ones he let down, yet they’re okay with it… They can let it go…
I can’t. None of us should.
Think back to when you were a kid… how our teams stayed together. How we got know each player by name and number. Each year we would look forward to the next, to follow our heroes… Yes, there were trades and perhaps even scandals… but the game was different… the time was different. Hell, I cried inconsolably the day that Thurman Munson died. I still miss that man. And the pain I feel for Don Mattingly retiring right before the Yanks won a series. These were work horses, ball players, heroes.
Cal Ripken’s consecutive game record will never be broken. Because the game is no longer about training and stamina and joy… It is about instant success with no regard for the side effects or what is down the line. It is about win now at any physical and mental cost. It is no longer a game, it is a business… Hell it sounds like a Savings and Loan… or a greedy Wall Street brokerage.
Professional sports needs a bail out… but most importantly, it needs people who truly care… on both sides of the field.
Baseball was made for kids, and grown-ups only screw it up.” – Bob Lemon