Protesting the lameness — and the homophobia — of the "kiss cam"

31 Comments

This Saturday the Cardinals are holding an “OUT at the ballpark” promotion in conjunction with a local LGBT group.  This is not uncommon. Lots of ballparks do this.  What is less common is that some people behind the event are wanting to turn it into a protest of sorts over how ballparks, stadiums and areans use the “Kiss Cam.”

The idea for a kiss cam moment came about after Sunday’s Ram’s
game against the Arizona Cardinals. During the game, the kiss cam
focused on two men in Arizona jerseys who jeered at the camera and
made expressions of distaste toward one another.

Some gays and lesbians who were at the game said it appeared
that by having the kiss cam linger on the men – who seemed to them
to be straight — there was an insinuation that the men were gay.
The kiss cam catch was followed by hoots and derisive cheers from
the audience.

I’ve always hated the kiss cam because it’s kind of lame, but I’ve especially never cared for that last, homophobic moment they almost always seem to create, as described above.

I used to go to a lot of Indians games with a buddy of mine and we made a pact that if they ever tried to use us as the pretext for mocking homosexuals that we’d immediately — and with as much passion as we could muster — kiss each other.  Yeah, that would have made for an uncomfortable drive back to Columbus, but the point would be made.

Actually, I take that back. The point wouldn’t have been made. I think it’s possible to get almost anyone to question their bigotry if you try hard enough, but homophobes seem like a lost cause to me. The lack of even the pretense of reason behind that junk is astounding.

So I wish the protesters at the Cardinals game who want to get on the kiss-cam in order to make a point this weekend good luck, but my guess that, regrettably, they’re not going to change any minds. To the contrary, they’ll probably only make the bigots more comfortable with their bigotry and the kiss cam will continue to be a source of lame gay jokes for years to come.

(h/t to The Big Lead)

Clay Buchholz apologized to the Phillies for getting injured

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
2 Comments

MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.

According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.

It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.

Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.

Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.

Eric Thames leaves game with apparent injury

Dylan Buell/Getty Images
1 Comment

Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

*

Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.

The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.