Reader Dissent: “Craig, you are such a pinko communist tool”

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This is in response to the Luke Scott stuff, obviously. And I disagree with it even if the reader is 66% correct in his first sentence:

Craig, you are such a pinko communist tool.  You certainly are not qualified to comment on anyone’s beliefs, even those that aren’t part of the orchestrated drivel the “news” feeds us.  You are part of the mind feck that MSNBC and all those sites engage in.  The only sheep are those that don’t question the shite that is force-fed down Americans’ throats.  The fact that you use your sports blog on a major website to forward your political beliefs shows what a complete tool you are.  I would love for you to see Scott again and he kick the libel b.s. out of your arse to teach you some manners.

And no, I didn’t change his spelling. He used the cleaned-up version of the curse words on his own.  I appreciate that kind of courtesy.

As for the substance: sorry, but you don’t get to place “100% counter-factual assertions” into the category of “beliefs.”  A difference in beliefs would exist if Luke Scott was a passionate supporter of the Taft-Hartley Act and I, in contrast, believed that it was in conflict with important principles of our democratic society.  In that case, to each his own, and I don’t think anyone would be objecting to Scott’s statement today. But the assertion of something that is 100% factually incorrect gets no protection as the product of one’s belief system. Unless one’s belief system is premised on stupidity.

One other thing: someone asked me today why I think this is even blog-worthy.  The easy answer is that, well, it’s interesting, as the  response to it makes clear.  But I’ll give you an even deeper answer, and it has to do with athletes and how we view them as a society.

There are no public figures in life who are more lionized than professional athletes. They are presumed — without any reason other than their athletic exploits — to be role models before we know anything about them. Unlike other people, they are lauded as heroes for simply doing their job. The only people who deserve that kind of treatment are fireman, policemen, soldiers and the people in the business of saving lives, in my opinion.  While many athletes are admirable and wonderful people — and it always makes me happy when we learn that they are — many are given a status in our society that far outstrips their actual accomplishments simply by virtue of their ability to hit or throw or tackle or dunk.

As such, when one reveals himself to be aggressively and proudly ignorant regarding the issues of the day, yes, I do believe that is worth discussing in this forum, if for no other reason than to make the case that athletes are of little value to the public at large beyond the entertainment value they provide.  And they do provide a ton of entertainment. But let us not forget that we are their fans because of what they do on the field. Not because they’re smarter or better or more respectable than any of us are.

Not even Luke Scott, believe it or not.

Kevin Kiermaier on Rays’ recent moves: “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset.”

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On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”

Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.

The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.

When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.