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.

Jered Weaver announces his retirement

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Jered Weaver, a 12-year big league veteran and a three-time All-Star, has announced his retirement.

Weaver was struggling mightily with the Padres this year, going 0-5 in nine starts and posting a 7.44 ERA,, a 2.6 BB/9 and 4.9 K/9 ratio over 42.1 innings. He hadn’t posted a sub-4.00 ERA since 2014 and his velocity had, quite famously, sunk into the low 80s and even high 70s at times in recent seasons. A spate of physical setbacks contributed to that, with a hip inflammation ailing him this season and nerve issues in his neck and back afflicting him for the past few years.

But even if his recent seasons have been less-than-memorable, it’s worth remembering that he was, for a time, one of baseball’s best pitchers. He posted a record of 131-69 with a 3.28 ERA in his first 9 seasons, leading the American League in strikeouts in 2010 and leading the circuit in wins in 2012 and 2014. He likewise led the league in WHIP and hits allowed per nine innings in 2012.

He finishes his career with a record of 150-98, an ERA of 3.63 (ERA+ of 111) and a K/BB ratio of 1,621/551 in 2,067.1 innings. He pitched in four American League Division Series and the 2009 ALCS, posting a 2.67 ERA in seven playoff games pitched.

Happy trails, Jered. A first-ballot induction into the Hall of He Was Really Dang Good, Even if We Forgot About It For A While is in your future.

The Jose Fernandez statue may be in jeopardy

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Last November it was reported that the Marlins planned to build a memorial for Jose Fernandez, likely including a statue. The effort was said to be a pet project of the Marlins owner, Jeff Loria, who was close with Fernandez.

Today the Miami Herald reports, however, that those plans are in limbo due to the sale of the team:

The planned statue to honor Jose Fernandez, which was departing owner Jeffrey Loria’s idea, is now very much in question because it will not be erected before Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter take over, and it will ultimately be the new owners’ call. That matter has not yet been discussed, with the sale agreed to only in the past few days.

There’s nothing in the report suggesting that they’re opposed to the statue — it’s possible this was placed in the Herald by people close to the new group in order to test the waters — but there always was the sense that the idea was something of a priority for Loria personally. One wonders how much momentum it will have once he’s gone.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that Fernandez was eventually found to have been under the influence of alcohol and cocaine and was behind the wheel of the boat at the time of the accident that claimed his life and the life of two others, making any memorial to him suspect in the eyes of some people.

Thankfully we don’t spend a lot of time and energy discussing the ethics of statues in this country, so I’m sure it’ll have no bearing on the matter.