To the players, the rivalries aren’t that big of a deal for their own sake

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Following up on that stuff about fraternization from yesterday: I wasn’t aware of it until a reader told me yesterday, but there is a rule against players making nice before games. It’s Rule 3.09:

Players in uniform shall not address or mingle with spectators, nor sit in the stands before, during, or after a game. No manager, coach or player shall address any spectator before or during a game. Players of opposing teams shall not fraternize at any time while in uniform.

Well, good for Rule 3.09. It’s still stupid, even if it’s in the rule book.  I spoke this morning to Joe Sheehan — who will be our guest on HBT Daily later today — and he said that the rule is an old one, borne of a fear that players will conspire to fix games, which was not uncommon back in eighteen-dickety-seven through 1919.  Not so much of a concern these days, and certainly divorced from the notion of pretending that baseball players on opposing teams are blood rivals.

Which, according to Lance Berkman, who got a glimpse of the Red Sox-Yankees thing last year and is now heading into Chicago for the first time as a Cardinal, is certainly not the case:

“The fans and the media are the ones that really get that fired up about it,” Berkman said. “I mean for us, obviously we want to win, they’re a tough team. But it’s not like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a blood match.'”

I think that, to the extent you see animosity among rivals it’s a personal thing. There were some Red Sox players who really didn’t care for Alex Rodriguez a few years ago. There are likely some Cardinals who don’t like Carlos Zambrano at all.  But “Red Sox vs. Yankees” and “Cubs vs. Cardinals” is more of an abstract concept.  Sure, the competition is fierce, because all competition at the professional level is fierce. And yes, if there are serious stakes in play, the competition can be ratcheted up a notch.

But the tribalism if “Cubs bad, Cardinals good!” just isn’t the kind of thing that resonates in big league ballplayers.  And I’m fine with that.

Jose Canseco tweeted some dumb things about sexual harassment yesterday

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Former A’s star Jose Canseco made a series of tweets about sexual misconduct and politicians yesterday. Those tweets led to condemnation from his former team and from NBC Sports California, which employed him as an analyst in 2017.

Among his tweets were comments such as, “What is going on with all these politicians molesting women I’ve been molested by several women and never complained,” and “These women complaining against sexual misconduct are just racist against ugly men.” After he began to receive pushback, he tweeted about political correctness and claimed that the media was overly concerned with him. The tweets, as of this writing, are still up on his page if you’re curious to see them.

Late yesterday, the A’s said this in response:

Among the A’s “most trusted partners,” is NBC Sports California, which is — full, obvious disclosure — affiliated with NBC, and which broadcasts A’s games. Last season Canseco worked for the network, serving as a pregame and postgame analyst. NBC Sports California said the following in response to Canseco’s tweets:

Jose Canseco is no longer an employee with NBC Sports California. His agreement with us ended after the 2017 baseball season. We certainly don’t agree with his comments, which do not reflect the values of our network or our team partner.

Canseco, who has found himself in and out of controversy many, many times since breaking on to the scene in the 1980s, had found notoriety with his Twitter account in recent years. Several of his tweets, many of which were composed by ghostwriters, went viral due to their surreal or absurd quality. One strongly suspects that these tweets were not written by his creative team.