I think it’s fair game to go after a player’s performance. But to go after a player personally is another thing altogether. Sure, if they put their character or behavior in question, fine, but there’s a big difference between “Player X stinks” and “Player X is a jerk.”
Many more steps beyond that on the vile-o-meter is going after a player’s family. Which is what happened to Heath Bell after he and the Marlins were featured on “The Franchise,” and which has led to him and his family quitting social media altogether. Because people were saying all kinds of ugly things, such as …
“That (Bell’s wife is) ugly, fat, disgusting,” Bell said when asked what were some of the negative comments he had seen on the Internet. “That my kids are not really good. They’re ugly looking. They’re not respectful. That I can’t pitch because I don’t have a beautiful wife. All those good things. Anything you can think of … It was everywhere.”
One of Bell’s kids has Down Syndrome, by the way.
I know that public figures are going to draw the idiots, and maybe public figures should do their best to ignore the noise, but there’s no excuse for that crap.
People are the worst.
(thanks to Jim C for the heads up)
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”