Sorry, I don’t have to appreciate the way Josh Lueke has “persevered”

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Rays’ reliever Josh Lueke was charged with rape, pleaded out to a lesser charge and did 42 days in prison. As far as I’m concerned he’s human garbage, even if some baseball teams think it’s worth still employing him because of his fastball (which hasn’t been able to get anyone out, but that’s another topic).

So forgive me if I’m not on board with a blog post, the premise of which is essentially “Josh Lueke may have raped someone but being good at baseball offers him redemption of some kind.”  Really:

You can hate Josh Lueke’s guts, but you have to appreciate the way he has persevered through the critical mistake he made and all the opportunities that have passed him by … as Lueke finds success for the first time at the major level, we’ll be captivated by his dominating arsenal, and justifiably or not, his past will be forgotten as Rays fans watch him help their team win games.

No, I don’t have to appreciate that at all.

As for the second part: sadly, yes, some people may forget that because as we’ve regrettably learned so often of late, it’s amazing what people will forget or even forgive if you happen to be good at sports. But the truth is that sports are not a vehicle for moral or ethical redemption. They are games, no more, no less, and the noise in the linked post is the logical extension of our society’s fetish for grafting narratives onto said games.

If there is such a thing as redemption for a rapist like Leuke, it comes via one’s acts in the real world. The price they pay. The things they learn. The efforts they make to redress the damage they’ve done and the efforts they make to prevent such damage from being done again. It is measured by the true character of the person, not their athletic accomplishments. I don’t know Lueke or anything else about him besides his rap sheet and his B-R.com page so I’m not the arbiter of his soul, conscience or ethical self, but I do know that flinging a baseball well or even being a good clubhouse citizen — something the author also gives Lueke credit for – is completely irrelevant with respect to that stuff.

As for the author: pro tip: if you ever are again inclined to write something which basically says “this guy may have raped someone but sports …” just stop. Please. Don’t even consider it.

Carlos Gomez doesn’t see any need to apologize for walk-off homer celebration

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On Sunday, Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez hit a walk-off home run against the Twins. He was very fired up about his accomplishment and celebrated:

The Twins have already gotten upset with a player for bunting while Jose Berrios worked on a one-hit shutout. No one on the Twins said anything about Gomez’s antics, but even if they had, Gomez wouldn’t have felt any need to apologize, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Gomez said, “It’s something I know a lot of people are talking good about this, that baseball needs more of that. And some people say it’s not good. If enjoying and having fun in baseball is bad, I’m guilty.”

He added, “I was not trying to disrespect anybody. I was not looking to the other side, not looking at the ball. I was looking at my guys.”

Gomez also said that baseball is “getting a little boring.” His advice? “Enjoy it. Have fun. It’s competition.”

Can’t argue with that.