Simmons, Deadspin are wrong to hate on Kansas City

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As you know by now, Kansas City has been selected as the site of the 2012 All-Star game.  In the past 24 hours this decision has been subjected to derision by two of the most influential voices in online sports media: Bill Simmons and Deadspin. I have much love for both The Sports Guy and the House that Leitch Built, but they’re absolutely full of it in this case.

Simmons didn’t hit the matter hard, but he did it on his Twitter feed last night, sarcastically cheering the choice by sayingYeah!!!! Four days in Kansas City in mid-July when
it’s 110 degrees!!!!! Who’s in???” and then agreeing with readers that one of the New York parks, Washington, Philadelphia or Minnesota were better options. When a reader reminded him that Kauffman Stadium was “new” it appeared that he either (a) assumed that the person was mistakenly suggesting that it was a 100% brand new ballpark and sarcastically changed his mind; or (b) honestly didn’t know about the renovations to the place himself.  He then moved on.

Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky was a lot more hostile in his post this afternoon, saying Kauffman “received the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, for some reason. No clear reason,
actually,” and seemed to completely miss the fact that the Royals and the people of Kansas City just got done pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a massive renovation.  Petchesky went on to say “All-Star Games should be about either showcasing shiny new stadiums, or
beautiful old ones,” and added that Kauffman was “far from beautiful.”

Which merely shows that Petchesky has never been to Kauffman Stadium, because he’d be hard pressed to find a more beautiful park in Major League Baseball.  I mean it — the place is gorgeous and — the quality of the current tenants notwithstanding —  it’s a wonderful setting in which to see a game.

But maybe that’s just an aesthetic difference on our parts. More troubling for me is what seems to be a weird schizophrenia on Petchesky part about the value of an All-Star Game to begin with.  On the one hand he says Kansas City doesn’t deserve it, and that it should be a reward to places with newer parks or a longer, richer baseball heritage.  Then he goes on to trash the reality of having an All-Star Game in one’s town, saying that the financial benefits are “bunk” and that it’s a giant hassle for everyone involved.  So I assume that you don’t care if Kansas City has it then, Barry?

Overall, both Simmons and Petchesky take on the matter reeks of — and I don’t believe I’m going to say this — coastal bias.  Doesn’t matter which coast. Simmons is physically on the west while his mind and heart reside in the east.  I don’t know where Petchsky lives, but the whole “Kansas City? Really?” attitude just stinks of the east coast and people who call anything west of the Hudson flyover territory.

I propose this: a road trip for Simmons, Petchesky and Joe Posnanski or some other person who appreciates how cool Kansas City really is – and it’s very, very cool — to disabuse them of whatever misinformation they’ve been fed about the place over the years.

Then we can revisit this in 2012 when baseball holds its All-Star Game in a beautiful park that is home to great baseball fans and is surrounded by a pretty damn spiffy city.

UPDATE:  More Kansas City scorn, this time wrapped up in a bow of “oh, wouldn’t it be great if Boston got the All-Star Game!”  So right. I mean, the Sox are so overlooked and they haven’t had an All-Star Game in Fenway since 1999!

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.