Lance Berkman says tolerance is bad, claims he has been “persecuted”

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As we noted before the election, Lance Berkman cut some ads in favor of an ultimately successful campaign to defeat an anti-discrimination ordinance in Houston which would prohibit bias in housing, employment, city contracting and business services for 15 protected classes, including race, age, sexual orientation and gender identity. Hundreds of cities have such ordinances.

Opponents of the ordinance had a number of legal and procedural objections to it based on how it was passed, its breadth and no small amount of political intrigue surrounding it over the previous couple of years, but the main rhetoric of the campaign didn’t focus on such things, probably because such things are complicated.

Rather, opponents latched on to the gender identity provision and centered their campaign around the notion that it would allow men to claim to be women, enter women’s restrooms and attack everyone’s wives and daughters. Really, that was the campaign. And that was the substance of the ads that Berkman cut. Such claims, by the way, are entirely fabricated as there have been zero reported cases of transgender people attacking people in bathrooms, locker rooms and the like. Rather than questions of legislative breadth or overreach, it was basically about vilifying transgender people and fear-mongering.

Following the defeat of the ordinance, Berkman gave an interview about it and about the feedback he received for his participation in the campaign, which he calls “digital persecution.” He went on:

To me tolerance is the virtue that’s killing this country. We’re tolerant of everything. You know, everything is okay, and as long as you want to do it and as long as it feels good to you then it’s perfectly acceptable do it. Those are the kinds of things that lead you down a slippery slope, and you’ll get in trouble in a hurry.

Lance Berkman was raised and trained to hit baseballs, not be an expert on theories of government so I don’t expect him to be a deft student of political theory. However even a basic understanding of civil society makes it clear that the “everything is okay, and as long as you want to do it” thing is what most people call “freedom” and “liberty” and the limits we place on that as a society are “unless they harm others.”

Berkman probably does know that much actually, as the ads he cut all attempted — quite desperately — to point out a harm (i.e. the safety of women and children) that he felt outweighed the freedoms involved (i.e. the right of people to assert a gender identity, have it recognized and to use public facilities like any other human being). Of course it’s a 100% invented harm, the likes of which have never been reported anywhere. But hey, better err on the paranoid side than to dare engage in such dastardly things as “tolerance.”

Beyond that, I think it’s safe to say that as a rich and famous person who is of the dominant race, gender and sexual orientation in our country and as a member of the majority religion in every place he’s ever lived, Lance Berkman has not suffered anything approaching “persecution” in his life, digital or otherwise. What he has experienced is what political scientists call “criticism,” and for that no one sheds any tears. Especially when the basis for such criticism is so very well-founded.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.