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Sympathy for the Devil
2007-04-20 08:24
by Emma Span
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Since I wrote about Carl Pavano last week, he . . . well, you know. (Whatever. Anybody can win with more than one legitimate major league starter on their roster! Where’s the fun in that?). I wasn't home that day and didn’t get to join in the discussion in the comments, but there was some good, thoughtful debate going on, and I wanted to follow up. First of all, several people pointed out, and I agree, that in sports too much is made of machismo and “playing through pain”. Not to say that moments like Kirk Gibson’s legendary World Series homer aren’t admirable,* or even inspirationalbut there’s no shame in prioritizing your long-term health over a baseball game, either.

But several people raised another interesting point: if you really believed that, for example, Carl Pavano is a gutless liar (and to be clear, I’m not saying he isjust using it as a hypothetical), can you turn around and root for him this year? [Insert obligatory joke about how he probably won’t pitch again til 2008 anyway. Pause for laughter]. It’s hardly a new issue, just part of a broader question: how do we decide who to root for? Is it anybody on our team, no matter who they are or what they’ve doneup to, as someone jokingly put it, Charles Mansonor is there a line? If there is, where does it fall for you?


I think most of us would agree that it’s not hard to hope someone plays well, and helps the team, without caring for them personally (not that we really know them personally, of course). This is true in almost any field of entertainment; great musicians aren’t necessarily great human beings, but that doesn’t hurt their music. I love the Rolling Stones - circa Exile on Main Street, not the scary Super Bowl Halftime Show animatronic wax figures - but I would not encourage a friend to marry Keith Richards.

Things that might bother us in our personal lives hardly faze us when it comes to the team. Something like infidelity, for example, seems like clearly none of our business. (You pretty much have to look at it that way, because if adultery in professional athletes really bothers you . . . I've got some bad news). And it seems like some pro athlete’s busted for a DUI every other weekgranted, a lot of that is the Cincinnati Bengalsbut without downplaying the seriousness of drunk driving, that’s also an issue most fans seem able to overlook. But what about the Phillies’ Brett Myers, who was arrested last year for smacking his wife in the middle of the street? For me, it gets a little trickier here. The Phillies had every right to do it, but I still can’t help wondering what kind of message it sends to sign Myers to a three-year extension.

With anything more serious than that, I think it’s safe to assume the legal system would take over and make rooting besides the pointe.g. former reliever Ugueth Urbina, probably best remembered here from his time with the Red Sox, who was recently convicted in Venezuela of attacking five workers with a machete and pouring gasoline on them; he received fourteen years in prison. I should note here that Urbina and his lawyers have raised questions about the motives of his accusers and the fairness of the trial itself, and plan to appeal. I don't know what really happened, though I will say that the more you read about Urbina's life, the less likely you are to consider Venezuela as a possible tourist destination. But let’s say for the sake of argument that he's guilty as charged, gets time off for good behavior, and is signed by the Yanks to replace the tattered remnants of post-Torre Scott Proctor. Umpires give him a huge strike zone, batters don't even dream of crowding the plate, and he pitches well. Do you care about the machete?

Since we’re on a tour of athlete misbehavior, I should probably mention steroids. This is a bit different, I think, because it’s directly related to baseball performancenot a personal, off-the-field issue. This one actually is our business. But frankly, I’m too sick of the topic to give it a full write-up at the moment; everyone and their cousin is ganging up to attack Barry Bonds, which unfortunately has taken all the fun out of bashing him.

So, what do you guys think? Where, if at all, do you draw the line? Do you root for the uniform regardless, or do the individual players’ actions have an impact? What would a player have to do for you to stop supporting them? Ultimately all of this is a personal call, and I don’t think there’s really a right answerI’m not trying to argue a point so much as get a discussion going. Bonus question for parents: I’ve never really been concerned about whether or not athletes are “role models” or not, but then, I don’t have any kids. Did that change your point of view?

*Note: I should probably have mentioned Curt Schilling’s goddamn ankle here, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Sorry.

Comments (55)
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2007-04-20 10:27:20
1.   kylepetterson
I say root for the uniform. The players are always going to let you down.
2007-04-20 10:33:15
2.   Dimelo
I don't care what errors an athlete commits at any point in their personal life. I'd rather look at how they recuperate after they've committed their transgressions.

I am definitely not one to ever cast the first stone, or second or third. However, what I really value is how contrite an athlete is after they've committed a mistake - by mistake I mean breaking the law (i.e. DUI, domestic violence, etc).

I don't care about adultery, they can cheat on their wife all they want. That happens all the time at the places we work, our family, etc. That's a personal matter they have to take up with their family, not with their fans or the team in which they play for.

My boss got caught cheating on his wife, I don't ever remember him getting us together in a room to talk about it and apologizing for what he's done in his personal life. I wouldn't hold that against any athlete.

A good example of someone bouncing back after they broke the law, domestic violence specifically, is Warren Moon. He acknowledged it, admitted it was a problem and apologized to his family and the public. He's been a good citizen since and I don't hold it against him, and realize he's human.

Pacman Jones is another story, though he did just apologize for what he's done so let's see how well he does from here on out.

2007-04-20 10:38:34
3.   kylepetterson
0 "What would a player have to do for you to stop supporting them?"

This one's easy: Not play for the Yankees. That or be Curt Schilling.

My wife will ask me every once in a while: What about what so-and-so did off the field?

To which I answer: They're all jack-asses, he's just the one we know about.

They're are very few people who I am opposed to cheering for. If you assume that they're all losers, they'll never let you down. Supporting them on the field and supporting them off the field are polar opposites. Expect for A-Rod. He's awesome anywhere. That's my $0.02.

2007-04-20 10:42:59
4.   ny2ca2dc
3 Wow, kind of cynical dude.
2007-04-20 10:45:33
5.   Shaun P
I might be in the minority, but with one exception, I don't care what the players do off the field, their political or spiritual beliefs or whatever.

But - when a guy doesn't take care of himself physically, or does things that keep him from playing well, or playing at all - that's the unforgivable to me. "Don't let the team and the fans down because you're an idiot" ought to be rule 1A. That's why Kevin Brown will forever be a subject of my scorn, and why hearing the name 'David Wells' doesn't make me smile like it did pre-Game 5 of the '03 Serious.

Its also why I'm still not sure what to make of Carl Pavano.

2007-04-20 10:50:12
6.   Bluebleeder87
former reliever Ugueth Urbina, probably best remembered here from his time with the Red Sox, who was recently convicted in Venezuela of attacking five workers with a machete and pouring gasoline on them

I think I would draw the line there.

2007-04-20 11:08:39
7.   bp1
As much as I would prefer that baseball remain a fantasy world where I can forget about the drama of real life and just enjoy the energy and excitement of the games and the players, it ain't gonna happen in this world of mass information at our fingertips.

On the other hand, without the wall-to-wall media, we'd miss out on those times when the athletes make a difference precisely because of what they do and who they are. Remember when Bernie said "I don't know exactly what to say, but you look like you could use a hug" to someone after the 9/11 attacks? You read something like that and it sure makes it easier to cheer the next time a player comes up to bat.

I will always root for the team to win, but there will occasionally be a miscreant on the team where it's probably best to just sit on your hands and tolerate their presence until they are gone. Even jerks deserve a job.

2007-04-20 11:08:47
8.   Dimelo
6 I was fine with the machete, but gasoline...that's going too far.
2007-04-20 11:20:39
9.   yankz
I don't know if I can rationalize how I root for players. Just feelings, I guess. I don't think I'm ever hypocritical about it. I hated that Womack and Erickson et. al were on the team, but I still rooted for them.

But yeah, 6 that seems pretty clear.

2007-04-20 11:22:28
10.   kylepetterson
4 Probably true. But sexy nonetheless.
2007-04-20 11:32:37
11.   williamnyy23
Personally, I root for the uniform, although sometimes that transitions into rooting for individuals For example, I really liked Roger Clemens and kind of adopted the Astros as my second team over the past few seasons.

Having said that, there are limits. Clearly, a cold blooded murder would be such an example. Of course, in such a case, I wouldn't be hoping he failed on the baseball field...I'd be hoping he'd be sent back to jail where he belongs. Hypothetical scenarios allowing murders to play baseball deal with entirely different issues.

As for Myers, I don't think one incident should cause fans to root against their team, not to mention cause the Phillies to release him. Domestic violence is very serious, but Myers clearly acknowledged he did something wrong. The same applies to other athletes who commit a transgression, but then repent. If, however, you have an athlete who is a lout and proud of it, you'd have an interesting case. For example, if Myers repeatedly beat his wife, I wouldn't root for him. Of course, if he did that, I either wouldn't know or he'd be in jail anyway.

2007-04-20 11:33:55
12.   rmd0311
I like the way this Emma person writes.. Kudos..

I hardly ever post so here goes. I normally root for the uniform not the player. But, their is a line... I would never root for Bonds, and am disgusted by him. Even if he was a Yankee, god forbid.

In the personal side... It's a thin line. I would not root for Myers because he beat his wife. The severity of the crime plays a part and I believe truly to be a case by case basis.

2007-04-20 12:04:13
13.   Mattpat11
I don't care if a player's not a nice guy.

But if a player who has taken absurd amounts of time off for minor injuries admits he wasn't committed to returning, I never want to see him again.

2007-04-20 12:10:56
14.   Mattpat11
11 and 12 Roger and Barry are interesting cases. Roger seems incapable of telling the truth, so I enjoyed watching him bomb in the 2004 allstar game, for example.

Barry, on the other hand, is such a reprehensible human being that I wish his career ends today and he dies lonely and broke.

2007-04-20 12:31:19
15.   Yankee Fan In Boston
12 i agree on several points you made.

A) emma can write, and write quite well.

B) if that human parade float ever plays an inning in a yankee uniform, i would be forced to find a new team to root for.

3) i generally root for everybody (unless they happen to be playing the yankees at the time) until i have reason not to. i appreciate a well turned double play or a well pitched game, be it little league, the amateur league i play in, or the bigs. if i hear that someone does something unsavory, i go by the gut. as lame as it is, i feel as though i'm a good judge of character when it comes to these mythical men whom i will never meet. so... yeah. case by case.

2007-04-20 12:33:27
16.   williamnyy23
14 What makes Barry reprehensible? That he took advantage of the same loopholes and short cuts as many other players, but did it much better? I think the reason people hate Barry is because he doesn't care that they do (or they simply let the popular press form their opinions for them).

About what exactly has Clemens lied?

2007-04-20 12:33:44
17.   mehmattski
6 Playing devil's advocate for a minute- I think if a bunch of hooligans kidnapped your grandmother and other family members and held them for ransom, you'd be pretty pissed off too. And then when those guys had the gall to walk onto your property... how many people would show restraint?

As for the relevant questions of the post, for the most part I'm with the Zachs and Mattpats and williamnyys on this one in that the team on the front of the uniform is more important than the name (or lack thereof) on the back. In fact, I think the Yankees exemplify this by not having their names on the back of any jersey, home or away. It doesn't matter what you do off the field, so long as it doesn't affect your ability to play on it.

As for steroids, I've always been the kind of maverick who goes around saying that they are not cheating (in the 1990s, when they weren't against the rules). If you, as a player for my favorite team, are willing to do whatever it takes to make yourself better, and therefore make my favorite team win more- then kudos to you, sir. You have earned my ticket and merchandaise money. If, in doing whatever it takes, a player shortens their own life span, well that is their choice.

I still cheer for Giambi, I still would welcome Clemens, I would even cheer for Barry Bonds. When the line between dietary supplement and "OMG CHEATER!" is so blurry, there's really no other way for me.

2007-04-20 12:36:42
18.   Sliced Bread
I have no idea where I draw the line, but the line is crooked, and can be erased and re-drawn. Safe to say bonafide bad guys will never be on the right side of the line. But what about a-holes?

Sheff was an a-hole, but as a fellow Banterer brilliantly wrote: "he was my kind of a-hole."

Roger Clemens, for whatever reason, was not my kind of a-hole, and it has nothing to do with the sox he once wore.

If you look up "Positiviely Absolutely Not My Kind Of A-Hole" in the dictionary there's a picture of Kevin Brown and a "see also" Neagle, Denny.

Unit was an a-hole, but the more people called him an a-hole, the more I rooted for him. If I feel the fans and media are ganging up on a player, giving him a raw deal, I root for the player, even if my gut tells me player's an a-hole. I thought Unit got a raw deal in NY. Sympathy for the rattlesnake.

Bonds is an a-hole for sure, but I have an irrational level of sympathy for him. At the same time, the thought of him in a Yankees uniform makes me nauseous.

Speaking of nausea,
I was in Yankee Stadium that October night in 2004 when that a-hole Johnny Damon stabbed us all in the heart, causing us all to spontaneously combust. I nearly vomitted when the Yanks signed him. Now what? I like the a-hole just fine. What can I say? Silly bastard won me over.

I don't know if Doug Minky is an a-hole, but he's sure bringing out the a-hole in me. I'm not rooting against him, not aloud anyway, and I'd never boo him. But I have to admit I want him gone, and anything he does to hasten his departure is pretty much fine with me. Will I root for him if he succeeds and sticks around? I'd have to get back to you on that.

You know who else brings out the a-hole in me? LOOGY Myers, and again, I don't think it has anything to do with his former sox. And again, I'm not rooting for him to fail, but I'm hostily indifferent to his success in the early going.
If he wiffs Papi looking in the 7th tonight with runners on, tied game,
will I pump my fist, and woot like Suzyn Waldman on bingo night? Well, yeah. But short of that LOOGY Myers is invisible to me, and I don't know why.

Weird deal.

Fun discussion, Ms. Span.

2007-04-20 12:43:59
19.   Zack
17 is that me? Notice the K :)

But actually, I'm not sure I agree. I think I'm in the vast minority here. I root for the uniform, but that only goes so far for me. There are players around the league who I root for for many reasons: they are stand up human beings, they are awesome to watch, they were traded by the Sox (Hanley and Anibel), or they just seem cool. Heck, I always liked Nomar a lot, it was just the Sox FANS who made me root against him with all that Nomar's better crapola.

But, in terms of the Yanks, as I said, the uniform only goes so far. I will generally root for a Yankee to do well, and never really root against them, but, take the case of Minky. I want him off the team cause he stinks, so I guess I root against him; or rather, I root FOR Phelps to do so well its moot. Kenny Rogers. I never could root FOR him. I wanted the Yanks to win when he pitched of course, but I didn't like the guy and thought he was a crappy pitcher who choked when it mattered, so while I didn't root against him, I could never root FOR him.

If Uggy U. was on the team, I know I would root against him. I can't seperate off the field activities from on the field, because baseball is a game, and if a person is a scumbag, well, hes a scumbag, period. Being a good baseball player doesn't change that. I don't root for scumbags in everday life, putting on the Yankee uniform won't change that.

I know that my uncle who posts here will go even further, as he is the one who hates Sheff with a passion, but there it is...

2007-04-20 12:48:08
20.   Zack
And I shoudl amend my post: there are very very few players in the game I actively root against. I almost never have booed anyone, especially for the simple fact that they are/have been a Red Sox. At the O's game I was at where A-Rod hit the walk-off, everyone was booing Millar with a vengance. Too me, why even waste your breath, he's not worth it, seems like a likeable guy, albeit somewhat of a tool, so just because he was a vocal member of the 2004 Sox doesn't mean he gets my wrath.

I would boo a Yankee player if they did somethign really really lame, but that's usually reserved for someone like Farnsworth or Jeff Nelson, who would come into a game and just totally totally suck beyond comprehension, that warrents a boo...

I can't even think of players I have actually actively rooted against. Even Ortiz; I don't want him to do great, but I don't HATE him...

2007-04-20 12:58:59
21.   Count Zero
I'm not sure where the line is -- it's emotionally-defined. I know...

* I hope Barry Bonds gets arrested tomorrow and never breaks Aaron's record.
* I hope Pete Rose never gets into the HOF except maybe posthumously. (BUT...if he had come out and admitted what he did, sought treatment, and agreed to some sort of community service involving gambling addiction, I would have lifted the ban.)
* I can no longer watch Woody Allen films of any kind since "the incident." He's no longer a funny nebbish to me, but rather a pedophile. Same goes for Michael Jackson. (Different kind of entertainment, but still entertainment.)

And in answer to the children question -- Yes, it does make a difference -- to me anyway. We adults don't believe in heroes, but children do. While some would say they learn a valuable lesson when their heroes fall, I would say that's a cynical disillusionment better suited for age 16+.

2007-04-20 13:18:54
22.   rmd0311
I forgot the children factor. It is different. My 7yr old little leaguer, loves the Yankees because I love the Yankees. He thinks the world of AROD, so much that he made me buy him the book and wears his number. Heroes are important to an extent, if my son where to tell me Bonds was his hero I would be forced to put sense into him. So as parents we do have to be careful who our children idolize.
2007-04-20 13:28:51
23.   Sliced Bread
Ah, the kids. My boys are young, and they're all about super heroes: Spider Man, Superman, Batman, and me, only because they think I'm the blue Power Ranger (not that I've tried to disavow my super powers).
2007-04-20 13:29:30
24.   rbj
Generally I root for the uniform -- and the guy in it. I can't actively root against any player in the pinstripes, because I don't want the Yankees to lose. I would root for gettting the guy out of pinstripes ASAP, though. To me, it's about an actual person doing something to help the Yankees win. That's what I root for.

As for off-field transgressions, it is a complex matrix of 1) what the actual transgression was, 2) contrition, 3) number of times it has happened, and 4) time elapsed since the transgression.

Say Mo got caught molesting kids. Out. Period. no redemption.
Say Pavano got a DUI. There would have to be a bit of a time period (longer in his case due to the last couple of years) but I'm more willing to forgive a first offense as I have been stupid in my younger days, just wasn't caught.
Anyone caught beating his wife. Sometime before he's welcomed back (by me) with public contrition, acknowledgment, etc. By the 3rd time, no.

If it's something such as cheating, I'd be disappointed in the guy as a person, but I'd separate it from their play on the field.

For people like Steve Howe, Doc, and Strawberry; well I am in favor of drug legalization -- though I think private employers (such as MLB) can set their own ground rules. For this situation I look at it as more of a concern for their health.

2007-04-20 13:32:07
25.   rbj
Oh, and the Yankees did get rid of Luis Polonia pretty quickly after he got caught with a 15 y.o. So they do have some standards.
2007-04-20 13:33:41
26.   Start Spreading the News
16 I don't care much for Bonds because he often blames other people for his troubles. Classic line was when it came out in the press that he was having an affair, he told the press, "You guys are trying to break up my marriage." [quote not exact]

Hmm. One would normally think that the guy having the affair would be the one to blame for breaking up the marriage.

Bonds did steroids, but he thinks it must be racism that people have gone after him. Conveniently, he forgets the trouble that McGwire has had (and Sosa hasn't).

I hope Pete Rose never gets in the HOF. The only thing that really damages baseball is gambling on the game. That's why people think boxing is corrupt because there are sometimes allegations of people taking dives. Baseball almost died from the gambling scandal once; it must never happen again.

2007-04-20 13:35:31
27.   Start Spreading the News
25 I was at the game when Polonia came back with the Angels. It was his first day back at the Stadium.

Let's just say the heckling was unmerciful and made a whole lot easier by the fact that his uniform number was 18.

2007-04-20 13:36:12
28.   Emma Span
Hey, good points from everyone. Man, the comments here are so far above almost any other site, it's ridiculous. And awesome.

One note on Bonds... I don't like the guy either. Obviously. And it sucks that he's (very likely) going to break Aaron's record -- if he got some minor muscle pull or something that kept him from doing so, I'd be relieved. But I DO think it's unfair the way everyone's piling on him.

I agree with 16. After all, how is he really different from Giambi or Sheffield -- both of whom I enjoy watching, despite everything -- except that he's a) a better player and b) much more of a dick? He didn't apologize, true; Giambi did and it seemed heartfelt, though who knows. Is it just the lack of remorse?

21, I can understand why you'd feel that way, but I'll always love Annie Hall...

2007-04-20 13:46:43
29.   Chyll Will
Wowzers, Emma asks some tough questions and I see a lot of equally tough responses. From first glance, I would have to say that when the line between baseball life and personal life becomes blurred by circumstances, it's the obligation of the player to focus on reconciling the situation, not anyone else's. I say this from experience; having dealt and dealing with personal trauma and "bad luck", the only way to deal with those things is directly. If that means you have to take a day or a few days, so be it. Many employers are not on our side when it comes to personal issues anyway, so the sooner and more directly you address it, the better. The longer the problems fester, the more it affects those around you.

That said, my opinion is that a player should be held accountable if his problems affect the team, and a father or son should be held accountable if his problems affect the family. From what the media would have you think, hardly anyone does this anymore. However, if one crosses over into the other, then that player needs time out. I'll have more to say on this later...

2007-04-20 13:55:32
30.   Zack
28 To go with your last comment, I think its important to distinguish admiration for past accomplishments and admiration for the person. I admire what Barry Bonds has done, whether I root for him is another matter (still can't decide, but what Aaron does seems a pretty good guide). His stats and production are impressive, so I admire the past, but when we come to the present, I don't really seem to want those stats to continue.

Likewise, I can admire Allen's movies without really liking the person or even anything hes done in ten years or more, or really wanting him to continue making movies, if thats the case.

2007-04-20 13:57:37
31.   thelarmis
great writing emma! and great posts. off topic to the thread...

rasner was optioned down and, wait for it, gulp...colter bean was actually called up for the game tonite! i shit you not. either he or britton will be optioned out after to make room for karstens, but bean will actually be on the team, in uniform, in the pen at the fens tonite. wow, cool.

GO YANKS!!!

2007-04-20 14:13:43
32.   C2Coke
Cliff's new pregame thread is not up yet and I am going outside now, so someone passes this along.

Colter Bean is in the house. He got called up. Fellow Banterers, remember this when it comes to Torre's bullpen time in the next few games.

2007-04-20 14:16:04
33.   Raf
26 Sosa caught his fair share of flack during the hearings, as did McGwire.

Bonds racism charges goes back to his Pittsburgh days, so that's nothing new.

2007-04-20 14:20:34
34.   kylepetterson
31 Colter Bean?!?! I thought he was a myth, like the wolfman, sasquatch, or cheech marin....
2007-04-20 14:33:42
35.   thelarmis
34 yeti. wait, yetis are real...
2007-04-20 14:53:22
36.   Bama Yankee
Good ol' Colter Bean, the pride of Anniston, Alabama and former Auburn Tiger.

Tying in both topics of this thread, I guess the fact that I am now a fan of Colter Bean shows that it is all about rooting for the Yankee uniform for this Crimson Tide fan... ;-)

2007-04-20 15:00:24
37.   joejoejoe
Great post Emma*. I root for the team in general but abstain from rooting for the player if I think the person is a jerk and/or a violent criminal. I had a hard time at first rooting for Wade Boggs since I grew up hating the BoSox but he grew on me over time. It was Boggs that broke me of the stupid habit of rooting against other players. Boggs was a pro's pro in NY and I couldn't help root for him. Unless a less-than-likeable player goes out of his way to be a jerk to innocent fans like Vince Coleman I usually just ignore them. I can look the other way for the Milton Bradleys and Karim Garcias of the world but throwing firecrackers at kids is pretty damn bad.

*Is it Span as in Spahn, Warren or Span as in span of a bridge. I forget.

2007-04-20 15:02:12
38.   yankz
From LoHud: "I'm not making this up, the Yankees were watching "Rocky Balboa" before the game"

Freaking awesome.

Colter Bean is back?

2007-04-20 15:02:32
39.   thelarmis
37 Milton Bradley and WHO?!
2007-04-20 15:04:48
40.   3rd gen yankee fan
who ees karim garcia?
2007-04-20 15:09:52
41.   Jim Dean
And Minky with the start tonight!

Please some massive quantities of pain killers? Vicodin? Oxycontin? Percocet?

Anyone?

Mfhjidlghglrekhf! Mferuioshfdkvk! Mihdvkjff!

2007-04-20 15:10:18
42.   Bama Yankee
37 "Karim Garcias of the world"

There's more than one? I still haven't figured out who the first one is and now you tell me there are more out there... ;-)

2007-04-20 15:11:28
43.   joejoejoe
42 Karim Garcias of the World unite!

You have nothing to lose but your gold chains and roster spots.

2007-04-20 15:13:19
44.   thelarmis
41 yeah, i was hoping it would be phelps. i wonder if the boos scrabble will undoubtedly get will approach the ear piercing levels of jeter, a-rod and giambi.
2007-04-20 15:14:51
45.   Emma Span
31 Wow. I'm not totally shocked Rasner was sent down -- I've almost never seem Torre make the face he was making in the fourth inning yesterday; it was like a Tony Womack-era face... but Colter Bean, go figure.

30 Yeah, I agree, ultimately... lots of great art, literature, music, and home run trots created by douchebags; doesn't lessen the achievement. Seems like people often expect something more from sports, but probably we shouldn't.

37 Span, as in wing/bridge/time... I really wanted to call my Voice column "Span and Sain and Pray for Rain," but they told me no one would get it...

2007-04-20 15:15:42
46.   JL25and3
19 Yes, your uncle has a very clear line: Gary Sheffield and Pete Rose are on the other side of it. In both cases it has to do with truly egregious baseball behavior, not their personal lives; and in both cases the behavior was compounded by appalling arrogance, grandiosity, and a complete lack of remorse - no, more, a complete failure even to see that someone might think they'd done something wrong.

I never wanted Sheffield, I didn't like him when he was a Yankee, and I couldn't wait to get rid of him. I didn't root against him - I still wanted the team to win, so I didn't want him to fail - and I always appreciated what a great hitter he was. But I always hoped I'd wake up and see a headline that he'd been traded.

I have more tolerance for off-field "personal life" sorts of behavior; it's the difference between cocaine and steroids. I wish baseball would take DWI more seriously, and I have a real problem with domestic violence. In most of those cases, though, if I think the guy has made some effort to change, I won't hold it against him.

I'm pretty sure everyone draws the line somewhere this side of "Altogether" Ugie Urbina.

Like Zack, I have my favorite players on other teams. Hell, I like Manny. In some way, I root for them also. As an extreme example: find me anyone who followed baseball in 1976 who didn't root for Mark Fidrych.

2007-04-20 15:18:48
47.   JL25and3
45 They're reactivating Karstens tomorrow, so Rasner was going to be sent down anyway. This way they have an extra arm in the bullpen in case there's a blowout tonight.
2007-04-20 15:26:28
48.   joejoejoe
45 That's dumb of the Voice. Spahn and Sain pitched together 21 years before I was born and I still know about the saying as a kid, if not the details. Part of being a baseball fan is learning the lore. If Alex make a reference to Giambino it's nonsense unless you know about the Bambino. If you don't know then you ask and find out - and get to feel like you are in on some insider lore. The heydey of Donnie Baseball is more than 21 years ago and it's worth keeping alive the history, just like my uncles told me about Spahn as a kid.
2007-04-20 15:33:55
49.   Emma Span
Will somebody please for the love of god create a Karim Garcia-themed Bronx Banter t-shirt already? I'm going to have to speak to Alex about this... though, um, I suppose it can wait til the honeymoon is over.

47 True.

41 Personally, I'm going to watch at a bar. Beer is cheaper than Percocet anyway. Drink enough, and Mientkiewicz starts to look kinda appealing!

Enjoy the game, people, and thanks for all the interesting discussion.

2007-04-20 15:37:19
50.   thelarmis
49 just today i was thinking about regular Bronx Banter t-shirts, a la Dodgers Thoughts. great minds...

alas, i have to work and will be on stage for the entire game. hopefully someone will send me texts, so i know the score...

have a good game folks. hope i come home to good news late nite!

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-04-20 15:45:26
51.   vockins
Bean is back! I'm licking my hands in anticipation! If you don't get that joke, you will soon enough!

Breaking out the Bean T! I think the number is wrong now! Who cares!

Go Bean!

2007-04-20 15:55:07
52.   uburoisc
I can forgive a great deal in an athlete; I'm willing to shrug off what a lot of other people consider moral lapses. It is usually the failure to fulfil the professional requirements of the game that rubs me wrong. I can take that Bonds used steroids, and it doesn't bother me much, but if he were to swing at outside pitches or miss the cutoff man, I'd be disgusted with his poor play. Murder and mayhem is another matter altogether, but I would hope that our justice system with take that decision out of my hands.
2007-04-20 16:02:27
53.   Cliff Corcoran
Finally got the game post up (work + train delay + technical difficulties). See post above.
2007-04-20 16:11:10
54.   3rd gen yankee fan
Stan's dad is the home plate umpire! Randy Marsh!
2007-04-20 21:46:02
55.   Chyll Will
49"Will somebody please for the love of god create a Karim Garcia-themed Bronx Banter t-shirt already?"

As Knuckles would say, "I'm on it..."

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