The REAL Boys of Summer
I won’t make it a secret—I rooted—and did so strongly—for the eventual American round-robin winner from Warner Robins, Georgia in their quest to vanquish the little leaguers from Japan, who were the winners of their own tournament against the rest of the little league-playing world. Basically, the way the series tournament works, it’s the USA against the world.
For baseball, it’s more of a true “world” series than the supposed world series that Major League Baseball claims to have. But truthfully, at this point, when it comes to major league baseball and its spoiled players and blundering owners, I have nothing but contempt. In fact, the Detroit Tigers, my “old team,” and the New York Yankees, the team I used to “love to hate,” are playing each other this very second on ESPN, and I could NOT care less.
There are more than a few reasons I developed this total disdain for MLB, and for that matter, for pretty much ALL professional sports. It started in 1990 when “my Tigers” decided not to wear an armband for “the troops” during the 1st Gulf War, unlike the rest of the major league teams, which did. The Tigers were the ONLY team that didn't. Lou Whittaker wouldn’t wear it, so the rest of the team deferred to him.
Remember the baseball strike in 1994 and 1995? Well, I do, and I’ve NEVER forgotten it. When they, the players and owners, put their already bloated paychecks and revenues ahead of the game and the fans, I put THEM out of my mind. Screw ‘em. Hell, they didn’t even play a world series that year. The jerks!
In spite of myself, in 1998, with great excitement I watched Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa duel it out over who would end up breaking Roger Maris’ single season homerun record. I was even in the St. Louis stands that September when McGwire hit a frozen rope over the left field fence for number 63.
Then, I found out that both McGwire and Sosa, and MOST of the rest of MLB, took and probably are STILL taking steroidal type strength enhancement drugs—and to think I actually believed them when they all used to claim that their huge muscle-bound bodies were the simple result of protein supplements and weightlifting. Was I an Idiot or what? Don’t answer that…
Speaking of steroids, it’s an open secret that Barry Bonds has taken them for years as well. In case you haven’t heard, he just surpassed Hank Aaron’s career homerun record. As far as I’m concerned I now feel betrayed by ALL of these charlatans. NONE of the records of the last 25 years should count—they should be discounted—including Bond’s, McGwire’s and Sosa’s.
Actually, Bonds has already beaten McGwire’s, so McGwire doesn’t even matter anymore. Just the same, strike them ALL from the books. No wait; I don’t CARE what they do, because I don’t watch ANY of them—ANY more—ANY way!
My pent up disgust for all things MLB came on unexpectedly yet again and boiled over as I watched and listened yesterday to one of the little league world series TV announcers--I'm pretty sure it was Dusty Baker. He was one of three announcers of the semi-final game between Georgia and Texas. I erupted angrily when he made an asinine comment that really brought home just why I despise the professional level these days. Baker is a retired major league outfielder and manager and he made his ridiculous remark after a Texas little league player hit a "dinger" against the Georgia team.
As the hitter began his circuit of the bases, the first baseman of the opposing team congratulated him, as did most of the rest of the Georgia infielders as the hitter passed them--they all touched hands with the passing hitter as a sign of sportsmanship — the kind of sportsmanship that ideally SHOULD, but DOESN’T exist in the majors. I believe it was Brent Musburger who remarked glowingly about that small exchange of esteem between the young players, while instead, the cynical Baker reproached, “…I’m not sure I like that. It’s a little too much to show that kind of respect for the other team.”
How outrageous was that! At the moment he said it, all the loathing I’ve developed for the major league game over the years came spilling out of me in a small storm of rage. His outrageous comment did nothing but bolster exactly why I DON’T care about HIS game. I’d rather watch T‑ball between 8 year olds than ANY MLB game.
Here’s another bit of mean spirited MLB idiocy for you. When the major leaguers complete a game the winning team gets in a line and congratulates EACH OTHER while the losing team stalks off the field, seemingly in a pique of childish displeasure. At least in the NFL you’ll see the opposing players walk off the field together, and usually they will be talking to each other like adults and even shaking hands.
What’s wrong with that small manifestation of open friendliness and respect between opponents? I enjoy observing these days even a trace of graciousness between players, mostly because its so rare anymore. Coach Baker be damned, there’s nothing wrong with two teams shaking each other’s hands after a game and telling their competitors they played a good game, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, showing it to the crowd as a shining example to the young and impressionable.
For me, that miniscule level of regard between players is a sign of hope that even a small speck of civility STILL exists in our ever increasingly uncivil society.
And WHO sees that insane violent out-of-control garbage? Why, little leaguers of course, the boys and girls who follow every steroidal move that those crazed big leaguers make.