A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Joe Mauer

It’s nice to think that with baseball, there’s never a feeling of having thugs rule the game. Oh, they’re there, but they aren’t our best players. Milton Bradley and Elijah Dukes don’t end up on all star teams. Sure, Albert Belle might have been a $65million Neanderthal in his day, but injuries quickly ended his career before it could do too much damage. As a result, it’s safe to say that short of Chase Utley’s propensity to drop F bombs during World Series celebrations, we’ve just got your run of the mill anti-social self important overpaid player jackasses dominating the game.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. These people exist in all aspects of life.
The NFL has class acts like Ben Roethlisberger, football’s version of Kobe Bryant, an accused rapist who seems to get away with it because it’s hard to prove if it’s violent sex or rape. One has to wonder how the medical staff examines a woman’s bits and says, “Yes, there is blood and damage down here, but maybe it was just heated ‘love-making’ session after a night of drinking in the club’s private room.”
And while the player’s union will probably try to fight it, at least Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, has decided that a 6-game suspension of the NFL’s player conduct code for whatever did or didn’t happen is a fair punishment. There’s always someone there to defend the thugs from their just desserts. I’m not saying that we should crucify Big Ben from the goalpost of Heinz Field, but I am saying that a message needs to be sent that drunken violent sex incidents in nightclubs won’t be tolerated from someone who should be a role model.
Nevertheless, in the end, we’ll never know what did or didn’t happen since the accuser decided to step back in the same way that things ended in Eagle, Colorado, a half decade ago. And for that, we might not be made aware of what position said woman put herself into in order to be with a star in much the same way that a hotel clerk did when she went up to hang out in Kobe’s room. It’s not like they were going to be talking about stamp collecting or how 24 is going to play out in this its final season. This is not to say that she was asking for it. Nobody asks for that, but at the same point, if I ever have a daughter, I’m going to be sure to tell her not to go to some drunken thug’s private room for coffee and conversation.
In this, I’m glad that baseball has fine ambassadors like Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer who represent everything right with the public image of the game. I don’t have to sit around and wait for a story to come out about them force breeding pit bulls when I’m not setting them on each for the purpose of a fight to the death. They’re just great people that give back to the community, to the hometown, and to the game. I like to think that someday, they’ll both be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as the greatest players at their position. If their current game is an indication, they probably will.
It definitely beats wondering if they’re trying to outdo Shawn Kemp with how many kids they’ve fathered in all of their travels around the country.

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