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.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Andrew McCutchen

If you're a Washington Nationals fan, you probably feel that Bryce Harper arriving in spring training is the 4th stage of the end of the period of time that is "last in the National League East." There's Strasburg. There's Drew Storen. There's Jayson Werth. There's a lot of future out there, but what is there really? Baseball is just a game. It's played on a diamond and it provides distraction to fans while the world doesn't matter.
It's just sometimes that the world does.
Earlier today, Scott and Jean Adam + Phyllis Mackay and Bob Riggle were gunned down by Somali pirates.
As baseball fans, we often reflect on things as meaningless as what will happen to our teams in the season that is. When we think of pirates, we think of the Pittsburgh Pirates and how lowly they've been for 2 decades (thanks Barry Bonds), but it's not often that we think of these real life pirates until they're holding Americans like they did two years ago when they ended up dead and the American captain (Richard Phillips) was released safely because Navy SEALs are excellent marksmen.
Maybe we think of pirates when we think of Johnny Depp, but not any pirate that is hijacking vessels off of Somalia and Oman. If we as Americans do think of pirates in a way that isn't gunning them down quickly, we often play pretend with some ethical high road that sees us wonder what creates the need to take vessels hostage and ransom them for big bucks - as if we could find a way that would justify this and allow us to feel pity on a group of people that are made to do this to make ends meet. But in the end, other than the fact that people will pay big money to return oil tankers and yachts, is there really a reason? The aforementioned bleeding hearts will cry that the poverty of the nations make this a possibility, and perhaps, in some alternate reality that is so, but frankly, I'll take the Navy SEALs option any day.
But the thought of the haves and the have nots do strange things to people. It's as if we all sit around wondering what could make us all have at least enough, and while that's kind and wonderful, it's just not so. Wealth isn't divided equally in the baseball world or the real world. And we don't even have to be talking about a person who gets $64million for 5 years instead of a person who gets $51million for 3 years although it's safe to say that the comparative wealth of some versus that of others plays into things (hell, I'd be content signing for 1 year and $40,000+). In the nastiest parts of the world, we're speaking of living wages and the idea of being safely entrenched in life in a way that there are no more worries about the bad things that could be in a rough and tough lawless land that is governed by marauding gangs of thugs. And perhaps the warlords of the world eradicate the talent and opportunities of these modern day "swashbucklers" so that all they can think to do is become gun toting renegades instead of eventually becoming as potentially great at something as Andrew McCutchen is said to be for a more likable or rational group of Pirates.
That said, I'm not offering tryouts in warm weather locales for these thugs. I'm glad that they were shot up and arrested by our Navy - even if they weren't able to act quickly enough before these 4 innocent Americans were gunned down in cold blood.
I'm just sad that we have to live in a world that can't be civil enough to exist without trying to take from others while threatening with death and mayhem. I don't care if it's in the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, or Compton, California. There are good things in life and that's what we should be focusing on - not stating rest in peace to 4 brave Americans who were murdered for no reason at all.

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