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.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gary Carter

Instead of caring about the actions of Gary Carter, a Hall of Famer that many people might have forgotten about in our non historic attitude for 1980s baseball, we spend our time getting upset at Bryce Harper for blowing a kiss to a pitcher who he just homered off of. Of course, this was precipitated by Harper getting drilled with a pitch earlier, but alas... when it's a slow baseball week (except for the Red Sox beating the Yankees AGAIN), we have to make issues where we can.
That said, when Carter gets radiation treatment for tumors that are cancerous, we should probably pause for a second and think of that... even if Harper is a number one pick and may have offended the sensibilities of baseball's Puritanical and stodgy elderly blue hairs, no hairs, and What Would Babe Ruth have done-rs (eaten Polish sausage, slept with hoochies, drank a lot, blown his money, talked smack on Charlie Root's pitching in the 1932 World Series and somehow made us believe that it was a called shot, gotten suspended for throwing dirt in an ump's face, and was too obese to run out his final home runs as a Boston Brave when the Yankees grew tired of him). Even if Harper stomped the foot of a player covering first. Even if Bryce Harper does whatever it is that a super young guy with a lot of testosterone and a big me attitude is going to do, because let's be honest... he's a future athlete supreme growing up in the spotlight.
But we talk about that... we talk about Jonathan Papelbon, a formerly decent relief pitcher, getting ejected from a game for bumping an umpire, and we think it means something other than the was angry at the calls. Sure, he was bounced and he's going to appeal whether he bumped the ump, but alas, in the long run, who cares? As Pedro Martinez once said when he gave up an appeal, "I didn't want to listen to all that stuff." He came back and struck out 15, allowed 2 hits, and threw a complete game shutout that let no walks happen. 
From 1974-1992, Carter was great. He hit 324 home runs. Only Yogi Berra (historic shots), Lance Parrish + Johnny Bench + Carlton Fisk (contemporaries) and Mike Piazza (a steroids era player alleged to be linked to the juice) have more. Despite a dismal last 4 years of few appearances, he still batted .262 from a position that was more about throwing out runners and calling the game from behind the plate than doing things at the plate. In his day, he was throwing out as many as 50% of the runners who attempted to take second on him, but then injuries happened, and now, the biggest injury of all, brain cancer, is happening, and like he did in his baseball career, Carter is fighting.
And the newspaper guys care more about blowing kisses at the pitcher.
Here, we just hope Carter gets better and beats this nasty stuff.

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