I really don’t even want to write about this. It isn’t like I am in the press and have a moral obligation to write about this topic. Regardless of my feelings about it, but I will write about this trend, regardless.
Just like the advertising for professional horse racing with the folks chanting “Go, baby, go!” I, too, have my own little saying when a player hits a homer, throws a double play by the string of his jersey or better yet, throws a guy out at second base from the left corner by the foul pole (happened last week at Kinston). I will stand up with everybody else, pump my fist and holler with a deep roar, “THAT’S BASEBALL!” I have no idea where I got that from, but I like it.
But Last week, my mother-in-law’s “boyfriend” and I went to the Kinston Indians (Cleveland Single A affiliate) game where they played the Fredrick Keys (Baltimore affiliate). I have seen some things that make me want to stand up and pump my fist saying, “THAT AIN’T BASEBALL!” I saw a Venezuelan Third Basemen explode on an umpire because he felt that he had thrown a player out at second base. I have seen arguments over a call several times in my life, whether on TV or in person. But, this was out of control and off the chart of anything I had seen in person or otherwise. He just started pointing his finger at the ump’s chest, as if an ump has EVER changed his mind. He was right up in that ump’s face. The ump promptly kicked him out, but it took the manager of the Keys, Richie Hebner, way too long to react and get that kid out of the ump’s face. For crying out loud another Keys player had to get in between the Ump and the offensive player to keep that kid from throwing a punch. Me personally, I thought it just took too long to get him off the field AND even though I was on the home team’s side, I was embarrassed by this young man’s actions (kind of like showing a true lady a Playboy magazine [flush]). I just wished I could have apologized to the ump; For what I don’t know, I had done nothing wrong.
Then, as you may know by now due to the rightly given publicity, a Dominican player explodes at a game in Dayton, OH and injures a FAN! Just read the off of this Midwest League news bit (and some more)and then take a Google search walk on some of the names involved and you will really be amazed. I imagine you can quickly find some video of the brawl. Once I read about it yesterday and then saw the brawl tape on CNN while at a McDonald’s on the way to the Mud Cats game last night, I was mad. It almost ruined my evening. There happened to be a full Little League All Star team and parents in that McDonald’s from Wilkes County, North Carolina. Everybody just couldn’t believe their eyes! It was just a bad deal to have in front of those 12 year old boys getting ready to “play ball!” I wanted to just turn the channel, but it wasn’t my “channel” to turn.
Let’s be honest here, I have seen Chicago Cubs manager Lou Pinella absolutely explode at players and umps. And he is just one example. That Aquafina commercial with Mr. Pinella is very accurate of the way he acts, but quite frankly I think about 1/3 of it is theatrics. Like he said in the commercial, “Come on and throw me out of here, I have a reputation to uphold!” Let’s face it, waiting for Lou Pinella to explode at a Cubs game is like waiting for a hellish accident at a NASCAR race. People go for that reason, alone.
How do I feel about Lou and the rest of the managers blowing the top at a MLB, MiLB, college or high school game? First off, everytime I have seen it the ump knew how far to let that manager go and secondly the manager knew when it was time to shut up and walk through the tunnel into the club house. I have never seen a ball thrown at anybody, while not in play, and I haven’t ever seen anybody hurt a fan in the process of arguing a call. Second, this is the job of a manager to back up his player, not the player to back up himself. I have rarely and I do mean rarely ever seen a player do much more than make a couple comments at an ump. Last night, there was a close call on a strike out and the player walked backwards for about seven steps making comments, but it wasn’t ever overly rude or anything.
I am not trying to be a racist and if somebody tries to read that into my comments they are simply out of touch. I really think it is a different problem than “Oh, no! Baseball is just going down the tubes.” I think it is the problem of where these kids are coming from. The Kinston/Fredrick game was a Venuzuelan player and the Dayton game was a Dominican player. I think they grew up in a place that holds different values and places a different level of respect on authority, rules and generally speaking, just plain good manners. And when you bring them to the United States to play it is, in fact, a culture shock. I have no idea, I am just typing here. It is a suggestion of what the problem may or may not be. But, I think somebody needs to get a handle on it, before you have high schoolers sticking their fingers in the umpire’s chest or worse, throwing a baseball into a dugout at an opposing player.
Who knows…I sure don’t.