Sports

There's No Lying in Baseball

Why ideology should have no place in professional sports

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Boston Mayor Tom Menino recently delivered one of the most atrocious speeches in the history of oration when, during a dedication to hockey great Bobby Orr, he not only referred to Boston sports greats as "ionic" instead of "iconic" but also followed it up by reminiscing: "Havlicek stole the ball, Fisk waving the ball fair. Flutie launched the Hail Mary pass, Varitek splitting the uprights."

Now, for those of you who aren't sports fans—or who never would feign to be sports fans or can't afford a speechwriter with some tenuous familiarity with being a sports fan—Jason Varitek was the catcher on two Boston Red Sox championship teams, a franchise that went nearly a century without a title and, being a baseball franchise, one that has no interest in splitting uprights or winning Super Bowls.

In old war movies, spies often exposed themselves by lacking some rudimentary American sports knowledge. Politicians who rely on the cheap ploy of connecting with the common voters by piggybacking on the achievements of local heroes are also often exposed as pandering infiltrators. Sports fans can sniff out these ham-handed fakes rather effortlessly.

I still hold that Martha Coakley sealed her fate in the Massachusetts senatorial race when she said Red Sox hero Curt Schilling was a Yankees "fan." On Opening Day this season, Barack Obama was reminiscing with broadcasters about his all-time favorite team, the Chicago White Sox, but was unable to name a single member of that franchise—ever. Now, Sammy Sosa briefly played for the White Sox, but only after our previous president, as minority owner of the Texas Rangers, watched as the future 600-home-run hitter was traded to Chicago for nothing.

Even with their many tribulations, professional sports are comparatively uncontaminated by the bitterness and ugliness that taint most politics—aside from Philadelphia, where each and every fan should be ashamed of himself.

But ideology has no place—even on the periphery—in professional sports.

When Rush Limbaugh moonlighted as an NFL analyst for ESPN a few years back, it did not work out, not only because of what he said at the time but also because of everything he ever had said. When Keith Olbermann's career shifted from his main gig as sports announcer to political commentator, his subsequent appearances in the sports genre are tainted.

Take the recent immigration flap in Arizona. Leftist intellectual and El Sol all-star point guard Steve Nash—slumming it in Arizona at $13 million per year—is certainly free to lecture the proletariat. But like Jack Kemp, Jim Bunning, Heath Shuler or Bill Bradley, it probably would be better if he saved it for the post-game.

Those boycotting the Arizona Diamondbacks are equally grating. Obviously, I oppose any sort of discrimination by my childhood teams—unless the Yanks are exclusively signing Dominican stars; then they can call themselves Los Gringos for all I care. But I don't take out my exasperations over New Yorkers' consistently voting for Chuck Schumer on the New York Knicks.

Sports happen to be one of the most meritocratic institutions in this nation. They divide us into regional and traditional clusters. To inject corrosive political grandstanding into this thing that so many of us love can only undermine the camaraderie of fans, who are able to put aside their ideological differences, financial situations, and often their worries to partake in a communal gratification that politicians and "activists" only pretend to understand and foster.

And, after all, is nothing sacred?

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his website at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.

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  1. Politicians are jock-sniffers. And the jocks blow the politicians.

    News at eleven.

  2. When President Obama was asked if he would play a round of golf with his talk-radio nemesis Rush Limbaugh, the response, relayed by a top Democrat, was: “Limbaugh can play with himself.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  3. My two favorite sports flip-flops (and this is coming from a Chicagoan)… First is Hillary Clinton’s famous “oh, um, I was ALWAYS a Yankees fan! Yeah, that’s the ticket…” Second is our yet-to-be-unindicted governor Pat Quinn. During this year’s primary he was asked at the end of a debate, “Cubs or Sox?” His answer was, “Well, I grew up a Sox fan but there’s enough room in my heart for two teams so I root for the Cubs too. Oh, and if neither team is in it I’ll root for the Cardinals.” Personally, I think you can learn a lot about a politician by what they have to say about sports.

    1. That he’s a mealy-mouthed / flip-floppin’ / two-faced / double-talking…politician?

      But I repeat myself.

      1. Duh! He is from Illinois.

        1. I should have said he is a politician from Illinois.

  4. On the subject of Sammy Sosa being traded-

    I was a big Cubs fan growing up. When he came to the team, he wasn’t very good. It wasn’t until he started juicing and corking his bat that he started hitting a lot of home runs. That changed the way pitchers pitched to him, which subsequently helped his batting average, which usually hovered between .250 & .275- not great. If not for being disgraced by the steroid scandal, making him toxic for most teams, he would have broken Reggie Jackson’s infamous “most career strikeouts” record. It’s not hard for a guy to get 30 homers when he swings for the fences all the time, but it does explain why he struck out over 130 times every year he hit 30+. I remember many an opportunity for an RBI, even a sacrifice fly, being wasted because he couldn’t make contact. The way I see it, his being traded from the Rangers saved them a lot of heartache and eventual embarassment. Good for GW!

    1. Strikeouts are highly overrated. From ’98-’03 Sosa batted .308, .288, .320, .328, .288 and .279. He also OPS’d over 1.000 each of those seasons until ’02 and ’03, when it dipped down to a “pedestrian” .993 and .911. Steroids and corked bats aside, you give me those numbers and you can strike out every other at-bat for all I care.

      1. Very true. There are worse things than striking out, like hitting into double plays.

        1. Also, the distinction between “good outs” and “bad outs” is overblown. While all things being equal a ball in play is preferable to a strikeout, the reality is that few outs on balls in play are actually productive. As such, if a player is actually producing then strikeouts should be of little concern. Now, if a guy is striking out 130+ times AND he’s hitting .220 AND his OPS is .600, well, that’s a problem. But if a guy is hitting .300 and OPS-ing .850 then the one or two occasions where contact might have moved a runner from second to third are dwarfed by the production he brings to the table.

        2. So true. Like having a low OBP. My beloved Montreal Expos had many great advantages but their inability to get on base (Tim Raines aside) in the mid to late 80s was a sin. That led to lower runs.

      2. I think that falls under, “That changed the way pitchers pitched to him, which subsequently helped his batting average.” Notice that all those years you mentioned were when he started hitting 40+ homers.

        Many a Cub fan surely can recall him striking out with runners in scoring position, effectively killing rallies. With a runner on third and less than 2 outs, you got to at least put the ball in play.

        1. As a lifelong Cubs fan (I was actually at the game where Sosa hit #61 and #62 in ’98) I understand where you’re coming from. I’m just saying that strikeouts alone aren’t necessarily something to fret about so long as a player is productive (see my follow-up comment to John above). It is certainly true that high strikeout totals, combined with other red flags, can be very troublesome. Also, I could be wrong but I believe that high strikeout players tend to age more poorly than high contact guys (something we definitely saw with Sammy towards the end of his career).

          1. I would say that averaging almost 1 strikeout per game for a career is a “red flag” by itself. There were 7 seasons he actually struck out more times than the games he played in. That’s pretty bad.

          2. I don’t think strikeouts are all that important from the standpoint of pure objective outcome, but there is a pretty important psychology/momentum factor to the strikeout.

            Ted Williams would pretty dependably strike out around 15-20 times per year during his prime. Same with DiMaggio. There’s just something intimidating about a guy that literally doesn’t let the ball by him.

          3. Sammy had the unfortunate distinction of playing in an era with a wider strike zone. This came to an end in the early 2000s as the strike zone expanded vertically and contracted horizontally.

            It also basically ended the effectiveness of finesse pitchers like Greg Maddux, and left us with only power pitchers who use the strikeout as their main weapon. Beyond that, it’s had the effect of reducing 20-win seasons to handful of pitchers each year, if that; reducing the number of strikeouts for heavy strikeout hitters like Adam Dunn and Jim Thome; and further entrenching the idea of some players being only DHs (David Ortiz, Travis Hafner, Frank Thomas, etc.).

            1. There were alot of players playing in that era. Not many struck out almost once per game.

              1. The sluggers like Sosa, Thome, and others who would swing at anything even remotely close to the strike zone suffered most from that strike zone. Sosa today would have only about 130 or 140 K’s max, and probably be more in 110-120 range.

            2. I feel compelled, for some reason, to comment here even though I don’t know what to say.

              1. Come up with something that applies to politics the same way DIPS applies to pitching, and you’re excused.

    2. Actually he was traded to the Cubs from the Sox for George Bell who was considered to still be a preety good player, although on the downside of his career. Also, he was a 30/30 guy and a good player for many years before he started his big swinging/juicing ways. You must be a bit of a fair weather guy or else you root for the Cubs, but like a Sox fan (ie leave games in the 7th inning, only watch when they are winning, talk big etc)

      1. Why must I be a “fair weather guy”? You define that as, “only watch them when they are winning”? Trust me, they weren’t winning when I was watching them.

        Truth is, I like players more than teams. Ryno is why I started watching Cubs games and continued watching. Now, if a game is on I’ll check in to see if a player I like is hitting or pitching. I’ll only watch full games during the post season anymore.

        1. It’s not Ryan it’s Ryne.

          1. Rack him

          2. Just where did I spell it, “Ryan”? If you see my post at 2:47 on 5/12 you’d see me spell his name correctly.

            In the one you just responded to, I referred to him as, “Ryno” which was his nickname. You know that, right?

      2. Also, the passing of Harey Carey was when I stopped watching the Cubs. I always enjoyed his commentary.

        1. “I’ll only watch full games during the post season anymore.”

          Then perhaps you should realize your limitations on having an opinion that is credible. That i slike saying, “I only pay attention to politics during the the final months of a presidential election year” and thinking that you know shit about what goes on…

          1. Hey, this is baseball we’re talking about, we should be thankful regular folks watch even the playoffs anymore.

            Myself, I’m a nightly addict, but I suffer no delusions about the game’s popularity.

          2. Baseball is baseball. I don’t need to follow every game to know the fundamentals and be able to comment on how it’s played.

            However, Sammy hasn’t played in years and while he was playing I watched him almost daily because he was a Cub. I don’t see how me not watching much TODAY means I can’t comment on what I saw in the past.

            Also, politics is something you HAVE to follow if you want to be informed. Striking out alot today is no different than striking out alot when Rogers Hornsby was playing. If I were making a comment about say, how much better a player Ryne Sandberg was compared to Chase Uttley, then you might have some merit in your statement, because I don’t watch Chase Uttley and making such a comparison requires me knowing a little about him.

            But saying that someone who AVERAGED just under a strikeout per game for his career while only hitting .273 was a liability is a safe bet. I don’t care how many homeruns he hit, I would bet his strikeouts lost more games than his homer’s won.

            1. Wow, would you lose that bet. Let me get this straight… A home run is guaranteed, GUARANTEED, to produce at least one run. Sosa hit 609 of them in his career. Meanwhile he struck out 2306 times in his career, so we’ll estimate four strikeouts for every home run. For his strikeouts to cancel out his home runs, that would mean one out of every four strikeouts failed to produce a run that making contact would have otherwise produced. You’re honestly telling me that one out of every four strikeouts occurred, say, with a runner on second and nobody out (and that, had he made contact, Mark Grace or Henry Rodriguez or Fred McGriff or Moises Alou would have undoubtedly sacrificed the runner home in the next at-bat), or with a runner on third and less than two outs (and that contact would have certainly been a fly ball deep enough to bring home the run) or in some other situation where contact would have produced a run? Sorry, but your argument simply doesn’t hold water statistically. I know it’s easy to remember the whiffs in clutch situations, but they were far eclipsed by SIX HUNDRED FUCKING HOME RUNS. The dude had a career WARP of 61.0. You are perfectly right to argue he struck out a lot and it might have cost the Cubs a game here and there, but statistically there’s no way you can argue those K’s cost the Cubs more games than his home runs won.

              1. I’m sure he hit many home runs in losing games, though. So that might throw off the numbers too. But you’re also not taking into consideration that he was a lifetime .273 hitter. His strikeout to walk ratio was 2.48:1. His C/L batting avg was .260. His RISP average was .277. Those aren’t good numbers.

                Also, WARP means nothing. Why not compare him to the average of his position as opposed to a Triple-A player? Makes more sense to me.

            2. Rhay, I don’t disagree, but I am not talking about ratings, I am talking about haimerj really understanding something. To say that you don’t get a better understanding of something the more you watch and pay attention in context (ie knowing the situation, what inning, who’s pitching, winning/losing, history against the pitcher, slumping/heating up, type of umpire, injuries etc) will give a much greater understanding of the game. Just looking at box scores and watching an at-bat here and there is not the same as tuning in watching on a regular basis. Intelligence plays a part also to be sure (that is why Morgan on ESPN Sunday night is a douche and Steve Stone can predict each and every pitch and the outcome of it) but simply looking at Sammy’s strike outs and saying he wasn’t helpful to the team is moronic. Most of the time, he never had any supporting cast around him. The only way to ensure aq run is to hit it yourself. Also, he did become a ego maniac and steroid freak eventually, but that is not what he was in the beginning and middle of his career. Oh and by the way, the entire playoff run in 2001 was all him. He carried that entire team that entire year. Also, his strikeout totals increased as he got older and more juiced and hit in the head (never the same after that) so, you have to take that into account. The strikeouts were not spread out evenly across his entire career – heavy at the end, less in the middle and beginning

              1. I never said he “wasn’t helpful” I said his strikeouts were a liability.

                And again, Sammy hasn’t played in years and I watched almost every game when he was playing with the Cubs.

                Also, you’re saying, “The strikeouts were not spread out evenly across his entire career” proves that in fact YOU don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t let the total numbers fool you. Sure there were a couple years he struck out less than 100 times, but he didn’t play many games those years either. He was pretty consistent at being right below once per game at the beginning of his career and all the way through it. In fact, from 1996-2000 (those “great” years) he struck out more times than games played EVERY year.

  5. I’m the one who really swiftboated Kerry!

  6. Sports happen to be one of the most meritocratic institutions in this nation. They divide us into regional and traditional clusters. To inject corrosive political grandstanding into this thing that so many of us love can only undermine the camaraderie of fans, who are able to put aside their ideological differences, financial situations, and often their worries to partake in a communal gratification that politicians and “activists” only pretend to understand and foster.

    Being a sports fan is for the most part, a harmless outlet for our innate tribalism. Whenecver a politician tries to jump on the bandwagon it is the duty of all foul mouthed, beer swilling fans who watch on TV or go to the stadium to escape reality, to push them the hell off. They are not wanted in the fantasy world of sports.

    BTW, the mayor of my fair city is a hall of fame basketballer who became a successful businessman after he retired. Detroit’s problems are likely to be too much for Dave Bing to solve, but he is a needed dose of adult maturity in the local political scene.

    1. With the Detroit City Council, Bing knows what it is like to play 1 on 5 against the dumbest team in the league. No matter how good and smart Bing plays, he’s always going to be out-manned by the dumb jocks on the Council.

  7. We have a former President sit behind the plate at every home game that’s not in June, July, or August, and my Astros are still rarely tainted by politics. It would do most sport stars well to remember Michael Jordan’s famous quote about why he kept his mouth shut on politics: “Republicans buy shoes, too.” A sport star’s primary job is getting people to watch him, and it’s better to not try to offend 30% (or Nash’s case 70%) of your potential audience.

    1. As long as we don’t mention the original name of the ballpark. A friend and I were just discussing pooling our “merch of shame” which include my opening day cap with the original stadium sponor’s logo and his Clemens jersey.

      1. Did they give out Ken Lay bobbleheads?

  8. Sports ought to be a fantasy land away from politics. I hate it when politicians intrude. And I also hate it when sports figures try to make political statements during games. Fuck the Suns. If want to debate the Arizona immigration law, I will read Reason or some other political publication, not watch a basketball game.

    1. Nash can’t help himself. He was born with a silver Air Jordan in his mouth.

      1. Nash can’t possibly be as stupid as Sarver with the “Los Suns” debacle: attacking the white/black pro-SB1070 coalition with the stunt, then middle-fingering Spanish-speakers by asserting solidarity with them by sticking a Spanish article in front of an English word like some kind of modern-day Archie Bunker. This is Joe Biden-level brilliance.

    2. I’m stop talking politics at work when my boss asks me to. Nash is no different except he has a public platform and is an immigrant.

      1. *I’ll

        Damnit.

      2. He and you can say whatever you want. But I am free to avoid your business if frequenting it means hearing a lecture on your politics.

    3. I commented on this when Radley posted about this on the Agitator last week. While I agree in their criticism of Arizona’s law, I think it’s crappy as management to essentially force players into making a political statement. Sure, they said everybody on the team supported it, but if you’re some scrub are you going to stand up and tell Steve Nash to go pound it? Of course not. If the owner wants to make a statement, or certain players want to make a statement, then do it as individuals. As somebody who rarely agrees with my management’s politics, I would certainly resent being put in such a position.

    4. I wonder if Nash is going to boycott his games against the Wizards. After all Federal law requires him to carry his “papers” with him at all times. Anyone want to bet if he follows that law?

    5. I love Steve Nash, but I do wish he would cool it with the political statements.

  9. My favorite political fake sports fan (and fake literate man) moment was when Sycacuse and Sycasuse teamed up to form the mighty SYCABUSE! and busted Obama’s bracket. Then ESPN pretended it didn’t happen. Good times.

  10. I’m generally in agreement with this article, but sometimes people jump on the “keep politics out of sports” mantra despite important historical co-mingling of the two.

    From Jesse Owens in Munich to Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn to the return of baseball to NYC after 9/11, sports have often served to transcend the boundaries of ultimately meaningless games and become something bigger. I’m not saying that every single political issue should pervade sports (or vice versa), but the simplistic “sports and politics shouldn’t mix” message tends to obscure some damn important history from time to time.

  11. The cockbags like Obama who pretend to be a fan when they’re not aren’t as loathsome as the sports bigamist. If one more dickweed politician claims to be a Yankees fan AND a Mets fan, I’m gonna splinter his taint with Piazza’s broken bat.

    1. Isn’t that what Clemens wanted to do? At least until the ‘roid rage subsided.

    2. I mean to Piazza.

    3. I’ll only respect a politician that says his favorite team is the Los Angeles Clippers. Or the KC Royals.

      1. I think any DC politician that has supported the Nationals from day one and has never wavered also deserves our respect.

      2. Or one who’s still pissed the Hartford Whalers moved to Carolina.

  12. Could you imagine if Major League ballplayers and other big time pro athletes, many of whom are multimillionaires, decided to take part in the Tea Party movement to protest the massive tax increases that are coming their way in the very near future to pay for the trillions of dollars of debt our insane government is now accumulating?

    The people who are encouraging the attempts to boycott Arizona would go absolutely batshit and would tell the athletes to just shut the hell up.

    1. Yup. Most sports writers are the most pathetic sort of lefties. They don’t think many deep thoughts, which is why they went into sports journalism. They went to journalism school and were totally indoctrinated by lefty profs. And they feel insecure about not being “real journalists”. So they make up for it by trying to be more Catholic than the pope, which in journalist circles means being a big liberal. They would all shit their pants if any athlete actually came out with conservative views.

      1. Most sports writers are the most pathetic sort of lefties.

        Uhh, have you ever seen sports coverage of a story involving recreational drug use? ESPN turned into a network full of drug czars during the Michael Phelps bong rip story.

        1. What makes you think lefties are against the drug wars? Last I looked the most pathetic sort of lefty also supported the nannystate. Maybe in 1975, “lefty” meant tolerance for drug use. But not anymore. ESPN went ballistic on Phelps because most of them have the same political views of the worst sort lefty, east coast, suburban soccer mom.

          1. Yeah I suppose that “the most pathetic sort of lefties” leaves quite a bit of room for interpretation. And I do agree that the mindset you describe is pathetic indeed. I’m just saying that the lifestyle moralizing you always see in sports coverage of those stories isn’t exactly consistent with so-called “progressive” views on personal drug use.

            Also, the gay thing; that’s still a major taboo in team sports, and I’m not sure that is isn’t shared by a healthy number of sportswriters.

            1. Did you see Obama throw out the first pitch at U.S. Cellular last April? There’s your most pathetic sort of lefty.

                1. +1. Little hard on Santana but hey. I hate the Mets or anyone on the NL east. What can I say? I’m an Expos fan.

      2. And the two contending for Douchebag Sportswriter of the Year Award are Lupica and Mitch Albom

      3. Geez John, really? I dislike libs and hate conservatives, and your comment just proves why. Neither Dems or Repubs are willing to admit facts when making arguments. The amount of energy and time spent slinging mud and hypocritically ignoring how much damage your side of the poli spectrum has done to our country is INSANELY frustrating to us indys. The debt we will be paying off for generations was a Reagan trend and all you conservatives were lining up to lick his balls after his two terms. The man coined the phrase, “I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.” I won’t even go into the fiscal nightmare that was Bush the sequel. We are in an ass-load of trouble as a nation thanks to BOTH political parties. Man up to your party’s responsibility in all this so we can get the hell out of this mess.

  13. The boycotts by international rugby and cricket made a huge difference in apartheid South Africa. Whites were furious and ashamed not to be allowed to play other clubs and nations. To break the boycotts, RSA tried to create integrated national teams, but Blacks and Coloureds refuse to play for them while apartheid remained, shaming Whites even further. These boycotts undermined White support significantly. (Soccer also boycotted the RSA Whites-only team, but White South Africans didn’t care much for soccer, and still really don’t.)

    1. That is true. Of course it would have been nice if the international sports community had boycotted the Soviet Union rather than letting them use them as a propaganda platform.

      For every time you can think of when politics in sports did some good, there are plenty of counter examples where it was used by some loathsome regime for legitimacy.

    2. Yeah, that’s a good example of the point I was trying to make a half dozen or so comments above.

  14. Mayor Menino in Boston recently had a serious case of foot in mouth disease at the Bobby Orr Statue Ceremony.

    The worst part is that he was actually reading this as he said it, which means either he or someone else actually wrote this down and read it a few times before going live.

    Menino wide right at Orr statue ceremony

    Speaking as a born and raised Bostonian, this is borderline sacrilegious.

  15. This guy’s a complete hack. Nothing substantial said. Get him off this website.

    1. Go away if you don’t like the material, asshole.

  16. Meh. Following sports, like following politics, makes losers feel like winners; that’s why there are so many sports fans and political junkies.

    1. And how do condescending internet forum comments make losers feel? Just curious.

      1. Rhayader shoots… and (s)he scores!!!

        1. Haha, he, for the record.

  17. It’s said that politics is show business for ugly people.

    Maybe politics are also sports for the physically uncoordinated.

    1. +10000!!!!!

      …however, there’s plenty of ugly people who follow useless celebrities.

  18. Of course the Shilling gaffe cooked Coakley’s goose.

    1. Coakley’s goose was simmering nicely even before that.

  19. My souring on athletics was because the politicians kept taxing me to build the local billionaire a new stadium.

    I like sports, but I’m sick of having to pay for stadiums that I will never visit.

    The Twins just built a new stadium financed with a tax on just one county. Now the Vikings have the gall to show up and demand $600+ billion for their stadium (oh, did I mention that the state is already a couple hundred billion in the hole?)

    I just wish that our local pols would wish the Vikes good luck in their search for a new city and be done with it.

    1. L.A. doesn’t want to build a new stadium; where else would the Vikings go? San Antonio? Las Vegas? Toronto?

  20. All-time best had to be the Cincinnati mayor’s first pitch that was both short and about 40 ft wide.

    #2 = Ted Kennedy looking down at his speech and reading “Mike McGwire and Sammy Sooser.”

    1. Even better was Ted’s “Osama Ohmama, Allama Osanda, Sobama Ruanda, uh” I really don’t know the guy. Of course, give that he mainlined Cutty Sark, not bad I guess.

  21. Philadelphia sports fans have no shame, and that is one of the reasons why I am proud to be one. And the Playa Hatin’. I am rooting for the Pens to lose to the Habs today almost as hard as I am rooting for the Flyers to beat the Bruins.

    1. I want to see fucking Sydney lose so bad.

      1. It pains me to root for the Habs, because their fanbase is so deluded, but it would be a small price to pay to see the Pens go down. Plus, the Flyers would have home-ice advantage in the ECF against the Habs, by virtue of it being #7 vs. #8. That would be sweet.

        1. 7 versus 8 and the 8 came back from 3-1 against the 1 and the seven came back from 3-0 in the semis. Why do they even play the regular season in hockey? Amazing.

          1. Probably so we could taste the sweet and yummy tears of Rangers fans.

            1. Fucking Wings.

      2. Sidney.


    2. I’m of the conviction that to be a Philadelphia sports fan you really do have to be born and raised (metaphorically speaking) within sight of Billy Penn’s hat.

      But of what precisely should Philadelphia fans be ashamed? Snowballing Santa Claus at halftime? Still?

      Given the many horrors suffered by Philadelphia’s denizens as the result of the corrupt and malpractitionate city government (consider Wilson Goode, the only mayor in American history to call in an airstrike on his own city), it’s something of a marvel that they can get passionate about anything, let alone as noble an undertaking as pounding the snot out of the Mets.

  22. Since the number of pro atheletes that have had criminal charges brought against them, settled for harassment, publically apologized, and had other such displays of bad behavior is now well into the triple digits, can we drop this “sports builds character” stuff?

  23. OMG, is this a right wing blog? I though wingnuts were the only ones peddling the disinformation about Hillary Clinton not being a long time Yankee fan! For your information, Clinton’s 2003 autobiography, “Living History” (Simon & Schuster), contains a photograph of her wearing a Yankees cap in 1992 — eight years before she ever ran for the Senate seat in New York. Why don’t you check it out for your self?

    1. Wow, hard-hitting stuff right there. Thanks for exposing the lies.

    2. In fairness, in 1992, the Yankees weren’t “the Yankees.” They were 10 games under .500, finished in fourth place, and still trying to find their way after Steinbrenner had been “banned for life” by Fay Vincent.

  24. As a Yankees fan, it’s always been my suspicion that Yankees Hatred was not so much to do with winning or spending too much as it did with George Steinbrenner being a wealthy, white, Republican – something loathsome those sportswriters who tend to be on the Left.

    That said, the government involvement in PED hearings and comments about a playoff system for the BCS are disturbing.

    Throughout history, tyrants have attached themselves to popular sporting events for self-serving purposes.

    GO YANKS!!!

    1. Yankees suck, Jets suck, Mets suck, Knicks suck.

      I must be a Democrat operative.

    2. No, Yankee hatred has to do with the rest of country’s annoyance with New Yorker’s sense of entitlement.

      1. No, it’s much simpler than that: envy.

        1. Oh, and inferiority complexes.
          Yes, Cleveland, I’m looking at you.

      2. But the sports media loves the REd Sox even though their fans are just as obnoxious and entitled as Yankee fans and the team has almost as much money. Could the Sox douche bag Obama loving GM have something to do with it?

  25. Ugh, fuck the Yankees.

  26. “professional sports are comparatively uncontaminated by the bitterness and ugliness that taint most politics”

    I respect your writing, David, but this is just patently false. Bitterness and ugliness are two reasons many people watch sports (in addition to the more positive aspects). Sports fans love to hate another team.

    Bitterness and ugliness are why people in the Denver metro area forgave the Sharks for beating the Avs in the first round and rejoiced in San Jose dismantling the Dead Things the other night.

    1. “Dead Things”??? I resemble that remark.

  27. I remember in the war asking guys coming up to the line who the quarterback of the NY Yankees was…they shot me. (I died, but I grew back, and now I practice hoops while swinging my nascar).

  28. There is no more proof needed that politicians are to sports what the product of my bowels is to fine dining than that fucking idiot (and hopefully soon-to-be-dead president) Barack Obama’s inability to name ONE … fucking ONE … White Sox player ever.
    The fucking loser is a clown, a fraud … but then again, he’s a politician, so I’m being redundant.
    I love sports, especially baseball. Having a retard cunt like Obama comment on it is like pissing in the holy water.

    1. Damn, Jamie Kelly’s PhD level of profanity keeps me coming back to reason, folks! You are truly the Lenny Bruce of H&R!

  29. Isn’t Reason about civil liberties? I don’t understand…does Harsanyi support what’s going on in Arizona?

    I think the reason why this becomes about baseball is because that sport is made up of Latin players…which anyone who actually watches it would know.

    I suppose it’s not that fans should boycott the Diamondbacks, but that Latin players should refuse to play in Arizona.

    1. Surely because the Latin players are all here illegally, right?

  30. Fuck The Los Suns! Go Lakers!

  31. Meritocracy lies etherized on the table.

    I used to think sports was meritocratic, and I still fantasize that it is, but the New York Yankees, veteran-favoring umpires/refs, and the steroid scandal has made me cynical.

    Business isn’t meritocratically any better, with high finance intentionally creating bubbles then taking the money and running when they burst, with conglomerators milking product lines and obsoleting inventors, and a few oligarchs cornering commodities markets and bankrupting Mom and Pops.

    Even mating competition has lost its merit compass, with today’s yups selecting on boob and trust fund size without bothering to compare philosophies.

    What will save the meritocracy is that when the Spoiledest Generation feels the real pain of the borrowed money running out, credit drying up, double digit inflation, and losing jobs to outsourced foreigners who know English better than they do…they will have to actually compete.

    Then slowly the etherized Meritocracy will regain consciousness…about 10 years from now.

  32. Mayor Menino isn’t called “Mayor Mumbles” for nothing. The guy has been mangling English his whole career.

  33. For some strange reason I can’t picture a homo erotic fag like David playing in sports in his youth. Hence that is why he writes. I guess it’s better than him carrying on about fighting for israel because rapture might fall upon us…ohhh.

  34. To Kyle Brandt-

    For some reason I can’t “reply” to your post.

    I don’t find anywhere that I spelled it, “Ryan”? In the comment you replied to, I called him, “Ryno.” I’m sure you’ll recall that was his nickname, right?

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