USA out of Tony La Russa


It was a simpler America

Speaking of life being too precious to be wasted on something as stupid as politics, I noticed with some chagrin today that my Twitter stream of baseball stat-nerdery was chunk-a-blunk with otherwise not-very-political writers I enjoy going ballistic on St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa, because he's going to be speaking at the Glenn Beck rally tomorrow at the Lincoln Memorial. I'm no fan of either man's haircut, but, well, Deadspin's Will Leitch puts his finger on it:

For the record, this is not to say La Russa and [Albert] Pujols are not Republicans; I have no idea what their politics are, and part of me wonders if even they know. Pujols and La Russa were on opposite sides of the Arizona immigration law, but I doubt they've ever discussed it with one another or put much thought into it in the first place; the dreary business of discussing politics is for people who don't get to run around and play baseball all day. And, further, contrary to popular opinion, there is not, in fact, anything inherently wrong with being a Republican, or a Democrat. (It's amazing how often this gets lost.) Athletes who speak up on traditionally "liberal" issues are often lauded for Being Brave Enough To Take A Stand, but those who say they vote Republican are chastised for being sellouts. This is one of the few things Michael Jordan was actually correct about: Republicans buy shoes too, obviously. If you think Michael Jordan, or Albert Pujols, or Tony La Russa, or Etan Thomas, legitimately has something valuable to contribute to any debate, you have more faith in their desire to put in diligent research on any topic other than the upcoming road trip than I do. Like most humans, athletes have knee-jerk reactions to political issues that spring almost entirely from their own self-interest. There is nothing wrong with this. If you start requiring everyone who cheers for your favorite team has the same political values as you do, you're missing the whole point of sport. Taking anything an athlete, or celebrity, or anyone other than someone who has put serious study into the issue at hand and is open-minded enough to take a look at every angle and put forth a subtle, complex viewpoint that hopefully leads to a sane resolution (that is to say, "no politicians either") … it is folly. You are asking more of them than you should.

Whole thing here.