Taking a break from writing human interest pieces about athletes you've never heard of, old FireJay favorite Jeff has given us an article that truly lives up to the tag "articles that didn't need to be written."
Major league ballplayers should care about this election
Throughout spring training clubhouses in Arizona and Florida, politics fail to generate interest. Finding someone who has participated in a state primary or caucus is slightly harder than finding a cinematic role for Meeno Peluce. The majority of players are almost certainly not even registered to vote. On the morning following last Tuesday's highly publicized Wisconsin Democratic primary, nary a Ranger nor Kansas City Royal could be heard talking about the results. Heck, no one even seemed to know the event took place.
Wow. Who would have possibly thought that to be the case. But why?
"Baseball players are inherently selfish," says Brian Johnson, the former major league catcher. "Everything is about 'me.' People want my autograph, people want to see me, people want to watch my games on TV. Everyone works around my schedule, even my wife and kids. So it's hard to have a global or national perspective when everything is about you."
Thank you, Brian. Upon receiving this quote, Jeff should have immediately put two and two together and realized that this is a dumb topic. But he presses on.
Indeed, a top 10 list of spring training topics discussed by ballplayers would look something like this:
2. Free sunglasses
4-5. Jesus/golf (tie)
6. Dinner options
7. The Kyle Kendrick YouTube video
8. Britney Spears
9. Strip clubs
10. More Jesus/golf (tie)
Anyways, now that we've established the political ambivalence of MLB players, why does Jeff think these guys should stop being such squares and start caring about the outcome of November's elections?
What many ballplayers fail to understand is that, in terms of policy, they will be as impacted by this fall's election as anyone. While McCain plans on upholding the tax cuts enacted under George W. Bush, both Obama and Clinton want tax breaks to expire for Americans making more than $200,000 per year. (Read: baseball players.) Though McCain has said little about automobile emissions, Obama and Clinton have demanded drastic improvements in fuel efficiency standards. (The unofficial baseball player vehicle of choice? The mighty Hummer.)
The list goes on and on.So let me get this straight- Hummers and other gas guzzlers might have to up their MPG outputs sometime in the next 20 years (based on an article I read in Time, which I can't link because this was like a month ago while I was waiting for my car at Jiffy Lube, this probably won't ever happen). And if a Democrat wins, there's a chance they will try to get rid of some of Bush's upper class tax cuts. And those two facts are supposed to overcome the breasts, free sunglasses, and other powerful cultural barriers currently restricting baseball players' interests in politics? Talk about tepid (at best) support for one's own point. I dare you- gather up a bunch of guys between 21 and 40, many of whom are already millionaires or will be millionaires within the next five years. Then tell them that they should start caring more about politics because they might have to buy slightly smaller cars or pay an extra fifteen grand in taxes in a couple of years. And try not to look too embarrassed when they laugh you out of the room.
Look, it's totally correct that political apathy and low voter turnout are huge problems with this country. Our election participation numbers are downright pathetic when you compare us to other western democracies. But I really don't think baseball players are at the top of the list of groups who need to start caring more. Maybe the millions and millions of uninsured Americans out there or those who make less than $20,000 a year and are constantly at risk of slipping into poverty should step up their levels of interest before we start busting balls in MLB clubhouses.
And sure, I'll grant that if more public figures like pro athletes made a bigger deal out of politics, that might cause more everyday people to have the same response. But really, if we need to be told by celebrities how to look out for our own interests, doesn't that really just make us a pathetic bunch of losers?
Christ, what was I originally talking about. Oh yeah- hey Jeff, try to pick out a less boring topic for your next piece. That would be fantastic.