Thursday, March 18, 2010

I don't have enough time to break this down...

...but it's worth reading and reveling in its stupidity. Here is Will Leitch doing the same old song and dance about how he knows better than baseball players how to police their game without bench clearing brawls.

Oh well. Could be worse. He could be one of those rock-heads who rail against fighting in hockey.

Edit: I have some time and reader Adam expressed concern about my lack of clarity in this post about what I find obnoxious about it. Let me clarify:

Will Leitch is not criticizing the violent nature of sports in his post. He's just being condescending about baseball's. Just like people who write obnoxiously about how hockey players are so much more immature than they are because hockey players fight, so too Leitch is criticizing baseball's form of retribution, and suggesting in an asinine way that baseball would somehow be more respectable if players threw punches rather than curveballs into the meaty part of players' shoulders and thighs. Let's just look at a few choice quotations that really are obnoxiously simpering, and then I really have to go:

Fielder offended the baseball gods, because, for one brief trip around the bases, he appeared to be enjoying himself. Heaven forbid.

Yeah, that's what it's about Will. It's about punishing people for "enjoying themselves" GMAMFB.

This idea of players being thrown at by the opposing pitcher as the ultimate retribution for disrespecting the game is ridiculous. It's all part of this vague macho code that those who play baseball have invented so that it might seem they are playing a man's game, rather than a boy's.

Wow what an excessively condescending passage with no evidence whatsoever to back himself up. Leitch makes two claims here:

1.) That players throwing at other players is ridiculous

2.) That players throw at other players to prove something about their masculinity

When the premise for your first claim rests on your second claim's fundamental misunderstanding of the sport you are discussing...your first claim is pretty baseless. Some baseball players may throw at others sometimes for want of masculinity or appearance thereof. But at the end of the day, the idea revolves around a concept of honorability. Not masculinity.

Now, take issue with that if you will, but don't categorically mischaracterize that fundamental motivation. Everyone in baseball knows that if you do something out of line with the dignity of the game, you will pay a small physical price for it. It's not an inherently good thing by any means but it's also not inherently ridiculous.

Prince Fielder would be the first to tell you that.

Only in the pretty-boy world of baseball would the idea exist that the only way to get Clemens back would be to plunk him in the ass with a 75-mile-per-hour slider.

Oh I's not that retribution is inherently silly because retribution itself for a perceived slight is silly. It's because "it just ain't tuff enuff"

Those who play Australian Rules Football must be so amused by baseball retribution. Oh, you hit his butt with a baseball. Man, you must be pissed.

What a compelling argument.

They untuck their jerseys, they throw inside, they generally feel like layabouts, lollygaggers and raconteurs. (That is to say: They're having fun.)

This is one of the smuggest, purplest, piece of garbage passages I've ever read.

And let's just let this one speak for itself:

Sometimes I think baseball needs a little more Ty Cobb. (Minus the virulent racism.) That was a man who knew how to fight. Respect The Game? Yeah, sure, buddy, as soon as I remove my fist from your mouth. I don't want to see baseball turn into hockey. But a good fight, a real fight, every once in a while, might do everybody some good. Loosen everybody up, let them not act as if a goofy bowling baseball performance art piece was like snorting Lou Gehrig's ashes at second base or something. This pretend retribution, this ascot justice, it's a way to put a mock macho code on a game that, all told, isn't particularly macho. It might be nice if someone acknowledged that. And, jeez, if the fat vegetarian wants to make a dopey joke with his teammates after a meaningless walk-off home run, man, just let him already.

I didn't mean to break this down so please forgive the rudimentary nature of this breakdown. I just realized it wasn't eminently clear what sucked about this article (and believe me, this article sucked major donkey balls), so I thought I'd clear that up.


Adam said...

Are you being facetious Chris? Because he seems correct (except for the part about fighting) to me.

Chris W said...

Not at all. I find his tone incredibly annoying.

One of the things people love about baseball is its tradition. Now, that doesn't mean that people should refuse to see things in an accurate way for no other reason but tradition.

But at the end of the day, what Fielder did was funny, and it was also something he knew was crossing the line.

Leitch admits that sports needs a "physical" outlet--that's why he goes on that utterly asinine screed about Ty Cobb and bench clearing brawls and how teams should use that as "revenge" rather than plunks (which...are you fucking kidding me, Will?). So he acknowledges that that is something that is neither going to be eliminated nor an inherently bad thing.

But somehow he takes issue with the benign, yet satisfactory act of plunking a player for "disrespecting the game"

That's why I compare it to people whining about fighting in hockey. Here is something that on the one hand causes players to feel that justice is served and helps them go on with the game at hand, and on the other hand is quite a bit less likely to result in injury than the sort of injuries that cheap shots (in hockey) or bench clearing brawls (or spiking) in baseball often lead to.

So what's the fucking problem? That he thinks it's "silly" that Barry Zito's fastball isn't fast? I guess so. Which is why this was a stupid fucking article.

Dylan Murphy said...

The difference is that hockey fights and throwing at batters in baseball matches the physicality of the game. The most painful thing that happens in baseball is getting hit by a pitch. Therefore retaliation would obviously be the exact same thing. The worst thing in hockey is to be completely destroyed by a huge hit, an extremely physical act. Throwing punches is a logical reaction. If someone were to throw me against a wall, I wouldn't get up and say thank you, and I wouldn't throw a hockey puck at them. Baseball is not a physical game. Nothing happens in bench clearing brawls. People just run in, and then walk back to the dugout.

Chris W said...

That's exactly why Ty Cobb was such a shit. Now, I love the Georgia Peach, but trying to beat the living daylights out of a guy because he looked at you wrong is not really the way we think of sportsmanship today.

I like how baseball and hockey deal with it: everyone knows that if you fuck with someone you will have to deal with the enforcer (in baseball, it's the pitcher) taking it up with you.

Yes, in an ideal world, people would focus on winning ballgames rather than all that side noise, but it's not an ideal world. To act like baseball's problem is it's retaliation isn't thuggish enough just strikes me as the epitome of asinine

Anonymous said...


We didn't care for this post.

- Will Leitch

Chris W said...

:( Now I feel like Roger Ebert circa 2002

Alex said...

I don't understand the last paragraph at all.

And even bothering to compare hockey and baseball fights is a complete waste of print, time, energy, space, ink and blood. In fact, it's - dare I say in these PC-charged times - retarded.