Saturday, December 15, 2007

Capitalism 101: Fuck the Yankees

Putting together dominant teams by luring in the best performing players with enormous salaries creates an incentive for players to enhance their performance through any means necessary? No shit?

I'm mystified by all the Sturm und Drang surrounding the impact, e.g., Roger Clemens' steroid use will have on "the kids," who are getting the message that it's okay to abase oneself
and risk one's physical health in pursuit of material reward. Yes, using steroids to improve your athletic performance is risky to your health and career prospects. You know what else is? Trying to make a living playing professional baseball.

In terms of eventual outcome, the aspiring pro ballplayer is probably better off washing out sometime early in college, hopefully not by an injury with a severe impact on quality of life. That way you've got your fond memories of high school stardom to look back on, you've got a couple years left to decide on something to study for real, you probably know a couple people who have a shot at the Show (valuable contacts regardless of your own personal future), and you're not staring at the prospect of toiling for years in the minors and never breaking out. True, you'll always wonder what coulda been; but realistically, it probably wouldna.

It's just another example of the US schizophrenia regarding economics and consumerism. Up to a certain point, the quest for material comforts at any cost is the very lifeblood of our nation. Past that, it's a dehumanizing corruption of all that is decent. It comes up in the eternal debates over whether rap music is a positive or negative force in our society (answer: rap music is our society).

"The kids" get the message: everyone's for sale, and your primary goal in life should be to make sure you get a good price when the time comes to sell out. Revelations like the Mitchell Report simply make explicit the tacit implications of our social order. It's no wonder they're so unsettling.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I had no idea.

I was out on my lunch break and stopped by the little tea shop by my house to pick up some key staples (while passing on some others that they also carry). The radio was on in the shop, but since it is my habit to tune out radio broadcasts of anything other than rap music, I wasn't listening to it. Then as the owner was ringing me up he commented that he was hoping listening to talk about baseball would warm him up.

Baseball! They were talking about baseball on the radio! It's the middle of winter! But of course, this is what's known as the "off season," when all sorts of trades happen. So I came right home and checked to see if my beloved Mets were up to anything. And they traded Lastings Milledge!

Reading some of the discussion, a lot of people seem to be concerned with the race angle. I think the notion that the owners or management want a completely non-black team is pretty far-fetched, but I do think it would be worth enduring insults from the slavering racists at the Post (seriously, when did it become common knowledge that Don Imus recorded the first rap record?) to have a shot at bringing up a homegrown African-American superstar.

The small number of blacks in baseball means that the ones who become great have that much more star power. The Mets would have done well to stick with Milledge and try to benefit from that potential, better representing the city and broadening the fan base as they have done with Latino players.

Anyway. Did not expect to be thinking about baseball other than in video games or drawings for several more months. But there you go.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Katie Casey was baseball mad

I finally got around to going by Peter's place to watch the third disc of Ken Burns' Baseball. This was a good one...I think we each only started nodding off once or twice. It started with Ty Cobb, continued on through World War I, and then wrapped up with the Black Sox. Pretty fascinating stuff.

After it was over, we looked up the full lyrics to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," sang a few rounds, and then played the trivia game that's part of the special features of each DVD. For the first time so far, we batted a perfect 1.000! I think we only had to guess on like one question.