Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

All Is Forgiven

“All Manny had to do, like A-Rod, was hit a homer
or knock in a run, and all would be forgiven”

Manny Ramirez was about to bat for the first time since his suspension for use of banned substances–a euphemism that means he’s a dirty rat who’s done his part, with others, to ruin baseball. And all he had to do, a la Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees, was to hit a homer or just get a hit and knock in a run, and all wouldl be forgiven.

That’s life these days in a celebrity-loving world for which the Grand Old Game is the latest casualty. The deplorable loss of honor and ethics will not deter the Major League brass, who’ve always known a golden goose when they saw one. Brain trust that they claim to be, you’d think they’d take the long view, bite the bullet, clean up their racket and start from square one to save baseball.

But that would mean being content with the insane amounts of dough they’ve made till now and the high life enjoyed for, lo, these many years–if they can but manage to live on that–and let the next generation of owners, brass and players unions earn a new, reputable position in society.

Yeah, as if that’ll ever happen. What is happening is that the public is being massaged with euphemisms like the above and distracted with all manner of sleight of hand that we might, uh, forget that all this has occurred. ‘Tis better, they tell us, to avoid Memory in favor of Forgetfulness. It is in the nature of beer-guzzlers (the drug of choice for childish men who live somehow from ballgame to ballgame) to favor Forgetfulness, sire of Dionysius, the god of wine–clearly an inebriate but much too genteel for modern tastes, and for whom beer is deemed a superior development in the culture of libations. In myth, Memory was mom to the Muses, goddesses of the fine arts and much too precious for guys given to cursing umpires, booing managers and brawling in pubs afterward.

So memory is out, forgetfulness is in, regarding sports ethics. Or does such even exist? There is a vast library of resources on the subject–but only for college and under, as well as amateurs; much less for the rarified air of the pros. There, given that you’re in business, not sport, you do what you can get away with–as too many great players clearly thought, while managers looked the other way, and the brass played dumb till word broke and they feigned shock. Their promise of a clean sweep of the matter means it will forever be swept under the rug.

Even the Code of Ethics for sports officials–i.e., umps, refs, etc.– addresses fairness, integrity and accuracy (please excuse those who are certifiably blind) to “impose a higher ethical standard by which true professionals are judged.” And we string up college coaches for many infractions, mostly over money and recruiting, and would do well to check out the British code and its high standards for things like “Integrity”–as in, “…not encourage performers to violate the rules of the sport.” I’d say looking the other way is a huge infraction, but apparently that’s in another world.

Pro baseball in the U.S. is corrupting itself and getting worse. Manny and others will benefit from nuanced interpretation of rules like, “when” did they do it? It will take a generation of sports management students to get in place and change the culture. For now, Manny will go the way of A-Rod, who’s allowed to play on for Yanks fans, who in turn will tolerate anything that might bring bragging rights from a World Series victory.

Years ago it took racism and sexism to keep Satchel Paige and Babe Didrikson Zaharias out of the majors (she was an incredible athlete in multiple sports–baseball and golf but two–and an Olympian) and not a steriod in either of them. Babe pitched spring training and struck out a slew of male sluggers, but they were not about to let her hang around the Bigs.

I’d like to see a certain Commish have to stand at home plate, bat in hand, while she and Satch took turns whiffing him–before putting an extra fast ball right in his ear.  Maybe then he’d listen. If he did, maybe then all could be forgiven.

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