Take Me Out To The Ball Game

A-Rod Circus Continues

This week saw the WBC begin, and with it, some Yankees scattered to national squads. Jeter went to captain Team America and even took on the Yankees in a warm up match. A-Rod went to the Dominican squad, watched Jose Reyes and decided he looked the like of Reyes and said he wished he was with the Yankees. It was a colossally stupid thing to say because the press went to town on it.

After that, A-Rod went to meet the MLB authorities about his steroid admission, following which nothing seemed to come of it, except that now he is going to get hip surgery and will be out 10 weeks. During the last 72 hours it’s gone form a cyst to a torn labrum; from being able to play through the season with the injury, to must-operate-now.

One imagines that the MLB reps told A-Rod he has to take 10 weeks off, even if it wasn’t in their power to suspend him for steroid use when there weren’t any regulations against it. A-Rod in turn probably said, “fine, in that case I’ll get my hip looked at because it didn’t get any better this winter”.

Who knows?

The guy seems to be a headline magnet no matter what he does, and he does choose to do and say some stupid things that by their nature make him newsworthy in ways almost tangential to playing baseball. One wonders what kind of movie Billy Crystal would make out of the Derek Jeter- & A-Rod thing, having seen his take on Mantle and Maris in ’61*’.

The media is jumping the gun in trying to find a replacement, but there is no replacing A-Rod in the lineup. That’s the point of his $275m over 10 year contract. A-Rod didn’t grow on some tree, and even if he did, there’s not another one waiting to be picked.

World Baseball Classic Begins

It’s here again, the fast-tracked arbitrary international professionals’ Baseball Comp. For what it’s worth, this is the one Ichiro takes seriously – he’s never taken any interest in the Olympics, but he’s always been dreaming of this kind of competition. It’s fast-tracked in the sense that it’s only been 3 years since the last one (my, how time flies!) but from here on in, it is once every 4 years.

Japan won the last one and kicked off this tourney with a shutout over China. Korea beat Taiwan and everything is rolling now. Things are going as predicted even as we speak.Apparently it’s all part of a bid to repatriate baseball at the IOC. I can’t imagine two organisations more diametrically opposed in attitude than professional baseball the world over and the largely amateurism-worshipping Olympic movement.

I enjoyed baseball’s moment at the Olympics, but it just seems wrong to have those guys compete alongside people who need sponsorship from Uncle Toby’s to live while training. Even having professional Tennis in the fold with the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer alongside th Uncle Tobys Non-Stars is pretty daft. Worse still, even if say, Derek Jeter  or A-Rod were to turn up, it’s not like the Olympic audience is going to appreciate them more. Furthermore, winning the gold medal for their country at the Olympics is not going to be more important than… even the WBC. So really, they should all collectively let that one go. Baseball ought not go back to the Olympics – and it’s no great loss., now that there’s the WBC

The only thing is that the IOC should reinstate Women’s Softball. There’s no reason why those Uncle-Toby gals should be punished for Barry Bonds’ and A-Rod’s and Roger Clemens’ perceived faults.

Outrage In Pakistan

Not to do with Baseball now, but Cricket. The week’s big news was how a bunch of terrosist unleashed a hale of bullets on the visiting Sri Lankan team’s bus. Some guards and drivers were killed, some players were injured. The greater part of it hs been the shock of how they actually took to shooting professional athletes. Apparently there was a common understanding that athletes were off-limits.

I had no idea such a tacit agreement was in place. It was probably more wishful thinking.  That attack has torn asunder such day-dreams about world terrorism, and with it the notion that the Australians were somehow cowardly in not wanting to tour Pakistan. They had good reasons, as it turns out. Pakistan is likely to miss out on hosting a part of the 2011 World Cup. It’s a total mess.

On another level, you wonder why it took them so long to attack professional sport. It’s the pinnacle of our capitalist entertainment-led lifestyle ideology. There’s us sitting in our couches watching the big-screen TV, eating our fatty foods and scoffing nutrition drinks, as professional athletes earning mega-bucks do some athletic thing on screen; meanwhile angry bearded jihadist terrorists with minimal education and nutrition live in muddy caves polishing their AK-47s wanting to kill us all and take it all back to the Dark Ages.

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Filed under Baseball, Cricket

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