Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Disappointed Former Baseball Writer's Last Shout

How can I get mad at Major League Baseball?

It’s like a friend or a lover that decided to gossip about you en route to stabbing you in the back. While you tell said person to cease and desist, they continue doing it. Somehow it got back to you that the behavior has not stopped. In the end, there was no choice but to end the relationship.

The only difference with my relationship with Major League Baseball was that the [insert word here] was out in the open. Everyone knew what the Commissioner’s Office, the ball clubs, several managers and a good number of the players were doing. You followed their Tweets, blogs, Facebook updates and their coverage in the media. 

For example, how much more of Nyjer Morgan can we stomach? What would be next for Ozzie Guillen now he is managing the Miami Marlins? What if Carlos Zambrano shows up in another MLB uniform? God only knows how many others would rear their head in embarrassment and shame if they become social media pariahs as the NASCAR establishment turned out to be during this past season

Sure, the National Football League had their characters, ranging from Terry Bradshaw to Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson to Terrell Owens to Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. The National Hockey League has Sean Avery. The National Basketball Association has Ron Artest remaining as the last clown now that Dennis Rodman has a place in Springfield. True, that baseball always had their crazy characters – but, there is a limit as to how many of these fools should be allowed to skirt the rules and the decorum of the game.

As much as baseball rejoiced to the closing of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Commissioner’s Office should not get a congratulatory greeting. How many decisions since the death of Bart Giamatti made through the Commissioner’s Office were simply just a bunch of faff? There’s no question the driver of these decisions was the bottom line – as dictated by an owner-turn-commissioner and the greediest [insert word here] of them all. Between Bud Selig and the late George Steinbrenner, it is no wonder why some of us should lean towards the Occupy movement as a collective protest against greed.

If there was a topper in this case, it was the CBA-driven agreement that will realign the Houston Astros and its new owners into the American League. This was agreed upon after the Astros played 51 seasons on the senior circuit. If you want an insult to the game – I could not ask for any more evidence than this. 

There was another layer that spurred me away from MLB: Homophobia. It is one thing that some of the teams made 30-to-60 second PSAs supporting Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign, but I question the sincerity of some of these pieces. I also question where some of the more notable players from these ball clubs were when the call came to do these videos.

The point being that the fans need more than just a 60-second canned PSA to know that one can balance sexual orientation and the sport they love – whether it is baseball or otherwise. A young person is under pressure by society – neighbors, classmates, school faculty and staff, the community – to either accept the so-called normality of society or find a place to be unique and happy. What if the so-called normal world won’t accept these people, as different as they are? How do you expect MLB to be responsible for that? Simple – show you’re a game for all people. The game conquered racism in 1947 and the language barrier about the same time. Maybe when they figure out how to conquer the sexual orientation barrier, maybe we might see some form of sincerity from MLB.

If you want further proof of my feelings towards baseball writing, maintaining an MLBlog and following MLB, look at what transpired this year alone in and around both the LGBT and baseball spheres. For every “gay and sports” posting on the interwebs, a homophobic expletive flies out of someone’s mouth. For every inch the LGBT community makes towards equality in and outside the grandstand, some so-called radical conservative neo-fascist uptight citizen pours a little turpentine on progress. By the way, that bottle of turpentine was blessed by some clergyperson while reciting certain verses in Leviticus.

For everything I discussed openly about my sexual orientation, subcultural identity and such, an anonymous reader refuses to acknowledge The Heirloom – or, dismisses it as crap blogging. Then again, I was emboldened by the success I had in the four years of doing The Heirloom. Being in the Fans’ Top 100 two of those seasons (2008 and 2010) was indeed something to crow about.

Then again, I felt that there was a lack of energy to care when the hand that fed me – Major League Baseball – is being run by greedy fucktards and populated by other assorted assholes wearing uniforms most fans salute to. I suppose it is true about most top tier professional sports leagues – even motorsport.

This is why I plunged 100% head-first into expanding my automotive writing craft. There’s less homophobia and more like-minded LGBT folk amongst my colleagues both in and outside the industry. I feel at home behind the wheel than at the ballpark these days.

It’s not that I no longer love the game. I do. I found a home with the Saint Paul Saints – a local ball club in the independent American Association. I found a home where the game is watchable and the fun is pervasive. I also found some great allies in the front office at Midway Stadium.

Will I miss a pitch in 2012 because of my feelings towards the MLB? Not sure. Midway Stadium is a definite stop next season. Will I write about them? Maybe. Perhaps it would be nice just to bring a few friends to the game and enjoy it for once – without obligation to write or snap photos.

In reflection on my only time I attended a game at Wrigley Field back in September, I felt a layer of sadness as I left the friendly confines. I enjoyed a pretty good Chicago Cubs-Houston Astros that had a rain delay in play. Being inside one of the most historic ballparks in this country and enjoying a ballgame was a dream of mine for too long. How could that dream be such an endgame for me? I look no further than up Interstate 94 and a particular mansion near downtown Milwaukee owned by a guy named Selig.

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