From the Archive:
November 5, 2004
Last week we deified Curt Schilling for his miraculous and heroic performances against the Yankees and Cardinals. This week Curt was deifying the deity and stumping on his tattered ankle for Bush. Curt fears no hitter, but he fears god. Good for him?
Curt is quick to point to his finding god (yet he supports for pres. a man who couldn't find...) as a turning point in his career, a source of energy and motivation for his transcending his earthly constraints. Thanking the doctors seemed an afterthought, despite their having invented a new procedure in order for him to pitch.
Is our joy tarnished by Curt's beliefs? Can we no longer root for a religious Bush-supporting nut?
I really haven't had favorite players since I was a kid. This is one of the reasons why. As soon as one looks at a player as anything other than the sum of his past statistics, and as a disposition for future ones, we're screwed. What if he's a wife beater? What if he doesn't believe in dinosaurs? What if he's an anti-Semite? What if he wouldn't sign my ball? What if he honked his car horn at me and gave me the finger?
What we have to keep in mind is that these people, as ballplayers, are not people. They are baseball automatons. They are probably all jerks, they all picked on you in high school, they stole your girl because they were jocks, they spit on your loyalty and adoration for a few extra bucks that they will never need.
This does not lessen my joy. I learned long ago to think of the players as cogs, exactly as valuable as they facilitate the functioning of the machine, the team.
I've said before that 'most of the philosophers I like are dead. All of the baseball players I like are on the same team.'
You see, I use different criteria for the two. Not only are they all on the same team, but once they're not on the team, they can go fuck themselves (although for some reason I think I’ll always be fond of daubach.)
Viewing it this way makes one less inclined for hero-worship, and perhaps takes some of the fun out of pride and vicarious living. But I know I don't want to hang out with these players. I don't even want their memorabilia- manny's bat, the jock shilling wore at his first communion, or the condom for which Nomar thanked beautiful.
Athletes sometimes take it personally when fans boo. They sometimes don't get it that just because they were cheered before, they should always be. But of course we don't cheer them, we cheer their performance. Nomar was never able to distinguish Nomar the person from Nomar the player, and so was irrevocably hurt when he was deemed replaceable. A disposition for future statistics is replaceable.
Why are athletes republicans? Simple. They believe that hard work equals success. They don’t see why if they could do it, why can’t everyone? Everyone can’t because everyone is not equally talented. Some people have no talent, and some people have talent but can’t succeed because larger forces are too overwhelming, such that no amount of work can garner success. Josh Gibson had all the talent in the world, but that larger force of segregation prevented him from succeeding. It is very easy for the athlete to forget how special they are, and that ‘special’ only makes sense in contrast to those who are not. Liberals, quite simply, believe the government should help out the less fortunate, not hang them out to dry like a bloody sock.
As has been often mentioned, why don’t athletes who praise and thank god when they win, blame god when they lose? ‘That bitch ass Jesus made me drop that popup.’ Perhaps Bill Buckner’s a Satan worshipper. As I’ve noted before, God’s all time winning percentage seems to be .500
On the other hand, athletes do seem to realize their luck- their skills are ‘god given.’ It’s just very easy for them to translate that into a god given preference for them, that they are divinely special. And for those that are not, it is because God has seen fit for them to be mediocre and poor. And why should a government step in and try to reverse god’s plan?