This week, we have had 2 players make headlines. One of them was a result of shock, and the other just brought bad news. Of course, twitter goes ablaze with the chatter. If it’s an issue such as Huston Street or Ian Stewart traded, that’s only a local issue. But when Pujols decided on the Angels, that was not only a shock, but hurt many fans, especially Cardinals fans. Then as Ryan Braun of the Brewers made news on Twitter that he was caught taking “performance enhancing drugs”. And again, he denies it. Boy it must be hard to be an athlete.
Some players never have the luck when it comes to money. Look at Albert Pujols. He couldn’t decide on a contract extension with the St. Louis Cardinals before the season started, so talks stopped. At years’ end, he tested the free market for the offers. There were talks about 10 year-$200+ million deals not only with his host team, but with the Miami Marlins (who are building a new team for next year in their new facilities), and at least one unnamed team. The time during the winter meetings this week was taking a while for him to decide, so speculation was that he’d return to his old team. He made his decision the last day of the meetings, and Pujols chose the unnamed team, also known as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (or just the Angels.) The world seemed to be shocked at first. Then later on, there were tweets about anger and sadness from the Cardinals fans. In the end, what’s done is done. But Cardinals fans probably felt as betrayed as Cleveland fans were about LeBron James. To be fair, Cleveland was worse because ESPN made a big mockery TV show about his “decision”, and was seen as poor taste by the network. But it must be tough for an athlete to not care for its home team because of money.
Ryan Braun was also a new headline today (about 2 hours ago as I write this.) He was the NL MVP. But a month before he won the award, he was told by MLB that he tested positive on his drug test. MLB is mum about it because of the appeal. Of course Braun is mum as well. But ESPN’s article made it look like he was innocent. (rolls eyes when it comes to ESPN.) There are a few things to note here: Braun had a great year, which is why he got the MVP award. But the award is based in regular season only, as the ballots are cast by game 162 of the regular season. And he is fighting what may be a losing cause, since no player has won an appeal on MLB’s drug arbitration. So, it’s all but certain that Braun will be suspended for the first 50 games next year. And even if he did win, the public sentiment is against him. I asked a friendly tweep (Thanks Cari for being a good sport) for some opinions. She echoed what I expect to hear from most fans. Basically, people try to cheat, and circumvent the spirit of the game just to put up bigger numbers, and pad their wallets. And the more figures in the salary, the better. She noted that it’s easier to ‘assume players are juiced’, which is really sad to hear. I guess with names like Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, and others, they really tainted the sport of baseball forever. It must be tough for athletes to try to risk their health and their bodies just for some short-term stardom.
In the end, competition is healthy, and fun is great as well. But players in general are losing contact with the general population with their actions, with maybe the exception of Tim Tebow. Part of it is that they lose respect for their own selves for their 15 minutes of fame. And the other part is the lack of respect towards everyone else. I talk about respect a lot, and I try to respect others. At the same time, being fair is also a goal of mine, so it’s not easy to balance both of these factors out. It should be the same for any person, no matter how big of a star they are.
Footnotes: This week, Huston Street and Ian Stewart were traded to two teams. Street to the Angels, while Stewart to the Cubs. I’m not sure I like the former (though we freed up money for it, and got a token prospect to add to our farm system.) Stewart gone helps a lot, considering he sucked donkeyballs last year to the point he wasn’t even playing for the Rockies (or even the Sky Sox) by the end of the year. I also did not like his attitude (which goes along with respect), so a change of scenery for him helps. We’ll see what happens with the Rockies over the winter to strengthen our team.
Notes: Next week, I’ll be announcing a change for my journals. Stay tuned… Expect it on Monday night.