You gotta admit, this is a strange country we live in. In a
week when a former secretary of defense who was one of the principal
architects of the Vietnam War dies, his passing is barely noted because
the media is fixated on the passing of an infinitely more famous
(infamous?) pop star.
In the world of sports, the fourth
estate probably suffers from the same curious contradictions, but in
least in our world the absurdities don’t always pass unnoticed.
(Lou Gehrig is pictured at left in an incredible pencil drawing by Nathalie Rattner – firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Keith Olbermann, hobbyist, columnist and MSNBC anchor, and another baseball broadcaster, Tim McCarver,
both pointed out the grotesque juxtaposition of MLB’s honoring Lou
Gehrig on the 70th anniversary of his “luckiest man on the face of the
Earth” speech on the same day that Manny Ramirez made his, dare I say
it, triumphant return after serving a 50-game suspension for using some
kind of banned female-fertility drug. Don’t ask.
both our most-famous columnist and the outspoken McCarver for reminding
a wider audience that while we are certainly permitted to display
outsized affection and allegiances in directions that would seem to
conflict mightily with our vaunted “values,” there will hopefully
always be a handful of commentators who will be quick to point it out
Every time I make an observation like that, I get
this vague feeling that I am being dismissed as yet another angry old
fart lamenting about how grand everything was way back when. That’s
potentially intimidating, if you let it be, which I don’t. Truth is,
some things were better 30 years ago than they are now. Probably not
everything, but certainly some things.
I sort of shrug off
any potential aggravation from Manny’s exploits simply because he seems
to me to be a product of the times. He’s our sports world Frankenstein,
and since we made him what he is, I don’t get as mad at him as I
On the other hand, I don’t forgive him
for wearing his pants like that. It’s certainly his choice if he’d
rather look like a Good Humor man than a baseball player, but I don’t
have to like it.