Roids, Rants and Rage (Part 1)
opinion: n 1: a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty; "my opinion differs from yours"; "what are your thoughts on Haiti?" [syn: sentiment, persuasion, view, thought] 2: a belief or sentiment shared by most people; the voice of the people; "he asked for a poll of public opinion" [syn: public opinion, popular opinion, vox populi] 3: a message expressing a belief about something; the expression of a belief that is held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof; "his opinions appeared frequently on the editorial page" [syn: view] 4: the legal document stating the reasons for a judicial decision; "opinions are usually written by a single judge" [syn: legal opinion, judgment, judgement] 5: the reason for a court's judgment (as opposed to the decision itself) [syn: ruling] 6: a vague idea in which some confidence is placed; "his impression of her was favorable"; "what are your feelings about the crisis?"; "it strengthened my belief in his sincerity"; "I had a feeling that she was lying" [syn: impression, feeling, belief, notion] --Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.
Just so we're all on the same page before I begin the discussion.
I swore several weeks ago that I would not give certain subjects attention on this blog. As I sensed would probably happen at the time, I have therefore made myself a liar, since I will of course be giving them attention. They are:
1. The Sox-Yankees rivalry 2. Steroids and the state of baseball
But the least I can do, while opening myself up to the slings and arrows of "If blah blah frickin' blah, then why are you writing about it?" accusations, is gather them all into one (or two, depending on how long I drone on here) zeitgeist-busting post, and from here on simply refer to this post or posts and have done with it. So.
1. The Sox-Yankees Rivalry.
Oh, dear God.
Almost exactly fifty percent of the time, I feel that the Sox-Yankees rivalry is a large part of what makes being a Sox fan great. I see the sniping beginning between players, management, owners and of course, especially fans before Spring Training is even fully underway, and feel a certain satisfaction, a certain world without end, Amen.
The other fifty percent of the time is a mixture of two much more negative feelings: Jesus Christ I hate the Yankees and What a pain in the ass this all is.
What prompted me to talk about this, and what actually ends up encapsulating it pretty well, is the comments thread from yesterday on Bronx Banter, in which I was, admittedly, a frequent and obnoxious participant.
The real nut of the whole thing, I think, was the exchange between me and Alex M:
Alex M: Thanks for playing Beth, but bo matter how hard you defend your beloved players, they're still a bunch of lowlife punks in my book...and a guarantee it that the rest fo the baseball world is seeing it for themselves too.
oh, and one more thing:
The piling on on Arod by Boston is only making him more beloved in NYC. I guarantee you that he gets a standing ovation from Yankee fans on Opening Day, if only to prove to the RSN that he is OUR Yankee.
I'm not so sure I would have believed that had he not been made the personal whipping boy of the entire Red Sox organization.
Me: you say "thanks for playing" as if how you see red sox players is going to affect how i see them. think what you want! i'm just stating things as i see them.
in any event, i don't think either of us has any business speaking for "the rest of the baseball world."
[re the whole "A-Rod will be beloved" deal] that's pretty sad, then. the perception of a yankee in boston is what makes yankees fans love him? who's preoccupied with who?
AlexM: No, Yankee fans will love Arod this year and greet him as a hero because he had arguably the best season of any Yankee in 2004 AND he is being piled on by a bunch of players from an opposing team, whether it is Boston, Detroit or Atlanta makes no difference.
What really is sad is that you have to defend an insufferable loudmouth, a mediocre first baseman and corner outfielder that are platoon players at best, and a releif pitcher who's spent most of the last 2 years on the DL and has never even thrown a pitcher in anger for the Sox. None -- Schilling included -- can hold Arod's jock strap in terms of talent, skill, stats, and career. THAT is sad!
Last I checked, I'm not disgussing this on a Red Sox blog. You are the one spending your day on a Yankees blog. Talk about pre-occupation...
After this exchange, I had two thoughts. One was a pretty much unwriteable amalgam of anger, annoyance and the need to further state my case, and the other was a completely repulsive feeling of satisfaction, a "Got 'im!, because when a Yankees fan drops his holier-than-thou attitude and starts blatantly name-calling, you know you've gotten under his skin. And isn't that what this is all about?
Well, okay, probably not. But I personally think we need to embrace these reptilian feelings. Because they're happening anyway, whether we admit it or not.
What drives me completely nuts about all the sniping between the Sox and Yankees is precisely that, the posturing attitude sometimes taken that it's the other side's problem, the fault of the other players and fans, the way some people, even as they take potshots, walk around acting like to even acknowledge that you are "preoccupied" by a team you share a century-long rivalry with is wrong. Why is it supposed to make the some people "better" somehow because they don't acknowledge that maybe their team's relationship with the other and vice versa is a little different than with other teams? I don't get it. But that seems to evolve, always, into the content of the argument--You're obsessed with us! No, you're obsessed with us!"
Why can't we just drop all the pretense and say, "You suck. No, you suck!" the way God intended?
Now, I have deliberately kept the references in the above paragraph neutral since I am aware that this kind of pretense is held on both sides. But I'd be completely lying to you (and, worse, not embracing my reptilian brain as I encouraged earlier) if I didn't say that most of it from my perspective comes from the Yankees' side.
In my experience, the main difference between me and Yankees fans seems to be that they a) think they can know a ballplayer's off-field "character" and "class," whatever that means, and b) feel qualified to judge him by it. Thus the kind of quasi-moral scuffle that often takes place, especially in the masturbatory halls of the Internet, between Yankees fans and, well, me, but I would presume at least some other Red Sox fans: not only are our players beneath contempt as moral beings, so are we for even liking / defending their actions.
Come off it, guys. First of all, none of us know what either Curt Schilling or A-Rod is really like behind closed doors, so saying whether one is [adjective] and the other is [adjective] on a personal level is pointless. They are characters in a fiction, a fiction that exists only on a surface level, and so applying one's own personal morality to it is pointless. Let's get one thing straight: Yankees fans defend A-Rod because he is a Yankee. Red Sox fans defend Curt Schilling because he is a Red Sox. The end. To say otherwise is to be so disingenuous it gives me fits.
A side-note about Schilling, by the way: so often at BB and other places I encounter Yankees fans, there seems to be a fixation on getting me, as a Sox fan, to admit that Curt Schilling, though a [positive adjective] pitcher, is a [pejorative noun.]
Maybe he is. I don't know. But in the public fiction we are following, from my perspective, Curt Schilling is a hero. Someone who put his body on the line to give the audience rooting for the Sox a happy ending. And personally, I don't care if he's a Christian conservative, which in another public fiction (that of politics) is my archenemy; I don't care, personally, if the guy goes home and drinks babies' blood at an altar to Ba'al and personally campaigns for Ralph Nader. His life as a political or spiritual entity has nothing to do with him as a baseball character, and therefore, is irrelevant to me. And within the realm of baseball, I enjoy the fact that he is outspoken. I enjoy the fact that he embraces being a public figure with gusto. More than just about anyone else, he seems to understand fully the fact that he is a participant in fiction, and in many aspects of his interaction with fans and media has been exactly the kind of savvy, entertaining character Boston needs and appreciates. And he's done Yankees fans a favor, too--he's given them a nice villain, something would have been sorely lacking once Pedro Martinez left the stage.
I fail utterly to understand why, if that is my opinion, my preference, my view on things, anyone feels justified in having a problem with it.
But ultimately, though I get pretty pissed off sometimes along the way, this bickering, too, is part of the entertainment, part of the fiction, part of the culture and ethos, and often the more extreme proponents of each opposing vision are those who have bought into it most fully--which is what needs to happen if this lovely snake-eating-itself dance of the Sox and Yankees is to continue.
And, I want it to continue. Because really, in the end it's all just so much fun I can hardly stand it.
Tomorrow: Steroids and the state of baseball.