I know that I’ve been MIA for a while now, and I’d like to take a quick moment to explain why. As a lot of you know I am a lifelong Twins fan. Hearing Terry Ryan’s vote of confidence for Ron Gardenhire last month broke my heart. When you couple that with the Ray Rice situation, and the Chris Kluwe issue, which I wrote about in my last article, I needed a break.
I grew up with sports as my great love, and passion. But when you throw in former Minnesota Golden Gopher Quarterback Phillip Nelson beating a man to the point of brain damage and you couple the Adrian Peterson child abuse … put a dash of this and a sprits of that – and then add LeBron James building teams wherever he freaking feels like in the NBA and all of a sudden sports feel almost pointless and void of meaning.
I know a lot of non-sports fans would say that I finally saw the light. I think it took having one say that to me that made me realize how deep the passion runs. His overzealous reveling in my suffering and the extreme nature of his behavior and wishes to remove the sports culture in America is what recharged my batteries. I have to say that it has not restored my romantic version of things. I cannot guarantee a rosy disposition, but I am back, because people like the man who shall not be named pissed me off as much as the numbskull athletes that broke my heart.
This post is on Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, and how it hearkens back to other baseball tragedies. It reminded me a lot of when I was a teenager and Andre Dawson of the Cubs was hit in the face and down for the count for what felt like forever. I even had flashbacks of throwing a curveball and having it not break the way it was supposed to and having the ball tip off of the edge of my glove and hit me right below my right eye socket, fracturing my cheek bone. Cardinals fans undoubtedly had visions of Juan Encarnacion’s career ending hit to the face. As a Twins fan it was a similar injury that ended up being the last at-bat of Kirby Puckett’s career — and that, along with glaucoma, caused the downward spiral of his last few years on earth.
I could go on and on with the stories of the past, and the lingering effects players like Justin Morneau suffer from of concussions, or I could go on the path of the man who shall not be named and demand face shields for every hitter. I could pontificate about how pitchers should wear a shield and demand that MLB should rewrite the rule book to make everyone safer just like the NFL has done. Frankly I could go in a lot of directions, but the only direction I’m going in is that I want to see him back, I want to see him healthy, and I want to see him unafraid to take a pitch inside.
I also want to see Marlins fans attend the game when he comes back next season. If it’s a road game, I want to see all of the fans from the opposing team stand up and cheer him on. I want to hear cheers of “Stanton-Stanton-Stanton” when he hits his first homerun after the comeback, and I want to see him recognized for getting back in the saddle after getting not only bucked off, but gouged, stomped on and beaten bloody.
Ok maybe I do have a little romance left in me after all?
It’s too easy after seeing a situation like what took place in Missouri, where a cop shoots and kills an unarmed kid, to think all cops are bad. It’s too easy to think that because an athlete is a terrible person that all athletes are terrible people. I know too many great ball players that are great people. A special shout out to Darryl Hamilton of MLB.TV, Claudell Washington, Ellis Valentine, and Billy Sample for showing me that some athletes are even better people. Thank you!