At The Ballyard ... with Steve Weissman

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Why Would They?

Why would the Nationals bring Sammy Sosa to camp? He once was a draw, but the scent of steroids surrounds him despite the absence of evidence that he partook, and there are serious doubts as to whether he can still play the game at a major league level. The club isn’t guaranteeing his contract, so perhaps they feel they’ve got nothing to lose. But it says something that this apparently was the best deal Sosa could find.

Why would Roger Clemens want to come back to the Red Sox … or for that matter, play for anyone other than the Astros or Rangers? Even though he’s ineligible to re-sign with Houston until May 1, there’s no reason to believe the club wouldn’t continue to honor the sweetest of all arrangements he’s enjoyed there so far should he agree to return at that time. Live in his own home? Come to the park only when he’s pitching? Skip road trips if he wants to? Only the Astros can offer him all that, for no other team plays in his home town. The Rangers, at least, play in his home state. But Boston? I can’t see it, no matter how high quality Tom Werner’s recruiting video turns out to be.

Why would the Lowell Spinners use such strong language in offering to help New England youth baseball leagues eliminate any team called the Yankees? As a promotional gimmick, the program is quite cute, and the club has even offered to pay for the replacement uniforms – which, of course, will say “Spinners” on the front. But was it really necessary to be so negative in the process? Calling it “devastating” for a child to be named a Yankee is unsportsmanlike at best and harsh at worst, and can only lead the child to feel badly about him/herself. And while it may be literally true, as the Lowell announcement states, that some children cry when they learn they are Yankees, my 20 years of coaching experience tells me that they do so only because they’ve been programmed that way by their peers and parents, and they do so only for a few minutes. And never have heard of a child refusing to play because it says “NY” on their cap – not even when the team I coached was called the Yankees.

I’m all for poking fun at the “Evil Empire” every chance we get. But surely there is a kinder, gentler way to go about it than this.

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