01 June 2007

No Laughing Matter

So, A-Rod yelled out "Hah!" or "Mine!" (depending on who you believe) while he was running past Howie Clark.

The Blue Jays aren't happy. The press aren't happy. Joe Torre's not happy about it. And, as we all know, if Joe ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

But I find myself wondering: what's the big deal? Some folks are saying it was a "bush league" move. So? Nobody got hurt, it didn't affect the outcome of the game - the Yankees, lest we forget, were already ahead 7-5 and about to turn the game over to Mariano Rivera - so why does it matter?

If it's "the principle of the thing", then that's simply laughable - why, when the integrity of the game has been shattered by the whole steroids mess, should we care about a player shouting? What "unwritten rule" can hold its power when confronted with the plank in baseball's eye that is the continually more substantiated steroids problem?

Perhaps it's because players don't do steroids on television - all we see is the home runs. We can cheer for home runs.

This A-Rod scenario exemplifies much of what is wrong with baseball - the sport is simultaneously bombarded by the present and unwilling to shed the facade of the past. While it should be dealing with bigger issues, like its slipping place among America's top sports, it remains fixated on following "unwritten rules" laid down generations ago.

Was A-Rod's shout a "bush league" move? Probably.

Does it matter? Not really.

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