Friday, March 30, 2007

Insights, Irony and Ignominy: Short Takes on Long Issues

  • Last year, I got a lot of interesting feedback on my story regarding Keith Hernandez’ remarks about the presence of a female masseuse in the San Diego Padres’ dugout. Now comes the latest encroachment on the male baseball domain: umpire Ria Cortesio, who recently worked a MLB exhibition game in Arizona, thus becoming the first female umpire to do so since Pam Postema in 1989. I also got some sterner mail on that previous story, readers claiming that I was behind the times, this sort of thing is inevitable, I was exaggerating the effect on the game when females intrude, etc.

    Female trainers, female umpires. We’re getting closer, boys and girls. In just a few years, I can hear the announcement at the All Star Game: “... and managing the American League All Star squad...from the World Champion New York Yankees...Sarajane Lipshitz.”

    It might be interesting sociology, but this whole female thing is bad for baseball. Why don’t they start their own league, and do their own trainer-ing and their own umpiring and their own managing? Why do they have to make trouble and ruin it for us guys?

    Cortesio could get a crack at major league exposure by 2009. She’s supposed to inspire admiration. I wish she’d go away.

    No less than Lou Piniella, now Cubs manager and a notorious verbal abuser when it comes to umpires, was recently quoted as saying, "I think it's good. I really do. I think there is a place for women in the umpiring ranks—they're certainly as qualified as anybody else. I'm sure if they get the same opportunities, the same schooling that their male counterparts do, they'll do a really nice job."

    Piniella also pledged not to get into an argument with Cortesio while she worked a recent game involving his team.

    Great. Now Lou Piniella is a sissy.

    You know, we can pretend it doesn’t matter, and we can pretend to be openminded and all, or we can make it clear to females that we don’t like it, and that they are not welcome. Go start your own league, with your own locker rooms, your own chewing tobacco, your own jockstraps, your own whatever. Shape it any way you like. Do your own thing. Just like the WNBA.

    Keep the women off the men's field and out of the men's dugout.

  • A recent reader email brings this spoofy bit of lyricism, based on the famous 1968 song “Abraham, Martin and John,” written by Richard (Dick) Holler and recorded by Dion DiMucci (aka Dion) in honor of fallen political martyrs Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy.

    Here’s a YouTube link to the original song. Here’s a link to the original lyrics.

    If you’re hip to recent sports and show-biz stories involving African American males and their forthright opinions on topics normally handled with utmost white-bread political correctness, then you’ll get what this parody is all about. We’ve gotten so PC that now even a black man can’t speak his mind.

    “Washington, Hardaway and Dungy”
    (With apologies to Richard Holler and Dion DiMucci)

    Anybody here seen my old friend Isaiah?
    Can you tell me where he's gone?
    He said the word faggot and ABC sent him to rehab
    I just looked around and he's gone.

    Anybody here seen my old friend Tim?
    Can you tell me where he's gone?
    He doesn't like to hang around gay guys
    So the NBA dropped him
    I just looked around and he's gone.

    Anybody here seen my old friend Tony?
    Can you tell me where he's gone?
    He's not comfortable
    With a redefinition of marriage
    I just looked around and he's gone.

    Didn't you like the things that they stood for?
    Didn't they speak out against PC oppression?
    And didn't they say
    What 75% of us
    Are thinking anyway?

    Anybody here seen my old friend Micheal Ray Richardson?
    Can you tell me where he's gone?
    He applauded Jewish sports management
    But got vilified anyway
    Just like Hardaway, Dungy and Washington.

  • “When we get our marching orders, we all have to be good soldiers,” said Ron Jaworski this week on ESPN’s “Dan Patrick Radio Show.” Jaworksi had just been announced as the replacement for Joe Theismann on Monday Night Football, and he was doing his best imitation of a humble guy.

    I’m no apologist for Theismann. He can be rather annoying, though he’s not the absolute worst. The idea that “Jaws” got the job because he’s an incisive analyzer of strategy just seems, well, hard to swallow.

    "I'm an Xs-and-Os guy,” Jaworski was quoted as saying on “I love breaking down the game. I love the strategy of the game. That's the beauty of what I will bring to the table is that insight of Xs and Os.”

    Uh, is there something new in that, Jaws?

    Norby Williamson, ESPN executive VP, claimed that the chemistry (or lack thereof) between Theismann and Tony Kornheiser was not the reason for the change.

    "I thought Joe and Tony got along very well,” Williamson told “I thought the dialogue was good and was conversational. I think we're going to build on last year. We had a fantastic first year. I was happy with the booth and I think we're in a position now of continuing to move it forward and to build on it."

    Uh, well, if it was “fantastic,” why is Theismann out? Why not Kornheiser, who was simply useless on that broadcast. Kornheiser brings no statistical or historical knowledge to that job. He has no apparent enthusiasm for the game. He’s a jaded, arrogant sop, and he’s strictly no fun in the booth. Last year’s broadcasts were often rather static. When there weren’t moments of pregnant silence, we had Theismann and Kornheiser talking over or around each other and speaking at times that cut off play-by-play man Mike Tirico. The timing was usually uniformly bad, but it’s not clear that it was Theismann’s doing any more than Kornheiser’s or, in fact, Tirico’s. Tirico needed to take more control in the booth, but he sometimes seemed intimidated or simply out of synch because of his unpredictable teammates.

    So now we get company man Jaworski with his bombastic style, which is fine in small doses, but for three hours might be tough to take. Add in Kornheiser’s dour face and lack of elan, Tirico’s bland presence (better suited for golf, I might add), and the dynamic dumbass duo of Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya with their stupid sideline reportage, and what have you got?

    TV remotes set to “Mute” all over the country.

    According to Jaworski, he and Kornheiser have been friends for years. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine Tony being friends with anyone. "I think...people will see how well we do get along," Jaws told

    At least we can still watch the pretty pictures.

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