Baffoe: I’m Not Cheering For A Monster, I’m Cheering For A Player
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By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) New White Sox relief pitcher Brett Myers is a scumbag. It’s not much of a stretch to go there or to call him a coward or the posterchild for white trash. He looks more like he belongs at a Gathering of the Juggalos than on an MLB mound.
Myers is pretty much detestable as a man, if you even want to call him a man. Personally, I believe you lose your “man card” the moment you initiate violence on a woman, which the Sox pitcher allegedly did in 2006 when several witnesses saw him hit his wife in the face multiple times outside a Boston bar. Unfortunately his wife refused to press charges despite the case being very public, and in the process helped set women back a step. Having married a guy like Myers who also threatens reporters and calls them “retard,” she’s probably quite the catch.
There’s little to appreciate about Myers, and from the moment White Sox GM Kenny Williams acquired him from the Houston Astros there have been fans making it known that they will not be rooting for him. One of those is Sam Zuba, content producer here at 670thescore.com and sort of my boss in that I have to run column ideas by him whenever head web editor master general Adam Hoge is vacationing on one of his yachts.
Excuse me, “summering.”
Sam let it be known on Monday that he is not cheering for Brett Myers. Certainly there are many Sox fans privy to Myers’ past that share the same feelings. Such is a natural reaction by any person with a shred of decency and who wishes the worst things at the very least on men who hit women.
I recall being young like Sam, too. The world was a lovely place, and I was naïve to its harsh realities. Sammy Sosa was socking dingers and smiling, and sports was great and happy. There was the smiling Easter Bunny at the mall, and I’d sit on his lap and tell him all my hopes and dreams for the upcoming season of rebirth.
Then I learned the truth about Sammy Sosa. Then I learned that no Easter Bunny should be named Wladimir, nor should he have such a thick Eastern European accent or a criminal record or “permit to smuggle carrots” that made his lap pointy.
I still can’t see eggs without having an anxiety attack.
Look, the world isn’t perfect, and sports in many ways is a microcosm of that. There always has been and always will be detestable people who just so happen to be professional athletes. By now the shock and awe and the demand for our morals to supersede the most important thing in sports—money—should have swirled down the drain like a used Sosa syringe.
Of course I’m not condoning beating women or using drugs or any of the typical arrests we see almost daily from our (least) favorite athletes. I wish I could snap my fingers and make every pro in the model of Jim Thome.
But that ain’t gonna happen. If you’re looking for supreme congeniality from men who come from often poor or troubled upbringings, and/or who, after their athletic gifts were discovered as kids, were constantly told most of their lives that they could do no wrong, and then have gobs of money thrown at these troubled and/or egomaniacal (and often very undereducated) freaks of nature, you’re going to be constantly disappointed.
Rooting against a player on one’s favorite team is not only inane—“I want you to fail out of spite, thus greatly hindering my favorite team’s chances of winning and ultimately defeating the very purpose of being a fan!” It’s also likely hypocritical.
Odds are, whether you knew it at the time or not, you who would today refuse to pull for a guy like Myers on your favorite team have done so for less than stellar guys in the past. I won’t run down the laundry list of bad guys in sports, many of whom have numbers retired and busts/plaques in halls of fame, but it’s very likely that you’d be saddened by what even the athletes with solid public reputations were like when no camera or microphone was near them.
Since my sports reality awakening and rabbit stew connoisseurship, I’ve subscribed to the Seinfeld Theory of Athletics. We’re not rooting for people, no matter how much large national sports programming networks want to humanize it all and force feed us redemption stories and tales of survival and other saccharine crap.
Sports is cold, often cruel, and usually just. The game does not care if someone has cancer or has a semiautomatic weapon in his car or recently lost a loved one. That stuff makes for fantastically lazy and popular narratives, but it matters not between whistle blows and the chalk lines. Terminal diseases don’t score touchdowns. Not buying cocaine doesn’t score goals. Not hitting women doesn’t strike batters out.
I want the guys wearing the uniform of my favorite team to have more points at the end of the day than the guys wearing different colors. Period. I’m not concerned while watching an entertainment outlet, an escape from the harsh realities of life, how good of a father a player is or if someone shares my religious beliefs or if that guy has dozens of bodies buried in his basement.
That’s not why I turn to sports. It’s the exact opposite reason, actually.
I don’t like Brett Myers the man. I don’t want to shake his hand or have a beer with him. Hell, I’d love to see a highlight tape of him falling down flight after flight of stairs away from the ballpark.
But when he puts on the black and white stripes, he is not a criminal. He is Player #33. He is not a husband or father or terrible beard or “buddy” that Hawk Harrelson called him in a postgame interview.
And you the White Sox fan need him—should actively want him while under contract—to help the team win ballgames.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget , but please don’t follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago’s Beverly To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.