Dead heat. No hero, no villain, no rooted interest. Just a clash of established morons.
Josh Donaldson, a provocateur who enjoys getting under the skin of players regardless of their race, versus Tim Anderson, a self-inflated, attention-hungry showboat – see last season’s Yanks White Sox game Field of Dreams – the has already been sanctioned by MLB for making bad situations worse.
If only the Rob Manfred regime of lazy choices had been able to read this argument between convicts clearly and just let it run as a no-punch argument between relapsing idiots.
Instead, MLB appeared to decree that the tie should be broken by race, prompting the derision of fair minds who have watched right versus wrong become a black or white affair.
Donaldson has been a good teammate wherever he has played. He irritates both teams at the same time. He seems to enjoy making enemies and does well to satisfy his particular pursuit of happiness.
Anderson, who was fined $10,000 and suspended two games last season for pushing an umpire while aggravating a bench-clearing dispute with the Tigers, was keen to push the envelope exceed.
He was fined and suspended for a game in 2019 when he called KC pitcher Brad Keller, who is white, “weak F—ing n—a!” during an on-field argument between the White Sox and the Royals. designated. Charming fellow, that Anderson.
But MLB this week chose to do something particularly ugly that it could have handled calmly, soberly, and logically.
So, with MLB’s help, if not urging, Donaldson is now the latest sociopolitical victim to be punished for exercising his right to free speech by calling Anderson “Jackie,” a nod to Anderson’s forgotten, historically ignorant, even off-putting claim to be a latter-day Jackie Robinson.
But that Donaldson would insist on goading Anderson into it is a telltale.
That doesn’t make Anderson another victim of racist white America, real or intended, but MLB still drew unwanted, unnecessary, and unjustified racial lines.
Lost by MLB, perhaps on purpose, is that both men are the same — equally stupid, equally guilty of repeated misconduct.
MLB doesn’t learn. It can’t care about baseball but acts like it knows what’s best for the country.
His decision to move last season’s All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver to support unspecified political claims that Georgia’s new suffrage law was racist and disproportionately targeted at black voters was a thoughtless and unnecessary mistake by Manfred.
For starters, Atlanta, 50 percent black, has been deprived of the fruits of the revenue such a game brings. MLB moved the game to predominantly white Denver. Just awesome.
Secondly, nothing in this legislation even suggests that there is discrimination. On the contrary, it seemed to make voting in Georgia easier for everyone. This week, Georgia’s primary voting among Democrats and Republicans showed a huge increase in turnout from pre-pandemic numbers.
After depriving Atlanta of last year’s All-Star game, we have yet to hear from Manfred about it. MLB’s social and political magnanimity, pandering, and vaguely bad business decision was relegated to the Remember To Forget file.
Returning to Anderson vs. Donaldson, Manfred had an option of his own that makes just as salutary sense: Just have each player start the 10th inning as an automatic runner on second base. That’s how the MLB handles things now.
Tierney made the right decision in rejecting the “interview” with O’Neill
This WFAN interview with Brandon Tierney and Paul O’Neill — O’Neill wanted to sell his new book, not answer questions about the Josh Donaldson-Tim Anderson affair — reminds me of the acclaimed career journalists on CBS’s 60 Minutes and their capitulation Team Tiger Woods.
In 2006, just prior to the Masters on CBS and coinciding with the release of Tiger Woods’ father’s book from CBS’s publishing division, “60 Minutes” promoted an exclusive two-part interview the late Ed Bradley conducted with Tiger Woods. Under the motto “Tiger like you’ve never seen him before”, the chats were exactly as we had always seen and heard him.
They were flattering, mutually grinning, frosted sessions. Aside from the Masters and book sales, everything stank like a tank job, and that’s what I wrote.
Then word reached me from attendees at an ESPN symposium where 60 Minutes’ famed chief inquisitor, the late Mike Wallace, had spoken for a fee. Asked specifically about this Woods exclusive, Wallace admitted that CBS took a dive to land it. I wrote that too.
Angry and swearing, Wallace called me, angry that “a little beeper like you” should write such a lie about him. But I had the transcript of his ESPN session. Wallace told his audience “there was an understanding” that certain questions from Woods were forbidden. Oh.
Suddenly Wallace had to go. He hung up on that little beep.
Tierney did the right thing. Imagine having O’Neill right after that “Jackie” episode and not asking him about it. For O’Neill, the best way to sell a book is to buy an ad.
ESPN’s graphic desecration of the NHL
I know it’s ESPN where anything worth exaggerating is worth. But at Gump Worsley, is common sense ever applied to match broadcasting?
Game 4 Hurricanes Rangers, Tuesday, close game, live, intense play on. Still, ESPN kept posting unnecessary, distracting graphics at the top.
Why would ESPN want us to focus our attention on reading something – anything – instead of watching live action in tight Stanley Cup playoff games? With a 0-0 draw and the puck in play, why would we choose to read “Canes” Jordan Staal’s face-off stats?
Never mind, it’s ESPN. It would have been in split screen when the Hindenburg exploded.
Good show and tell supplement to the Mets-Rockies on Saturday. SNY Rover Steve Gelbs noticed Mets pitcher Adam Ottavino practicing barefoot in the outfield before the game, adding that Ottavino told him he had been doing this for a long time.
Keith Hernandez, a proud practitioner of the good life, next said that the only place anyone would find him barefoot was on a beach “in Turks and Caicos.”
Joe Pignatano, the Brooklyn big league catcher who found fame and fertilizer as a Mets coach in the 1960s, died this week at the age of 92. “Piggy” was a friendly, easygoing soul who is fondly remembered for growing tomatoes in the bullpen at Shea Stadium. I suspect many of us had an uncle like him.
Unintended Replay Madness Continued: Panthers-Lightning on Monday was held cold for almost 10 minutes to see if a puck went out. Action sports unnecessarily unplugged. What else is there?
Question for CBS’ Dottie Pepper and Ian Baker-Finch: Who on the PGA Tour isn’t “a good striker of the golf ball”?
Reader/author Doug Branch suggests there is no more aptly named player than Giants catcher Joey Bart. In San Francisco, the Bay Area Rapid Transit is known as The BART.
I still prefer John Flaherty’s thoughtful but light-hearted approach, with no gimmicks and stats, the other 75 Yankee stations now on YES. Flaherty wears well over three hours. But given YES’ attitude, that probably makes him expendable.
I still can’t believe Tiger Woods quit after three rounds of a Major. He had said he wouldn’t be there “if I didn’t think I could win”. Heck, by the time he broke through, CBS had listed him back as the top 21!