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Thread: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

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    It's showtime! RedEye's Avatar
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    Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    This thread may veer a bit off the topic of Reds baseball, so I apologize for that. However, I'm wondering whether other people are feeling similarly to me, so I went ahead and gave it a separate thread. What started out as a simple response on a thread about Josh Hamilton became a longer, journalistic entry. It has helped me get some things off my chest, which is something I am thankful to be able to do here at RedsZone.

    Here's where I started:

    Quote Originally Posted by Razor Shines View Post
    That's why I think that Bill James quote is so stupid. "There is no logic to admiring athletes, anyway. It's just arbitrary. It's like admiring people who won the lottery."
    Please. Playing a professional sport takes a lot of hard work, no matter how talented you are. It's true that hard work does not trump natural ability, but without hard work you're not going to do anything with that natural ability. Lottery winners? Seriously? I guess I don't know the context of that quote, maybe he was being sarcastic. I hope.
    I agree with the poster that James's quote is a bit silly -- lottery winners are definitely the wrong analogy here. However, I agree with the larger point, in that there are a lot of people in this world who spend a lot of time working hard in other ways and don't get recognized nearly as much as athletes do. I think that's why those Peyton Manning commercials where he cheers for the 'everday' people (paper boys, coffee house workers, etc.) annoy me so much. I mean, those people already know that they aren't being recognized, don't they? And isn't it just patently not funny for Peyton Manning to rub it in in such a haughty manner? I'll readily admit that I might just be over-sensitive, but sheesh!

    So how does this relate to Josh Hamilton and the Reds? Let's see if I can unpack my thoughts for all of you.

    Of course, by taking part in this forum, I am every bit as much part of the vast sports culture machinery as the next person -- probably more so even. Sports are a huge part of my existence, as I think they are for most people who contribute to RedsZone. However, the way sports operate in our country does give me pause to think once in awhile -- and my thoughts aren't all positive. It's as if sports create this impenetrable ether for us to bask in without thinking about what's really going on in the world.

    The past few weeks have been particularly poignant in this regard. Don Imus's misdeeds have actually created some ire among a few of my friends because they obligate sports talk and coverage to actually deal with something other than the safe, bounded universe they are familiar with when they turn on ESPN -- the one that gets them away from the chaos and uncertainty of media coverage dominated by a certain war and photos of Seung Cho. One of the many sad aspects of Virginia Tech is that it often takes tragedies like this to make us realize that there are a lot of other heroic professions, attitudes, and just ways of "dwelling" in the world that never get the constant attention we reserve for athletes. Having traveled a bit and lived in other places, I really think there is something specific and bizarre about the way America treats athletic prowess, and it starts (I think) with the alignment between sports and the education system, something that many other countries see as strange--and something I don't have time to treat in depth here.

    So how does this relate to Josh Hamilton? Well, arbitrarily at best. Let me try to explain. Watching him play over the past few weeks, as he fills up my fantasy team with statistics while all of these upsetting things swirl around in other windows on my desktop, has been strangely therapeutic. Just a click away, one tab over on my Firefox browser, there is a human interest story that is uplifting, inspiring and safe. A story about an individual conquering odds much larger than those it takes to hit a 95 mph fastball. And read that story I have. Many, many, many times.

    Is this healthy? I'm not sure. I'm not even sure that it isn't evidence for my own complicity with an increasingly screwed-up, a-political form of citizenship in this country.

    But it sure does help me get through the day.
    Last edited by RedEye; 04-20-2007 at 05:41 PM.
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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  3. #2
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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Heavy stuff.

    I do sometimes wonder why this group of guys has such a hold on us, when if the same bunch were in Kansas City and another bunch of Texans, Venezuelans and Californians were in Cincinnati, we'd live and die with those guys instead.

    Seinfeld said "We root for laundry," but I think that's only part of it. We also root for history. Reds fans have a little more of it and a closer connection to it than a lot of other franchises. Don Gullett finishing the game for Jim Maloney, Barry Larkin learning from Dave Concepcion. The Reds have had at least one player who spent his whole career with the team, in a string that goes back to 1963.

    The U.S. is not the only nation that goes overboard for sports. Soccer?

    Sometimes I wonder how silly most sports must look, and the amount of attention given to the various abilities to chase a ball around. But what good is art, after all, to our survival as a species? The physical arts must have value to creatures with the ability to think beyond the next meal.

    We sometimes confuse grace under pressure with courage, but I think we've been getting better at that. We've had harsh lessons about the true definition of heroes. And Reds fans probably have more reasons than most to enjoy the phenomenon of Josh Hamilton while remembering the frailty of sports figures.

    Next time maybe we should discuss the Calvinist implications of watching a ballgame on Tivo.

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    It's showtime! RedEye's Avatar
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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Quote Originally Posted by BCubb2003 View Post
    Heavy stuff.

    I do sometimes wonder why this group of guys has such a hold on us, when if the same bunch were in Kansas City and another bunch of Texans, Venezuelans and Californians were in Cincinnati, we'd live and die with those guys instead.

    Seinfeld said "We root for laundry," but I think that's only part of it. We also root for history. Reds fans have a little more of it and a closer connection to it than a lot of other franchises. Don Gullett finishing the game for Jim Maloney, Barry Larkin learning from Dave Concepcion. The Reds have had at least one player who spent his whole career with the team, in a string that goes back to 1963.

    The U.S. is not the only nation that goes overboard for sports. Soccer?

    Sometimes I wonder how silly most sports must look, and the amount of attention given to the various abilities to chase a ball around. But what good is art, after all, to our survival as a species? The physical arts must have value to creatures with the ability to think beyond the next meal.

    We sometimes confuse grace under pressure with courage, but I think we've been getting better at that. We've had harsh lessons about the true definition of heroes. And Reds fans probably have more reasons than most to enjoy the phenomenon of Josh Hamilton while remembering the frailty of sports figures.

    Next time maybe we should discuss the Calvinist implications of watching a ballgame on Tivo.
    Thanks for the response. Your points are well taken. I would love to hear more about the Calvinist implications of baseball on Tivo... are you serious about that?
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Great post, Redeye

    BCubb, you should get a job writing for a living.

    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
    I would love to hear more about the Calvinist implications of baseball on Tivo... are you serious about that?
    Only in that whenever I Tivo a game to watch later, I appreciate that I'm now able to see the game, but I find it a little depressing to know that the outcome (still unknown to me) has been determined.

    Even though it's not like I have any effect on the game viewing it live from 500 miles away.

    And it's not like I'd have an effect on the game watching it live from the right field seats.

    Or even from the Diamond Club seats, except to provide a couple weeks of meal money for a minor league prospect.

    Still, it's an odd feeling, and I've come to think I wouldn't like to live in a predetermined world.

    Unless I had the Gray's Sports Almanac from "Back to the Future."

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    Bread Gloves Razor Shines's Avatar
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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post

    I agree with the poster that James's quote is a bit silly -- lottery winners are definitely the wrong analogy here. However, I agree with the larger point, in that there are a lot of people in this world who spend a lot of time working hard in other ways and don't get recognized nearly as much as athletes do. I think that's why those Peyton Manning commercials where he cheers for the 'everday' people (paper boys, coffee house workers, etc.) annoy me so much. I mean, those people already know that they aren't being recognized, don't they? And isn't it just patently not funny for Peyton Manning to rub it in in such a haughty manner? I'll readily admit that I might just be over-sensitive, but sheesh!
    .
    If recognition is what a person seeks then they should develop a skill, any skill , that people will pay to watch them perform and they will have their recognition.

    As for the Peyton Manning commercials. I would say that you're being too sensitive. If someone is bothered because their job is somewhat made fun of in a Peyton Manning commercial, then that person do what they have to do to find a job suitable to their ego. If you're happy with the job you have then who cares what some dude (albeit the greatest QB in football) on a commercial says.

    Personally I think those commercials are damn funny. I may have a slight bias though.

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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Quote Originally Posted by Razor Shines View Post
    If recognition is what a person seeks then they should develop a skill, any skill , that people will pay to watch them perform and they will have their recognition.

    As for the Peyton Manning commercials. I would say that you're being too sensitive. If someone is bothered because their job is somewhat made fun of in a Peyton Manning commercial, then that person do what they have to do to find a job suitable to their ego. If you're happy with the job you have then who cares what some dude (albeit the greatest QB in football) on a commercial says.

    Personally I think those commercials are damn funny. I may have a slight bias though.
    I suppose you're right. The commercial is all in good fun, ultimately. I was just pointing to it as an example of how everyday jobs are denigrated in our society.

    I guess I just think it's important to look beneath what makes something funny to the majority. What makes the Manning commercial funny is the absurdity of Peyton pointing at all of the jobs that don't get any credit for the hard work that they do. It's not that the paper boy should be recognized worldwide for his work -- not at all -- it's just that Peyton's skill of passing the football, while rare, is actually a random talent that nevertheless makes him the spokesperson for a generation.

    Yes, athletes can perform a skill that ordinary people cannot, but we need to remember that this skill is an arbitrary one.

    But yes, you are right, I am too sensitive on this topic. That comes with my career choice, I suppose.
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Quote Originally Posted by BCubb2003 View Post
    Only in that whenever I Tivo a game to watch later, I appreciate that I'm now able to see the game, but I find it a little depressing to know that the outcome (still unknown to me) has been determined.

    Even though it's not like I have any effect on the game viewing it live from 500 miles away.

    And it's not like I'd have an effect on the game watching it live from the right field seats.

    Or even from the Diamond Club seats, except to provide a couple weeks of meal money for a minor league prospect.

    Still, it's an odd feeling, and I've come to think I wouldn't like to live in a predetermined world.

    Unless I had the Gray's Sports Almanac from "Back to the Future."
    So what would Calvin have to say about this? Something about the existential quality of knowing your own predetermined fate?
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    me like baseball real good

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
    I guess I just think it's important to look beneath what makes something funny to the majority. What makes the Manning commercial funny is the absurdity of Peyton pointing at all of the jobs that don't get any credit for the hard work that they do. It's not that the paper boy should be recognized worldwide for his work -- not at all -- it's just that Peyton's skill of passing the football, while rare, is actually a random talent that nevertheless makes him the spokesperson for a generation.
    I think you're downplaying the Manning's accomplishments to a degree. You keep using the word "talent", but he's not where he is because he's talented. He's where he is because he took his talent and worked hard. One just doesn't become the athlete he is without a great deal of hard work and discipline. (For every Peyton Manning, there's a physically blessed pothead accountant somewhere.) All of that put together is a valuable career path and something to admire. It just so happens that the venue for his talent and hard work had to become, at a certain level, a public one. The highest level of his profession is a drama (and yes, sports are a drama) that plays out in front of people who hang on every minute. His talent and what he did with it weren't arbitrary. His profession was. Hell, hard work and discipline notwithstanding, at least Manning has talent, which is not necessary to be a celebrity. If I ever had a kid who said he wanted to be like Peyton Manning, I'd try to downplay how lucky he was and focus on his work ethic and charitable contributions. If I ever had a kid who said she wanted to be like Paris Hilton, I'd have her on a mission trip to India so fast her head would spin.

    I don't think it's unheallthy for you to be personally affected by Josh Hamilton and to be rooting for him as long as it doesn't blind you to the goodness you come across that's not in the news. For all of this culture's obsession with celebrity, I still think that's the case for most people. Again, public professions are fun stages to watch, and when a good story plants itself in the middle of one, it's the same as reading a childhood storybook, provided we understand that Cinderella probably had her snarky days when the cover was closed and that's totally fine. There are lessons to be learned and fun to be had (and just like with storybooks, an element of escapism for some people). The fact that these people's professions have necessitated a public stage doesn't belittle those whose professions haven't. We just don't have enough news time for all the gread deeds of the hard-working landscapers or the grocery stores checkout clerks of the world. But most people run into hard-working "heroes" (I loathe, loathe, loathe that word, but it's the most all-encompassing here) all the time, and I think most people do recognize, appreciate, and learn from them. Perhaps that's the hint: when you run into people like that in your "real" life, you can tell them how you feel. You can't tell Peyton Manning or Josh Hamilton. So you just keep watching and learning and enjoying. That's ok. There are lessons and stories and knowledge and self-realization in almost everything in the world if you look at things with perspective.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    I think you're downplaying the Manning's accomplishments to a degree. You keep using the word "talent", but he's not where he is because he's talented. He's where he is because he took his talent and worked hard. One just doesn't become the athlete he is without a great deal of hard work and discipline. (For every Peyton Manning, there's a physically blessed pothead accountant somewhere.) All of that put together is a valuable career path and something to admire. It just so happens that the venue for his talent and hard work had to become, at a certain level, a public one. The highest level of his profession is a drama (and yes, sports are a drama) that plays out in front of people who hang on every minute. His talent and what he did with it weren't arbitrary. His profession was. Hell, hard work and discipline notwithstanding, at least Manning has talent, which is not necessary to be a celebrity. If I ever had a kid who said he wanted to be like Peyton Manning, I'd try to downplay how lucky he was and focus on his work ethic and charitable contributions. If I ever had a kid who said she wanted to be like Paris Hilton, I'd have her on a mission trip to India so fast her head would spin.

    I don't think it's unheallthy for you to be personally affected by Josh Hamilton and to be rooting for him as long as it doesn't blind you to the goodness you come across that's not in the news. For all of this culture's obsession with celebrity, I still think that's the case for most people. Again, public professions are fun stages to watch, and when a good story plants itself in the middle of one, it's the same as reading a childhood storybook, provided we understand that Cinderella probably had her snarky days when the cover was closed and that's totally fine. There are lessons to be learned and fun to be had (and just like with storybooks, an element of escapism for some people). The fact that these people's professions have necessitated a public stage doesn't belittle those whose professions haven't. We just don't have enough news time for all the gread deeds of the hard-working landscapers or the grocery stores checkout clerks of the world. But most people run into hard-working "heroes" (I loathe, loathe, loathe that word, but it's the most all-encompassing here) all the time, and I think most people do recognize, appreciate, and learn from them. Perhaps that's the hint: when you run into people like that in your "real" life, you can tell them how you feel. You can't tell Peyton Manning or Josh Hamilton. So you just keep watching and learning and enjoying. That's ok. There are lessons and stories and knowledge and self-realization in almost everything in the world if you look at things with perspective.
    Thanks for the feedback, vaticanplum. Your thoughts are much appreciated. I've not quite made it out of my existential funk, but I'm getting there.
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Very enjoyable topic and responses to read..thank you all for something a little different.

    It's been recorded many times that those who lived through it remember the JFK assassination by re-living what they were doing and where they were when the horrible thing happened.

    We all remember where we were and what we were doing when the Challenger exploded, when 9/11 happened, Columbine, and now the Virginia Tech shooting.

    Current events are a part of life and become part of history..for good or bad.

    But by being sports fans, we are blessed with those events that will forever remain with us and will become personal lore to tell over and over.

    Most of us remember where we were and what we were doing when Pete Rose was chasing Ty Cobb every night...how life would shut down everytime he came to the plate and how life commenced again after he safely got us to another day.

    We remember where we were and what we were doing when the USA hockey team took home the gold at Lake Placid..

    We remember where we were and what we were doing a son or daughter caught a first fly ball, when a high school team won a football game in the last minute, when we got that bases loaded single in softball...

    For all the bad memories that are forever tied to terrible tragedies in our lifetime..tragedies that we all share in a shared lifetime....moments that bring pain, confusion, tears, anger, anguish...



    .......we have a little moment of sports.

    Something that we can take and hold on to for life. A story to pass on to grandkids..something to share with other sports fans that lived through the same moment, maybe with a different emotion..

    It doesn't balance out the bad things, but for a short moment in the journey through life, it gives us a brief respite.

    And for that I am grateful for the wonderful world of the Johnny Benches, Muhammed Ali's, Tiger Woods', Eric Davis', Michael Jordan's, and yes, the Josh Hamilton's of the sports world.


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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Quote Originally Posted by Razor Shines View Post
    If recognition is what a person seeks then they should develop a skill, any skill , that people will pay to watch them perform and they will have their recognition.

    As for the Peyton Manning commercials. I would say that you're being too sensitive. If someone is bothered because their job is somewhat made fun of in a Peyton Manning commercial, then that person do what they have to do to find a job suitable to their ego. If you're happy with the job you have then who cares what some dude (albeit the greatest QB in football) on a commercial says.

    Personally I think those commercials are damn funny. I may have a slight bias though.
    I really think the point of James' quote was that 99.9% percent of us could dedicate our every waking moment to improving our baseball skills and never have a chance to be a major leaguer because we're lacking the athleticism/hand-eye coordination etc... So it is like winning the lottery...some were lucky enough to be blessed with the very first prerequisite....genetics at birth...

    The guy flaming out in A ball is already in the 99th percentile athletically/skill wise. That's James point...don't confuse god-given athleticism with the fruits of laudable character... the vast majority of ballplayers with incredible character/work ethic never play a pitch in rookie ball let alone at the big dance...
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Admiring athletes? That concept is totally foreign to me.

    I admire people who run into burning buildings when everyone else is running out. I admire military pararescue guys. I admire that VT professor who blocked the door so his students could escape out the window. I admire the mom or dad who gives their time to coach kids.

    Admire a guy cause he can run fast or hit a ball or throw a ball? Please.
    Will trade this space for a #1 starter.

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    Re: Current events, baseball, and Josh Hamilton

    Admire a guy cause he can run fast or hit a ball or throw a ball? Please.
    Once one hits their teens admiration should equally undergo a maturity.

    Hero Worship is a bear trap with disappointment as the bait


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