Wednesday, April 8, 2009

We All Have Our Own Opinions

In the March30, 2009 edition of Sporting News magazine, Ken Burns has his say baseball history.

And like barroom chatter, the article just makes me want to throw in my own opinions on Burns' offerings.

Burns goes on to say...History will remember this as it remembers every era. After all, there's no asterisk next to the Cincinnati Reds. They won the 1919 World Series, but we know it was thrown by the Chicago White Sox. There's no asterisk next to Babe Ruth, even though he didn't have to bat against Satchel Paige, play at night, fly to the West Coast or deal with the kind of media scrutiny the players do now.

Right away I'm thinking, about the travel, some players nowadays probably couldn't handle the rails and or bus trips. The accommodations may not have been top notch depending on the type of frugality displayed by the team's owner.

Media scrutiny? Most of today's players are always speaking in the first person. They are too self-absorbed to be bothered by any of the media attention because whatever angle the media comes at the players they (the player) will think of it as propaganda aimed only to shoot them down. Neither party is facing facts and accepting that they are responsible to their crafts.

The media is all about digging up as much dirt as possible and the player about making as much cheddar/cash as possible. Some players are good at saying what they think is the right thing to say. Unfortunately, the true media hogs who long to play in New York (so they can see themselves
everywhere) find out how tough it can be when their skills deteriorate. And since substances- to enhance their performance- are no longer accepted in the big leagues, these players will have wished they toned their act down.

Which brings me to Babe Ruth. Ruth had no say as to who he played against. He only played. That argument works the same way with the Negro stars. Who's to say if they competed against players closer to their ability that some would have been lost in the shuffle while others may have shined. Some players rise to the occasion while others who may not have been good enough made the team because the team needed a set number of players to fill-out its roster.

In Ruth's day, it was all about the owners being shysters. And although no one has come up with evidence proving the players' of Ruth's era used some performance enhancer it was the prejudice of owners and the Commissioner that
limited a league that could have been better had the best been allowed to play regardless of skin color.

Doubt about the "legitimacy" of the Major Leagues and the questionable Negro League numbers is something I'd like more information on. I wonder, as any baseball fan must, just how accurate the Negro League numbers would have been, had those players (worthy of being in the Big Leagues) been allowed to play. And if so fortunate to play, in a league that kept track of such things, would the numbers have seemed so unattainable?

We will never know but we do have the ability to check the history as we deem necessary (if such a thing piques our interest). I know I'll always leave that light on.

The 2009 baseball season has begun. Enjoy!

(thanks to Ken Burns for the inspiration of my opinion)

Kevin Marquez