"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO, sportsnetwork.com
HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa (Sports Network) --
So a player gets a brush back pitch or maybe the rocket launcher on the elevated plateau that is the pitcher's personal paradise directs a missile that hits the batter in the arm or grazes his helmet. Intentional or inadvertent? Only the pitcher and the catcher know for certain and, in half the cases, a polygraph test give to either won't prove anything.
Inebriated fans from the 700 level take target practice at outfielders and there are riots in the streets after a championship comes to town in any sport. Looting, burning cars, terrorizing women and ripping their clothes off as part of the ceremony seems to have reached obscene levels and the hooligans are running the asylum. Should the majority be held culpable? Of course not. Society and the city where the mayhem unfolds? Yes. We have descended to depths that are rejected by the most distasteful of creatures.
Miguel Cairo #1 of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the middle of a fight during the game this season against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle. (Otto Greule Jr. /Allsport)
But the sports themselves are a clarion call for most of what unfolds.
And, it is nothing compared to what takes place in Europe, South America and places like Pakistan and India. It is a win or die mentality. Here we focus on maiming one another on the gridiron, setting a pick that would stop a freight train on the hardwoods and making boxing and wrestling sports within a sport when it comes to hockey. Survival of the fittest is not open to vote, as is the case on the latest offering of television trash. It is pro forma in sports.
Why, then, should we be surprised when the mental deficiencies of the sports themselves reach out and enter the society that lauds their every action? That which takes place in our country is child's play, a passing of the dish on Sunday, and kindergarten compared to being stoned when your cricket or soccer team disembarks from the plane. Our fans have been known to be unruly, downright aggressive, when the game is over and the seeming opportunity to be on the field of play presents itself, to be able to jump and down, make the TV screen or grab 15 seconds of fame before being escorted to the lockup. Cordons of police and German Shepherds have kept that activity in check at the stadium.
But, in England, Portugal, Spain, France, and wherever soccer is played, the fans rushing onto the field don't want to embrace the players. They are carrying knotted ropes used historically for lynching, rocks, beer bottles poised to be thrown and whatever else is not nailed down. Frenzied followers of one team chase down those of the opponents, not to congratulate for a good effort, but to dismember.
Hit by a pitched ball? Child's play. And, charging the mound is as macho as flexing on the beach when one has something to flex. Nothing will come of it and no point has been made other than to send a message that it is acceptable behavior in Little League. Hockey has designated "enforcers." Swell. What happened to hard hits and clean play? Out with the sport of decades gone. One sport dismisses players for fighting and another gives them a 5-minute rest before allowing them to return to play.
NFL players nose to nose threatening one another. What do you expect to take place under all that armor they wear? Idle threats and more macho activity to make a point of some sort. No one will be waiting in the parking lot after the game. Of that you can be certain.
There's more touching, pushing, shoving and hand action on the court in the NBA than you are likely to find at the annual porn film convention in Las Vegas. The game has outdistanced the referees and its original intent. It is a war. But, it still has not reached the level of our European counterparts, the folks who think hanging someone in effigy is just practice for the real thing.
The NFL and NBA need more than a commissioner. They need parole officers on their respective payrolls full time. When the Philadelphia Eagles have a sentencing judge under the stands during the game there is message being sent. Soccer matches in Europe need SWAT teams in attendance. It is all a matter of degree. Does this make us acceptable by comparison? In a warped sense, yes. However, it also says where we are heading. Our post champion thieves, car burners, hooligans and gangster mentalities are writing the new tome for what lies ahead. And, it has to be stopped now.
All that takes place within each of our sports cannot possibly make for a better game, as our hockey devotees would have us believe. The sport is artistic and requires a talent that is incomprehensible for those of us who have ever donned a pair of skates. Why does it require mano a mano combats for commercial breaks?
Bring back the streakers and the girls who ran out to kiss outfielders or just bare their breasts. That we can handle as quick diversions. Look across the pond and think of 10,000 Ranger fans hitting the subways on their way to MSG all the while planning every outbreak of discord and upset rather than just anticipating the game that awaits. That is what we can expect from the Brits off to watch Manchester United and we now know where that leads. Is that what we want from sports?
Los Angeles deserved better this past week. Their team did what they had to do. Some small segment of the "fans" did what no one wanted and the greater majority suffered the consequences, as did the city. It was embarrassing. Now, think of it on a grander scale and the NRA might have a point.
Caravans of clenched fist baseball players heading to the pitcher's mound are silly. Turning the NBA into the WWF is equally ridiculous. Believing that hockey without bloodied noses and a few hundred stitches per game is not hockey borders on juvenile. And, football has enough gore from the way it is played to offset any one on one confrontations that are headed nowhere anyway.
We see it, the leagues see it, the world recognizes where it leads and everyone agrees that it is not the way to go for any sport. But, will anything ever be done about it? Look at Europe and elsewhere in the world. You gotta be kidding