One of the most fascinating, albeit annoying, staples with sports are the cliché-driven value judgments used to promote, or demote, players. Forget what their performance on the field or court was, did they have an intense game face, did they get their uniform dirty, did they come across well in post-game interviews, did they sign autographs for hours after a tough loss, did they acknowledge your existence when interrupting their dinner at the downtown restaurant?
Such silliness is not strictly indigenous to Philly, but we definitely take a back seat to no other. With Chase Utley’s tenure in town teetering at the moment, the rationalizations to keep him here that have nothing to do with his decreased skills or dreadful batting average are coming fast and furious. My “favorite,” though, has to be … he’s good in the locker room. Or the alternative-rock version: He’s a mentor to the younger guys.
Umm, reality-check time. There is no more meaningless drivel than that. In a locker room, especially a pro baseball locker room, where the most pampered and self-involved of all athletes reside, players do not take others under their wing, guide them, teach them the ways of life on the field and off, etc. Sure, relationships can develop in there, and some “help” may enter the equation with those. But this generalization that an individual, especially a closed-off one like Utley, suddenly morphs into “Rudy” and lifts up the spirits of everyone within those walls for the privileged is ridiculous.
It is hero worship and believing in something that doesn’t exist.
Players, young and old, are focused on themselves, as they should be … because whatever “best” they can bring out in themselves – as a performer, not an educator or confidant or buddy – will be best for the team. If they learn, or gain, anything from a teammate it is by watching them, watching what they do well, or what they do in order to do something well, and then trying to emulate that.
Yes, leading by example, that is legit. That does happen. Beyond that, no. That’s contrived crap that has oozed out of a crowd’s wishes to have something on a higher, more meaningful, if not moral, level to give greater meaning to the cause. People, it’s a business, it’s a game. The players treat it as such, not a greater calling.
SAY WHAT? Apparently the rift between Geno Smith and IK Enemkpali that left the former on the shelf the next 6-10 weeks and the latter without a job, effectively immediately, centered around $600.
Really? Smith, starting QB for the New York Jets and never-ending professor of Christian faith, has a bank account that most of us can’t even fathom, and he had issues with reimbursing Enemkpali for a plane ticket? Insanity. Pay the dude and stop touting your beliefs when they run contrary to your actions.
HMMMM … Normally, I laugh off/brush off/blow off anything that comes out of the mind of ESPN racial rabble-rouser Stephen A. Smith, but, this time, I don’t. Frankly, to me, there is some lucidity to a tweet Smith posted yesterday: Chip Kelly may not be worth all of the trouble when it’s all said and done.
Hey, he may not be.