Tag Archives: baseball

Rippers Sacrificing True Fans at Altar of Bad Publicity An Odd Definition of Success

By Jason Menard

Apparently, I missed out on the day they defined “success” at school. Because if David Martin is using this word to describe the launch of the London Rippers baseball club, then I clearly have no idea what the word means any more.

“It was one of the most successful launches in minor baseball history,” Martin is quoted as saying. This is just a few paragraphs after his VP Alison Stier is quoted as saying, “We couldn’t have asked for a (better) marketing campaign… We knew it would stir controversy. Never did we think it would be like this.”

First off, does anyone else find it odd that Stier was anticipating controversy? Continue reading

Baseball Team Gets Ripped for Poor Taste, Treating Fans Like Morons

By Jason Menard

Yesterday was supposed to be a day of excitement for London baseball fans. Unfortunately, a combination of spectacularly poor judgement and an unwillingness to be honest about a mistake has turned what should have been the easiest home run in franchise history into a potentially franchise-threatening stumble out of the batter’s box for the London Rippers.

Reaction was swift and almost universally negative towards the Rippers’ name and logo. The obvious reference to Jack the Ripper is in poor taste; the fact that it was announced on a day where many were openly showing their support of ending violence against women is deplorable. But the continued denial of any “Jack the Ripper” tie is absolutely insulting. Continue reading

Blame Barry for Lack of Bautista Love

By Jason Menard

If baseball fans can’t see their way to embracing Toronto Blue Jays’ all-star slugger Jose Bautista, it may be because their view is being obscured by Barry Bonds’ oversized head.

While Bautista will be the feature attraction at this year’s all-star game, it was only a couple of months ago that Time magazine called the Dominican superstar “the best baseball player you’ve never heard of.

I think Time got it wrong. I think fans are well aware of whom Bautista is; I just think fans hesitate to jump in with both feet when they’re so wary of the other shoe dropping. And that shoe has been used by the Bonds’ (allegedly), the McGuire’s, and the Sosa’s of the world to stomp on the hearts of fans.  Continue reading

Blue Jays’ Pitching Could be a San Francisco Treat

By Jason Menard

True innovation in sports? Overrated. In fact, it’s safe to say that once a winning formula’s been discovered, most teams are more than willing to drink the Kool-Aid.

That bodes well for the Toronto Blue Jays in light of the San Francisco Giants’ recent World Series win, as they’ve already started taking pulls from the same bottle. Continue reading

Another Day, Another Drug

By Jason Menard

The latest news that Alberto Contador has allegedly tested positive for something doesn’t just add another nail in cycling’s coffin – at this point, the sports’ credibility is buried under so many lies, speculation, innuendo, and – of course – positive tests, that it’s hard for anyone to care any more. Continue reading

Truth in Advertising a Winning Play

By Jason Menard

At last — truth in advertising! And from a sports franchise no less.

When it comes to businesses, sports are one of the least likely enterprises to engage in honesty — after all, a large part of a club’s revenue is generated, in one way or another, by selling their fan base on hope.

Hope sells jerseys. Hope sells tickets — and once those butts are in the seat, hope delivers them to the concession booth where hope justifies paying outrageous sums of money for watered-down beer, cheaply made clothing bearing the team’s logo, and seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time knick-knacks (which can easily be confused, if you’re in Madison Square Garden, with Knick Knacks.) Continue reading

No Need for Hank to Go Groupie

By Jason Menard

Now that Barry Bonds is but two dingers away from tying Hank Aaron’s career home run total, the pressure is mounting for Hammerin’ Hank to start following BALCO Barry around like a wayward Dead Head.

My question is why? Aaron is 73 years old and the way that Barry’s been hitting home runs lately, the record could be broken as soon as tonight or a month down the line. Is it fair to ask Aaron to turn into the world’s biggest groupie, following Barry’s oversized cranium from city to city on this less-than-magical mystery tour?

And for what reason? So Aaron can come out to a raucous applause, one that will probably overshadow the applause Barry receives for breaking the all-time home run mark of 755. After all, Aaron has long displayed grace, elegance, and dignity – three characteristics that aren’t exactly dripping off of Bonds.

Aaron chased down Babe Ruth and did so in the face of very real threats against his life. For a misguided few, the idea of a black man surpassing the Caucasian Babe Ruth was too much. Fortunately, as most racists are also cowards, Aaron was able to safely pass the all-time mark on Apr. 8, 1974 with his 715 th career home run.

Bonds has disgraced those who actually have experienced real racism by insinuating some of his negative perception is based upon the fact that he’s black. It’s not his skin colour that’s the problem – it’s his attitude, lack of respect for others, and general surliness that makes people hate him.

Aaron also received the support of Ruth’s widow, who stated that her husband would have enthusiastically endorsed Aaron’s campaign to break his own record. Those accolades aren’t exactly pouring in for Barry. Most people would be quite content to see him hang up his cleats shy of the record.

A short while ago I defended Barry because I think he’s good for the game in terms of attracting attention. As well, when he feels like opening up, he’s a good quote who doesn’t constrain himself with the standard baseball clichés. That said, do I think Aaron should be following him around to be in the park when Barry finally breaks his record? Only if that’s something he wants to do.

I don’t get the need to trot out former greats to celebrate someone breaking their record. If Aaron genuinely wanted to be there for Barry to congratulate him, then fine. But if he’s only going to show up because he feels he has to for HIS image, then there’s something wrong.

For 37 years, Aaron’s been the Home Run King. For many people, he will continue to be the only one worthy of the crown – a modern day slugging King Richard to Barry’s usurping John. And for some he may become akin to the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile – a veritable Dalai Hank, a king without a kingdom. In no way should Aaron’s reputation be tarnished by not being amongst the first to shake Barry’s hand once he makes that historic rounding of the bases.

For me it’s neither here nor there. Barry did hit those home runs. If he was juiced, he was not alone. And he’s the only one that’s even come close to Aaron’s record, so I give a solid measure of credit to his accomplishment. But would I feel bad if Hank decided to pass on the tour of the National League to wait for his pinnacle achievement between the white lines to be broken? Not at all.

I know I’d be bitter. After all, for years you’ve had the name Home Run King attached to your name and now the crown has been passed. Would I want to celebrate that? And sure, there’s an argument for showing grace and class, but Hank can do that by placing a phone call after that rerun of Matlock finishes. There’s no reason he has to wander around the country, waiting for an opportunity to clap.

As Bill Walton’s shown us, there are few things as sad as an aging groupie. In fact, the only thing worse may be one who’s obligated to attend because anything less would be an unfair denigration of his character.

Finally, by having Aaron attend in spite of his obvious preferences, it cheapens this and future moments like it – potentially when Barry has to swallow his pride and sit in the stands as Alex Rodriguez laps him on the homer track in just a handful of years.

The best of these types of moments come when they’re rooted in honest respect and appreciation. Those are the moments when fans and athletes alike stand up in pride. Faking it – like Major League Baseball’s going to do with Barry’s home run choice – represents a swing and a miss of an epic proportion.