By Ken Reed
I’ve written often in the past about the silliness of the macho man culture in hockey, including the tolerance for fighting, gratuitous cheap shots, and the presence of thugs with limited hockey skills on NHL rosters.
The Neanderthal culture in the NHL has to go.
But the same holds true for baseball, especially at the MLB level.
This season has seen an abundance of “old school” baseball antics, e.g., purposely throwing at hitters, paybacks for bat flipping after home runs, etc.
In May, the Texas Rangers’ Matt Bush drilled the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista with a fastball. It was retribution for Bautista hitting a home run against the Rangers last season in the playoffs. The Rangers were angered by Bautista’s bat flip after his home run. Bautista followed-up getting hit by a pitch by sliding aggressively into second base, igniting a brawl. (Of which, Bautista got the worst of it after receiving a punch to the jaw from the Rangers’ Rougned Odor.)
Basic sports ethics say that it shouldn’t be permissible to purposely send message pitches at hitters. It shouldn’t be permissible for baserunners to target fielders with their spikes up. It shouldn’t be permissible for a hitter to run inside the line and spike the achilles heel of a pitcher covering first base.
The unwritten rules of baseball, which allow retaliation for a laundry list of “offenses” need to be scrapped. Modern Major League Baseball needs to grow up.
Major League Baseball executives claim to want to make the game safer for the players. Hence, they banned catchers from blocking the plate and runners from running catchers over while trying to score. They banned runners leaving the base paths to target fielders in an effort at breaking up double plays. They now have to get a handle on intentional beanballs. A baseball at 95mph is a dangerous weapon.
Earlier this week, the Kansas City Royals’ Yordano Ventura drilled Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado with a 99mph fastball to the ribs. In baseball culture that supposedly makes Ventura a tough guy. But there’s nothing tough about hitting a defenseless hitter with a hard orb going 99mph.
As Los Angeles Dodgers’ first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said, “Throwing a baseball at a batter on purpose is the opposite of whatever tough is.”
Baseball players need to mature and start acting like adults.
Baseball is a great game. Play it ethically.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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