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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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