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 #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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