It’s been a couple of decades since I took journalism, but I would assume that the standard list of questions that a reporter needs to answer in an article remain the same: who, what, when, where and why.
For the sake of this column, these will all be different issues.
Who: does Bengie Molina think he is? He publicly rants about the Angels treating him like a piece of trash, after signing with the Blue Jays. Sure, they paid him a ton of money, allowed him to play major league baseball, suffered through some terrible hitting seasons until he finally had a good one, and then let him ask for way too much money in free agency—not to mention employing his brother as a backup catcher. How dare they?
What: will the Angels call themselves? It’s finally been decided. It’s the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The city of Anaheim spent $2 million for a seriously misguided legal suit, all over the renaming of the Angels, and the city’s supposed loss of income that resulted from it. As I noted in an earlier piece, I personally think they are lucky that the team isn’t being renamed the Northern Virginia Angels, or Las Vegas Angels, or any other of a long list of regions that would love to have a pro baseball team in town. Just ask the Florida Marlins fans, who will be soon losing their ball team, unless the local politicians get their act together.
When: will Roger Clemens decide if he is playing this year? March? April? Pick any month you want. It sounds like it would make a good office pool. Sure, he is one of the greatest pitchers ever, but he is also one of the greatest egos ever. His supposed care for his time with his children seems to evaporate every time he hears the sound of a baseball hitting a leather glove. He’s going to play in the World Baseball Classic. He might play for the Astros. Or the Rangers. Or the Red Sox. Or the Yankees (if he doesn’t have to give back the car they gave him for retiring two years ago).
I don’t care about any player’s working rights—free agency stinks. Roger Clemens is a perfect example of why. You might as well put every player’s name on a ping pong ball, and have it bounce around in a used lottery machine, a month before spring training. There’s nothing like someone making between ten and twenty million dollars a year off a fan base that they only mention when they need a bargaining tool at contract time.
Where: will the Nationals be playing ball? Again, politicians messing up a perfectly good deal with baseball. The on-again, off-again stadium situation is ridiculous. Even for Washington D.C. politicians.
Which is saying an awful lot.
Why: should anyone in America be excited about the World Baseball Classic? It’s becoming increasingly evident that this is just a vehicle to increase MLB exposure in other countries. Recently, we were denied media passes to the finals in San Diego, under the reasoning that too many people had applied—over ten times the amount that applied for World Series media passes.
It’s all about the dollar, and I guess converted dollars from other countries spend just as well as homegrown ones. But will this help baseball reclaim American audience shares from football and basketball? I doubt it. I think the only impact this will have is that a few more international soccer fans will buy the occasional bobblehead doll. The injury risk is ridiculous for American stars, and anyone who thinks this somehow represents a patriotic act should have their head examined.
Try giving free tickets for real ballgames to American soldiers. That’s patriotic.
Sorry about the general negative tone here, but I hate February. It’s the peak of bad baseball news, at a time when memories of the previous year have faded to almost nothing. Politicians and bellyaching millionaires make for poor headlines.
I’d rather hear about steroids, to be honest.
Maybe it doesn’t bear repeating, but this is a game. If you don’t want to play, just take your glove and go home.
Or in the case of Anaheim, Washington D.C. and Florida- we’ll take the gloves and go somewhere else.