When this happened, I swore to myself that I wouldn't support the Hall of Fame materially until Petroskey was gone. I know that wars often bring out the worst in us, but that doesn't mean we should accept such behavior blindly. In 2003, Petroskey and his ilk equated dissent with treason, which is about as un-American as anything you can think of.A lot of sports bloggers spout off about politics from time to time, but Neyer usually isn't one of them. As such, when he does venture into the political, we can probably assume that his sentiments are about something very important to him and -- given that Rob has an editorial layer above him who answers to a large, controversy-averse media corporation -- you can bet that he had to fight to get those sentiments published.
I broke that promise.
The Hall of Fame -- or more precisely, the Hall of Fame's Research Center -- has been too good to me, so I've been a dues-paying member for some years now. But my visit to Cooperstown this summer would have been somewhat less satisfying if Petroskey hadn't been fired a few months earlier. As for Petroskey wishing for a do-over, that's easy to say after the fact. Just ask this former Republican official. Or this one.
The point here, is that Rob isn't one to engage in partisan hackery or waste his editorial capital on silly, of-the-moment political stuff. In this case he's talking about large concepts like political expression and patriotism that are more than a little important no matter what party you call home. Nevertheless, some of his commenters had an immediate, negative reaction:
Holy hell, we get it, all you guys are giant freakin liberals who hate republicans. Can we just stick to baseball please?There are some defenders in the comment thread too, but these kinds of reactions -- "don't you dare talk about politics in a baseball forum!" -- are pretty common whenever a baseball guy touches on politics. I've gotten similar comments here myself from time to time.
Yeah, really Neyer, you don't mix in politics with baseball, do you? Making mistakes is clearly something only conservatives do.
Rob, I wished you follow your own advice. You don't do a lot of it, but it has increased a good deal lately. I don't have any interest in reading your politics in your articles, whether its the things I agree with you or the things I disagree with.
I understand that to a degree. A lot of baseball's appeal is escapism, and who the hell wants real life to intrude? But I can't see how pretending that politics doesn't exist is at all reasonable. Politics is a part of life. Baseball is a part of life. Anyone who overloads on either of them is probably not the healthiest person in the world, but to deny that politics exists within the virtual walls of a given blog is kind of silly. The important thing is to maintain civility, decency and perspective when politics comes up and to remember that even if it's the subject du jour, the primary focus of the forum should remain baseball. It would take approximately 17,000 straight political posts by Neyer for the balance of his blog to tilt even slightly away from baseball content, so let's cut the guy some slack, OK?
Besides, there is something more troubling about Neyer's post than the fleeting intrusion of politics, and that's a criticism of my favorite baseball movie I am not currently prepared to counter. From commenter Amerlis:
Here's the real point. How is it possible that a catcher with power never even made it up for a cup of coffee? It's the premise of that movie. I reject that premise. Therefore I can't stand Bull Durham. It is NOT the best baseball movie ever made. Far from it.Oh dear. I love Bull Durham, but I'll admit, I have never really considered that aspect of it before. How does a brainy catcher who hits a lot of homers, makes his manager happy, and handles young pitchers with aplomb not stick in the bigs for longer than a cup of coffee? It's one thing to challenge my political assumptions, but man, to go after one of my favorite movies like that is rough, especially when I don't have a ready response.
See? It all comes back to baseball eventually.