Monday, October 7, 2013

Cooling Off: The Government Shutdown and David Price

You may have heard about an Annenberg survey noting that an overwhelming majority of Native Americans support the Washington Redskins name.

Well... here's the rejoinder to that survey, indicating its results are pretty definitely weighted/biased.  

(Hat-tip to Johnny Shryock for this; he's the spouse of the talented Azie Mira Dungey of Ask a Slave fame.)

The true point:  It's all about context.  This is the delightful thing about living in Michigan's state capital, where I have friends on both sides of the aisle -- whenever anything controversial happens, I can ask both sides about it and come to a reasonable conclusion about the true story, rather than the story believed by emotional letter-writers and editorialists and pundits.

Unfortunately, emotions and noise take center stage in attention-grabbing ways.  This leads to political theater and "symbolic moments," such as the parading of veterans to the shutdown World War II memorial last week.  In the end, it makes everything worse.

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After his Saturday night loss to Boston, David Price tweeted out:


There is a "cooling-off" period following games (about 20 minutes), providing the players time to blow off steam before the media stampede into the clubhouse.

For fans, 20 minutes isn't nearly enough.  Chances are, they'll still be steamed about a defeat for days afterward (and, if Bucky Dent and Bill Buckner are any indication, for many years afterward).

For players, though, it has to be enough.  Somehow, they have to bite their lip, grit their teeth, and answer the media's questioning as classily as they can manage.

Price blazed off that tweet hours after Tampa Bay's defeat.  He shouldn't have.  He realizes this now.


(The "if I offended you..." is always a great way to phrase an apology, right?  If my fist happened to do any damage to your face when the two collided, then I am very sorry.)

The Tampa Bay Rays have lost two consecutive games to the Boston Red Sox, with Boston's offense crushing Tampa's star pitching staff.  Things were bad enough.

If either you or I was on the inside of Tampa Bay's clubhouse, with friends to inform us, perhaps we could come up with reasonable conclusions here, too:  David Price did not have command of one or more of his pitches; or he was good but made a few mistakes; or he and Jose Molina did not call the right pitch sequence, etc.

This is all overshadowed now because of the Rays ace's emotions.  The conversation shifted.  The spotlight burned down upon him, and questions exploded outward to expose his foolishness:  Does it take Major League experience (Tom Verducci never played) or Major League success (Dirk Hayhurst's career was abbreviated by injuries) in order to critique an obvious failure on Price and his teammates' part on their way to defeat?  Does it matter to David Price that his much-admired manager, Joe Maddon, never played higher than Single-A?  Does Price realize that "nerds" brought the Tampa Bay organization from pitiable to powerhouse?  Does the Vanderbilt product understand that his alma mater is noted for its scholarship far more than its athletic achievement?

It's all baseball theater.

The media loves it, just as the media loves a good World War II veterans parade at the shutdown memorial, but there are no solutions here, only more ineffectual emotions.

For the government, the solutions come behind closed doors.

For David Price, keeping his emotions behind closed doors in the cooling-off clubhouse is a good place to start.  For his team, that solution comes between the white lines, back home, under the catwalks at Tropicana Field.

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