What an honor for the Texas Rangers owner.
May 2012 Archives
Back in the early 80s, I joined a baseball fantasy league. It was called a Rotisserie League back then, before the internet and before everyone and their uncle paid big bucks to enter fantasy drafts sponsored by beer companies. I was the only girl in the league, just me and about eight other guys sitting in someone’s basement drafting players. They let me in reluctantly because, you know, I’m a woman. What do women know about sports? Well, if knowledge is a weapon I came to that draft armed and dangerous. And I won the inaugural season of that fantasy baseball league. I would go on to win the title twice more before I stopped playing.
I’ve been a sports fan since I was old enough to know how to say “Let’s go Yankees!” It was mostly my mother, not my father, who got me into sports, who gave me my love of baseball and hockey. It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I began to feel like men just were not taking me seriously as a sports fan. Even though I could name every single player in the NHL, their position, jersey number and most of their stats. Even though I could hold my own in a debate about the designated hitter. I was a girl. My opinions didn’t count.
When I went back to school I majored in Athletic Administration, a then pilot program at St. John’s University, which later became the very popular sports management major (I changed my major to English later, feel free to make jokes at my expense). I worked in the Sports Administration office. I traveled with the hockey team while covering sports for the university paper. I spent a summer working for the New York Yankees. I lived for sports. Yet I was always just a girl. What could I possibly know about sports? The guys I tried to talk sports with dismissed me as a groupie. The girls I tried to talk sports with just wanted to talk about what players I’d like to fuck (none, thanks). It was frustrating. The only women who understood me were my mother and my sister. The only guys who took me seriously were the close friends who watched hockey games with me, the few guys who loved to spend an afternoon at Shea Stadium booing the Mets and drinking beer.
It wasn’t until recently that I felt like women were making strides as sports fans. I don’t know if there are more of us now or if we’re just more vocal because of the internet, but we are out there in strong numbers and I’ve finally begun to feel that acceptance. Nobody on twitter dismisses me from a conversation about hockey just because I have tits. Nobody ignores my feelings about the DH because I’m a female. If you look at any sports conversation on twitter you can see us right in the thick of it. We are many. We are legion. We are taken seriously as sports fans. Hey, look at me. I'm in an otherwise all male club here at American McCarver.
And then along comes the women of While the Men Watch.
Let that name sink in a bit. While the Men Watch. Sports. While the men watch sports. Because that’s what men do. Men watch sports. Women do other stuff while men watch sports. And the women who run this site, well they want you to do the things girls do while the boys watch their hockey games.
With column titles like “Five Sex Games For Hockey Season” and “Sex on Game Day: Does He Lock it Up or Love You Down?” it’s like Cosmo meets ESPN. And it’s not pretty. Oh, the girls on the site may be pretty. But the underlying theme of While the Men Watch? I find it pretty damn ugly.
Girls, if you don’t like sports, it’s ok. No one is going to like you less because you don't care about the Stanley Cup. But there is no reason to make it difficult for those of us who do like sports to be taken seriously. Go find something else to do on game night. I don't know, throw a scrapbooking party. Go shop for shoes. Keep perpetuating the stereotype of female sports fans. Or you can do us all a favor and step away from the sports.
I don't know, maybe you feel threatened by the women who actually do love sports. You think we're out to steal your men or at least their attention. I'll let you in on a secret: we're not. We watch sports because we love the games. We watch sports because we enjoy them. And we're too busy keeping score or counting hits or, you know, just rooting for our teams to be thinking about stealing your man's attention. There's no need for you to come around, step into the middle of our conversation and start shaking your tits. We're just trying to watch the game. You're just trying to ruin it for us. Take your little sex tips and bring them to Cosmo. That's where your kind of columns belong.
That's not a compliment.
The Dodgers won tonight.
In fact, they swept the reigning world champs, to maintain the best record in the MLB, closing in on an astonishing .700. They’ve won 19 of 23 at home, and are seven games above the second-place Giants in the NL West. Heck, the Giant are closer to the basement-dwelling .375 Rockies than they are to the Dodgers.
And all this while half the starting line-up is on the DL. Tonight, a rook they brought up from AA two weeks ago hit his first major league homer, to drive in three runs and put the team up and over in the bottom of the seventh.
First place! With stars on the bench! You cannot beat the goddamned Dodgers. Who would have imagined something like that a year ago?
But what a year it’s been. Matt Kemp, robbed of last year’s MVP, was on pace to indisputably earn the trophy this time before going on the DL. Andre Ethier leads the MLB in RBIs. Clayton Kershaw, the 2011 Cy Young winner, could very well claim the award again.
And the very worst thing to ever happen to the team — the dim-eyed toad, Frank McCourt — pocketed his billions and was tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. Yes, “tarred and featured” is the name of a really expensive suit maker and a “rail” is a private plane. But he’s gone… replaced by Magic Johnson. Magic Johnson. That’s like rebuilding your church after a tornado and having Jesus show up as one of the carpenters. Movies that end that way aren’t believable, much less real life. Hell, the new owners even dropped the price of parking at Dodger Stadium! It’s like Frodo destroying the One Ring and then picking up donuts for everybody on the way back to the Shire.
But the Dodger’s new golden age is only part of what’s happening in Los Angeles. Everybody is feeling it.
The Galaxy are the defending MLS champs. (MLS is a soccer league. Yes, professional. Soccer. No, I didn’t believe it either, but you can look it up on Wikipedia.)
The Kings — the Kings! — entered the NHL playoffs a forgettable eight seed and have rolled over every opponent they’ve come across. Brown time, indeed. They are now the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup. It’s almost enough to make you care about hockey. Almost.
The Clippers — the Clippers! — have achieved new heights simply by not completely sucking. Yes, they lost tonight, to end their play-off run. But they had a play-off run! They’re usually back working at Wal-Mart by this time of year.
And though the Lakers are being beaten up by the Thunder, they’re still in it. A second-round exit would be considered a disappointment for LA’s, y’know, real basketball team, but the compressed season has really hurt a squad composed almost entirely of geezers. That they can hobble onto the court at all is a moral victory.
Think about that: the Dodgers, the Galaxy, the Kings, the Clippers, the Lakers — champions or pending champions or moral champions or simply not losers anymore. Los Angeles sports is undergoing an unprecedented renaissance. It’s amazing to watch, to feel, to be a part of. There’s a frisson in the city, and no matter where you look, there’s something you can be a part of that’s winning, however unexpectedly.
Don’t count us out of the Superbowl just yet.
In 1971, Dock Ellis, of LSD no-hitter fame, was chosen to the National League All-Star team. Vida Blue was chosen to start the game for the American League. A black pitcher had never started an All-Star game, so Dock figured the chances of a black pitcher starting for BOTH teams was more than America could bear. He said as much to the media and received this reply from Jackie Robinson.
“I read your comments in our paper the last few days and wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your courage and honesty. In my opinion, progress for today’s players will only come from this kind of dedication. Try not to be left alone.”
Read the rest on Deadspin.
It wasn’t supposed to end like this for Mariano Rivera.
No matter how you feel about the Yankees — and, believe me, I feel exactly the same way — it wasn’t supposed to end like this. One of the greatest pitchers — and certainly the greatest closer — in the history of the game, put down by a blown-out knee, shagging flies during batting practice? Oh, no. That’s not dramatic enough. That’s not glorious enough. That’s the ending of every weekend-league high-school-once-was, gone fat and forty, not for one of the best to ever play.
It wasn’t supposed to end like this.
It was supposed to end with Rivera pitching a low-outside fastball that Matt Kemp puts out of the park for a walk-off win in game seven of the World Series.
The Yankees have numerous rivals. The Red Sox (division). The Mets (cross-town). The Dodgers (11 World Series matchups). But these Yankees — this particular squad — have a bigger rival. Father Time.
Derek Jeter is 37. Alex Rodriguez is 36. The team’s most-anticipated call-up from the minor leagues is Andy Pettitte, age 39, returning from a year in retirement. Their best hitter during last season’s postseason loss to the Tigers was the now-retired Jorge Posada, who turned 40 in August.
And Rivera. Mariano Rivera — the one who, until last night, seemed most immune to the effects of age and time — is the same age as the never-to-be-worn-again jersey number on his back: 42.
I’m a Yankees fan. I’d be rooting for these guys whether I were 10 or 80. But these guys aren’t just any Yankees. They’re my Yankees. I’m 39. Most of the athletes “my age” have long since walked away from their games. This is an age when you’re more likely to be a coach or TV analyst than an active player. But these guys play on, against the odds. (Jeter is hitting .404.)
To be a Yankees fan is to be greedy. We expect the Yankees to win far more than a fair share of World Series titles. We always expect to win. But last year, when it became clear that Posada was not going to return for another season, my desire to see them win felt almost desperate. I wanted not just another title for the Yankees, but something more: another title for my Yankees, the three remaining players from the glorious Joe Torre dynasty years. Guys “my age” winning it all, one more time. I convinced myself that it was meant to be. It was not.
When Pettitte announced his intention to return to the team this year, that same irrational sense of “Wouldn’t it be great?” destiny rekindled in my heart: three of these guys have a chance to win One More Ring. Now we’re down to two.
Time’s effects, even against Rivera — the most graceful and elegant ballplayer I’ve ever seen, the closest thing in sports to an ageless wonder — are ignominious. The Yankees often win, but in the end, time always wins — the one opponent against which even the Yankees will forever be underdogs. To struggle against time is to struggle against the inevitable. We all know you can’t beat time, but the joy of these aging Yankees is that sometimes you can get lucky and race ahead of it for a while. But now this.
I’m not writing him off. If anyone can return from such an injury at 42, it is Rivera. But no matter how this turns out for Rivera and the Yankees, the reminder is clear: everything is fleeting.