Well, I spent my end of the year week off crankily battling a cold which I have sadly passed onto my wife as she returns to the office today. I hope you folks had a nice break (at least from me). I did one thing that was great and that was I watched the first season of The West Wing with my 19-year old daughter, who is already a very good writer, and I wanted her to see the brilliance of the exceptional writer, Aaron Sorkin.
I do hope that your holidays were filled with health and happiness and before we turn the calendar page to a new year, I can’t help but feel as if I’ve been down this path before.
Former Atlanta Braves star center fielder ,and more recently the Yankees right-hand bat, Andruw Jones was free on bond after being arrested in suburban Atlanta early Tuesday after his wife accused him of dragging her down a staircase, grabbing her neck and saying wanted to kill her. Nicole Jones told officers that she tried to escape upstairs, but her husband grabbed her by the ankle and dragged her down some stairs, got on top of her and said, “I want to kill you,” according to the police.
The Associated Press reported:
“Due to Andruw’s level of intoxication, Nicole said that she was able to push him back and move away from him,” the report states. Nicole Jones then went to her parents’ house.
Police said they found injuries on her neck, which they photographed for evidence.
When officers arrived at the Jones residence in the Sugarloaf Country Club in Duluth, they said he appeared confused about what had happened.
“We entered into the bedroom and announced ‘Gwinnett County police,”’ an officer wrote in the report.
“Andruw did not respond and it appeared as though he was passed out in his clothes,” the officer wrote. “I touched Andruw on the arm and said ‘Gwinnett County police, Andruw, we need to speak with you.’ Andruw woke up and appeared dazed. He appeared heavily intoxicated and confused about why officers were standing in his bedroom.”
From August 1 to the end of the 2012 season, Jones hit .139 for the Yankees going 10-for-72. Perhaps had they known how well he hit was when he was heavily intoxicated, the Yankees would have kept him drunk.
Jones recently signed a $3.5 million, one-year contract with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League, “We received a report it was a domestic fight which escalated,” Eagles president Yozo Tachibana told Reuters. “Unless there is any more big surprises, we intend to go ahead as planned with his contract.”
In an end of the year article in the Los Angeles Times, entitled In pro sports, gay athletes still feel unwelcome, Kevin Baxter asks us to consider the numbers:
About 4,000 players spent time on active rosters in the NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball in 2012. With the best estimates of the gay/bisexual population in U.S. ranging from 2% to 10%, it’s likely many of those 4,000 athletes are gay or bisexual.
Yet not one has come out of the closet. Not this year, not last year, not ever.
There are openly gay congressmen and two senators-elect. There has been a gay governor and a cable TV network anchor. Just never an openly gay shortstop, quarterback or power forward.
And changing that would require more than simply challenging convention. It could require a player to challenge his teammates as well.
“It’s still taboo in the locker room,” explains the Clippers’ Grant Hill.
Like in the New England Patriots’ locker room. Earlier this season linebacker Brandon Spikes sent out a tweet claiming to be homophobic “just like I’m arachnophobic. I have nothing against homosexuals or spiders but I’d still scream if I found one in my bathtub.”
Spikes later said he was joking. But former Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, among baseball’s most thoughtful and intelligent players, isn’t kidding when he says an “out” teammate could divide a team.
“For me, as a Christian … I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right,” he says. “It will be difficult and uncomfortable.”
Hunter in a statement on Twitter claimed he was misquoted:
I’m very disappointed in Kevin Baxter’s article in which my quotes and feelings have been misrepresented. He took two completely separate quotes and made them into one quote that does not express how I feel as a Christian or a human being . I have love and respect for all human beings regardless of race, color or sexual orientation. I am not perfect and try hard to live the best life I can and treat all people with respect. If you know me you know that I am not anti anything and to be portrayed as anti-gay in this article is hurtful and just not true
I can’t help but remind Mr. Hunter, an African-American, that in early April 1947, as Brooklyn prepared to open the season against the Boston Braves in the debut of Jackie Robinson, Dodgers Dixie Walker, Eddie Stanky and Bobby Bragan drew up a petition saying they preferred being traded to playing with a black teammate.
Hunter is a newly signed member of the Detroit Tigers and is replacing Delmon Young who last April was arrested in New York and charged with third-degree assault after police say Young was extremely drunk when he shouted ‘you f****** Jews’ as a panhandler wearing a Star of David and a Yarmulke passed him. In November, Young admitted to hate crime charges and was given ten days of community service and was ordered to enroll in an anger management program at New York’s Museum of Tolerance.
THIS IS MY HOUSE
Finally, on Billy-Ball.com we talk baseball. We debate heavy issues such as whether Dwight Evans should be reconsidered for the Hall of Fame and we play with fun factoids like Red Sox deuce Jon Lester has won 15+ games four times in his career and needs 15 to reach the 100 career win mark. But, occasionally, when I write about issues in the world associated with baseball I get some vitriolic emails from people who are not interested in my politics. I have a very special offer for those folks right after I get this out.
POLITICO.COM reports this morning that House Republicans abruptly pulled the plug Tuesday night on their promise to take up this week an emergency supplemental disaster aid bill for Northeast states damaged by Hurricane Sandy. It’s bad enough that most of these politicians are more interested in their own jobs than the jobs of the people in this country, but this is simply reprehensible.
As the children of Sandy Hook Elementary return to school today in the neighboring town of Monroe, my thoughts are with them and I was thinking about the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre suggestion that every school have an armed police officer presumably to keep people like himself from impressionable young minds.
So, for those of you who are bothered by these comments, I have a very special offer: cancel your subscription and I will give you your money back. In fact, I will double what you paid.
Hey, wait a second…Billy-Ball.com is free! In my dozen years of writing this, so far, I haven’t charged anybody to come into my house.
And that is why I will write about Hurricane Sandy, Sandy Hook, and/or Sandy Koufax with the knowledge that while I may not be Aaron Sorkin, readers get what they pay for with my prose and cons.
In a week, we will argue a bit more about the Hall of Fame and whether people with expandable heads belong. Soon after, we will marvel at the contracts signed by Scott Boras‘ clients. Then there are less than a hundred days before we hear the sound we treasure of the crack of the bat and of fastballs being caught by catcher’s mitts.
Let’s make 2013 a new year, not a year of Groundhog Days. Let’s look for our game to make us proud and let us do what we can to show it off in the best possible light. And I promise I will continue to do my best to make it as interesting and as fun as possible for you.
Thanks for reading. Thank you for tweeting about it and thank you for your help and support. I treasure it and appreciate each of you.
Happy new year,