Thursday, June 30, 2005
ANOTHER PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE PROVES THAT PLAYING PRO SPORTS MEANS ALWAYS HAVING TO BE ON PROBATION
Photo source: AP Photo/KTVT, via America Online
Kenny Rogers, a very good veteran lefthanded pitcher for the Texas Rangers baseball team, seemed to go nuts yesterday, attacking two video photographers seemingly without provocation.
Rogers is one of only 17 pitchers in the 124-year history of professional baseball to throw a perfect game. But he was a perfect butthole yesterday.
The Texas Rangers and Major League Baseball are discussing a suspension, which, the way the majors work, will be for three games. I am pleased to learn that at least one of the cameramen is pursuing assault charges. I hope the local police authorities act on his request and arrest Rogers.
Sports figures should be treated no differently than you and me. I can't be sure about you, but I have a hunch that if you walked into my workplace to sell me some advertising or office supplies, and I began to throw your presentation around and push you into the wall, you wouldn't ask my employer to suspend me for three days. You'd want to press charges.
I also don't have much affection for the "heat of competition" argument. Heck, in this case it's completely invalid, since Rogers wasn't to pitch that night and the alleged assaults took place before a game. If you're keyed up to perform, you should be keyed up to swing a bat or shoot a basket, not to punch somebody out. The only sport (and it's a sport I dislike) whose participants should start hitting people when stoked to perform... is boxing.
The irony is, Kenny Rogers is probably still upset at losing a playoff series for the New York Mets in the late 1990s. In an extra-inning game, he'd come on in relief, but didn't have enough faith in his best pitch to throw it when his catcher called for it. He went with his second-best, and the Mets got beat. I thought he failed his gut check that day... now I'm sure that he's missing something essential.