You can’t win baseball arguments with friends, but still you try

31 10 2015

Good-natured arguments are a treasured experience of friendship. Whether we’re bantering about sports, food or politics, our friends will forgive us for insulting them. Occasionally they will set us straight bluntly, and everyone needs that now and then.

And, when you’re sparring over the World Series, with strong, opposing loyalties, trash talking with a friend is just plain fun.

Jim Brady, a Mets fan and friend, started an argument after the Royals’ Game Two win Wednesday night:

Not argumentative, you say? But he said the ’86 Red Sox were a “better team” than the 2015 Royals (my second-favorite team). And my favorite team is the Yankees, which ramps up any argument with a Mets fan. Especially if you bring the Red Sox into the spat. The last two Octobers, I’ve been a passionate Royals fan.

Many times when a friend tweets something that just isn’t true, you don’t actually have to argue. You just point out the error briefly and politely, and the friend agrees and thanks you. But not when baseball loyalties are involved.

So I went into a bit more detail in a blog post yesterday, providing a detailed comparison of two teams that both took 2-0 World Series leads on the New York Mets. Disclosure: detailed is a nuanced synonym for l0oooong; my brother Dan, who got a mention in the post and a plug for his latest book, said it was more long-winded than one of his sermons.

You never start or join a sports argument thinking you’re going to win. All the facts that I cited yesterday will never prevail over loyalty, emotion and memory in a sports argument, and Jim has those abundantly. 1986 was a great World Series with a good Boston team, and Jim has savored this achievement for 29 years. In his heart, that had to be a great team his Mets beat, even if that was the only World Series the Red Sox made in a stretch of, well, 29 years. I am similarly respectful of the 1985 Cardinals, which the Royals beat in seven games the year before (also after a Game Six meltdown by the other team that focused on a memorable play at first base). Read the rest of this entry »

Pete Rose and A-Rod check in to the Fox Sports Image Rehab Clinic

31 10 2015

Pete RoseCould the Fox Sports outfield studio be the path back to respectability for Pete Rose and Alex Rodriguez?

I’m still adjusting to the notion that someone thought two of baseball’s most disgraced players belonged on a baseball studio team. There’s Frank Thomas, regarded as one of the sport’s genuine good guys, analyzing the action along with baseball’s most notorious gambler and drug cheat.

Thomas is a valid Hall of Famer, rightly elected in 2014, his first year of eligibility. But he’s a couple notches below A-Rod and Rose in any consideration of best players ever. And they may never join him in Cooperstown because of the shame they brought to themselves and baseball. I address how the Hall of Fame should consider scoundrels in a separate post (probably tomorrow), so here I’ll just concentrate on how odd it is to see and hear them in the studio.

And I’ll speculate that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds have called their agents, ordering them to explore broadcast deals.

Update: Rose checked out of the clinic Saturday to sign autographs at — wait for it — a Las Vegas casino. 

After the World Series, will we see Joe Buck and Troy Aikman call on O.J. Simpson from prison to provide a little commentary during the Fox football broadcasts? (Remember, Rose also did time, for cheating on his taxes. A-Rod only spent his one-year banishment in baseball jail.) More on O.J. coming shortly. Read the rest of this entry »