THE STRIKE ZONE
Sometimes Sports, Sometimes Sportsmanship
At the end of May, Kansas City starting pitcher Eric Skoglund made his debut against the Detroit Tigers, and he pitched a gem. There was a nice moment at the beginning of the game when Tigers' first baseman Miguel Cabrera gave Skoglund a thumbs up before getting in the box for his first at-bat. Cabrera has been an ambassador to welcoming people into the fraternity of Major League Baseball.
However, the celebration over Cabrera's good sportsmanship caused me to pause: isn't this the same guy who has racked up a handful of ejections over his attitude? And isn't this the same guy whose attitude has caused a couple of brushes with conflict concerning other players on other teams?
Cabrera has been something of a hot head who fits the stereotype of the Latin ballplayer who takes things too seriously. He, like his brethren, take an "us-against-the-world" mindset in situations that deal with sports officials. Sure, he may be considered one of the best (if not the best) hitters of his generation, but does that raw talent excuse poor behavior?
The ironic thing that mirrors this is the story line with Albert Pujols, who, just shortly after the thumbs up with Cabrera, hit is 600th career home run. Pujols was very humble in his interviews celebrating the feat, constantly mentioning his family and his blessings from God, but Pujols seems to forget he's in that same boat as Cabrera: accepting ejections as a battle scar that he thinks proves he was right and someone else was wrong.
We could take a lot of lessons from this conversation. We could dissect it very deeply. But the conversation could go on for a long, long time. Perhaps we should just be more careful than to laud professional athletes unless they are of the Derek Jeter mold.
Baseball player, umpire, coach, fan; professional musician; founder, President & CEO of The OSIP Foundation, Inc.