THE STRIKE ZONE
Sometimes Sports, Sometimes Sportsmanship
Back in April, respected baseball journalist Jon Heyman released a list he created of 50 current baseball players to admire or follow. It's a good thing he added the clause "or follow" because a good chunk of this list includes players who should not be admired.
In fairness, as I perused the list, I saw a lot of names of people I did admire: Kris Bryant, Corey Seager, and Matt Szczur jumped out immediately. (Originally, I was going to include both Mike Trout and Anthony Rizzo on this list, but both have made some dumb decisions to already make me think twice about them.) But the majority of the rest of the names were questionable to me, and a lot of it comes down to one thing: attitude/sportsmanship.
Right off the bat, here are the names of people you can follow, but should not admire: Manny Machado, Noah Syndergaard, Madison Bumgarner, Miguel Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, Bryce Harper, Robinson Cano, Chris Sale, Josh Donaldson, Yadier Molina, Joey Votta, Jose Bautista, Javier Baez, and Aroldis Chapman. Great players? Sure. But each one has something in their character that should be a huge red flag. If your child idolizes one of these players, that kid is going to be let down one day.
Further, how does Andrew Miller only make the "on the bubble" list? The guy is one of the most dominant relievers in the game today, and his comments about being team-first have made Yankee fans cry when he was traded.
The bottom line is that these lists are always flawed and subjective and usually fall into the category of "having to write something just to fill up the space" (which we covered recently). But combining a list of people to admire with a list of people to follow irks me, especially when the people to admire is a small faction compared to the people to follow.
(Post Script: I had to go back and edit this post numerous times and remove names from the list of players that jumped out at me to admire. It's amazing how people you think are worthy of admiration can so easily disappoint you.)
Baseball player, umpire, coach, fan; professional musician; founder, President & CEO of The OSIP Foundation, Inc.