I noticed there was the distinct flavor of reaction to Kate’s recent post in GRP: Gilas-Aussie brawl proves basketball is a TAMBAY sport in the Philippines A lot of people seem to believe that GRP writers should not even write about sports. Even more people think GRP writers should not write about anything. Well you guys are not aware of the roots of this website. A lot of us who ended up writing for this website were first big fans of this website. We were big fans because the writers here who may have been in Anti Pinoy or Filipino Voices before GRP were people who did not accept the BS that BS Aquino III was a viable president. So the writers here are used to fighting conventional thinking and used to swimming upstream. “We beg to differ” after all is the tagline.
So it is in that spirit that I choose to respond to this clamor from some people not to write about sports by writing about sports. Along the way I will make fun of the critics who believe we should fit their expectations what sports writing is about. I doubt any of them will be enraged though because I may as well write this blog entry in Russian. Which may be rather appropriate if I did because they seem to believe in some Joseph Stalin/ Iron Curtain way of life if they are going to tell us what to write and not to write. This is Get Real Philippines not Get Real Pravda.
I will deliberately troll you fools who think we should not write about sports and show you ultimately how little the pinoy culture really cares about sports and ultimately knows about sports. Notice I said sports plural not sport. The last time I wrote a sports blog I declared that I refused to watch the NBA Finals on ABS CBN because the broadcast has been overrun with Pinoy KSPs. In that blog I declared:
Basketball is the only team sport pinoys are capable of comprehending. That is sport as in singular. A notion that is rarely new and a notion that has never been refuted by all the people who get annoyed at my sports themed blogs . There are only 10 players in the playing area and all of them can shoot, pass and dribble. The ball and hoops are easy to see. So the best way to shut up critics of GRP sports writing is to write about a sport they don’t have the slightest clue about. Hint: any team sport that doesn’t start with the word “basket” and end with the word “ball”. Once you do that then the blog may as well be in Russian shutting up the ignorant GRP critics by showing them how ignorant they are about sports plural. Forcing a GRP critic to read about a team sport without two hoops is like forcing a tambay to read about quantum mechanics.
Who are GRP critics to tell GRP writers not to write about sports? In this country there are sports “journalists” who write about what passes for a sports scene in this country. These people are paid to write about sports. These people allegedly are formally trained in writing , reporting and how to use a dictionary. Pinoy sports journalists are as useless as pinoy basketball players because like everything else in this country, the standards are low. That is why one Olympic medal in 20 years has people so proud instead of being so ashamed. Pinoy sports writers often use the word dugout when they write stories about the only team sport they cover. Go to any dictionary and look up the word “dugout” and you will find : 1) there is a reason for those exact words. 2) nobody associates it in any indoors situation. If you don’t believe me , I did look it up. The sportswriters of the Philippines are too busy trying to sound cool that they don’t bother looking up words they use in the dictionary. Yet some people think GRP writers can’t touch sports?? Well neither should the people who you think are professional sports writers.
My stand on the pinoy culture being ignorant about the overall sports landscape is nothing new. A culture that elected a nil achieving senator to president definitely can not be that astute when it comes to sports. Recently I accused ESPN5 of dumbing down NFL coverage to the detriment of those who have enjoyed the coverage for years. Back in October of 2013 I wrote in GRP that there is no way pinoys will ever appreciate baseball because baseball is a thinking man’s game. Based of that barrier of entry ( thinking) baseball is safe from a pinoy invasion anytime soon.
Every year there is an argument around World Series time about people getting the advantage with the Designated Hitter or without the DH. I don’t know anybody that cares about baseball that is ambivalent to this issue. You are on one side or the other.
Baseball until the mid 70’s was played one way. If you played the field then you also got your turn at bat until you are removed from the game entirely. The American League ( half of Major League Baseball) decided at the time that their attendance would increase if they had more offense. So they exempted the pitcher from hitting and stuck in a guy who just hit. This guy during the game never handled the ball for any reason. Baseball is 9 guys on defense and those guys hit in a certain order when it’s their turn.
Personally the great American pastime is all about playing the game of baseball however you want to interpret that. Baseball is fielding, hitting and base running. I just am of the camp that all players should do all those aspects. The DH is just an excuse for players not to work on defense. The DH is an excuse for pitchers not to work on hitting. Legendary catcher Crash Davis does not believe in the Designated Hitter. Shoeless Joe Jackson died not knowing what a Designated Hitter was.
The Designated Hitter sanitizes the game. Baseball is baseball. Warts and all. Give you an example that you basketball junkies can relate to. Would you allow for a rule that somebody else comes in and shoots Shaquille O’Neal’s foul shots? Nope, part of the game is you want him accountable. It’s like that in baseball even more. Pitchers who hit can be held accountable for their bean balls when it’s their turn to bat instead of having another player take it for me. Sorry that’s the manly way of doing it.
Since the beginning of baseball the universal rule is the more to the center of the diamond that you are, the more your lack of hitting can be excused. If pitchers are lousy hitters its because it has become a self fulfilling prophecy. Blinded American League junkies love to call the pitcher the designated out. It has just turned that way over time because of the DH rule.
Hitting a baseball is an incredibly hard thing to do. The top hitters in the Major Leagues fail more than 60% of the time. Pitchers are already handicapped since they do not play everyday so of course their hitting skills will be dim most of the time. The DH just legislated against versatility.
My stand against the DH has not changed in all these years. What has changed is that there is a louder clamor to do away with pitchers going to the plate in all of baseball. Like this article from the Ringer. Designated Hitters for everybody!!! People like Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian ( both of ESPN) believe this will happen in 5 to 10 years.
For many years one proposed solution is to make the rule uniform for both leagues. Either both use the DH or both do not use the DH. The latter solution will never happen under the watch of the MLBPA. For the simple reason is that the DH has meant more jobs. No union will ever allow a measure that will cost their brethren jobs unless you conjure up some sort of counter proposal that would make the loss worth it.
I hear about actual team officials from the American League going on record that their pitchers should not hit enough times on baseball talk shows but I could not find any recent evidence of it in Google . There was this about Hank Steinbrenner a decade ago though.
There is a reason though why I bring up the American League perspective. I would presume the National League officials experience less injuries to their pitchers from running the bases and taking swings on the plate because they do it all the time. Every solution I have heard on this problem proposes painting with a broad brush. Designated hitters for everybody as I said earlier. Why not meet them halfway if you want to avoid injuries to American League pitchers ? All inter league games in spring training, the regular season and the post season will have the DH rule in effect. All the pitchers will not hit in those games. National League pitchers will hit only when playing another National League team.
There you have it. My idea how to reduce injuries to American League pitchers. You are welcome Rob Manfred. I am not asking for much. Just a lifetime subscription to MLB Stream and a dictionary for every sports writer in the Philippines with the entry for the word dugout highlighted and bookmarked. Can you also send Ozzie Guillen and John Rocker down here to make fun of people who only watch basketball that think GRP writers are incapable of writing about sports. Sports as in plural.
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