Tag: covid

Professional Sports in 2020- Literally All Talk, No Action

Professional Sports in 2020- Literally All Talk, No Action

Even with no games- ESPECIALLY with no games- Major League Baseball reflects what is happening across America.

To see just how insanely tough a professional athlete can be- emphasis on “insane”- there’s no need to go back to The Good Ol’ Days.  Not even three weeks ago, NFL linebacker Ryan Anderson declared that if he will be able to remember his grandkids names someday, that would be an indication that he didn’t play his hardest.  As foolhardy as Anderson might sound to us mere mortals, many (most?) guys in the NFL would gladly sacrifice their later years, at a chance to be the greatest right now.  There are even more extreme examples than football, found in sports that are literally labeled as “extreme”, such as ultimate fighting.  And even among “softer” sports, such as baseball or tennis, all professional athletes worth their salt go through rigorous, occasionally risky training, to achieve their goals.

This intense backdrop gives us some perspective as how deep the fear of COVID-19 has now become ingrained into all walks of our society.  Some examples over the past week give us more insight into just how misguided it all is.

It is worth repeating that COVID-19- the virus formerly known as “The Wuhan Virus”, prior to Communist Chinese government objections- can be a dangerous and deadly disease, particularly across certain segments of that population.   Equally conclusive is the fact that for all intents and purposes, professional athletes are just about THE LEAST susceptible people to this virus, as are their young families.  For all the ridicule and scorn endured by those who have compared COVID to the flu, the fact is that for young and healthy people, COVID is actually less deadly than the flu.  Admittedly, there’s not as much conclusive data on potential long-term damage inflicted by COVID, but there’s little evidence to suggest anything but an extremely remote chance of it, for those outside of the at-risk population.

Unfortunately, outside of relatively small groups that are highly suspicious of the official narrative- “COVIDIOTS”, as the majority have labeled us- none of this matters.  What was initially sold as a half-month effort to “stop the spread” has turned into a nearly half-year effort (and counting) to stop the virus altogether, stopping our way of life and freedoms right along with it.  Major League Baseball, not long ago thought of as an escape from the troubles of the world, has become fully engulfed in this draconian mentality.

Maybe next year?

Priced Out

The first big name to opt out is David Price, the former All Star pitcher.  A highly educated Vanderbilt man, Price has adapted the intelligentsia’s mantra that it’s just too risky to keep living life- never mind the microscopic risk to himself and his family.  The majority are applauding his ultra-risk adverse decision, while predictably wagging their fingers at those who take issue with this decision.  (Keep in mind that “essential workers”, with so much more on the line, have no such luxury in being given an option.)

Personally, I can’t get too worked up about Mr. Price’s choice, as misguided as I believe it to be.  For one thing, he is losing out on millions of dollars.  For another, Price is making the incredibly classy and generous move of paying minor leagues $1,000 each, during this harrowing time.  All this would indicate that David Price is the real deal.  Nevertheless, this kind of mentality is destroying our society.  At the beginning of 2020, comedian Howie Mandel was looked at with a certain level of pity, for his lifelong battle with OCD.  Now, everyone’s afraid to touch the doorknob, or lean on a counter that hasn’t been lysoled in the past half hour!

Where is all this leading us to?  Remember when Mike Piazza hit a home run in the first game back after 9-11?  The sports world fawned at how it reminded us that life, as well as our society, can continue forward.  Heck, Mets fans STILL bring that up!  Well…at least they did bring it up, prior to this abrupt change in our culture.  How can we continue reminiscing about such a moment, if the new lesson is, “Let’s package ourselves in bubble wrap as long as possible, and hope the scary thing doesn’t come for us.”  Truth be told, in a time where people scream “SCIENCE!” as a defense of their fears, this Howard Hughes-like obsession with germs couldn’t be less scientific, if we painted blood on our doors to stop the Angel Of Death from taking us.  (Go rent “The Ten Commandments” if that reference didn’t make sense.)

There are other big name examples besides David Price, and there’s no need to go into much detail about any others- they’re all pretty much the same, minus his incredible generosity.  There is one other example worth taking a look at, however, due more to the reaction than the decision itself.

Buster Posey, one of the greatest San Francisco Giants of all time, has also decided not to play this year- assuming baseball even HAS a season, of course.   Posey’s decision actually does have pretty strong merit, even by “COVIDIOT” standards.  He and his wife just adopted newborn twins, and as a 3x World Champion and multi-multi-millionaire, there really is no good reason for him to even take the slightest risk that COVID might present to his family.

Overwhelmingly, people supported Posey’s decision, but that wasn’t enough for San Francisco sports columnist Ray Ratto, who wrote on Twitter, “Buster Posey’s decision to put his family’s health and safety ahead of baseball’s half-assed masterplan is a dangerous precedent that will only provide support and satisfaction to sensible people.”  Why take such a snarky potshot at an almost non-existent group of critics?  Quite simple- in this dystopian society being created in real time, showing contempt for those who are suspicious of it is seen as the ultimate virtue.  (Note what’s going on with masks now, which deserves a whole entire post of its own.)

Speaking of showing contempt…

Generally speaking, I rarely pay attention to the political or ideological beliefs of an athlete or entertainer.  There are exceptions though, particularly when they use their celebrity platform, along with the ego which accompanies it, to pretend that they are experts on topics outside of their domain.  Enter Sean Doolittle.

Though not quite the household name that either David Price or Buster Posey are, Doolittle is a very established pitcher in his own right.  An outspoken liberal and media darling (though I repeat myself), Doolittle scored some press for himself outside the sports world last year, refusing to visit The White House with the rest of his World Series winning teammates on the Washington Nationals.

The fawning press he received for “taking a stand” must have really gotten to his head, because he’s now speaking with more unearned confidence about COVID-19 than Dr. Fauci.  At the podium for a press conference hosted by the Nationals, Doolittle pulled off a cute little stunt, staring at his phone as he feigned curiosity over whether he received his COVID results yet.  (Doolittle was annoyed that it had been two days and he still didn’t have them.  Apparently, he’s unaware that thousands of other tests need to be analyzed, as well.)

It gets better/worse.  Doolittle lectured America for being “complacent” about the virus, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the majority of the population has been scared senseless into stopping their lives and livelihoods because of it.  Doolittle’s evidence that America had tired of doing what “they were supposed to be” stems from businesses opening up during Memorial Day weekend- in other words, “too early”.  Never mind that Memorial Day was a full two months after the initial date that we were supposedly moving back towards normal life again (“15 days to flatten the curve!”, remember?)  It was curious that Doolittle blamed the opening of a few businesses for spreading the virus further, instead of…you know…that “other thing”.  (Being a staunch liberal, we know he is under obligation to make no mention of that, of course.)

But wait- there’s more!  While Doolittle was saying all of these things, we literally couldn’t see the words coming out of his mouth.  He was wearing a mask that had enough cloth to be converted into a small shirt, seemingly designed to create a “LOOK AT ME, EVERYBODY!” moment, louder than even his audacious haircut was signaling.  In fact, he looked more like a bank robber from The Old West, than a guy trying to stop the spread of a virus.  Add in that nobody was sitting or standing anywhere near him, and even the most ardent mask advocate would have recognized that such action was designed for visual impact, not virus containment.  In spite of all this, he had the nerve to blame OTHERS for “politicizing” the issues of masks.

The final point is also the most galling.  Not unlike an elementary school teacher, lecturing students on the privilege of awarding recess in exchange for good behavior, Doolittle describes sports as “a reward for a functional society”.  There have been plenty of decrees, statements, and soundbites that have gotten under my skin over the past four months, but this was one of the worst.  Personally, I would love to see Doolittle give that press conference again about Americans not “earning the reward” of his presence on a baseball field- only this time to essential workers, making less than 1% of his salary.  (Links to Doolittle’s video clips- https://twitter.com/FanSided/status/1279837698941956096 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6lTJx5kVuY  )

Moving on from Sean Doolittle’s arrogance by taking a few deep breaths, it’s worth remembering the goal of this post is to point out the corrosive mentality of hiding from a virus that is not only far less scary overall than what is being sold to us, but one which, quite honestly, many of us will catch regardless of how much we hide.  Athletes, like the rest of us, will never see the reality of this, unless they go outside their box to see it.

The REAL danger of playing sports- same as it ever was.

Before wrapping this up, there’s one more incident, with almost perfectly symbolic timing, that’s worth mentioning.  The same day that David Price announced that he was not going to pitch this season, Yankee pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was struck in the head with a 112 line drive.  As a brain injury survivor myself, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tanaka had to live with the effects of that injury for the rest of his life, to one extent or another.  With that in mind, consider this question- what would society think of Tanaka, if he were to retire because he didn’t want to take any more chances getting hurt like that again?  What would society have thought of David Wright, Hiroki Kuroda, Giancarlo Stanton, or countless other players who have gotten hit in the head with a baseball?  What about Buster Posey’s injury?  It never seems to occur to these guys for a minute that they should retire, and we applaud them for “brushing it off” and continuing on with their career.  I ask, semi-rhetorically, why we don’t have the same attitude about COVID-19?

In closing…

Throughout the history of professional sports, one of the trademarks of professional athletes is to be tough.  There is no exception to this rule- not in baseball, not in tennis, not even in golf.  Athletes are expected to endure through all kinds of brutal physical training, at the mere chance of glory few of us can even dream of- the phrase, “No guts, no glory!” is a continuous reminder of that.  Seeing how abandoning this trademark toughness in the face of is not only tolerated, but actively encouraged in the age of COVID-19, it is a wakeup call on just how deep Their hooks have taken over our society with their psychological operations, conducted on the entire population of America.  It is up to those among us who can see what’s going on to take it back.

Creeping Tyranny- The Even MORE Invisible Enemy


In these uncertain times…”

About thirty years ago, I saw the film “Malcolm X”, starring Denzel Washington in the lead role.  Something that always stuck with me was how differently the protagonist was portrayed to have spoken to audiences of different races.  When talking to white people, he was calm, measured, even empathetic sounding.  With black audiences, he was fiery and combative, successfully riling up the crowd to his cause.  While I don’t pretend to be an expert on the man himself, and biopics are infamous with playing fast and loose with facts, it seems highly plausible that this particular aspect of his speeches was portrayed accurately.

I bring this up because I think about the best way to discuss my core beliefs, many of which do not conform to polite society.  With like-minded folks, I speak more openly and freely,  but somewhat by definition, these people are few and far between.  (In other words, if there WERE more people who thought this way, I wouldn’t need to be so careful in the first place!)  But as we go deeper and deeper into this new (sur)reality, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep quiet about my thoughts on what is happening to our society.

What Is Happening To Our Society?

Before addressing anything else, dear reader, you first need to recognize two basic truths-

1) The 2020 coronavirus pandemic, now referred to commonly as “COVID”, was (thankfully) not nearly as deadly as initially forecast.

2) Since the initial “flatten the curve” decree in mid-March, the goalpost on getting society “back to normal” has been moved dramatically.

(If you finding yourself shaking your head in disagreement at either of these, you might as well not read the rest of this post, because everything from this point forward is derived from those two statements.  Otherwise?  Keep going.)

When news of COVID spread throughout the Western world, the Trump administration, and President Trump in particular, did not appear to take the threat especially seriously.  While shutting down travel from China- a move that was largely criticized at the time, but turned out to be prudent- little else was done, until early March.  In fact, up until that point, President Trump made bold statements (is there any other kind for him?) that the virus would be a non-factor, with all his usual media allies falling in line.  Once the first noticeable outbreak occurred in Washington state, the administration reversed course (along with those same media allies), declaring a state of emergency, and effectively putting the country on lockdown.  In order to stop spread of the virus and ensure that the healthcare system was not overrun, we would need to do this for fifteen days, and see what would happen.  Or so we were told.

At the beginning of the lockdown, I came out firmly against the idea of shutting down the country for a couple of weeks, while at least acknowledging that the risk of COVID was frightening.  It just seemed highly implausible that the shutdown would only last for two weeks, and that the fallout from the shutdown would likely be greater overall threat than the virus itself.  As strongly as I believed this, I considered the possibility that I wasn’t assessing the situation correctly.  It turned out that I wasn’t, but not for the reasons I feared- in hindsight, my thinking didn’t go far enough.

What Have We Done?!

While there is plenty of heated debate on the proper way to analyze the data we’ve collected over the past two months, there’s zero doubt that the curve has been flattened.  Most of the resources for coronavirus throughout the country went unused.  Even in the hottest of hotspots- namely New York City and its surrounding areas- the healthcare system (luckily) did not break.  There were certainly a fair number of hospitals dealing with severe conditions for a period of time, and bless every single person who fought through- both patients and professionals alike.  But at this point, the worst of it occurred more than a month before this blog post was written.  Outside of the Northeast Megalopolis and a few inner city areas- most notably Detroit and New Orleans- there never even was a pandemic.

This is where the real trouble begins.  Rather than thank our lucky stars that COVID wasn’t nearly as devastating as predicted on the whole, solely concentrating on the few localized places that do need restrictions, most politicians and high-ranking government officials doubled down, calling for statewide lockdown extensions, restrictions to public land, and suspension of all kinds of activities that we previously took for granted in a free and prosperous country.  Even more jaw-dropping, the governors along the West Coast, widely praised by most for their handling of the crisis, have enacted some of the most restrictive lockdown rules in the United States.  At least back in the mid-Atlantic, an argument can be made for supporting restrictions, since that’s where the greatest impact of the virus took place.  (The success of the strategy itself is another matter, but we’ll get to that later.)  As of May 9th, there were less than 4,000 total deaths on the West Coast from COVID.  While every individual death is a tragedy, our entire society is being transformed based on the presumptions of how deadly this virus is.  To put this in perspective, 4,000 people is a smaller number than a typical crowd for a Mariners afternoon game in Seattle- you now, back when we actually HAD baseball.

Take this sparsely populated crowd, and spread them across a 1300 miles of coastline.  Does that seem like an “out of control” pandemic to you?

On the flip side, there have been a few governors that have been brave- or foolhardy, depending on your point of view (not mine, though)- going against conventional wisdom and slowly opening up their states, at great political risk.  Outrage and predictions of mass death were aimed in their direction.  Nothing even close has come to pass as of yet, but rather than reconsider their hostility and predictions of impending doom, the lockdown advocates simply move on to their next target, usually in the form of their fellow citizens, most of whom are just looking to get fresh air or make a living, without having to worry about being taken to jail for it.

And where is public opinion on this?  Well, from the point of view of “COVIDIOTS” like myself, the signs are not encouraging.  While those skeptical from the start of this have been galvanized, so has the pro-lockdown crowd- and the numbers are not in the skeptics’ favor.  Most polls seem to show American support of the lockdown outnumber those against it by nearly 2-to-1.  Considering the virus wasn’t nearly as dangerous as advertised, this is very alarming, if not surprising.

Although the media’s reputation has taken a well-deserved and long overdue hit during the Trump years, the sad truth is that they still control the narrative.  At times, social media works as a much needed check on the old monopoly, often challenging and occasionally overpowering what gets spoon fed to the masses.  But when this pushback works properly, it only works for a segment of the population.  Even more challenging is when the media engages in a certain subtlety that can be hard to detect.  Such is the case with all the fallout from the lockdown.  The damage to employment, small businesses, the food supply, mental health, and various other aspects of society, has gotten far too big to ignore.  If we had an honest press, this would presented in a straightforward manner, and some people, perhaps many, would certainly reconsider their support of the lockdown.  Unfortunately, the media seem to be aware of this, and adjust their game accordingly.

He who controls the language controls the masses”. –Saul Alinsky

A recent article in CNN broke open the news of catastrophic hunger that awaits many with the following sentence- “The world is facing multiple famines of “biblical proportions” in just a matter of months, the UN has said, warning that the coronavirus pandemic will push an additional 130 million people to the brink of starvation.”

See that?  It’s subtle, yet unmistakable.  By implicating the virus as a cause of these severe problems instead of the lockdown, the story manages to turn factors against the lockdown, and puts them in its favor.  (In other words, “Wow- the coronavirus is causing hunger? It’s even more dangerous than we thought!”)  Kent Brockman would be proud of such deception.

In case a worldwide pandemic wasn’t enough to worry about, the news media is happy to remind us of the killer insects that have landed on our shores!

And how about all those politicians, who get to continue the lockdown without significant repercussions for their harmful policies?  Oh sure, a few protesters will yell and howl, but that has only produced limited results so far.  Occasionally, these protests even work  in the lockdown’s favor, when the protesters live up to their crude stereotype, imagined by the crowd that has aligned with police state.  (I’m talking to YOU, Michigan yokels!   What was the point of going into a federal building, ARMED WITH WEAPONS?!)  Of course, protesting SHOULD be encouraged in general, as well as more understated actions, such as sitting outside on the grass during a warm day.  But these actions won’t be enough, if governors and other local politicians don’t share responsibility for the economic damage they are responsible for.  Historically, economic damage falls in the lap of the President, and that’s during a “normal” election cycle, let alone one that involves a lightning rod like Donald Trump.  So far blue state authoritarians to truly feel the pressure to do what’s right, they need to have their actions to be tied with the consequences.

There’s so much other ground to cover with everything that’s happened- particularly with the jaw dropping manipulation of the stock market- but this is plenty for now.  Hopefully in the days to come, the lockdown extremists will be increasingly exposed for their ignorance, and those with an open mind will start to open their eyes to what’s really going on.  As for those blue state governors, determined to keep us cramped up inside with our masks, Netflix, fast food and alcohol?  (You know the ones!)  They are free to lecture us about the value of saving every life, once they get a better handle on their nursing homes.

For my part, I’ll continue to adhere to any guidelines that keeps the authorities out of my way, while not forcing myself to the point of being miserable.  In other words, I’ll wear a mask where they’re required, but don’t expect me to fear the inhalation or exhalation of a dangerous germs.  For anyone who has been paralyzed be fear, take comfort in knowing that we’ve coexisted with these microscopic menaces throughout our entire existence, even if not always peacefully, and there’s no reason to make such extreme changes to the way we live our lives now.  And even if it’s eventually proven that perhaps we should, I’m no more inclined to accept a fast tracked vaccine from the Microsoft guy, than I am willing to accept an explanation that God’s existence can be mathmatically proven by the MyPillow guy.