Finneran: Sports Shorts

Friday, March 08, 2019
Tom Finneran, GoLocalWorcester MINDSETTERâ„¢

PHOTO: Red Sox
Baseball: Bryce Harper is not worth 330 million dollars. Manny Machado is not worth 300 million dollars.

The baseball world has lost its collective mind, again.

Machado has an attitude problem. Harper likes to pose like he’s centerfold material. Can either one of them simply hit the ball and then actually run out of the batter’s box? Must they strut like peacocks? They’re lucky that Pedro or Gibson or Drysdale or Clemens aren’t still playing the game. Those pitchers weren’t patient with show-offs. Those pitchers would tenderize Machado’s ribs and Harper’s backside.

Harper’s stats for 2018 show this: a .249 batting average, with 137 hits and 169 strikeouts! But he’s got great hair!

Machado’s stats show an MLB lifetime average of .282! Wow, what a bargain.

These 300 million dollar contracts have implications for you dear fan. Don’t expect ticket prices to go down. Do expect to call your mortgage banker to arrange an equity line of credit if you hope to attend even a single game this season.

Our local nine has a very entertaining and talented roster and last season was a barnburner for Fenway fun. That said, however, how in heaven’s name does any family take a few kids to even one game without breaking a week’s budget?

The NBA: I’m completely schizophrenic about the NBA. On the one hand I see extraordinary shooting prowess in the James Hardens and Steph Currys of the game. I see good ball movement and otherworldly speed, putting the game itself at a level far beyond good college ball. On the other hand, I see the ball being palmed on every single dribble. I see the ball being carried as if it’s a football scrimmage. And I see travelling violations on virtually every possession. And of course, being an armchair referee, I call palming, walking, or travelling quite outloud on every single play. My wife thinks I’m nuts and my fellow early morning gym rats can count on my editorial comments during Sports Center highlights. You’re not supposed to run with the ball on your way to the hoop!

TITLE IX: The topic is verboten given our current condemnatory impulses but “trans athletes” are in the news. Over the past few months, stories out of Connecticut and Massachusetts have highlighted the competitive victories of young biological men over young biological women. The defeated women have felt cheated by the fact that these biological men were deemed women due to ongoing gender transitions. Biologically, men are bigger, stronger, and faster than women, with very different musculature. Thus the historic distinction followed biology, separating men from women in athletic contests. Title IX respected that distinction, yet added a strong corrective to the resource allocation between men’s and women’s sports at the college level. Given the social and moral confusions running rampant on America’s college campuses, I have no idea how these issues will be resolved. Yet I certainly understand the resentment any female athlete would feel at losing a meet or a state title to a competitor with substantial biological advantages. What would you do?

FOUR GOOD SEASONS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER: We’re in for some heady stuff over the next few months. NBA playoffs loom ahead. Stanley Cup battles are on the radar screen. March Madness will reign shortly. And, best of all, daylight savings time returns, meaning Little League fields will be filled with parents and grandparents cheering on their budding All-Stars. Enjoy.

Tom Finneran is the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, served as the head the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and was a longstanding radio voice in Boston radio.

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