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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Doug Glanville (NY Times): Not Just Tiger’s Temptations

In an athlete’s environment, money can be its own pollutant; you can become desensitized to the significance of what it can buy. Typically, if a person spends hundreds of dollars on arrangements to pass time with someone, that someone would be important in his life. But when you have extensive financial resources, it’s easy to send similar signals to people who are meaningful only for a moment. Even worse, you might only concern yourself with what it means to you. As the money flows in, so do the toys — cars, clothes, bling — and once in the stratosphere, a la Tiger, it is amazing how easy it is, if you are not careful and grounded, to start seeing women as another accessory in your life.

The pro athlete’s world is self-centered at best. Schedule is fixed, practice a must, travel a given. Anyone choosing to share that has to get on board and fit in. It can get to a point where the relationship is strictly one-way (the athlete’s way), and the other party becomes insignificant, more a prop than a true relationship partner.

If the player dares to take the next step — marriage — there will likely be a legal team at his disposal (via his agent) that can set up a prenuptial agreement. This negotiation is often dragged out for months as a way of seeing whether the future spouse shows an ugly side during the process. But it’s a red flag for your relationship if you have to resort to such tactics to force the worst in someone, and the prenup becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, set up not just to distribute assets but to deal with an inevitable break-up or philandering. In fact, it might as well be seen as a pre-meditated agreement (I may do all of this dirt, so when I do and you want to leave, I still win because instead of half you only get a check for X dollars and one house).

NaOH Posted: December 27, 2009 at 07:35 AM | 58 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: December 27, 2009 at 04:14 PM (#3422675)
I'm friends with the SO of a college, soon-to-be professional athlete and it's weird (if not unexpected) to see how that impacts their relationship. (Naively, I don't think it will survive, in large part because of the kinds of stuff mentioned in this column.)
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 27, 2009 at 04:18 PM (#3422678)
Schedule is fixed, practice a must, travel a given.

Of course this is less true for Tiger Woods than virtually any other person in the world. He's accountable only to himself, plays very few tournaments, and can practice any damn time he wants to.

Even for team athletes the whole thing is a fallacy. How is a professional athlete's schedule any more fixed than the poor schlub who has to leave for work at 7AM and get home at 7PM every day?

All of them have multi-month off-seasons, and all of them work fewer hours per week than anyone holding most normal jobs. Even a baseball player in mid-season with 6 games a week is highly unlikely to exceed 40 hours of actual work (including practice, etc.).
   3. McCoy Posted: December 27, 2009 at 04:26 PM (#3422681)
I guess it depends on what you mean by "actual work". I'm pretty sure even a 5 games a week schedule goes way over 40 hours for the typical major leaguer.

I think Doug when he was talking about fixed schedule was probably talking about how their schedule is pretty much completely different than the average worker. When the average person is off Doug is working.
   4. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: December 27, 2009 at 04:33 PM (#3422683)
Even for team athletes the whole thing is a fallacy. How is a professional athlete's schedule any more fixed than the poor schlub who has to leave for work at 7AM and get home at 7PM every day?

All of them have multi-month off-seasons, and all of them work fewer hours per week than anyone holding most normal jobs. Even a baseball player in mid-season with 6 games a week is highly unlikely to exceed 40 hours of actual work (including practice, etc.).


For a 7PM baseball game, I would guesstimate that most players get to the park around 3-4PM. Game ends at 10, so given media stuff/showering/etc. you should be leaving the park around 11PM. That would put you at about 7-8 hours just for doing the average and not even taking into consideration time spent outside of this working out/honing your craft/etc. I think you're underselling the level of commitment it takes.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 27, 2009 at 04:36 PM (#3422684)
I guess it depends on what you mean by "actual work". I'm pretty sure even a 5 games a week schedule goes way over 40 hours for the typical major leaguer.

I mean time spent on the field or in the batting cage or in the weight room. I doubt it's >7hrs per day. The game is only 3-3.5 hrs.

I don't count driving to the ballpark, getting changed into your uniform, showering, etc. Regular jobs have that too, and we don't count that as "working".

Even if you counted all time at the ballpark, that's not going to be over 8 hours on a game day. So, maybe 50 hours in a 6 game week.

Pretty much everyone I know spends 50 hours a week at work, and we don't shower, change, etc. at work.

I think Doug when he was talking about fixed schedule was probably talking about how their schedule is pretty much completely different than the average worker. When the average person is off Doug is working.

Sure. But if anything that makes it easier to spend time with your family. If they've got a wife and kids, an MLB player can spend pretty much all day with them everyday during almost the entire summer. They can certainly afford to have their family travel with them once school is over.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 27, 2009 at 04:39 PM (#3422685)
For a 7PM baseball game, I would guesstimate that most players get to the park around 3-4PM. Game ends at 10, so given media stuff/showering/etc. you should be leaving the park around 11PM. That would put you at about 7-8 hours just for doing the average and not even taking into consideration time spent outside of this working out/honing your craft/etc. I think you're underselling the level of commitment it takes.

OK. But that 7-8 hrs. includes all your weightlifting, batting practice etc. That's all the work they're doing that day.

It also includes a bunch of stuff, changing twice, showering, hanging around the clubhouse playing cards before the game, that we don't generally include as "work" for the average schmo.

Even giving them the full 8 hours, that's 48 hours a week for a typical 6 game week. That's probably about average for an american worker.
   7. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: December 27, 2009 at 04:58 PM (#3422689)
It also includes a bunch of stuff, changing twice, showering, hanging around the clubhouse playing cards before the game, that we don't generally include as "work" for the average schmo.

Even giving them the full 8 hours, that's 48 hours a week for a typical 6 game week. That's probably about average for an american worker.


Because we work 100% of every hour that we are at work...And again, you are not including any type of promotional work/community service they do. Or the guys who do more than what I described above, which was meant to serve as a minimum.
   8. Greg K Posted: December 27, 2009 at 05:01 PM (#3422691)
It also includes a bunch of stuff, changing twice, showering, hanging around the clubhouse playing cards before the game, that we don't generally include as "work" for the average schmo.

You clearly have never worked as a janitor for the Toronto District School Board
   9. Swedish Chef Posted: December 27, 2009 at 05:13 PM (#3422694)
Also, for a ballplayer there's lots of travel time.
   10. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 27, 2009 at 05:17 PM (#3422696)
Ballplayers spend more time at work or work-related activities than the rest of us do during their seasons.

They spend less time at work-related activities during the offseason.

In the end, it probably works out about the same.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: December 27, 2009 at 05:29 PM (#3422698)
Ballplayers spend more time at work or work-related activities than the rest of us do during their seasons.

They spend less time at work-related activities during the offseason.

In the end, it probably works out about the same.


I'm glad that I don't have to travel for 90 days per year, lots on overnight flights and such, and spend possibly an entire 6 months away from home. I do not envy their regular season schedule. But I doubt this. Ballplayers get 4+ months off. I get 1+ weeks off.

And I would be happy to spend 7 weeks in Florida every year "training."
   12. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: December 27, 2009 at 05:30 PM (#3422699)
that's 48 hours a week for a typical 6 game week. That's probably about average for an american worker

Damn, you guys work too hard. You've even passed Japan in that regard, and those guys see their families so little that they have to rent fake ones.


I would also like to comment on the fact that Doug Glanville is like us, except he just happens to be a talented athlete. Seems like a stand up dude.
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 27, 2009 at 05:31 PM (#3422700)
Ballplayers spend more time at work or work-related activities than the rest of us do during their seasons.

They spend less time at work-related activities during the offseason.

In the end, it probably works out about the same.


Maybe so, and of course the money is so insane that it makes it an easy bargain for a ballplayer to accept, but I wonder how many other workers (other than a relatively small number of executives and top salesmen, who are pretty well paid themselves) have to deal with the sort of jet lag issues that pro athletes do on a regular basis, or with having virtually no off days during an entire 7 month stretch, like baseball players. The athlete's work may be more enjoyable in many respects, but if any player didn't go along with all the surrounding non-game work hours, he'd soon find himself out of work. And even if it's at 5:00 in the morning, just the ability to set your alarm clock at the same time each workday is a blessing you don't often realize until you lose it.
   14. Swedish Chef Posted: December 27, 2009 at 05:32 PM (#3422703)
Maybe so, and of course the money is so insane that it makes it an easy bargain to accept, but I wonder how many other workers (other than a relatively small number of executives and top salesmen, who are pretty well paid themselves) have to deal with the sort of jet lag issues that pro athletes do on a regular basis, or with having virtually no off days during an entire 7 month stretch, like baseball players.

And minor leaguers get all that without the big paychecks.
   15. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 27, 2009 at 05:37 PM (#3422704)
Maybe so, and of course the money is so insane that it makes it an easy bargain for a ballplayer to accept, but I wonder how many other workers (other than a relatively small number of executives and top salesmen, who are pretty well paid themselves) have to deal with the sort of jet lag issues that pro athletes do on a regular basis, or with having virtually no off days during an entire 7 month stretch, like baseball players.


Beat writers. :-)

There are aspects of ballplayer's jobs that are unsavory, like the stuff you just mentioned. There are aspects that are appealing (the 4 1/2 months working at home). Again, it depends on what you value, but I don't think it's considerably more taxing than most lines of work.
   16. bobm Posted: December 27, 2009 at 05:39 PM (#3422706)
I would guess that most pro athletes are the best players on their team for a significant portion of their adolescent and teen years. Some, as a result I suspect, get away with behavior--during their formative years--not otherwise deemed acceptable, whether by parents, schoolmates, teachers, SOs, etc. Their sense of entitlement just doesn't develop out of thin air when they sign their first pro deal.

I suspect Tiger Woods' troubles stem from his father's single-minded focus on Tiger being a golf star, not his recent earnings and workload.
   17. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 27, 2009 at 05:43 PM (#3422708)
I suspect Tiger Woods' troubles stem from his father's single-minded focus on Tiger being a golf star, not his recent earnings and workload.

Which would mean that he had much in common with most other child prodigies in any other potentially lucrative sports or entertainment field. Even when Woods was in high school he was already a world apart from all the other golfers on his team, and not just in his golfing ability.
   18. McCoy Posted: December 27, 2009 at 05:46 PM (#3422710)
I don't count driving to the ballpark, getting changed into your uniform, showering, etc. Regular jobs have that too, and we don't count that as "working".

I don't know about you but I generally factor in all the things that consume my time because of "working". If I am stuck in traffic for an hour on my way home I don't consider that as part of my stress free off duty time. I consider that part of the cost of working. For instance today I had to get up at 4:40 in the morning to be at my job at 5:30 and I'll get home at 3:30 pm today. I'm salary so for me work is almost 11 hours a day.


And considering that I'm pretty sure most of us are employed and most of us heavily use BTF during work hours I wouldn't be so stringent on the definition of work.
   19. McCoy Posted: December 27, 2009 at 05:53 PM (#3422711)
Sure. But if anything that makes it easier to spend time with your family. If they've got a wife and kids, an MLB player can spend pretty much all day with them everyday during almost the entire summer. They can certainly afford to have their family travel with them once school is over

I'm not sure how that makes it easier to spend time with your family. Maybe if you are ARod and you are pulling down 30 million a year then you can put your friends and family on the dole but I don't see how most of these guys can have a healthy social life. Which it seems Glanville himself is saying is a problem in their environment.

And again I don't see the time being available to these people even in the summer time. Even if they do get to the park at 3 for a 7pm game they still have to get to the park and if they do get to the park early, which recall hearing they do, then basically you got a few hours in the morning with your family before you are gone until the next day. And the next day, if you are lucky enough to not be in another city, are you waking up early? Or I sleeping a little later because you didn't get home until 1 am or so?
   20. PreservedFish Posted: December 27, 2009 at 06:15 PM (#3422723)
Sure. But if anything that makes it easier to spend time with your family. If they've got a wife and kids, an MLB player can spend pretty much all day with them everyday during almost the entire summer. They can certainly afford to have their family travel with them once school is over.


I don't think it works this way at all. Players have to stay in the hotel room that the team provides for them, they have to work their weird hours, and probably sleep from 2 am to 10 am, a natural result of working until 11 pm every night. Much of the off-time will be interrupted by travel.

Realistically, if a player had his family follow him, it would probably turn into a quick daily lunch visit.

And what's in it for the wife? If you had little kids, would you sign up for 7-8 trips of 3-4 flights each every summer? That sounds like a nightmare.
   21. McCoy Posted: December 27, 2009 at 06:25 PM (#3422728)
Players have to stay in the hotel room that the team provides for them,

Well, they don't have to. Cal got his own separate hotel. The big guys could probably do almost anything they want in terms of living arrangements but yeah, I bet the your typical ballplayer has very little say on his travel arrangements.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 27, 2009 at 06:40 PM (#3422736)
And what's in it for the wife? If you had little kids, would you sign up for 7-8 trips of 3-4 flights each every summer? That sounds like a nightmare.

Your husband is not taking groupies back to the hotel at night.
   23. PreservedFish Posted: December 27, 2009 at 06:47 PM (#3422740)
And what's in it for the wife? If you had little kids, would you sign up for 7-8 trips of 3-4 flights each every summer? That sounds like a nightmare.
Your husband is not taking groupies back to the hotel at night.


What a lovely arrangement!

You were trying to argue that it is "easier" for a ballplayer to spend time with his family during the regular season, and now you're claiming that maybe wives will hound their husbands despite miserable travel conditions in order to shame them from infidelity. I think you lost this point.
   24. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 27, 2009 at 06:52 PM (#3422746)
You were trying to argue that it is "easier" for a ballplayer to spend time with his family during the regular season, and now you're claiming that maybe wives will hound their husbands despite miserable travel conditions in order to shame them from infidelity. I think you lost this point.


I'd agree with this snapper. I was mostly step-by-step with you on the Tiger thread, but a wife hauling around her kids from hotel to hotel and airport to airport throughout the summer months for the couple free hours they'd get to spend with daddy is not a lifestyle choice I'd find terribly appealing or a trade I'd be willing to make. It basically precludes junior from, you know, playing baseball like daddy does.

If you can't trust the ballplayer enough to fulfill the vows he made, then you should have found someone else.
   25. KingKaufman Posted: December 27, 2009 at 06:54 PM (#3422747)
I would also like to comment on the fact that Doug Glanville is like us, except he just happens to be a talented athlete.


And a very talented writer.
   26. KingKaufman Posted: December 27, 2009 at 07:02 PM (#3422756)
I have wondered about this for years and years: Why do pro athletes get married?

If you take the idea of marriage out of Glanville's description of ballplayer life, it sounds ... pretty good. You're only a pro athlete till your mid 30s or so, and even then only if you're a star. Enjoy your time as a self-centered, rich, famous dude at whom beautiful women throw themselves. Settle down later. The things a person gets out of being married -- companionship and love and building a life together and all that jazz -- are, as Glanville describes, torpedoed by the job anyway. So you add all this stress and deception and pressure for little or no benefit.
   27. puck Posted: December 27, 2009 at 07:02 PM (#3422757)
that's 48 hours a week for a typical 6 game week. That's probably about average for an american worker

Damn, you guys work too hard.


48 hrs "on the clock"? That's far too high for an average. Though maybe you were throwing in lunch breaks and commutes, that could easily push the avg to 48 hrs or more.
   28. Baldrick Posted: December 27, 2009 at 07:10 PM (#3422762)
I have wondered about this for years and years: Why do pro athletes get married?

Because it's what they're supposed to do. Or maybe because, you know, they're in love.

Why does anyone get married when they're young?
   29. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 27, 2009 at 07:11 PM (#3422763)
If you take the idea of marriage out of Glanville's description of ballplayer life, it sounds ... pretty good. You're only a pro athlete till your mid 30s or so, and even then only if you're a star. Enjoy your time as a self-centered, rich, famous dude at whom beautiful women throw themselves. Settle down later. The things a person gets out of being married -- companionship and love and building a life together and all that jazz -- are, as Glanville describes, torpedoed by the job anyway. So you add all this stress and deception and pressure for little or no benefit.


*Derek Jeter fist pump*
   30. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: December 27, 2009 at 07:15 PM (#3422764)
I have wondered about this for years and years: Why do pro athletes get married?

Given the Shaq/Every NBA Player's Wife/GF Love Infinit-angle as well as the Tiger Woods situation, this has been a source of discussion in my house this Fall. One of my housemates who has a lot of former college teammates now playing in the pros explains it thusly: These guys are regular guys where every now and then they find a woman who they think is "the one" and so they want to marry her and provide that life, but they get so wrapped up in that they don't consider that it is probably unrealistic for them to be faithful.
   31. McCoy Posted: December 27, 2009 at 07:16 PM (#3422765)
48 hrs "on the clock"? That's far too high for an average. Though maybe you were throwing in lunch breaks and commutes, that could easily push the avg to 48 hrs or more.

It is high if you are hourly but 48 hours sounds about right for most salary jobs I've run across. Hell, in a lot of jobs that is pretty light.
   32. Tom (and his broom) Posted: December 27, 2009 at 07:31 PM (#3422775)
I think the main reason athletes get married is because they long for a non-baseball validation. It is all well and good to have woman throwing themselves at you on a daily basis...but when you go home from a game where you dropped a pop-up that let in three runs and lost the game...the most valuable thing you can imagine is somebody who loves you in spite of all the baseball stuff...

Athletic competition may make you a star but most athletes end up looking more like a loser than a winner...every mistake makes the evening news....there are a lot of ways to let the pressure get to you...and the best way to keep a relatively even keel is to have a solid unconditional relationship supporting you...
even when you dishonor that relationship it still remains the foundation of your sanity.
   33. puck Posted: December 27, 2009 at 07:36 PM (#3422778)
It is high if you are hourly but 48 hours sounds about right for most salary jobs I've run across. Hell, in a lot of jobs that is pretty light.


Averaging 48 hrs is a lot. It's unusual for salaried positions I've seen. I've not worked in a big law firm or in finance, though, which is where I usually hear about these sorts of hours.
   34. SteveM. Posted: December 27, 2009 at 07:53 PM (#3422789)
I have wondered about this for years and years: Why do pro athletes get married?


As I pay my ex-wife every month, I wonder why anyone gets married.
   35. McCoy Posted: December 27, 2009 at 08:00 PM (#3422797)
Averaging 48 hrs is a lot. It's unusual for salaried positions I've seen. I've not worked in a big law firm or in finance, though, which is where I usually hear about these sorts of hours.

9.5 hours a day. Go in at 8 leave at 5:30. Seems pretty normal to me.
   36. puck Posted: December 27, 2009 at 08:15 PM (#3422810)
I see. Most people take lunch most of the time, and I wasn't counting it as work time. But if lunch counts, that will bring one closer.
   37. The Ghost fouled out, but stays in the game Posted: December 27, 2009 at 08:32 PM (#3422826)
I see a big difference between baseball pros and some other major sports. It seems to me that a lot of MLB players get married while they are still in the minors just hoping to make the big league. I am not talking about the guys with the 7-figure signing bonuses with high probabilities of major league careers, I mean guys who are still iffy propositions and may even have off-season jobs to keep going. The women who marry these guys, if they have any clue of the road ahead, aren't marrying for money.

OTOH, basketball and football are different. There isn't a huge minor-league pipeline. Players develop more in college and aren't as likely to be married by the time they get a pro roster spot and significant paychecks.

As for the trials and tribulations of MLB life, I agree that the road trips would soon become no fun. After several years of that, missing your kids growing up, it would be even worse. However, you don't see many guys retiring until they pry the bat and/or glove out of their fingers, and it just isn't about the money. It's their identity.
   38. eric Posted: December 27, 2009 at 09:10 PM (#3422844)
I live in Las Vegas where I used to play a lot of poker. A few years ago (Feb 2007 I believe) the NBA all-star game was in town, and suddenly I found myself at the tables with lots of pro athletes, and the occasional music star. A lot of them were in and out of games real quick, and rather quiet except when another player happened to be near. However, I did sit next to one NBA star for a prolonged period (I'm not including his name since I don't know his marriage situation and would rather just respect his privacy).

He was actually quite an outgoing and gregarious fellow. He was funny, easy going and down to earth. One of the other guys at the table even mentioned how he's the favorite player of his teenage son, and the player was willing to let the guy call up his son so the player could talk to the son for a few minutes and give him kudos and encouragement for his own basketball career (high school JV, iirc).

The player had a buddy who was always around, either standing over his shoulder and trading whispered comments, or, when a particularly attractive woman walked by (which was quite often at the Bellagio during a big weekend) talking to her. What this guy was doing, more specifically, was actually picking up women for the player. I remember this one woman walked by who was, to this day, perhaps the most physically striking specimen I've ever seen in person. The assistant talks to his woman, points out the player at the table who, quite frankly, looks like a million bucks. He wasn't wearing a ton of bling, but had tasteful, obviously expensive jewelry on, and a suit that looked like it probably cost 5 figures easy, maybe 6. And being closer to 7' tall than 6 and lean helped as well, I guess. They talked for a few minutes and she seemed really interested. He took out a small piece of paper, wrote a few things on it, handed it to her and she walked off.

The assistant came over to the player and leaned in, whispering so that probably only the player, myself, and the guy on the other side of him could hear (he probably didn't want us two to hear but oh well), "she'll meet you at your room at 10:30." The player simply responded with a small grin and a nod and kept playing.

At least four different times during our game, we had a group of women not involved in the game come up to the player and ask for his autograph. Twice they stood there after he said hi and signed a couple things, expectant, before leaving. Once they said a couple things to him that I wasn't able to hear due to some nearby commotion. Once, two fairly cute college-age women got him to sign something then just asked point blank "can we hang out with your later in your room?" I wish I remember specifically how he fended off that one, but he did manage to turn them down in a very commendable, respectable, non-embarassing way. Those two women were plenty cute enough for a guy like me; to him, they weren't even a blip on his radar.

The point to all this is that the player was a good guy. He was charismatic, seemed to genuinely care about people. He would talk about his own kids and tipped the dealer generously. He was very respectful of people and not a prima-donna in the least. And oh yeah, he had his own assistant picking up women for him, and had women coming up to him and almost literally throwing themselves at him. And he most definitely wasn't even close to being the biggest name in the league.

That is the life of a professional athlete. I think anyone who feels that the guys are able to be put in situations like that constantly and remain "faithful" are kidding themselves. There might be one or two, but those are the exceptions, not the rules. Those guys are straying, and having their fun. And it doesn't mean they are weak or bad people because of it. It just means they're young men with power and prestige. As far as I'm concerned, the only difference between Tiger Woods and, say, any other professional athlete, is that Woods was caught.
   39. Paul D(uda) Posted: December 27, 2009 at 09:20 PM (#3422849)
I highly doubt that the average work week is 48 hours.
   40. Alex_Lewis Posted: December 27, 2009 at 09:42 PM (#3422857)
If you take the idea of marriage out of Glanville's description of ballplayer life, it sounds ... pretty good. You're only a pro athlete till your mid 30s or so, and even then only if you're a star. Enjoy your time as a self-centered, rich, famous dude at whom beautiful women throw themselves. Settle down later. The things a person gets out of being married -- companionship and love and building a life together and all that jazz -- are, as Glanville describes, torpedoed by the job anyway. So you add all this stress and deception and pressure for little or no benefit.


Derek Jeter is a god among men.

That is the life of a professional athlete. I think anyone who feels that the guys are able to be put in situations like that constantly and remain "faithful" are kidding themselves. There might be one or two, but those are the exceptions, not the rules. Those guys are straying, and having their fun. And it doesn't mean they are weak or bad people because of it. It just means they're young men with power and prestige. As far as I'm concerned, the only difference between Tiger Woods and, say, any other professional athlete, is that Woods was caught.


That's a pretty excellent anecdote. Anyway I can have this assistant on my payroll for an evening or two?

I'll say this: I've noticed that when I walk around wearing a suit, I tend to attract quite a bit more female attention than when I'm wearing, say, a baseball cap and jeans (and nothing else!). Status, prestige, etc.

I've often wondered why public intellectuals, authors and scientists don't receive the kind of attention that pro-athletes do (and yet doctors often do?). I'm gonna go ahead and doubt that the majority of these players are good lovers; to them, this is a whambam situation. I'd imagine. Endless experience doesn't hurt, I suppose. It seems unlikely that genetic material is the important thing: intelligence is a key genetic trait, as important as being tall, running fast or jumping high.

I suppose the answer is obvious, but logically, I don't see the difference... Especially considering guys like Gene Simmons, who is an ogre on his best day.
   41. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 27, 2009 at 09:50 PM (#3422863)
That is the life of a professional athlete. I think anyone who feels that the guys are able to be put in situations like that constantly and remain "faithful" are kidding themselves. There might be one or two, but those are the exceptions, not the rules. Those guys are straying, and having their fun. And it doesn't mean they are weak or bad people because of it. It just means they're young men with power and prestige. As far as I'm concerned, the only difference between Tiger Woods and, say, any other professional athlete, is that Woods was caught.


I'd offer one thing here. That is the life of a professional athlete who chooses to go out and hit the town and put himself in places where women are throwing themselves at them. If fidelity really was important to these guys (and likely is to some, the ones eric doesn't run into at casinos), they'd certainly put themselves in fewer positions where women are throwing themselves at them. IIRC, famed homophobe Todd Jones said he didn't go out to the clubs because he wanted to avoid the temptations athletes face, and was, quite naturally, mocked here because of it.
   42. PreservedFish Posted: December 27, 2009 at 09:55 PM (#3422865)
That is the life of a professional athlete who chooses to go out and hit the town and put himself in places where women are throwing themselves at them. If fidelity really was important to these guys (and likely is to some, the ones eric doesn't run into at casinos), they'd certainly put themselves in fewer positions where women are throwing themselves at them.


Quite right, but to be able to arrange sex with one of the best looking girls you've ever seen - without even speaking to her! - is a temptation the likes of which 99% of men will never know, and very very few of them would be able to turn down.
   43. caprules Posted: December 27, 2009 at 10:00 PM (#3422867)
Schilling would play Everquest, EQ2, and later WoW in his hotel room after games, and once upon a time did so with Glanville.
   44. robinred Posted: December 27, 2009 at 10:08 PM (#3422871)
Quite right, but to be able to arrange sex with one of the best looking girls you've ever seen - without even speaking to her! - is a temptation the likes of which 99% of men will never know, and very very few of them would be able to turn down.


We already had a thread about this, I think. Still, seeing some new takes on this thread.
   45. robinred Posted: December 27, 2009 at 10:11 PM (#3422874)
@38

Good anecdote.
   46. PreservedFish Posted: December 27, 2009 at 10:15 PM (#3422876)
We already had a thread about this, I think. Still, seeing some new takes on this thread.


We did, and I was on the hedge. I wasn't the guy thought that men are at all times sex-starved apes and anyone denying that that the testicals are the most persuasive human organ is naive. But I am a bit more cynical than most.

That anecdote in #38 is pretty bad ass though. Imagine seeing an incredibly hot girl on the street, just nodding to your buddy, and knowing that you'll be screwing her in a matter of hours. I feel like Superman just thinking about it.
   47. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 27, 2009 at 10:21 PM (#3422880)
It seems like that would get old after a while. Is not the chase the most thrilling part?
   48. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 27, 2009 at 10:23 PM (#3422881)
Why does anyone get married when they're young?

Same reason they get married when they're old. They're nuts.
   49. morineko Posted: December 27, 2009 at 10:30 PM (#3422884)
On the ballplayer work schedule supposedly making time for their families in the summer...ha, ha, it really doesn't work that way. My mother was on that sort of schedule when I was a teenager, working as a field services technician with a six-state territory. I think I saw her about one day a week for about a year. Even when she was working locally, she started out to the first site around 6AM, came back around 7PM, and she tried to go to sleep by 11. Considering an hour was usually spent trying to fix dinner as my cooking proved to be inedible, there wasn't much time to spend with me. Your average ballplayer (per Curt Schilling) wakes up around 11AM if there's a night game, and should be at the park by 3. Game time is variable, they have postgame responsibilities, and if they don't go out after work they may get out of the stadium around midnight or later. This doesn't leave more than 4 hours a day with the kid part of the family, just like with my mom and her variable workday filled with unpredictable jobs. I followed her to one of her jobs on a Friday so we could do a college tour on a Saturday. On that Friday, I ate lunch with her (30 minutes) and when she got back from the job, quite late, we went to the hotel bar with some of the local staff. I was given to understand this was her typical workday, except for the actually having local staff to drink with bit. If an unmarried fat woman in her late 40s has the potential to get up to post-work hijinks in the rural Midwest, I can imagine it's probably 100 times worse for a major league baseball player. (Also recall the bit in Ball Four where Bouton mentions flight attendants--women with the same schedule and lifestyle as pro ballplayers of the time, and how guys would marry them because they had no illusions and knew exactly what the life was like, because they were doing it too.)

...and a lot of the guys who do the gaming thing after games on the road do indeed state that it's less of a mess than going out, with temptation and all of that (...I think Schilling blogged about it, it's somewhere in the archives, I don't have time to look)
   50. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 28, 2009 at 02:38 AM (#3423000)
Schedule is fixed, practice a must, travel a given.

Of course this is less true for Tiger Woods than virtually any other person in the world. He's accountable only to himself, plays very few tournaments, and can practice any damn time he wants to.

Even for team athletes the whole thing is a fallacy. How is a professional athlete's schedule any more fixed than the poor schlub who has to leave for work at 7AM and get home at 7PM every day?
The "poor schlub" can call in sick or schedule a vacation day when he wants. The "poor schlub" can come in late or leave early from time-to-time. He probably doesn't have a curfew enforced by his boss.

--------------

Ballplayers spend more time at work or work-related activities than the rest of us do during their seasons.

They spend less time at work-related activities during the offseason.

In the end, it probably works out about the same.


I'm glad that I don't have to travel for 90 days per year, lots on overnight flights and such, and spend possibly an entire 6 months away from home. I do not envy their regular season schedule. But I doubt this. Ballplayers get 4+ months off. I get 1+ weeks off.
You probably don't work every weekend, the way they do. And your time off may actually be purely time off; you don't have to spend your vacation training for your job.
And I would be happy to spend 7 weeks in Florida every year "training."
Of course, for a large number of players, it isn't just training -- let alone "training" with scare quotes. It's competing for a job.
   51. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 28, 2009 at 03:16 AM (#3423025)
You probably don't work every weekend, the way they do. And your time off may actually be purely time off; you don't have to spend your vacation training for your job.


So, if I may summarize your post:

They spend more time at work or work-related activities than the rest of us do during their seasons.

They spend less time at work-related activities during their offseason (though they still have obligations).

You actually couldn't have agreed with me more if I were Ray.
   52. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 28, 2009 at 05:02 AM (#3423065)
I'd offer one thing here. That is the life of a professional athlete who chooses to go out and hit the town and put himself in places where women are throwing themselves at them. If fidelity really was important to these guys (and likely is to some, the ones eric doesn't run into at casinos), they'd certainly put themselves in fewer positions where women are throwing themselves at them. IIRC, famed homophobe Todd Jones said he didn't go out to the clubs because he wanted to avoid the temptations athletes face, and was, quite naturally, mocked here because of it.

One of my favorite parts of Tom House's book (The Jock's Itch) was where he said that a huge percentage of the so-called "Born Again Christians" in any given clubhouse join up with groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes specifically to avoid being shamed by peer pressure to do the drug or skirt chasing scene. About the only other way to avoid this sort of pressure is by being a legitimate superstar or (far rarer) to be perceived as some sort of an "intellectual."

That's one take. The other take is that "Born-Again Christians" aren't necessarily likely to be any more faithful to their wives than the average Pagan. And perhaps an even more cynical observation is that it's curiously ironic that one of the supposedly more steroid-infested teams (the late 90's Texas Rangers) also had something like 22 or 23 "Born Agains" (plus their manager Johnny Oates) on their 25 man roster. It kind of makes you wonder what the function of some of these groups is other than a kind of all-purpose Get Out of Jail Free card for jocks. But I guess I shouldn't be so damn cynical.
   53. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: December 28, 2009 at 05:57 AM (#3423080)
It seems like that would get old after a while. Is not the chase the most thrilling part?

I always assumed that's something that we mere mortals say to make ourselves feel better.
   54. PreservedFish Posted: December 28, 2009 at 09:15 AM (#3423115)
The chase is certainly thrilling, but it's not the most thrilling part. If masturbating doesn't get boring, then sex with incredible women wouldn't either.
   55. Susan Posted: December 28, 2009 at 06:39 PM (#3423293)
I'm finding this conversation fascinating. Glanville's columns are consistently insightful and well written, and I read this one earlier today and had been thinking about it before I saw this discussion. I know we can't choose who we fall in love with, but I've often wondered why someone would want to marry a professional athlete--especially a baseball player. He is already married to the game. If you have kids, you are essentially a single parent during the season. Taking fidelity/infidelity out of the equation, you generally get married because you want to share your life with another person, but how can you do that when the other person isn't there?

You can't just rely on talent alone to get to the MLB/NFL/NBA level and stay there. Those guys work. It seems, of necessity, to be a self-centered existence. It's kind of like being a dancer--you are the art you're creating, your body is a product. I don't think you can compare what any of us do as a job and what a professional athlete does for a job. They are two completely different things. If an average person makes a small mistake at work, at worst a few dozen or hundred people know about it. If a ballplayer makes one small mistake at work, it is scrutinized up and down by you and me and the BBWA and the blogosphere. Their payoff is much greater, as has already been said. Not just monetarily, but in terms of how they're treated. Someone mentioned how we start treating athletes as though they're something special back when they're in high school and even elementary school. A wink and a "boys will be boys" nod and young men are once again implicitly told that they can do what they wish provided they perform on the field.

What I don't understand is why some of my gender are so eager to be a conquest. A couple of theories:

* You think you're special and that you'll stand out from the other groupies
* You're just as horny as the next person and why not sleep with a guy with a smoking body instead of a schlump?
* It'll make a good story for your friends
* Your conception of self-respect and self-dignity is somewhat fluid

RE: post #40. Several years ago, my friend Ruthie and I were sitting outside at a coffee shop talking. She was having some marital problems and I had just gotten divorced so yeah, we were talking about what complete and utter dumb asses some men can occasionally be (is that enough of a non-blanket statement?). An older woman was sitting nearby reading a book, and a guy around our age was sitting at another table. He was okay-looking, casually dressed, with a book. As women often do, the woman sitting alone joined in our conversation. One of us make a friendly attempt to engage guy alone in the conversation, but he wisely stayed out of it. Later on, however, he came over and chatted with us. He mentioned that he had recently moved to town and that he was doing a neurosurgery residency at the Clinic. We chatted a bit longer and that was it. After he left, Ruthie and I turned to each other asked: "Why is it that he got better looking after we found out he was a brain surgeon?"

Yeah, none of us are immune, I guess.
   56. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: December 28, 2009 at 06:56 PM (#3423311)
I've often wondered why public intellectuals, authors and scientists don't receive the kind of attention that pro-athletes do (and yet doctors often do?).

If I had to guess...

- Athletic skill is more highly correlated with sexually desirability, while intellectual skill is...not.
- The average professional athlete and/or doctors make more money and/or have the potential to make more money than intellectuals, authors, and scientists (says my PhD and 40k salary).
   57. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 28, 2009 at 07:06 PM (#3423317)
- Athletic skill is more highly correlated with sexually desirability, while intellectual skill is...not.
So many of us here have both that it's difficult to isolate the effects of each.
   58. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 28, 2009 at 07:25 PM (#3423342)
That was a terrific post, SABRSusan, full of insight about human character.

"Why is it that he got better looking after we found out he was a brain surgeon?"

Yeah, none of us are immune, I guess.


I think a variant of that works with the gender roles reversed, too. I know I've always thought (heterosexual) tomboys were far more interesting and attractive than their mall rat and shopaholic counterparts with otherwise equal physical characteristics. And I know from experience that women who play in mixed pool tournaments get a lot more attention from the average man than they would if they were just sitting at a bar. Maybe it's just the energy that they exude; at least that would be my theory.

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