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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Esquire, the Politics Blog: Our Athletes Are Not Meant to Fit Our Ideologies

It’s rarely pretty when our young conservatives try to “hip” themselves to popular culture in general, but their attempts at wedging sports into the ongoing shouting match between the voices in their heads are usually the most hilarious. (A while back, The Weekly Standard essayed an all-sports issue that actual sportswriters laugh at to this day. I mean, honestly, Fred Barnes on the NBA? That would have been like sending young Bill Kristol to CBGB back in the day.) This is an attempt to enlist Bryce Harper, the authentic phenom of the Washington Nationals — and I’m not kidding, he came into Fenway and lit the joint on fire a week or so ago, and you should see him if you have the chance — into the author’s [Mark Judge] personal quest for a guest slot on Hannity. ...

Let us begin with the lead, wherein the author makes sure we know right from the opening pitch that this is more than just his appreciation of a young baseball player’s talents:

Bryce Harper is a conservative hero. The star rookie for the Washington Nationals has woken up Major League Baseball, and watching it unfold has reminded me of nothing so much as the collapse of the old political paradigms and the inevitable and upcoming rebirth of conservatism in November.

In other words, Bryce Harper is a conservative hero because my own very bizarre interpretation of his ascendance makes him one. Bear in mind, I can look at a tackhammer, and it will remind me of nothing so much as the collapse etc. etc. etc. SOROS!!!

This became clear to me on May 26 of this year. The Nationals were playing Atlanta, and in the fifth inning Harper, with his team leading by two, singled to right. The ball was hit to Braves right fielder Jason Heyward. Heyward strolled up to the ball as if he were walking to the corner for a paper. Harper promptly headed for second base. Heyward suddenly woke up and fired to second base, but too late. More than one sports writer has noted that this moment was no small thing for baseball. It was like the part in the movie “Awakenings” when the guy who was asleep for 30 years wakes up.

Yes, because no player in the past three decades ever has taken an extra base on a dilatory outfielder. Then, everybody read Hayek’s Baseball Abstract, and started hustling again. And surely I’m not the only person who’s noticed that the hustling white player and the lazy black player — baseball archetypes since the author’s grandfather was playing in the segregated major leagues — have made an appearance here, which is surely accidental.

 

Joe Judge not, lest ye be Judged.

TerpNats Posted: June 19, 2012 at 12:48 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, politics

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   1. AndrewJ Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:57 AM (#4160827)
In fairness, Mark Judge's book about his grandfather Joe ("Damn Senators") was reasonably good.
   2. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 19, 2012 at 06:04 AM (#4160828)
Please, everyone-- don't let this devolve into a baseball thread.
   3. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 19, 2012 at 07:27 AM (#4160848)
In fairness, Mark Judge's book about his grandfather Joe ("Damn Senators") was reasonably good.

And Mark Judge is indeed a good guy personally, but this is beyond hilarious. I've got to get a hold of that all-sports issue of the Weekly Standard and put it with my collection of the National Lampoon.
   4. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: June 19, 2012 at 07:30 AM (#4160849)
I'm a fan of the Griffey Jr./Bryce Harper comparison. The Kid was a better defensive player, Harper's hitting better, but both seem like pretty good age 19 comps (not that there's that many players who've been all-star quality players at 19). Take that, racially problematic comparisons of players!
   5. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: June 19, 2012 at 07:38 AM (#4160852)
I can see the Harper-Griffey comp, but the problem is that Harper at 19 is as good as Griffey was at 20. The difficulty with coming up with a comp for Harper is that players just aren't this good at 19. No comp is going to be too close.

P.S. My ideology swings between Mugwump and Know Nothing.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 19, 2012 at 07:55 AM (#4160858)
This is what I don't get.

201 AB, 254/330/388, 4 HR, 40 K

Was Harper bored in the high minors? Annoyed at not being called up to the majors? Receiving bad instruction in the minors or good instruction in the majors? Did he just fluke into 200 bad PA at a weird time?

I do think that Harper's poor performance in the high minors suggests that he's overperforming right now, but I don't think there's any doubt he's a good and productive major league player. I guess talent wins out.
   7. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 19, 2012 at 07:59 AM (#4160862)
matt

davey has a record of putting kids in the lineup and having them succeed.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: June 19, 2012 at 08:18 AM (#4160869)
I can see the Harper-Griffey comp, but the problem is that Harper at 19 is as good as Griffey was at 20. The difficulty with coming up with a comp for Harper is that players just aren't this good at 19. No comp is going to be too close.

Harper to date: 192 PA, 294/370/524
Griffey in the first 2 months of his age 19 season: 178 PA, 302/362/519

I'd give Harper a few more PA before you start calling him unprecedented.
   9. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 19, 2012 at 08:34 AM (#4160873)
Was Harper bored in the high minors? Annoyed at not being called up to the majors? Receiving bad instruction in the minors or good instruction in the majors? Did he just fluke into 200 bad PA at a weird time?


I think some combination of bored/annoyed/fluke probably explains it. When I read your post the first name that came to mind was Hanley Ramirez;

2005 AA - .271/.335/.385
2006 MLB - .292/.353/.480

Not quite as extreme as Harper but similar. There is an off-season and a trade between Ramirez' seasons of course. I think there are players who play to the level of their competition and Harper may be one of them. Off the cuff a hyper-intense guy like Harper seems to be would be the sort of player I would expect to have that particular trait.
   10. franoscar Posted: June 19, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4161127)
My conservative/right-wing libertarian friend likes Harper a lot.
   11. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 19, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4161158)
My conservative/right-wing libertarian friend likes Harper a lot.


A RW libertarian likes a self-obsessed douchenozzle? Shocking.
   12. zachtoma Posted: June 19, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4161353)
Jason Heyward has been playing the outfield while heavily narcotized thanks to Obamacare. It's a real problem for the Braves.
   13. franoscar Posted: June 19, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4161361)
This site needs a LIKE button! (I like Rickey & Zach)
   14. Greg K Posted: June 19, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4161370)
It was like the part in the movie “Awakenings” when the guy who was asleep for 30 years wakes up.

Thanks for the spoiler alert jackass!

Personally it reminded me more of the part in the movie "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" when the guy who went to sleep the night before wakes up.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4161383)
It reminded me of Rock of Ages when I woke up when the closing credits roll.
   16. smileyy Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4161396)
Harrison Bergeron felt empathy when the Braves and MLB forced Andruw Jones to get fat.

(In response to [10], I was trying to think who _wouldn't_ like Bryce Harper a lot)
   17. bigglou115 Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4161397)
Jason Heyward has been playing the outfield while heavily narcotized thanks to Obamacare. It's a real problem for the Braves.


And Heyward still had presence of mind to throw Harper out trying the same trick the very next night.
   18. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4161405)
The difficulty with coming up with a comp for Harper is that players just aren't this good at 19. No comp is going to be too close.


Jimmie Foxx? Mel Ott? Ty Cobb? Tony Conigliaro? Those are four guys I thought of right off the top of my head. Looking a BB-Ref, all four of those guys had OPS+ between 130 and 140 at age 19.
   19. Guapo Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4161411)
watching it unfold has reminded me of nothing so much as the collapse of the old political paradigms and the inevitable and upcoming rebirth of conservatism in November.


How can you be reminded of something that hasn't happened yet?

   20. AndrewJ Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4161416)
How can you be reminded of something that hasn't happened yet?

It's mandatory when you're a pundit.
   21. formerly dp Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4161418)
How can you be reminded of something that hasn't happened yet?

Dude, it's called "Inception!" and it's really ####### deep.
   22. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4161419)
How can you be reminded of something that hasn't happened yet?


It's *ordained.* Because Baby Jesus wants it to happen.
   23. Ebessan Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4161421)
Couldn't someone have written the same article about Heyward in 2010? That's the thing that really kills me. "Clearly, CLEARLY, this 23 year-old who was genuinely considered one of the most exciting rookies in the last two decades has become part of the bureaucratic old guard." I wonder why you might not have written about him.
   24. Guapo Posted: June 19, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4161422)
Personally it reminded me more of the part in the movie "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" when the guy who went to sleep the night before wakes up.


The treatment of the anecdote reminded me a little bit of "Birth of a Nation," unfortunately.
   25. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 19, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4161438)
Dude, it's called "Inception!" and it's really ####### deep.


Why are you hating on a perfectly good caper flick? Nobody gives "Ocean's 11" this kind of ####...
   26. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 19, 2012 at 06:16 PM (#4161441)
Couldn't someone have written the same article about Heyward in 2010? That's the thing that really kills me. "Clearly, CLEARLY, this 23 year-old who was genuinely considered one of the most exciting rookies in the last two decades has become part of the bureaucratic old guard." I wonder why you might not have written about him


Oh, let me guess! Let me!
   27. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: June 19, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4161448)
Couldn't someone have written the same article about Heyward in 2010? That's the thing that really kills me. "Clearly, CLEARLY, this 23 year-old who was genuinely considered one of the most exciting rookies in the last two decades has become part of the bureaucratic old guard." I wonder why you might not have written about him.
For the same reason this comment at the Esquire site cuts so deep:
Then why aren't we hearing about all those inner city youth that spend hours working on and perfecting their basketball skills, shoveling snow off the playground in winter to play, forgoing luxuries like nets, level rims and smooth surfaces as the definition of the "Can Do" American spirit that can be traced back to Paul Revere's gallop around MA?" (Ooh! Ooh! I know! I know! Call on me!)"
   28. formerly dp Posted: June 19, 2012 at 07:16 PM (#4161481)
Why are you hating on a perfectly good caper flick? Nobody gives "Ocean's 11" this kind of ####...


I enjoyed Inception, but it took a lot of purging for me to do so-- way too many people claimed the film made some sort of profound statement about the nature of blahblahblah. Waited for it the whole film and it never came.

I liked The Prestige way better.

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