Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What, Me a Hypocrite?

Politics and baseball are not exactly frequent bedfellows here in the US.  (Except for the whole Mitchell Report thing.)  We don't often see our players talking about politics, doing ads for politicians, or even speaking out much about their personal political views.  We want our sports to entertain, not polarize.  So when we see our own Magglio Ordóñez booed relentlessly by his countrymen, it rather strikes home.

Now, I understand the position of those who jeered Ordóñez.  I'm not well versed in Venezuelan politics, but I'd be pretty upset if the sitting president were trying to erase term limits and generally enlarging his own power as much as possible, while reducing freedoms for ordinary citizens.

I must say, however, that it pained me to see Magglio enduring the ire of so many.  His performance during the series was not good, and the commentators hinted that the booing may have gotten under his skin.  His Team Venezuela comrades (no pun intended) were supportive, even attempting to quell the crowd at one point.  I'm sure some of them hold differing views, but chose to put them aside on the diamond.

When the season begins, and I find myself in my usual right-field seat, I admit I'll be cheering Magglio despite our possible differences off the field--and I suspect he'll get a heartier than usual greeting from Tigers fans, who may want to show him that we know how to compartmentalize our feelings and ignore such pesky things as conscience in the name of baseball.

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