Sometimes we are reminded of how worthless the sports we follow can be. Yadier Molina, a very talented catcher for my St. Louis Cardinals, recently freaked out due to a (good) strikeout call against him. He screamed in the umpire’s face, bumped him, and may or may not have spit on him. You can see the tantrum here. The Cardinals and Molina insist that it was either sweat or accidental spit (because it’s not disgusting to sling sweat or accidental spit in another man’s face).
Molina's tirade is nothing new to sports—professional or amateur. It’s a testament to our miserable condition that a professional athlete can be ultra-disciplined in his physical conditioning, regimented diet, fine-tuned skills, and PC-concocted press conference answers, yet display an utter lack of self control when a children’s game doesn’t go his way. These iconic behemoths quickly become “like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28)
And the apologies are always bunk. Molina’s: "That's not me. I'm a good guy. I was caught up in the moment. That's what happens when you're caught up in the race and trying to win. I didn't handle it the right way.” The pod-person excuse is probably the most common in sports non-contrition, and it is nothing new for our society of people acting “out of character” at every turn. That wasn’t player x out there, letting the violence in his heart spew out into action; it was someone or something else. Some ghost was channeled that values competition or self-glory more than human beings.
But this facade isn’t even kept up by the apologizers. Molina didn’t appeal the decision (which was a five-game suspension) because he’s hurt and could use a rest, anyway. He also revealed he’d rather miss games now than at the end of the season, when playoff positioning is more imminent. So it was totally in character for Molina to dump decency for competition, as his dealing with the consequences still revolves around game strategy. Players describe their misbehaviors as unfortunate primarily because it jeopardizes their team’s prospects. That it dishonors the game and dishonors a human being is an afterthought.
I often find myself caring way too much about baseball. Thanks for helping me care less, Yadier.