Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Carlos Delgado has caused a sensation that has nothing to do with baseball. You'd think any guy who can hit a ball so well - even if his strikeout numbers almost match his slugging percentage - would simply do the job he's paid tens of millions of dollars to do: play defensibly sound first base and bring the runners home.
But Delgado doesn't see it that way. He has seen fit to disgrace the country whose national pastime has earned him such a cushy lifestyle.
While claiming that he's "not trying to make anyone mad," Delgado has refused to stand up for seventh-inning stretch renditions of "God Bless America." He gave an interview to The Toronto Star in which he blasted the Iraq War as "the stupidest war ever."
Ah, I see - the liberation of a brutalized people from a mad tyrant, even if it was done under faulty pretenses, means nothing to the likes of Delgado, who can't spare a thought for the soldiers or the Iraqis, but refuses to waive the no-trade clause on his $64 million contract with the Blue Jays. Have a cigar, Carlos.
An article on Canada.com asks why Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods don't speak out, why they've maintained such an apolitical high-profile. Maybe it's because it's not their job to speak out on anything other than the professions they're in, and they know it. To me, Jordan and Woods are the heroes, guys who understand their professional limits and are willing to abide by them.
Delgado, by contrast, mouths off about Iraq, but when questioned recently by reporters after a loss to the New York Yankees, he snapped at them, "No, I will not talk about it. Is that OK? Thank you." Funny, sounds like something he'd also say if they asked if he beat his wife.
Pro-war players like Delgado's team-mate Greg Zaun and Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling haven't made a big deal of their position in the way that Delgado has. They have concentrated on what they should be concentrating on instead: their game.
As you might expect, Delgado has more than his fair share of defenders, interpreting him - never our soldiers, mind you - as the true American patriot. The Boston Globe's Ron Borges, The New York Times’s William Rhoden, and and the Associated Press’ Steve Wilstein have all chimed in with thoughts that Michael Moore would be proud of.