The “different strokes for different folks” justification for strange behaviour can really only be used to a certain degree.  For instance, I love baseball and probably devote more time to thinking about it than the average person.  I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who would look at my devotion and shake their head or think that I was missing out on another, better aspect of life.  And I’m sure that I’d feel similarly about how they spend their time and the things that they’re passionate about.  This is the epitome of “different strokes for different folks.”

However, there exists a subset of individuals who go beyond merely being passionate or slightly different and embrace a whole new level of obsession within a particular field.  These are the type of people who disturb even the hardcore fans and become the representation of creepiness to the regular person.  I’m writing about the kind of person who would lose their mind over a video game that allows players to wear retired numbers on make believe MLB teams.

I received an email today that informed me of an outrageous and heinous error in MLB 2K11. Among complaints about the commentary and controls, the email from Drew, a Pittsburgh native, shed light on the following unthinkable blunder:

“they allowed for one of the computer generated players I drafted onto the Pirates to walk out onto the field at PNC Park in a #21 jersey.  NUMBER TWENTY-ONE!  ON THE PIRATES! I’m sending it back to 2k Sports and demanding a refund for damages.”

If the error is lost on you, #21 is the retired number of the greatest player ever to put on the Pirate’s uniform.  You’ve probably seen his statue outside PNC Park or walked across his bridge going to a game.  Number 21 belongs to Roberto Clemente.

One thing that is at the top of Pittsburgh’s “Most Sacred List” is sports especially its rich history, and to completely omit the existence of an entire fan base’s hero from a video game is just careless.

The mistake reaches beyond Pittsburgh.  Clemente was more than just a figure for a single city.  Not only was he a top ball player in all of the sport’s long history, but he was also a significant figure in the destruction of baseball’s racial barriers.

Clemente is just one noted exclusion.  Who knows how many other fictional, nameless players are taking the virtual field wearing hallowed numbers around the league.  Hopefully 2K releases an update to correct this indecency.

I was made aware of this reactive nonsense by Craig Calcaterra’s post at HardballTalk which pokes appropriate fun at the ridiculousness of the complaint, but was later changed after the author of the embarrassing reactivity contacted the website.

An earlier version of this post omitted Mr. Parker’s name. Mr. Parker took issue with this on Twitter, complaining that I violated “Journalism 101″ by not giving him proper credit. Apologies to Mr. Parker. In my defense — which I realize is not sufficient — I was merely following Courtesy 101, which would have me not call out people by name when they’re making a really ridiculous point. But seeing as though Max Parker would like everyone to know that he’s genuinely upset that video game characters are allowed to wear retired numbers, I hereby make the correction. Let no one say that Max Parker abides the notion of pretend baseball players wearing retired numbers. And let no one say that I don’t abide the concepts of “Journalism 101.”

Well played, Calcaterra.

And The Rest

Chuck Greenberg is stepping down as the CEO of the Texas Rangers.  There is plenty of rumbling suggesting that Greenberg was on the outs with basically everyone.  It’s expected that Nolan Ryan will assume his responsibilities, until he’s ultimately undone by a combination of his own ambition, his wife’s advice and a man born from a Cesarean section.

From the what was he thinking file: Johnny Damon legitimately believed that the Tigers would bring him back after last season.  #PlanBetter

Kenny G utilizes a slap swing and moves his feet too much in the batter’s box.  I don’t see a future in the game.

Franklin Gutierrez left Mariners camp to be with his father in law, the Braves coach who was hit by the line drive in the dugout.

Can the Phillies still make the playoffs if Chase Utley misses the season?

Yogi Berra had a fall in the Yankees clubhouse, but is feeling better now.

We’re not going to be able to make as many fat jokes this year at the expense of Pablo Sandoval.  That makes me a sad panda.

Comparing the career of Josh Beckett to the Star Trek franchise is an exercise in awesome.

Baseball Musings looks at reliever strategies.

People in Philadelphia still care about being snubbed by J.D. Drew.  Advice to those people in Philadelphia: Grow up.

J-League baseball games have been canceled after a devastating earthquake in Japan.

FanGraphs looks at getting Kevin Slowey out of Minnesota.

Finally, Tim Lincecum either has a lot of time on his hands or else he’s been cloned at least once.