Archive for the ‘Getting Serious’ Category

San Francisco Giants Victory Parade

There’s no need to dramatize a non-event: This is the final post on Getting Blanked.

Those who’ve paid close attention likely noticed a change in the way things operated here last summer. Rather than covering all items and cranking out multiple posts a day, GB featured fewer articles and less “news.”

We’ve launched a brand new  that we’re all really excited about. The very same content you saw here for the past 10 months continues without missing a beat – a morning post and another feature later in the day, with Jack Moore providing two posts a week. theScore’s crack news team will also crank out the breaking alerts and funny/silly stuff you need.

That’s it. We’re consolidating our power and updating our look. NOTHING CHANGES but the URL.

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San Diego Padres players wearing jerseys with the number 42 in honor of the late player Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier, listen to God Bless America  during their MLB National League baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los

Tuesday is an important day on the Major League Baseball schedule. Jackie Robinson Day honors one of the most compelling men to ever play the game, a man who taught baseball lessons it consistently fails to heed, even some 65 years later.

Jackie Robinson is lauded for his bravery, his perseverance, and his humanity as he travelled a nearly impossible road to the big leagues, riding superstar talent and character to become a starter for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Tuesday is a day that all major-league players don the number 42, to pay tribute to the man and one of his most famous quotations, a sign of solidarity and togetherness not often seen in our world. Moreover, the battles fought during Jackie Robinson’s journey to the big leagues are still being waged today – on another front.

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Those Moments

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays

For eight minutes last night, J.A. Happ lay splayed out on a sickly green carpet in St. Petersburg, Florida. I cannot imagine how he felt in those moments, but I assume it wasn’t good.

For those eight minutes, from the time a fastball left his hand to the split seconds later when it struck the bat of Desmond Jennings to the split second after that when the line drive struck Happ in the left side of his head just above his ear to the brief, horrible moments when the dozen or so men on the field and several thousand people in the stands realized what had happened, there was no longer a baseball game going on.

Players held their heads in their hands and stared in stunned silence as medical personal tended to the Blue Jays tall left-hander. In those moments, nobody cared about the Blue Jays slow start or Fernando Rodney’s release point or any of the normal, run-of-the-mill distractions from working life drudgery provided by slickly-packaged professional sports.

It was a profoundly human moment, where all pretense and income disparity was set aside for eight minutes while a bunch of people just hoped another person would be okay.

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Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox

Today is Jackie Robinson day around baseball, a day marked by reverence and the league-wide adoption of the number 42, honoring the Dodgers second baseman who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. Coming on the heels of the release of the movie 42, telling the tale of Jackie Robinson to a whole new generation of Beliebers and Directioners, gives this year’s edition of Jackie Robinson day a little extra resonance.

In some of the more snide corners of the world, a small amount of Jackie Robinson fatigue pops up on occasion. Some believe the soft-focus blanket coverage obscures the significance of the achievement, or at least cheapens it into a marketing gimmick and the “forced” participation makes the tribute ring a little hollow.

It’s a lazy writerly trick to chalk these feelings to a fabricated straw man so let’s say they could, in the proper light, pass as my own. Until, that is, I take the time to reflect on the true impact of Jackie Robinson’s journey and struggle to reach the Majors leagues, becoming the first African American player to set foot on a big league field.

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There is no good time to receive news like this. The holidays shouldn’t make the news of a young man’s untimely passing any more painful or tragic. Especially when all reports suggest a 36-year old man took his own life.

Former big league outfielder Ryan Freel, best known for his time with the Reds after being drafted in the tenth round of the 1995 amateur draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, is dead at 36.

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“Drugs. Drugs. Drugs. Which are good? Which are bad?”

The melody and lyrics of the vintage public service announcement still resonate, but not because of a nostalgic lesson learned. It’s ironic detachment that fuels our memory. We’re taught from an early age that some drugs are good, and some drugs are bad. However, as we get older, we learn that nothing is truly as black and white as we’re initially led to believe.

This is a lesson gone unlearned by professional sports that still prefer to exist in a sort of Neverland, remaining aloft in ideals that ultimately prove childish. The issue of drugs in sports, as in all walks of life, requires nuance, but the major professional sports leagues insist on handling it with definition that doesn’t actually exist.

No greater example of this can be found than in the recent voter approval for possession of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Despite the evidence of social progress that the vote represents, imagining that the results would change the rules for professional sports in those states is, pardon the expression, a pipe dream.

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Turn And Face The Stranger

Dear Readers:

Of all the things to be proud of as editor of Getting Blanked – the balance of insight and irreverence, the seriousness, the sense of humor, the fantastic contributors, our weekly features, that Bruce Bochy GIF where he just shrugs – I take the greatest mesure of pride in the fact that the blog has never published an annoying post informing its readership of something to do with the website itself. Of course, that changes today.

I’m writing this post to inform you that I’ll no longer be the editor of Getting Blanked. I’m not going too far away. In fact, I’ll still be making contributions to these pages and taking my seat in the podcast studio to talk about baseball whenever the opportunity arises. However, I’ll be extending my focus to things beyond baseball for the next little while, writing in a format that’s not quite blogging, not quite journalism, not quite reporting and hopefully, not quite like any sportswriting before.

I leave all of you in the very capable hands of Drew Fairservice, who will take over the reins as the editorial chariot driver of Getting Blanked. The new Ben Hur of baseball blogging will be assisted by Scott Lewis, whose main duty will be to relay breaking news stories and provide facetious analysis faster than any flippant writer in the business. As I hinted at before, I’ll also be chiming in with the regular Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday feature, as well as a smattering of longer-form pieces.

On the whole, I think these changes make the blog a better place to visit, and I hope that this will be your experience moving forward.

I hate that I’m reduced to the cliché of expressing gratitude to everyone who has taken the time to read my work at Getting Blanked over the last two plus years. However, this is the equivalent of your support and ongoing interest in my opinions leaving me speechless. Thank you very much.

People, when they feel honored, often suggest that it’s a humbling experience. I’ve never understood this. If anything, your reading of my work has emboldened me. It makes me want to be a better writer. And by sparking that drive, I think it’s led to the opportunities with which I’ve been presented. In this sense, I owe a massive debt to you. I hope to repay it with the showcasing of the very best of my abilities moving forward.