Sunday, July 30, 2017

Growing pained

And now we go almost-live to the Boston Red Sox' crib, which might be an actual crib, given all the whining and fussing and general crybabyin' going on there these days. It's as if they're following the lead of the Whiner in Chief, President Donald J. "Donny" "Fake News" Trump, who continues to bitch and moan on Twitter because those he considers beneath him (i.e., the media) continue to hold him accountable for his actions.

Is there a grownup in this house? Like, anywhere?

Certainly not in Boston, where David Price was at it again, whining some more about Red Sox color commentator Dennis Eckersley because Eckersley is either A) saying mean things about the team he's watching, or B) telling the unvarnished, sometimes painful truth about the team he's watching. You can probably guess which side the Red Sox come down on.

The Price-Eckersley kerfuffle went public after Price loudly and profanely confronted Eckersley on the team plane a month ago, after Eckersley said something unkind about the rehab start of one of Price's fellow pitchers. Now Price is at it again, doubling down by complaining that Eckersley hardly ever comes into the clubhouse the way other Red Sox announcers do.

A suggestion: Shut your cakehole, David. You're not gonna win this one in the court of public opinion, so just let it go.

Of course, these guys can't let it go, accustomed as they are to so much hero worship since they were playing for Chico's Bail Bonds back in their Little League days. The pampering of promising young athletes, with sometimes ruinous effects to their perspective and self-awareness, is an old and consistent refrain, of course. But sometimes I think we forget just how old.

It's tempting to listen to Price whine and his teammates (who cheered him when he took on Eckersley on the plane) back him up, and put it down to some generational weakness of character. Ah, those millennials. Can't handle criticism because they grew up in the land of instant gratification and participation  trophies, grew up as fragile snowflakes who must be fed a constant diet of self-esteem without merit.

And so Price whining, and his teammates backing his play, and LeBron getting to make up his own rules, and Kyrie deciding he wants to go somewhere he can make up his own rules, too. Except ...

Except that's not what this is about.

This is about the aforementioned stroking of athletic egos. Which, yes, has been going forever.

Back in your father's day, after all, another Red Sox star had his issues with criticism. His name was Ted Williams, and his battles with the Boston media were legendary. It seems Teddy deemed the scribes insufficiently fawning at times, even in an era when they were almost always fawning to a fault. So he dubbed them, sarcastically, the Knights of the Keyboard.

Seventy-five years later, we've got David Price yelling at a broadcaster on the plane.

Same song. Different day.

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