Here’s what’s on my mind this Friday morning:
- Jack is back. Man, I’ve missed 24. It’s still the best show on television, with a nod to the Blacklist.
- I’m playing golf today for the first time in nearly 5 months…and enjoying the closest thing to a day off I’ve seen in some time. That is a direct reflection, not of how brutal my life is or something, but how poorly I’ve done at self-management over the last several months. Today is the beginning of my repentance.
- I’ve always thought I was OK at self-management…but it’s like a rip current—you don’t really notice it and then you look up and you’re a half-mile away from where you started.
- People are wondering why there are so many Tommy John surgeries these days. I’ve got an armchair theory. I’ve never been to medical school, but I did pitch for almost twenty years—without an arm problem. Some of my friends had arm problems, and they have several things in common. They played year-round (with no breaks), threw pitches other than a fastball and changeup in Little League, they paid too little attention to conditioning, and they over focused on mechanics rather than feel.
- On the mechanics issue, many pitching coaches teach there is only one way to deliver the ball. There may be a best way, in theory, but, everyone’s body is different. So, if the arm slot or down stride the pitching coach teaches isn’t comfortable to the pitchers body, they teach it anyway. There won’t be a David Cone or Randy Johnson today—with a different delivery that becomes a star, throws tons of pitches for 15 seasons with no major arm problems. Today, we grow pitchers with supposedly perfect mechanics who throw comparatively few pitches, and have two Tommy John’s over ten years.
- Chris Sale of the White Sox is an outlier—different delivery but mad game. Yu Darvish is as well—but he was trained in Japan. Instead, we get Strasburgs and Matt Harveys. Both have wicked stuff, but won’t make it more than ten years in the league. Two or three of those years, they won’t pitch at all.
- The NBA playoffs are so predictable and run by the officials, I can’t even watch them any more.
- And now for our serious subject of the day.
- Mark Cuban spoke up on racism and is paying the price for it this week. There is little, if any, correlation between he and Donald Sterling other than they are NBA owners. Cuban is a straightforward guy, and one the media was calling out for not addressing the Sterling issue. I’m proud of Michael Wilbon and others for calling this what it is…a difficult conversation, but potentially a step forward in race relations discussion. In order for people to move forward, they have to be able to be honest. I’m not saying people shouldn’t be held accountable for what they say—but rather there should be a much broader and more gracious bandwidth of what we as a society feel needs to be held accountable–and a less punitive tone to our “accountability.”
- While I didn’t care for the specific cases Cuban cited, his admonition that we are all racist at one level or another is probably much closer to the truth than the idea that one is either absolutely racist or absolutely not. That’s not how ethics or sin really work—and as long as we think it is—we are making ourselves more vulnerable to the sin of racism. An example would be—we are all liars. Yes, we have all lied, bent the truth, exaggerated, etc. It doesn’t mean we are all equally dishonest, but we are all dishonest to one extent or another. The delusion of saying, “I’m not racist at all,” is extremely dangerous for a host of reasons—though it is a wonderful ideal.
- Here’s a quote from philosophy professor Gregg Ten Elshof that sums up the dangers I think Mark Cuban was pointing to—and a point I happen to agree with: “In the recent history of developed western society, though, racism earned a well-deserved promotion in the ordering of vices. This is all to the good. But with that promotion came an increased emotional cost in the recognition, “I am a racist.” If racism is worse than we thought, then its harder than it used to be to admit to yourself that you’re a racist. And it is at this point that life offers us the self-deception deal. You can experience the satisfaction that rightly belongs to the person who steers clear of the vice of racism if you can but convince yourself that you’re not a racist. Unsurprisingly, a great many people take the deal. What’s surprising is that they’re able to pull it off. And what’s alarming is that if I’ve taken the deal, it will seem to me (as it does in fact seem to me) that I have not” (I Told Me So, pg. 11).
- We also need to be really careful with this whole thought and speech police thing. It’s starting to get a little freaky. People don’t like being controlled, and the more we do speech-at-gunpoint or think-at-gunpoint with people, the more we may win today’s battle, but lose the big war for the heart.
- And, man am I glad Donald Sterling isn’t going to push this to the limit. I’m hoping the Clippers can move forward. A little known fact, I was a Clipper fan from 1985 (when I swore off the Lakers) until my move to Dallas in 2002–when I became a Mavericks fan (home team stuff). Back when I was a kid, it was pretty much me and Billy Crystal. But, moving back to SoCal has rekindled the romance a bit. The Norm Nixon Clips and the Elton Brand Clips are long gone…thank God, and it’s really easy to like this new team sans Sterling.
What’s on your mind this Friday?