Watching Jeff DaVanon

Watching Jeff DaVanon

A weblog devoted to #55 of the Anaheim Angels, Jeff DaVanon. How is he doing? Is he getting his due respect yet? Let's watch and see...

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Watching... and Ranting

So of late it seems like I should rename this blog "watching Jeff DaVanon sit on the bench" or "watching Jeff DaVanon play nice outfield but not get any hits" or "watching Jeff DaVanon and the rest of the team go 0-for-5" or, my favorite "watching Jeff DaVanon get the last out of the game leaving men on base, again."

So I haven't felt like posting. And there wasn't all that much to post.

But I did want to (perhaps belatedly) address one issue from the last week. I'll address it badly. And without a clear understanding of all the issues. And I can't even be bothered to remember the names of the people involved. I'm sorry for that, but not sorry enough to stop me from writing this or to force me into doing more through research. This is a blog, don't people come here expecting poorly-reasoned opinion pieces with little basis in fact?

I've been appalled by the debate surrounding the chair-throwing incident. As a fan, if I were to throw something onto the field at a game, I'd be subject to ejection. If I were to throw something *at* a player, I'd be totally subject to ejection. If I hit a player/ other person, I'd probably be banned from the stadium for at least a year, if not for life. And if I hit a player/ other person and caused physical harm to him or her, I'd be ejected from the game, banned from the stadium, and subject to criminal charges and personal liability. No one would care why I had thrown something. My personal passion for the situation would not lesson my responsibility or be brought up as some sort of justification or even passable excuse for what I had done. Furthermore, throwing a chair (an imprecise instrument) into a crowd of people, goes beyond a basic inappropriate violent response. It shows reckless disregard for humanity and human life. If you are going to have an inappropriate violent response, you at least need to be accurate and only harm the target of your violence. Throw a punch for crying out loud. You do not throw a chair.

To me, this is incredibly clear-cut. But I guess not to everyone. First, I was supposed to be sympathetic because a criminal conviction could lead to the player's deportation. Too bad.

Then, I was supposed to excuse his behavior because the fans were taunting him. This one was hard to figure out. An aquaintance of mine is a former ballplayer, and he didn't think that what the guy did was right, but he totally understood why he had done it. "People are terrible to you," he said, "they call you names, say things about your mother, your playing ability, it can get really ugly and really personal." "What about security?", I wanted to know. "As a visiting team, there are a number of stadiums where security will simply not respond to your requests. " That isn't right, security should be relatively impartial.

I couldn't identify what was wrong in this situation. Couldn't put my finger on what was wrong about the attempts at making excuses and even justifications. Words can be hurtful and powerful things. But we all have to learn the fine art of walking away or shutting out words that are designed to incite us. Didn't we all have to survive middle school? Was I the only one who was called terrible things on a daily basis, and taunted, and had things said about my mother? Wasn't that a fairly universal experience? Then it hit me-- a lot of these players, especially the Americans, were probably on the flip side of those middle school days. They probably weren't teased or taunted or called very many names-- they were athletes, or at least athletic. They grew up ill-equipped to deal with it. And now the tables turn. The taunting victims of our childhoods sit in the stands and relish the idea of taunting. And those who either taunted, were exempt from being taunting recipients, or grew up in a land where such things happened differently, have to learn the skill of ignoring. And I guess it isn't an easy skill to learn. But come on, be a grown-up! Throwing a chair should never be an acted-on impulse! And if it is, then take your punishment like all the rest of us. And stop trying to excuse the inexcusable or worse yet, justify the unjustifiable.

I’m not sure if that was aimed at me in any way (a lot of people seem to think I’ve been defending Francisco) but I feel I must respond. You know, just in case.

I’m not trying to defend Frank Francisco in any way- I’m not even trying to justify what he did. He broke one of the cardinal rules of baseball, not to mention several laws. He deserves to be suspended for at least a year and tried to the full extent of the law, IMO. And, most of all, I hope that woman sues him for all he’s worth.

All that I’m saying is that the Oakland A’s organization played a part in this as well. If it is true that the Rangers specifically asked for more security in that area of the stadium, and that request was denied or ignored, the A’s organization deserves some type of punishment. Especially when it comes out a few days later that they had received similar complaints from other teams.

Please, by all means, drop the hammer on Francisco. But let’s not ignore other parties that may have played a part in this.
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