Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Boogie Nights

There's a story in the NY papers today about Randy Johnson and his legal battles with a woman with whom he had a child in 1998. Now this really doesn't have anything to do with sports but I just had to comment on this one. I'm assuming that Randy isn't a serial bastard maker ( e.g., Shawn Kemp, Larry Johnson, Evander Holyfield, just to name a few), but seriously why would the press feel the need to jump on a story like this. The only reason I can think of is that they just want to embarrass him. Randy didn't get off to the smoothest of starts here with NY press and he's known to be a little bit on the surly side. However, I'm not sure that's enough of a reason to splash his personal life across the front of the newspaper. Randy Johnson is a baseball player and a Hall of Fame baseball player to boot. His personal life has no bearing on his performance and frankly it is of dubious news value. This looks like a case of the press just trying to get even with someone they don't like.

How would the press react if Bernie Williams had an illegitimate child? Would they be so willing to make front-page news of that fact? Would the fact that Bernie is known as a good guy and has always been very accommodating to the press make them kill that story? How about Mariano Rivera or Tino Martinez or any of the Yankees that are perceived to be "good guys"? I would think that they wouldn't print that story. First of all, it's nobody's business. Secondly, it has nothing to do with their performance on the field. These guys are not public officials whose lives should be subject to this kind of scrutiny. Being a public figure (especially in sports) should not mean that your private life is an open book. I can understand why players are so guarded with the press. How would you feel if everything that you have ever done was put under the microscope of press scrutiny? I'm sure that everyone has done things that they are not proud of and would not like to made public.

Randy fathered this child before he was married. This is not a lurid tale of cheating or scandal. This is a personal matter that took place long before Randy was even a star player. While the circumstances of an unwanted pregnancy and single parenthood are always are always slightly tragic, it is simply not a story that is worthy of this kind of press attention. Look, Randy may not be Mr. Sunshine, but it's clear that this is really beyond the scope of his profile as an athlete. If people in the press have personal issues with Randy Johnson, then they should discuss that with him. They should feel free to criticize his performance on the field all they want, but this is above and beyond the call of duty. I'm sure Randy doesn't need me to defend him, but clearly he can't say these things in the press because they would simply crucify him even more.

Here is an example of a story that the NY press chose not to report on; this is from a profile of Hideki Matsui in Asian edition of Time Magazine:

"His only eccentricity, if it can be called that, is his extensive private library of adult videos. His refreshing ability to laugh self-deprecatingly about his porno collection, reporters say, is one reason why fans and even non fans have taken to him so much. He likes to watch his much vaunted porno collection tapes that he often trades with Japanese reporters. As one Japanese journalist put it, describing Matsui's affinity for such unique Japanese cultural institutions like the no-panties shabu-shabu in Japan, "Matsui is a horny guy. All of us are horny, more or less. But Matsui doesn't attempt to hide the fact." Yet another win for the Japanese Everyman."

Apparently Mr. Matsui loves his porn, but the NY press chose not to pick up that story. Let's leave baseball players personal lives out of the story. It really doesn't add anything to the fans enjoyment of the game. Anyway, on my behalf, I'd like to offer an apology to Randy Johnson. And to Hideki Matsui; it's fortunate for you that nobody reads this thing.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matsui added my stash to his collection when I got married. I also taught him the "Say you like it!" move.

4:26 PM  

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