Despite a lot of manufactured outrage from fans and media, Nelson Cruz was allowed to play in Monday’s winner-take-all game against the Rays. Perhaps a bit rusty, he went 0-for-4 and managed to be the game’s final out.
As Tampa’s players bounced around the infield, tweets started popping up about just how fitting it was that Cruz should be the one to end the Rangers’ season.
There was this…
…followed a minute later by this…
I responded to the first tweet, pointing out to Mr. Knopf that the Rays’ roster currently sports an accused rapist (Josh Lueke), an anti-Semite (Delmon Young), a homophobe (Yunel Escobar), and a birther (Luke Scott).
Mr. Knopf, proud Rays fan that he is, assumed it was sour grapes and blew me off.
I understand a willingness to overlook a player’s character flaws if that player happens to be helping your team win. Matt Garza has some pretty backwards ideas regarding gender roles, but that never stopped me from wanting him to succeed (on the field) so long as he was wearing TEXAS across the front of his jersey.
Somehow we’ve gotten to the point where juicing is the only thing a player can do to earn our unwavering scorn. Racism? Homophobia? Sexual assault? They’re nothing compared to CHEATING!
The sins of Lueke, Young, Escobar, and Scott aside, what about other players with off-the-field issues? In February 2011 Miguel Cabrera was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. A year and a half later he struck out to end the World Series.
Where was the sanctimony then? Where were the cries of “Sweet justice!” and “That’s what you get, Miggy!”?
Nellie is hardly blameless, but he never endangered anyone’s lives. He never broke any laws or tried to personally destroy anyone. He cheated, he got caught, and he served his suspension without incident.
If you genuinely believe that he was the worst person on the field Monday night, then you seriously lack perspective.
Press on, baseball fans.