Eugene Cho

baseball – clemens, bonds, and schilling

I have had numerous conversations with Jesus about my physical stature [5’7″] and my desire to play professional sports.  To be perfectly honest, being a pastor is not my “dream job.”  I feel called to be a pastor and find deep joy in my “calling.” My dream job:  playing shortstop in Major League Baseball.  I’d be happy with 3rd base but know I’d be relegated to 2nd base because of my mediocre arm.  Since Jesus has ignored my pleas for a miracle, I’m left to play fantasy sports.  Sad.  Very sad.

But at least, I can talk sports.  I’ve somewhat relinquished my obsession with sports and ESPN but still enjoy a good chat around sports.  Baseball has been on my mind.  How can it not be with so much stuff going on?  Let’s throw down and talk baseball.  Here are some topics:

Roger Clemens.  He’s back – again.  No one’s surprised.  And to make things worse, he’s returning with the Yankees.  Damn those Yankees.  He’ll be turning 45 in August.  Has won 7 Cy Youngs and on the most part, had an incredible half-year with the Houston Astros last year.  I’d actually pay to see him pitch live again if given the chance.  Question #1:  Where does Clemens stack on the list of all time greatest pitchers?  Easy top 5 and probably top 3, no?

The guy is getting a pro-rated contract of $28 million dollars.  That comes out to about 4 mil/month.  Goodness.  Yet, he has a stipulation in his contract that doesn’t force him to travel with the Yankees on trips when he’s not pitching.  For $28million, shouldn’t he be traveling with the team?

Barry Bonds.  Get ready for the media barrage.  It’s starting to roll and will get excessive as he approaches the Hank Aaron homerun record.  He hit another one today and is 10 from the record.  More and more conversations about Bonds and the race issue is also clouding this whole story.  Bonds doesn’t have the most inviting personality and the media has reciprocated meanness with meanness.  He’s not portrayed very well.  Add the stuff about BALCO and steroids and the question has to be asked:  Are you for or against him breaking the Hank Aaron record?  We know how Aaron feels about it – he’s not showing up to the games to see his record broken.   Another question:  Where does Bonds rank on the list of Baseball hitters?  Top 5, no?  I’ve never seen Willie Mays play but he would be my #1, Ruth #2, and Bonds #3.  Who’s your top 3?

Curt Schilling.  Future Hall of Famer.  Gutsy.  Gamer.  Outspoken – that’s good and bad.  I was a little stunned that he spoke so vehemently against Barry Bonds this morning:

“I mean, he admitted that he used steroids,” Schilling said during his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan” show. “I mean, there’s no gray area. He admitted to cheating on his wife, cheating on his taxes, and cheating on the game, so I think the reaction around the league, the game, being what it is, in the case of what people think. Hank Aaron not being there. The commissioner [Bud Selig] trying to figure out where to be. It’s sad.

“And I don’t care that he’s black, or green, or purple, or yellow, or whatever. It’s unfortunate … there’s good people and bad people. It’s unfortunate that it’s happening the way it’s happening.”

Actually, Bonds hasn’t admitted to anything.  Lots of people think he used steroids but that’s besides the point.  Did Schilling go too far? Regardless, Curt Schilling has one of the best blogs in baseball.  Will Red Sox nation show up to defend him?  Update: Schilling did issue an apology on his blog today.

The Seattle Mariners keep teasing me with .500 ball.  Let’s get Felix back, let the young boys pitch in the Majors, get Morrow to start, say bye bye to Weaver and make one trade to get a solid #3 pitcher.  And who knows what can happen?  If someone has connections, I just want to field a few grounders on the infield at Safeco Field.  Just once.

FWIW, the Boston Red Sox have a “Clergy Pass” – they allow pastors to enter games for free.  I’ve heard that all pastors got in free a while ago [standing room only] but now only extend one pass per church.  The Mariners need to do this if they want any chance [umm, hope] to return to their winning ways!

Filed under: sports

17 Responses

  1. Here’s a conundrum I’m currently facing. I hate Bonds, everything he stands for, his arrogance, his cheating ways. But i also have him on my fantasy team. Is it hypocritical to openly despise and publicly tear down someone while keeping him on your fantasy team?

  2. Blake says:

    P.E. 5’7″ ain’t short. I’m only 5’8″ on a good day. 😉 Quit raining on my tall-man parade! lol.

  3. Reyes-Chow says:

    Now I KNOW we are kindred spirits, as i too am a MLB wannabee and I only at 5’5″. In high school, I came oh so close to my dream. James Mouton, our 2B was being scouted by the Yankees. Yankees scouts and our game and me at SS. Three errors later and an 1 for 4 game later, my dreams were dashed. Still A’s Fantasy camp awaits in two years for my 40th birthday! Keep the dream alive!

    I feel a blog post coming.

  4. Joshua K. says:

    If you would have asked me a year or two ago if I wanted Bonds to break the homerun record, I likely would have said “absolutely not,” now, I would. Why the change of heart? It could be the media spin as he gets closer, but more I think it is so because — in my mind there is no way he could be cheating now (whether he ever did in the past or not), he still is in fantastic shape, and actually looks like 1) he’s trying and 2) he’s enjoying himself. After last season, Bonds could have thrown in the towel, but he didn’t, he worked his ass off in the off-season, and now it’s paying off for him. That deserves some praise.

  5. Brian says:

    Clemens is overrated. Great pitcher but for that much money, he needs to be pitching more than 5-6 innings/game. I also think it’s BS if he doesn’t travel with the team.

    Best pitchers…Cy Young, Koufax, Clemens.

  6. Dean says:

    Eugene,

    I’ll let you play shortstop if you let me play third base. That has always been my dream as well…somehow church planting was never a dream…but it’s better (and more painful) than I could have dreamed.

  7. Blake says:

    Granted, I’m no baseball fanatic, but shouldn’t Nolan Ryan sit somewhere near the top? I mean, according to wikipedia, he’s got nearly 1200 more strike-outs than Clemens.

  8. e cho says:

    CUTTTING TRUTH: Fantasy sports is destroying people’s rational thinking. I’m surpprised you even drafted him with his injuries. But, he’s delivering for you.

    REYES-CHOW: Did you go to HS in SF? If so, which one?

    JOSHUA: I agree. Maybe, it’s his publicisit. Maybe it’s his kids or he’s just growing up but he seems to be a different person from two years ago. I don’t know why. I just can’t FULLY support him. Same with McGwire. Yuck. Makes me appreciate people like Ripken, Lou Brock, etc. a lot more. I still think it’s an incredible feat but looking at his body compared to his Pittsburgh years is a little eerie.

    BLAKE: Nolan? I don’t know if he’d be in my top 10. Maybe barely.

  9. few4th says:

    I agree about Clemens being one of the best ever. I’ve written about that recently as well. And I agree that Nolan Ryan isn’t a contender for the title of best ever. Nolan is a guy that on a given night could be absolutely unhittable, which he was 7 times in his career. He is the all-time strikeout leader, but he’s also the all-time walks leader by an even larger percentage.

    As far as Schilling goes, I think its nice to hear a guy that’s not afraid to speak out. Its not like what he’s saying isn’t true. Most are just too afraid of the backlash that comes with speaking up.

  10. e cho says:

    few4th: agreed, clemens needs to be in the top 3. for whatever reason, he’s not the most endearing player but his stats literally speak for themselves.

    i think we’re living in a very unique era where we get to see bonds and clemens – who should both be amongst the top 3 player/pitcher conversations.

    and yes, schilling did post an apology on his blog. http://38pitches.com/2007/05/09/public-apology/

  11. Joshua K. says:

    Eugene, I didn’t mean to imply I didn’t think he took steroids, it just hasn’t been admitted — innocent until proven guilty. But yes, looking at him in his early years to know, it’s obvious he did something. There will always be that astrik in my mind (regardless of if it gets put in the record books or not), but I’ve got to admit I’ve been impressed with his level of effort this season, and I think he deserves some praise for that. I don’t know too many 40+ year olds who would put forth that much effort to stay at the top of their game.

    I’ve only seen Clemens pitch once in person, and he gave up five early runs to the Mariners (when he was with the Yankees in ’01 I think), but, I’d pay money to see him pitch again, and would most definitely put him in the top three pitchers of all time.

    Also, it’s important to keep in mind in Nolan Ryan’s days it was only a three man rotation, now it’s five. It’s easier to get more k’s when you’re pitching in an extra 15-20 games a year.

  12. e cho says:

    Another pitch for Clemens – he’s pitched in the home run ball era. Think of the 500 home run hitters currently in baseball and the likely 5-10 that will join in the next 10 years.

  13. winstolv says:

    MLB is an ESPN-Disney theater show based upon:

    ubiquitous steroids and amphetmaines
    corked bats
    pine tar
    rigged games
    illegal gaming
    drunken players (Josh Hancock, Bobby Welch, Orlando Cepeda)
    drunken managers (Tony LaRussa)
    liars (Pet Rose, Curt Schilling, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi)
    Rich white men (George Mitchell, Bud Selig, Donald Fehr and the Club owners)

    MLB = WWE

    Nike says LIVE WRONG! And they do.

  14. Wayne Park says:

    thanks for the post.. I don’t plan on going to Denny’s no more.
    Ah.. Clemens headed back to my old haunts.. that’s good news. I lost faith in my franchise once we bought the hated Johnny Damon. But if we bring Clemens back I just might experience a revival…

  15. chad says:

    Clemens is way up there; however, i think classifying the top pitchers is difficult…are you talking best overall in terms of wins/losses? most powerful/dominating? there are some arguments out there because some players careers were relatively short (Koufax) when compared to others (Ryan, Clemens, Maddux, etc)…is Clemens worth that kind of money? no way! for a guy who only plays every 5 days. if he makes $4.5 million a month as they’ve said, that’s over $1 million per start…now, say he doesn’t make it into the 5th inning in some of those starts. are 3 or 4 innings worth over $1 million? that’s a tough argument in my book…

    Bonds…personally, i don’t care either way; the guy is amazing. steroids or not, you still have to hit the ball solid to put it out of the yard…i actually hope we look back at this era of inflated offensive numbers and recognize the pitchers like Maddux, Clemens, Santana, etc who survived…

    about Schilling…i got a whole lot of nothing…not gonna touch it! i do respect the man…

  16. winstolv says:

    Agreed.

    They are all great liars and dopers.

  17. C W Spiess says:

    Clemens is crap. When did he ever win a Game 7. I’ll take Koufax or Gibson any day.

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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