Friday, November 13, 2009
On Several Decisions That Seem To Defy Logic
Because it's Friday the 13th. Because the sky is angry. Just because.
1. So just last night, LeBron James made a command decision to shed his signature number, 23, out of respect for ruthless egotist, tongue-contortionist and expert shoe salesman Michael Jordan. That's all very nice, as is LeBron's overarching desire to retire Jordan's No. 23 altogether, thereby elevating an undeniably transcendent basketball player whose greatest political stand came when he used an American flag as a sponsorial shield to the level of, say, Jackie Robinson. "There would be no LeBron James, no Kobe Bryant, no Dwyane Wade if there wasn't Michael Jordan first," LeBron said, and then he declared he would change his number to 6, which is Julius Erving's number. Of course, it is not difficult to argue that without Julius Erving, there would be no Michael Jordan. Therefore, I propose that the No. 6 be retired, as well, along with every number worn by any Hall of Fame player in the history of basketball, and that LeBron, in an overarching tribute to capitalism itself, replace his jersey number with an oversized American flag.
2. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani, America's Failed Presidential Candidate, has named his top candidates for Time magazine's Person of the Year, since either A.) His opinion still matters to some indiscernible demographic of xenophobic hotheaded Yankee-lovers, or B.) He will do your panel discussion the cheap. Giuliani's choices were The Economy and Derek Jeter. Now, one of these things is not even a person, and the other is simply based upon the ways people use their environment to meet their material needs. Then again, this is a man who once spent several minutes on the radio berating a ferret. How he still has any career at all is one of the great mysteries of the post-9/11 world.
3. And then there is Bud Selig, who seems wholly determined to tether his legacy to a nostalgic sense of intransigence. As baseball failed to consider expanding its instant-replay policy, Selig said this: "Life is changing and I understand that. I do like the human element and I think the human element for the last 130 years has worked pretty well. There have been controversies, but there are controversies in every sport." It's a good thing you enjoy controversies, Mr. Commissioner, because that's pretty much been the default position of the game itself since you took it over and began running it slowly into the dirt. Since the 1990's baseball has become defined by series of tangential controversies and concerns--over drugs, over economics, over statistics, over umpiring, over labor disputes, over Giuliani's seat placement. On most of these, Selig is at least partly to blame; in fact, can I blame him entirely for No. 2 (above)? After all, he is the human element in baseball. He's right, though--life is changing, and this is why baseball no longer matters the way it once did.