By Ronald N. Guy Jr.
Scott Pruett had a great week.
Dude has been racing professionally on various circuits, including a short NASCAR stint primarily as a road course specialist, since Miami Vice was cool. In January, after three decades behind the wheel of one super-motorized rocket on wheels or another, he called it a career.
But the sunset he rode…rather drove into has been a bit obstructed by cloud cover.
Speculating, but the name association had to have been a drag. Or inescapable nightmare? That single vowel separating Pruett from the much more dubious Scott Pruitt - now former head of the Environmental Protection Agency who laid waste to every shred of the agency’s environmental protection that he could, displayed a moral and ethical compass similar to his boss and generally just couldn’t get enough of being a despicable human - was not nearly enough differentiation. Not nearly.
That’s over now, though. And who could be more thrilled by Scott Pruitt’s demise…than Scott Pruett, eh?
As Blues Traveler might say, “But anyway”…this isn’t about Scott Pruett. Or Scott Pruitt. Or Blues Traveler. It’s about another Scott and a different “band” – Scotty Boras and the Floppers.
With me? Barely? Understandable…
Statement of the obvious: Bryce Harper’s having a bad year. Through last Sunday’s game Harper, the free-agent-to-be, is batting an abysmal .218. He leads the team in homeruns (21) and RBI (50), and walks a lot, but with that paltry batting average it is difficult to have the game-to-game impact expected from a former MVP.
Harper’s confusing season also complicates what has promised to be, since the moment he arrived in the major’s, the most anticipated free agency sweepstakes since, well…ever?
Lee Majors was once “The Six Million Dollar Man”; Harper has designs on being baseball’s first $400 Million Dollar Man (bionics might actually be cheaper than Bryce). With this season’s performance, his propensity to get hurt and minimal defensive contribution (right field…not a “high leverage” position), it’s hard to see the bidding going that high.
Ah, but Harper’s agent, the insufferable Scott Boras, has answers and solutions. In a recent interview, Boras claimed that Harper’s talent has led teams to “starve him from the strike zone” and that defensive shifts are “discriminatory” for left-handed hitters. To the latter point, Boras suggested that MLB modify the rules to allow its best offensive talents (like Harper) to shine. In other words, Harper isn’t responsible for his struggles; he’s a victim of his greatness and an unfair system. Oh the hardship. Poor Bryce. Boo, hoo, hoo…
While Boras was spewing excuses, the rest of his “bandmates” – The Floppers, a.k.a. World Cup soccer players - were writhing all over the pitch. Have you seen this nonsense? Players barely get touched (if at all) and fall to the ground as if assaulted by an Avenger and convulse like Dr. Frankenstein was shocking them to life. Neymar, Brazil’s star footballer, has his own flopping short film. And these are world class athletes competing in the sport’s crown jewel tournament? It is a cowardly, deceitful abomination. Note to flopping soccer players: when you disrespect competitive athletics, it is hard to respect you or your game.
Now gather around children, it’s time for the grumpy old school man on the porch lecture, or…discussion.
So what to make of this, kiddos? Well, from Mr. Harper’s agent/apologist, we learned that if you aren’t performing, it’s someone else’s fault. And, because you are so, so special, rules will be bent to ensure your success – even if they’ve been in place for a century. Really, it’s no bother – you’re that important.
Pardon me? Oh yes, please hook up your little egos to that air compressor. Full blast…
Now while your sense of self-importance inflates, consider the soccer floppers. What did you glean from them, boys and girls? Yes!…that it’s okay to make a mockery of your profession, as long as it serves your needs, that dishonesty is just fine and that self-respect is overrated. After all, winning and your image is what matters, certainly not how you played the game.
Which is all to say, hide your eyes kids…a horror flick is playing.
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