From baseball fans to sports writers, everyone seems to have an opinion about the lack of movement by the Toronto Blue Jays at the non-waiver trade deadline. The team was in need to fill a hole in the rotation but the Blue Jays were not in a position to make the right move. Contrary to public opinion, I, for one, don’t believe in making a trade just for the sake of it.
It kind of reminds me of an old saying: everybody is a critic. I guess I include myself in this group. But there are far too many people ranting without a cause. Most of them are in the professional ranks. Their skin is either as thin as the paper they write for, or they have anger issues, or both. They also don’t believe they have to back up what they say. It takes some knowledge of the game (or the subject) to make an argument. In Canada, especially in Toronto, people think their knowledge of hockey is superior simply because they have the name of the country on their passport.
Toronto Blue Jays analyst Gregg Zaun is one of the good ones because he knows the game of baseball and articulates it well. He has been on Alex Anthopoulos’ case since the day he took over as Blue Jays’ General Manager. But Zaun understands reality too. While he was disappointed at the failure of the Blue Jays to add a starting pitcher, he knows it takes two to tango and either the asking price was too steep or teams had no interest in talking to the Blue Jays in the first place.
Criticism is a knife that cuts both ways. ESPN’s Jason Whitlock and Stephen A. Smith found that out the hard way when they recently made some controversial comments, Whitlock and his take on Canadian basketball players and Smith on the suspension of Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice. Whitlock may have expected some brushback after saying players from Canada are not motivated to win in the NBA. But he must have thought it would not be as harsh especially from “polite” Canadians or else he would not have written it. He went on Toronto radio station the Fan 590 to clarify his remarks but fell short of a full retraction. Smith had that same feeling. He must have believed his peers, especially in the African American community, would have his back in his analysis of the domestic assault accusation against Rice. Instead, he received a lot of backlash. Smith would later apologize but ESPN decided to suspend him for a week. I would guess he will use the time to count the number of stab wounds on his back.
Then there’s Rush Limbaugh. The conservative radio talk show host is never shy when it comes to rattling people’s cages. His remarks on Donovan McNabb while McNabb was quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles drew plenty of outrage. But since then, more and more people, including blacks, have come to the realization that McNabb was indeed overrated as Limbaugh pointed out but no one seemed to come up with enough guts to give credit where credit is due.
With the internet and social media, opinions are no longer confined to the Letters to the Editor page of the local newspaper. But take their arguments with a grain of salt. It takes more than stoking the fire to sway public opinion. In the end, the truth will come out on top.