Tuesday, July 20, 2010

McCarver makes right point in wrong way

Baseball analyst Tim McCarver was right to call the New York Yankees childish for trying to minimize Joe Torre's role in the team's late 1990's dynasty. But he was flat wrong comparing Yankee officials to World War II leaders in Germany and Russia.

McCarver was trying to make a legitimate point about the lack of tribute paid to the former manager by officials in the organization, most notably snubbing Torre during the festivities celebrating the last game at the old Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have every right to be angry with Torre if they feel he violated organizational confidences in the writing of his book the Yankee Years. But these attempts to undermine his legacy, aided in part by revisionist history writing by the New York media, are petty and childish. On that point, McCarver is right on target.

The mistake he made was in invoking the image of a painful war that cost the lives of millions of innocent people. Like Dwyane Wade, McCarver has discovered that the mere mention of a national tragedy in the context of discussing a sports issue is unwise, potentially hurtful and detracts from the reasonable argument he was trying to make.

But I hope that this doesn't turn into something akin to a political ploy, where critics blast away at one part of a comment in the hopes that people will ignore the larger, legitimate point. It is absolutely fair to say, as McCarver did in a very clumsy way, that the Yankees have not properly honored Torre's legacy and should rectify that as soon as possible.

Thanks to Matt314 via Wikipedia for the photo.

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