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Quote of the day: Whitey Herzog

Jan 20, 2010, 9:30 AM EDT

The White Rat is none too thrilled with the steroids business:

“The people in St. Louis give Mark McGwire a standing ovation the other
day, and (former major leaguer) Jack Clark said every steroid user
should be banned for baseball, and they booed him. Now, what the hell
is the matter with society when that happens?”

I think what it says is that America cares a hell of a lot less with what you do and a hell of a lot more about how you say and do it.  McGwire was always a nice guy, and however flawed his admission has been, it’s been accompanied by a good bit of humility.  Jack Clark’s scolding was shrill and bitter.  The fact that one guy broke the rules and the other (presumably, anyway) didn’t is a secondary concern when it comes to public opinion.

We’re willing — maybe too willing — in this country to forgive transgressions by
people who are otherwise likable. We have very little tolerance for the
holier than thou.  I’m not saying it should be that way — I can see the arguments on both sides — I’m just saying that it’s always been that way in American society.

  1. Old Gator - Jan 20, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    That’s what comes from living under a deity who keeps finding fun things for us not to do, and boring, obnoxious things – like wasting a beautiful Spring morning droning nonsense while flattening our nates on some brutally hard pew – that he says we have to do. So when an ambulatory rectal orifice like Clark comes along belching fire and brimstone like he invented “the right,” and promising to behave like a misanthropic jerk at a good-times fan fest out of his bloated sense of indignation, we take out all of our cosmic frustrations on him. I can see the point. There’s a good reason for the old Zen proverb, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” And where was Whitey while all this stuff was going on? Napping in his office?

  2. Phil - Jan 20, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    We’re willing — maybe too willing — in this country to forgive transgressions by people who are otherwise likable. We have very little tolerance for the holier than thou.
    So what’s your explanation for Republicans? ;-)

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 20, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    I know you’re joking, but I find that to be an interesting question.
    At the risk of wading into politics, I’ll offer this very shallow thought: Generally, when Republicans win, it’s because they’re more likeable than their opponent. See Brown v. Coakley. See Bush v. Gore. See Reagan v. anyone. There are any number of other examples.
    I’m a big flaming lefty, but I am perfectly willing to admit that the caricature of Republicans as moralistic scolds is overplayed. Sure, there’s the whole religious right thing, but lefties scold too, just about different things. And when either side appears to be the more humorless scold, they tend to lose.
    And I don’t really have a problem with that.

  4. GBSimons - Jan 20, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    Gator, we may disagree close to 100% about religion, but at least we have a love of baseball we can share.

  5. Phil - Jan 20, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    I know you’re joking…
    Only a little.
    At the risk of wading into politics…
    Why not? It can’t be any worse than all the steroid Carrie Nations around here.
    I’ll offer this very shallow thought: Generally, when Republicans win, it’s because they’re more likeable than their opponent.
    Too easy. I’ll give you St Ronnie, but oft times it’s because they are shameless about playing on the fear, anger and the irrational biases of the electorate. I’ve seen far too much of what Howard Dean called the “God, guns and gays” strategy.
    I’m a Southerner whose first work in a presidential campaign was for Clean Gene primarily because of Richard Nixon’s loathsome redeployment of the Dixiecrat’s Southern strategy. There was nothing remotely likeable about Nixon. He could crawl under a snake while wearing a top hat.
    I’m a big flaming lefty
    I’ll bet my flames are bigger than yours. ;-) As far as moralistic scolds go, I’d say it depends on where you are. In Massachusetts, not so much. But down here in Ten Commandments Central…
    But you are also right about scolds on the left. There’s nothing worse than a self-righteous liberal. Talk about zero sense of humor. Where’s Molly Ivins when we need a dose of her irreverence so badly?

  6. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 20, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Excuse me, I didn’t realize I was watching a man ” however flawed his admission has been, it’s been accompanied by a good bit of humility “, oh really, Thanks Craig for informing me because all I heard was a man in denial and in a fantasy about his ability to hit a ball while using steroids. In my opinion McLiar is no better than any player who has been found or admitted to steroid use.

  7. Rays fan - Jan 20, 2010 at 10:47 AM

    …could be that Nixon won election and then (in a landslide) reelection due to two of the worst run campaigns of all time by the Democrats

  8. Phil - Jan 20, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    .could be that Nixon won election and then (in a landslide) reelection due to two of the worst run campaigns of all time by the Democrats
    Granted, but there was also a third party candidacy in ’68 that was far from insignificant. It’s not a stretch to say that without Wallace, Humphrey was the likely winner.
    But none of that makes Nixon likeable, admirable or anything less than the scumbag he was for his entire red-baiting career.

  9. Ron - Jan 20, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    It’s not a stretch to say that without Ross Perot, George Bush, Sr wins in 92, thereby sparing us one man’s attempt to literally screw his way to the top.

  10. senile whitey - Jan 20, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Right on! Screw Whitey. I think baseball has become increasingly boring since everyone stopped juicing. Why shouldn’t everyone take steriods? That way we could have 10 or 15 guys hitting 60 or 70 bombs a year, and Pujols might be able to hit 80 or so and give us another .400 season. That’s the game I want to see. Don’t stand in the way of progress, Whitey.

  11. Phil - Jan 20, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Well, it’s not exactly clear how Perot’s vote would have split, but I’m not a Clinton fan. He’s the worst Democratic president in my lifetime, and Harry Truman was president when I was born. But I suspect my reasons for feeling that way about his presidency are quite a bit different from his more vocal adversaries.
    In fact, I would argue that the lasting legacy of the Nixon administration is a greater gift to the country – normalization of relations with the world’s most populous nation, the EPA, and the initiation of legislation that Gerald Ford signed into law as Title IX (those of you with daughters should applaud) – than any accomplishment of the Clinton years. And as I said, Nixon was pond scum.
    Please remember the fact I loathe the modern Republican Party does not make me a Democrat.

  12. GimmeSomeSteel - Jan 20, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    As much as Iloathe Clinton, the title of “worst Democratic President of my lifetime” has to go to Jimmy Carter. Books have and can be written about all the things he did wrong, so I’ll pass on that.

  13. moreflagsmorefun - Jan 20, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    still pissed Clinton got a blow-ski in the Oval office, get over it

  14. Joey B - Jan 20, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    “…could be that Nixon won election and then (in a landslide) reelection due to two of the worst run campaigns of all time by the Democrats”
    Gore was handed an expanding economy, a nation at peace, and a fairly popular president. He lost his state and the president’s state. He was told by his staff that he had to become an alpha male, you know, advertising to middle-America that he wasn’t an alpha male.
    Dukakis had no real shot, but appearing in a tank in an oversized helmet was so damaging that you’d have thought a republican ran the ad.
    60 Minutes ran an episode based on evidence they knew to be forged. So Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War vet, lost the Vietnam vet vote, to a guy that had daddy get him out of the war.
    At the end of the day, Americans will vote for the guy they don’t mind listening to, the kind of guys you might talk to at a bar. Reagan and Clinton were both charming. Bush Sr wasn’t gifted, but no one wanted to hear Dukakis for four years. Bush Jr was an idiot, but Gore and Kerry are insufferable, and I think that people will vote for an affable VI over someone who’ll make you yearn for fingernails on the chalkboard.

  15. Rays fan - Jan 20, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    Wouldn’t it be nice to turn on C-Span and hear some actual debate, or see votes that didn’t essentially go along party lines every time?
    George Washington was outspoken in stating that there should be no political parites, but sadly it was not to be.

  16. Rays fan - Jan 20, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    I did say “two of the worst,” not “the two worst”–so feel free to decide that some of the others were even worse.
    To your post of past Democrat campaign gaffes, I’d also add Carter’s assertion during his televised debate with Reagan that his then 10-year-old daughter was one of his chief advisers on “nook-ee-yer” proliferation, with Reagan laughing in the background of the camera shot.

  17. Rays fan - Jan 20, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    I did say “two of the worst,” not “the two worst”–so feel free to decide that some of the others were even worse.
    To your post of past Democrat campaign gaffes, I’d also add Carter’s assertion during his televised debate with Reagan that his then 10-year-old daughter was one of his chief advisers on “nook-ee-yer” proliferation, with Reagan laughing in the background of the camera shot.

  18. Old Gator - Jan 20, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    We had a chance to elect Pat Paulson and Dick Gregory in 1968, Howard the Duck in 1976 and set Mary Carey on the road to the White House a few years ago (well hell, if Scott Brown can pose nude and wind up in the senate from Massachusetts, you gwine tell me that Mary Carey can’t work it out on DVD and still win in California???). We blew it all three times and got exactly what we deserved. Just as, as fans, we sat and slurped up all the high drama of the Dinger Yuga (my Hindu term for the steroid era – try it on, it works, and then see my reflections on my years of studying Sanskrit in the Johnny Damon isn’t Retiring thread above), and are now getting exactly what we deserved. As Cowboy Junkies sang in “Thousand Year Prayer,” “We greedily ate what you gave us, the rest we tossed.”
    .
    GBSimons: definitely true about baseball, and all well and good about superst – er, religion, but it’s that 1 or 2 percent that we do agree about that makes me curious.

  19. Phil - Jan 20, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Wouldn’t it be nice to turn on C-Span and hear some actual debate, or see votes that didn’t essentially go along party lines every time?
    Wouldn’t be nice to actually have two parties that differed in any way beyond their rhetoric? It’s really a one party system – the Corporate Party – with two mouths to preserve the illusion of choice.
    Mussolini said that the true name of fascism should be corporatism, because it represents the perfect melding of the goals of the state with the goals of the corporations. Welcome to 21st century America.

  20. Joey B - Jan 20, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    ” I’d also add Carter’s assertion during his televised debate with Reagan that his then 10-year-old daughter was one of his chief advisers on “nook-ee-yer” proliferation, with Reagan laughing in the background of the camera shot.”
    I think it was Gary Hart in the prelims when someone asked him what he’d do if a military plane was flying in from Cuba. It was kind of a stupid question, but his answer that he’d fly a plane next to it, and peek inside to see if the soldiers were wearing uniforms was kind odd. Not as odd as him challenging reporters to follow him, and then being surprised that they did follow him, but funny nonetheless.
    For some reason this reminds me of Paul Tsongas. I thought he was a nice guy, and really bright, but as soon as I heard him talk, I knew he was doomed.

  21. Joey B - Jan 20, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    “Wouldn’t it be nice to turn on C-Span and hear some actual debate, or see votes that didn’t essentially go along party lines every time?
    George Washington was outspoken in stating that there should be no political parites, but sadly it was not to be.”
    I’ll give you the solution, but I fear the liberals will have a conniption.
    You can register as an 18 year old, but in your first year, you have to be registered as an independent. My fear is that kids adopt their parents’ parties, and then spend the rest of their lives rationalizing why their side is always right. I think if they were independents, they would rationalize their decisions, not their party’s. If someone is cognicent of their political beliefs, and wish to change parties, then fine. But I think one year into the experiment, most kids would feel very comfortable being an independent.

  22. Joey - Jan 20, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    I’ll give you the solution, but I fear the liberals will have a conniption
    Absolutely, Joey, because we’re against independent thought, not like the Rs who are instituting a “purity” test for their candidates. In case you were unaware many states, include the one in which I live, don’t require party registration as a precondition to exercising the franchise. So what you want already exists. And it hasn’t solved anything because it’s not party affiliation that’s the problem. It is, and always has been, about the money. As long as the official religion of this country is the Sacred Free Market, it always will be.

  23. joe - Jan 21, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    Well said. We’re always willing to forgive when an apology is humbly given.

  24. Joey B - Jan 21, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    “And it hasn’t solved anything because it’s not party affiliation that’s the problem. It is, and always has been, about the money. As long as the official religion of this country is the Sacred Free Market, it always will be.”
    Perhaps, but I’d bet money that most people just vore for their party affiliation. Sight unseen, I’m betting that you didn’t vote for any conservatives last election. If your card says D, you simply click D all the way down the column. If it says R, you click all the Rs. Certainly not always, but I’d bet more than 50% vote party affiliation.
    I understand that a lot of times, your party affiliation is your best interest. But there are also times where the person you’re voting for is really the second choice. I think you could run someone off the streets for president for either party, and he’d still get close to 40% of the vote.

  25. Watch Mental Online - Jan 21, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    Hey . Thanks for this awesome Note . Keep up the awesome job. Looking for another post. BTW. Gush.. it is almost 3 at the morning – need to go sleep :D cu.

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