Star Unfairness

Roy Halladay pitchers for the first time at Rogers Centre in a Phillies Uniform

Being unable to challenge our current beliefs. It’s a black mark on our society. We continually accept things because it’s the way it has always been done. I wish we could change that.

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Sports are similar to life in so many ways. The elite of society get the benefit of the doubt. For example, rich men get beautiful women and the beautiful women are so often let off the hook.

In this sense, professional sports are no different.

The Wade’ and Kobe’s in basketball get more fouls called, the Brady’s and Manning’s in football get more yellow flags tossed in their favour and the Roy Halladay’s of the world get a bigger strike zone.

And here I am thinking that equality was something society strived toward.

The Blue Jays and Phillies game today featured Roy Halladay’s long awaited return to the city of Toronto. The game also featured some very inconsistent but typical game calling from home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez.

The fans sure let him know it and more so than any regular season game I have ever seen.

For 9 innings, Alfonso Marquez was giving the benefit to Roy Halladay while Blue Jay pitchers were forced to pitch in a confined strike zone. It all culminated in Blue Jay reliever Jon Rauch’s very amusing ejection. He had reason to be upset considering a 3-2 curve ball that caught the knees on Ryan Howard, that would have ended the inning, was called a ball. He blew up after the next batter, Shane Victorino, hit a single to drive in a run.

He didn’t blow up because of the one call though. It was the frustration of an entire game in which the better team and the better pitcher received better treatment. According to Pitch FX, the Blue Jays had 10 strikes called balls while the Phillies had 1.

The typicality in this kind of umpiring is nothing new. It is everything that is wrong with the mentality of society and how we see people above us. These people are special and we believe they should be treated in that way. Apparently, they have earned something that puts them above the rules.

Greg Maddux built a career on being able get strikes called on pitches thrown 3, 4 and even 5 inches off the plate. These were Pitches that batters had less of a chance at hitting than a chess champion has at picking up Jessica Alba. I guess umpires felt bad for Maddux and his perfect control. He needed extra room off the plate too.

The plate that is supposed to be set in stone. It is there for a reason yet umpires continually choose to expand it for stars like Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera. It makes great pitchers absolutely unhittable.

Star players haven’t earned the right to bend the rules and rookies shouldn’t have to earn the right to get calls within the rules. The rules are put in place to ensure fairness. Every single player should have earned the right to get the same call as the next no matter how many years they have played in the league or how many 0’s are in their contract.

Referees, umpires, fans, players, former players, writers and analysts all seem to find this appropriate. That should make us livid.

We expect superstars to get better treatment when it should not be the case. It is another one of those instances in society where we accept it because it is the norm and always has been.

Do you think it’s fair when multi-bizzilionaire Alex Rodriguez gets out of paying a speeding ticket and you don’t when you’re struggling to pay the bills with 2 kids and a second mortgage on the house? I didn’t think so.

It also isn’t fair for Carlos Villaneuva to have to fight for every strike when his considerably more talented counterpart Roy Halladay does not.

I’m not sure what makes me angrier. Star players receiving every edge imaginable or people unwilling to challenge completely illogical societal norms.

When are fans going to step and say that this isn’t okay? When are fans going to step up and say that we can’t ignore this any longer?

Talent across sports will never be on an equal plain but there is no reason why the rules can’t be. Stop excusing the problem with “he has earned it” and start challenging the issue at hand.

As similar as sports can be to life it still isn’t the real world. This might be a fact of life but it doesn’t have to be a fact in sports.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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Rings Don’t Mean a Thing

What if Ben Roethlisberger had done that again this year?

2 rings. Coulda been 3 Big Ben.

1 touchdown away from Super Bowl immortality. A perfect execution of the 2 minute drill the only obstacle in his way. Alas, it was not meant to be.

As good a quarterback as Ben Roethlisberger is, his performance in the Super Bowl showed us why we shouldn’t base so much of a player’s value on championship victories.

Prior to the Super Bowl, there was a lot talk of whether or not Ben Roethlisberger is deserving of a Hall of Fame spot. Tough question considering the man is only 28 years old and at this point there is probably not too much point in dissecting this issue.

Ben Roethlisberger’s overall numbers are not Hall of Fame worthy by any means. However, the fact that he has 2 championship rings and was very close to 3 puts him into that discussion. A couple bounces here and there for the Steelers and the difference in our view of Ben Roethlisberger is vastly changed.

The issue at hand here though are the championships that allow Ben Roethlisberger to be considered in Hall of Fame discussion so early in his career and the lack of championships that see us questioning the greatness of athletes such as Dan Marino.

Clutch play under the most pressure packed situations is part of what defines great players. It should go without saying that part of winning championships is the ability to overcome the difficult conditions.

With that being said, it’s hard to understand why the brilliance of an individual player is centered so much around championships in such team oriented sports.

It is only on rare occasions where you will see me defending Lebron James but the fact that he still hasn’t won a championship at this point in his career should not diminish his greatness in any sense. Don’t get me wrong, I was as happy as anyone to see Lebron quit, yes quit, on his Cavaliers against the Boston Celtics. Nevertheless, now that we have been able to see what the Chosen One’s supporting cast is really like it is astounding that he ever got as close as he did to winning the NBA finals.

Imagine if Lebron had decided to stay in Cleveland and continually was surrounded by a sorry excuse for championship contending cast. If those were the circumstances, maybe in 10 years we would be talking about how Lebron just can’t win the big game and all the reasons why he is no Michael Jordan. True, Lebron James is no Michael Jordan, but the importance of championships is constantly overshadowing his undeniable dominance.

If he doesn’t win a championship with his Miami Heat, well that’s a story for another day.

Ben Roethlisberger has played on some outstanding teams and, especially in his first Super Bowl, played more of a game manger’s role. Is there any way in which the Steelers’ could have won if Roethlisberger had to carry an increased load on offence? Probably not. It isn’t mentioned enough either that the Steelers won Roethlisberger’s first Super Bowl largely because of a couple of blown calls that still give official Bill Leavy nightmares

1 ring and the Hall of Fame talk disappears. 3 rings, suddenly Roethlisberger is thrust alongside the Troy Aikman’s and Terry Bradshaw’s.

I may be too young to break down the intricacies of Dan Marino’s Miami Dolphin teams. However, it is well-known that he wasn’t surrounded by talent that for the most part was championship worthy. You can’t blame Dan Marino for being unable to bear the burden of less than adequate teams.

It’s this same injustice that results in more worthy players being left off all-star team’s because their general manager has yet to surround them with talent worthy enough of competing with the best in the game. *Cough* Kevin Love *Cough*

Sure, some of the failure to win comes from the individual player himself, but in team sports like basketball, football and hockey, you can hardly put the sole cause of that inability to win on the most prominent player like many people do.

Peyton Manning has proven to us throughout his career that he often doesn’t have the capability to duplicate his regular season type of performances in the playoffs. Even in his lone Super Bowl victory his stats were less than impressive. Then again, what if Peyton Manning had an offensive line similar to the one Tom Brady has been blessed with throughout his career.

Again, a completely different story to tell your grandchildren.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I am on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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