FanDuel - WFBC

September 05, 2007

Non-Prospect Diaries: San Diego non-prospect Dirk Hayhurst writes a blog for Baseball America about day-to-day life in the minors.

posted by yerfatma to baseball at 11:33 AM - 16 comments

I agree with Hayhurst's assessment of autographs. I never really got the allure of them either. I used to have a bunch of autographs I collected as a kid, but I threw them away when I realized I wasn't even sure whose autographs they were. I'd rather share a handshake. Or dinner. Or a round of martinis. I'm having trouble picturing the design of a ballfield that gives fans access to any area in the sightline between the bullpen and the ballfield during a game. That said, the whole "look through you like you're not even there" act is pathetic and lame. It is so classless and undeservedly dehumanizing and belittling to the fan. And Hayhurst comes off not just a little hypocritical when he claims "I disagree that I am somehow more valuable because I do this job." Seriously, if you don't think you're any better than anybody else, and you recognize the "humanity" in yourself through your flaws, how can you turn around and send the message you send by not even having the decency to recognize another person standing right in front of you. The "well, I have to" argument is lazy, in my opinion. It seems rude and heartless, Hayhurst, because it is rude and heartless, and moreover it gives the impression that you hold yourself so much higher than the person standing in front of you that you can't even see them. Sorry to dwell on the negative of an otherwise nice story, but it shouldn't take mention of the word "cancer" for ballplayers to treat civilians like human beings.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 01:25 PM on September 05

That's a really good article. He's a good writer. I could see how players would have to separate themselves from fans. Especially children. If any ball players made eye contact with me as a kid, I would have screamed at them the whole game.

posted by Slaptastic at 01:27 PM on September 05

it shouldn't take mention of the word "cancer" for ballplayers to treat civilians like human beings. Sure, but after the five millionth person to treat you like a talking zoo animal, you might develop a bit of armor as well.

posted by yerfatma at 02:39 PM on September 05

Crafty, I've read a couple of things lately about Red Sox fans and they way they have become nearly abusive to Terry Francona when they encounter him away from the field. Fully understanding that these are Red Sox fans, and that abusive behavior probably is included in the definition thereof, it still makes me understand why professional athletes at any level have to try to maintain their distance. Most teams and their players have special events for children afflicted with various diseases and handicaps. The players give unstintingly of their time, and frequently their money, to help out. There are also opportunities for fans willing to part with a few bucks to get to meet players. Thus, there's a time and a place for fan contact, and violating a player's privacy, either during a game or in a restaurant in the off season, seems to me to be rude behavior. I'm willing to wager that Hayhurst's attitude about being no better than anyone else is shared by most players. Unfortunately, few of us fans are willing to concede that point and to treat players like the humans they really are.

posted by Howard_T at 03:22 PM on September 05

Wow, good read, thanks. MLB may not be in this guy's future, but I bet he could fall into journalism pretty easily when the minor league thing winds down.

posted by cybermac at 04:01 PM on September 05

Crafty, just to clarify, my immediate reaction was the same as yours, that how he described their handling of fans wandering up was gross. I came to think the honesty was pretty good for someone in his situation.

posted by yerfatma at 04:39 PM on September 05

That said, the whole "look through you like you're not even there" act is pathetic and lame. Don't we all just ignore people from time to time, though? Whether it is the drunk on the subway, the pickup artist at the bar, or the old lady at the supermarket who's still trying to tell us how much better the produce was when she was younger. It doesn't make it OK, but I know I don't want to have to interact with every single person I encounter during my day, especially if they are trying to interrupt me from my work. It is very well written. I kept thinking, "a baseball player wrote this?"

posted by Rock Steady at 05:02 PM on September 05

Sure, but after the five millionth person to treat you like a talking zoo animal, you might develop a bit of armor as well. posted by yerfatma Unfortunately, few of us fans are willing to concede that point and to treat players like the humans they really are. posted by Howard_T I think my reaction might have been softer if Hayhurst's compaint was more "if you acknowledge them, they treat you like a talking meat stick" and less "if you acknowledge them, they envelope you in fawning admiration." Much harder to sympathize with the plight of the latter. I am also reacting in my head to an instance (fortunately I have only one) where I saw a guy, representing the Baseball Hall of Fame, at Doubleday Field before the Hall of Fame Game, ask a player for a one-minute interview and get this same reaction. I won't give the player's name, but he is a career reserve outfielder who should have been grateful that the Hall of Fame was willing to acknowledge him for a full minute. I think the behavior is just utterly juvenile and classless. I understand these guys have to deal with rude people. In my book, it's part of their job. In the ballpark especially, how hard is it to tell rude people they're being rude? If that makes them ruder, get security. And again, how do fans get in the sightline of the bullpen during ballgames anyway? Don't we all just ignore people from time to time, though? Most of us don't get very far ignoring the people who pay our salaries. Equating the behavior of ballplayers to everyday people just doesn't seem to work very well. And the behavior doesn't seem to be universally adopted by all ballplayers, which leads me to believe it is avoidable. I'd like somebody to find a story of Big Papi or Pujols or Jeter, etc. pulling a stunt like this*. *And by "stunt like this" I don't mean blowing by a group of screaming autograph seekers, but deliberately looking right past somebody without moving.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 05:29 PM on September 05

Crafty: Name and shame dude. Name and shame.

posted by Drood at 06:46 PM on September 05

Most of us don't get very far ignoring the people who pay our salaries. Most of us never see those people. Not really a fair comparison. If my salary were directly dependent on the average drooling cranial amuptee John Q. Public, I'd be begging on the streets right now.

posted by yerfatma at 07:01 PM on September 05

I see the people who pay my salary all the time. I speak to them daily. There's a file for their correspondence in my inbox. It's named "Clients". And damn do I fawn all over them. Of course, I'm infinitely more replaceable, less specialized and frankly, ugly as sin. I don't think it bares the same consideration. I think this is personal preference kind of thing, and both cases have their merits. But I have a hard time hearing it from some Triple A dude who is famous in approximately 4 squares blocks of his stadium and 4 square blocks of his hometown. Good gravy hardass, cut the twelve damn kids some slack. It's prima donna practice.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:17 PM on September 05

Plan A: Be nice to to the fans who want your autograph. They are the ones who pay money to come see you play, and may just admire and look up to you. And you may have to deal with them in the real world when you are not a ball player. Also, try to ignore the jerks and learn to be able to tell the difference. Plan B: Quit playing baseball and get a dayjob. Enjoy your anonymity!

posted by THX-1138 at 10:39 PM on September 05

Drood: I would hate it if somebody pulled one of my posts and used it as evidence that I am a first rate jerk. I'd much rather they gather all the posts and make a compelling case of it. Yerfatma: I tried to make that very point with the sentence that followed the one that you pulled, but I did a poor job of it. And just for the record, if you were a beggar in the street, I would definitely give you quarter. I might pull it from your reach two or three times first, but I would definitely give it to you, even knowing you would blow it on a cable upgrade to get NESN. Weedy: I have a hard time hearing it from some Triple A dude who is famous in approximately 4 squares blocks of his stadium and 4 square blocks of his hometown. Good gravy hardass, cut the twelve damn kids some slack. It's prima donna practice. At the risk of fawing all over you, that is deadly accurtainment. Well said.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 12:25 AM on September 06

The last paragraph resonates with me.There IS a magical feeling when you put on a baseball uni. I played right field in the Babe Ruth league as a teen; much sandlot ball but that ol' feeling came right back 20 years later in Germany when I was one of the pitchers on our Army softball team. We really only had t shirts the same but most of us bought similar baseball pants, caps etc. I was still pretty good with a stick and I could strike 'em out in both bloop anfd fast pitch. Only problem was when we faced a unit team who had female and male hitters.To my great chagrin ( and CEASLESS shit talking from MY team mates) I was unable to do much but walk or hit the gals. I was usually benched when we played a mixed team.

posted by sickleguy at 07:04 AM on September 06

Honesty's a wonderful thing, but when the honesty reveals you to be a huge douche ... not so much. And to the folks who have said Hayhurst should be a journalist after he leaves the game, I hope you're kidding. I find it a little disturbing Baseball America apparently doesn't find it necessary to edit this to read grammatically properly, unless that's supposed to be some of the folksy charm of these pieces.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:45 PM on September 07

If his blog is only self-edited I'll rate it as some pretty good writing. Some good observations and thought provoking angles. I'll definitely be checking back in to read his blog from time to time.

posted by SportsNarrative at 12:09 AM on September 09

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