A Few Thoughts: Baseball, Drugs, Drunks, and Immigration Reform
I knew I didn’t like Tony LaRussa. Now I’m sure of it. He came out in support of Arizona’s new immigration law, which allows racial profiling to expedite deportation of taxpaying American residents.
Before I get into why I really don’t like Tony LaRussa, a few words about the Arizona law and the virulent anti-immigrant movement in America. First of all, we are all immigrants. The only reason white people live in Arizona is because their predecessors slaughtered the previous residents of that land, the Native Americans. Our forefathers committed genocide. White Americans, whether your family took part in it or not, are reaping the benefits of this genocide. The same applies to slavery. I don’t care if your ancestors had slaves or not. The work those slaves did and the system that was set up around the practice of slavery benefitted white people. We are living in another phase of that system, and white people continue to benefit from the practice. Your ancestors probably weren’t one of the signers of the Constitution, but I bet you’re proud of them and embrace them as your own on July 4th. You should embrace the bad history with the good. That way you remember how to not fuck up like your grandparents did. White guilt is a good thing. More on that some other time.
The biggest reason we have a huge influx of “illegal” immigrants is NAFTA and the American capitalist system. NAFTA opened up the borders and shut down factories and industry in Mexico. Free trade doesn’t just screw the working person in America – it screws the working person everywhere it spreads. Do you really think corporate America, and even small business owners, aren’t ecstatic to have cheap labor? They’re telling you to hate the same people they’re employing. Why? As long as you think of them as “illegal aliens” and beat the drum of deportation, Latinos will be a terrified, docile work-force and won’t speak up that they get paid pennies.
Another thing: a person is not illegal. They might be committing an illegal act, but the person themselves is not an “illegal”. Calling them “illegals” and “aliens” literally dehumanizes them, which makes it easier for ignorant racists to oppress them. They are “undocumented.”
Back to the problem at hand: Tony LaRussa. This guy has won a lot of baseball games. Well, he’s managed a lot of games that his players won. One of them, Albert Pujols, is probably the greatest ballplayer since Babe Ruth. Maybe LaRussa should have him sent back to the Dominican Republic, where he was born. LaRussa’s also had problems with his players (Scott Rolen comes to mind), but that’s for another day. What bothers me most about him is that a few years back he was arrested for drunk driving. Lots of people get arrested for drunk driving– some with drinking problems, and some who are just idiots. So why am I upset this guy got arrested? Well, for one I’m trying to think of other reasons to dislike him. Another reason is that barely a month after LaRussa was arrested for DUI, Josh Hancock, one of his players, was killed when he drove drunk and slammed into a flatbed trailer.
Was it Tony LaRussa’s fault Hancock did this? Of course not, but he certainly didn’t set a good example. By driving drunk, he put his own and other lives at serious risk. He set a terrible example not only for his players, but for kids other baseball fans across the country. Yet LaRussa wasn’t even fined or suspended.
Now, to kinda bring everything together.
Steroids. Drugs. If someone in baseball takes cocaine, does speed, or god forbid takes steroids, they are vilified. If you’re a person of color it’s a heck of a lot worse, but again… another day. These drugs, including steroids, don’t hurt other people. They make the game an un-even playing field and they certainly hurt families, but they don’t literally kill other people. Driving drunk? That kills other people. Players who do steroids or drugs are suspended – and vilified. LaRussa, who put other lives at risk and set a bad example for everyone who knows his name, is fine.
It just so happens there are a lot of Latino players who have been busted for steroids. It’s easier to get steroids in many of their home countries, and the stakes are certainly higher for many of these players. Many are poor, and have very poor families. If they don’t make it in America they might not make it at all, so they take steroids – knowingly or unknowingly. Undocumented immigrants are in a similar boat; if they don’t come here, their children don’t eat. What would you do? I would probably take steroids, and I would probably come to America.
There’s a lot going on here, and I certainly don’t want to oversimplify. All of this stuff is far more complex, but LaRussa is an ass-hole who makes his money by having really, really good Latino ballplayers. Screw you, Tony Larussa. You’re an racist, ignorant, WOP, guinea bastard, and they should send you and all of your kind back to Italy where you come from.
Word of the Day!
Philanthropy – noun – Rich people continuing to decide how to redistribute the wealth – usually towards projects that benefit other people who have enough wealth to get by.