Four-Base Error: The Bad and Less-Bad Things About the Worst Baseball Article Ever

Share |

Last Friday was a pretty embarrassing day for The Daily Caller, a pretty embarrassing conservative website founded by the pretty embarrassing bowtie model and former journalist Tucker Carlson. Early in the day, Caller correspondent Neil Munro yelled a bunch of confused, intermittently coherent nativist stuff at President Obama while Obama announced a change in deportation policy regarding America's most productive young undocumented non-citizens.

That was all very Daily Caller, and so all pretty embarrassing—not because Presidents shouldn't take questions, but because yelling "Why are you the worst, and I have a follow-up" during a speech is neither asking a question nor a good look, in general. Also very Daily Caller was their attempt to make some sort of pageview hay on the whole weird thing by treating it as some sort of triumph. The Caller's piece in which Munro opens up about his achievement in the field of political heckling describes the incident as "an exchange with Obama," which is true only to the extent that walking quickly by The Black Israelites—the bizarre racialist street preachers who dress like members of the Sun Ra Arkestra—while they rant about "the so-called white man" is to have an "exchange" with The Black Israelites. But the most Daily Caller thing was that Munro's performance was actually not the most embarrassing thing associated with the site that day.

While Munro was doubtless living the dream of thousands of bile-powered creeps whose fondest desire is to be loudly rude to a prominent Democrat, his performance was finally just a bit of dim, sourly narrowcasted theater—no one convinced, a few entertained, all of it quickly and deservedly forgotten. But Caller columnist Mark Judge's attempt later that day to appropriate Bryce Harper as a conservative icon has had, and may yet have, a longer life.

Not because it's good, certainly—whatever aspirations Tucker Carlson might once have had to run some sort of conservative intellectual journal have given way to race-baiting, SEO tricknology and a dedication to the lowest of dittohead common denominators; the title of Judge's column is "Bryce Harper, Conservative Hero" and the first sentence of it is "Bryce Harper is a conservative hero." It is, for something written by a professional writer with a published book to his credit, shockingly amateurish, uninformed and hackneyed. The reason it has endured is the reason why Jim Newell flagged/flogged it at Wonkette on Friday and Charles Pierce took the time to thrash it comprehensively at Esquire on Monday. It's one of the most artless and least-reasoned and generally lousiest pieces of sportswriting in a good while. It will be a thing as long as people on the internet continue to kick it around and goof on it, and only because for that long, and for those reasons. But.

But: the reason that Judge's piece is such a joke is that Judge is an appallingly shitty writer and so remedial a polemicist, and not because there's something inherently ridiculous or wrong about trying to put a legitimate phenomenon such as Bryce Harper into a broader context. The problem is that Judge's personal context is so narrow, and so silly. George Will, when he's not being supercilious on television, has had a nice sideline slotting baseball and various baseball types into his fusty, antique vision of The Rich Tapestry Of American Life. Will, too, is kind of a clown, albeit one in a regulation-size bowtie, but he has a worldview. It's a claustrophobic, retrograde and rigorously caucasian view of American life—something like what Wes Anderson's would be like with Francois Truffaut and melancholy precocity swapped out for Ronald Reagan and Chamber of Commerce booster-piffle about the magic of the market. It's goofy, but it's fundamentally more sentimental than it is harmful. And it's a lot more than Judge can muster.

Judge doesn't have a worldview so much as he has a series of simple, silly partisan binaries, each of which is touched upon in his piece, briefly and with the usual breezy grievance—the stations of the Fox News cross. Bryce Harper, a 19-year-old baseball star who is good and bold and confident, is conservative by dint of that goodness and boldness and et cetera. The rest of Judge's game is just trying to figure out how to get Obama and union members and Occupy Wall Street's faces onto the straw men massed opposite on the battlefield. Judge, it's worth mentioning, is also a creep—his previous bit of internet fame came thanks to a Caller article whose argument boiled down to "someone, I assume a black person, stole my bike, so what do you liberals say to that."

Race issues or not, though, Judge certainly doesn't seem to know or care much about baseball, or Harper, or where the two fit in relation to each other. Judge makes his first point about Harper's conservative heroism by telling the story of Harper taking an extra base on Braves right fielder Jason Heyward, and then comparing the "indolence" of Heyward—who happens to be black, but whatever (probably)—to that of union schoolteachers, and then to Obama himself, "who never seems to have had to slide head-first into a base his entire life." The rest of the piece isn't so much argued as it is that dim bit, over and over again: a series of free-associative slams on favorite Caller targets grafted, Human Centipede-ianly, onto various Tales of Harper that are pitched at a level of sports ignorance that would embarrass even David Brooks. Then there's some cheezoid Romney advocacy and a story about Judge's grandfather, who played for the Washington Senators in the 1920's, at the very end. The worst sentence, by which I mean the one that packs the most nausea into the smallest amount of space, is probably, "Manager Davey Johnson tries to bench him for being hurt, and Harper confronts him and says, like a person with enough dignity to refuse welfare: Let me work."

This isn't the way someone who knows or cares about baseball writes, of course, if only because there's no baseball in it, and nothing about Bryce Harper himself. This despite the fact that even a brief spin through the SI Vault will turn up some stuff about Harper's ferocious work ethic, Mormon upbringing, ruggedly individualism and other talking points that might be of interest to someone trying, for whatever reason, to turn Bryce Harper into Ronald Reagan.

But if Judge's piece doesn't betray much interest in baseball, neither is it written or reasoned in the way that someone who knows or cares about ideas would write or reason. Baseball exists within our culture and politics—all those taxpayer-subsidized stadiums and the other hijinks of rentier owners—and also as a microcosm of it. The sport has its own class structure and economy, its own homespun management theories and slanged-out rhetoric and the comparatively adorable, safely neutered creative destruction of its free agent marketplace. There are abstract questions to be debated where that miniature play-world overlaps with or reflects our serious and sharper-edged one, and not-at-all-abstract questions when the two intersect, as with razed neighborhoods and the shameful plutocratic decadences that replace them, or with ripped-off municipalities, or when one sports-y ghoulishness or bit of stubborn hope reflects another that has nothing to do with sports. There's such a thing as an overly doctrinaire sports-and-politics column—Dave Zirin, who has written so many great ones, recently gave us one about the Oklahoma City Thunder that left no room for sports. But for the most part—and obviously I have my own biases here, but I believe it—situating a piece of sportswriting in the wider world is a good and helpful and bracing thing. The issue, here, is not just that Judge is too limited a writer to pull it off, but that his wider world of context is too small even for sports.

The kindest allowance that Pierce makes for Judge in his strafing of the piece is also the most inaccurate. "There's something fundamentally dehumanizing," Pierce writes, "in dragooning someone like Bryce Harper into the service of your ideology as though he were nothing more than an action figure in your mental toybox." He's right about the dehumanizing part; he's over-generous to call the petty and profoundly stupid thing that motivated Judge's overreach an "ideology." It's dumber, and smaller, than that.

Share |

Comments

The post is written in very a good manner and it contains many useful information for me. beirut escort

This is an awesome article a debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this enlightening data. I will visit your site consistently for some most recent post. I will visit your website consistently for Some most recent post. Buy Inventor 2013 for sale

Nicorinse removes tar and nicotine from your mouth, gums, teeth, tongue and throat for better oral health and protection all year long. It might even help you quit tobacco. Dry mouth

Great artcile, yet it would be better if in future you can share more about this subject. Continue posting. Numerology Test

Amazing site, Distinguished criticism that I can handle. Im pushing ahead and may apply to my present place of employment as a pet sitter, which is exceptionally charming, however I have to extra extend. Respects. Deep and Serious

This is an awesome article a debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this enlightening data. I will visit your site consistently for some most recent post. I will visit your website consistently for Some most recent post. outsourcing software companies

I can't envision concentrating sufficiently long to research; significantly less compose this sort of article. You've beaten yourself with this material. This is awesome substance. Benefits Of Galangal

Amazing and extremely energizing site. Affection to watch. Continue Rocking. Aphrodisiac

i truly like this article please keep it up. recommended reading

Precisely, you're exceptionally sort of us about remark!. continue

This is only the data I am discovering all around. A debt of gratitude is in order for your web journal, I simply subscribe your site. This is a pleasant web journal.. full article

Much thanks to you for setting aside an ideal opportunity to distribute this data extremely helpful! www.cheap55printing.com/blog/tag/cheap-business-cards-design-your-own/

This is an awesome article a debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this enlightening data. I will visit your site consistently for some most recent post. I will visit your website consistently for Some most recent post. 55printing.com/blogs/reasons-choose-canvas-print-printing-surface/

This is an awesome article a debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this enlightening data. I will visit your site consistently for some most recent post. I will visit your website consistently for Some most recent post. Custom medals

Clash Royale PC is a strategy game in real time, where you fight against other players online in frantic duels. Here, you can find all the characters from Clash of Clans: Giants, Barbarian Kings, Wall Breakers, Archers. Download the PC game now! play clash royale on pc and mac

This is an awesome article a debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this enlightening data. I will visit your site consistently for some most recent post. I will visit your website consistently for Some most recent post. it development outsourcing

This is an awesome article a debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this enlightening data. I will visit your site consistently for some most recent post. I will visit your website consistently for Some most recent post. Custom lapel pins

This is an awesome article a debt of gratitude is in order for sharing this enlightening data. I will visit your site consistently for some most recent post. I will visit your website consistently for Some most recent post. Christian Mejia

Would like to compliment the writer for writing this divine article.NBA 2K17 News

A grasping brilliantly composed blog. Really a present for its gathering of people. Facebook spy app

These articles and blogs are genuinely sufficiency for me for a day.audience

I'm gladsome to mature so more serviceable and informative assemblage on your website.voyance audiotel

Extraordinary work you folks are doing with this webpage.sacramento movers

You can also learn another language which is a big bonus for your CV, but also for becoming part of a new culture.inexpensive airfare

Meco grill to suit any preference. Save on Aussie bbq grills, including electric and charcoal Meco grills.Ducance Gas Grill Parts

But being an idiot on the baseball field, in this case, actually seems more significant than being an idiot in real life. detective agency

Recent times when internet has so much gossiping and stuff, your content really refreshes me.world trip

You rock for sharing us about this redesign. Trust you won't get tired on making posts as instructive as this. non-medical in-home care in belmont

I dispatched your articles links to all my contacts and they all mate it including me.NBA Live Mobile Guide

This post gives truly quality information. I’m definitely going to look into it. Really very useful tips are provided here.root canal

Our letterhead writing cost give depend on contrastive factors such as for admonition the total successive, the size of the letterhead you would equal to use, area reading, and deceiver and posterior tool. low cost flyer printing a6

An entrancing examination is quality remark. I believe that it is best to compose additional on this matter, it won't be a forbidden subject however for the most part individuals are insufficient to chat on such points. To the following. Salud lebanon escorts

I had no idea you possessed the abilities to post such an excellent post.freetourstockholmcity

I dead consider joyous when I acquire articles pertinent to my process and my issue.General FIFA Mobile Tips for New Players

The groups not reading your blogs are missing out a lot of caliber material.xiaomi mi6

The groups not reading your blogs are missing out a lot of caliber material.

I dead consider joyous when I acquire articles pertinent to my process and my issue.more info

Much obliged to you again for all the information you distribute,Good post. I was exceptionally keen on the article, it's entirely rousing I ought to concede. I like going to you site since I generally run over fascinating articles like this one.Great Job, I incredibly acknowledge that.Do Keep sharing! Respects, glyphicon

It’s my fortune to go to at this blog and realize out my required stuff that is also in the quality. progressive finance

I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have.acura tsx car covers

on this net technology on-line advertising and marketing can damn allows any performing to regain extra spot and which is affirmable exclusive whilst your net tract is touristy. seo packages

This was a truly extraordinary challenge and ideally I can go to the following one. It was alot of fun and I truly had a ball.. Language of Desire Review

I might want to thank you for the endeavors you have made in composing this article. I am trusting the same best work from you later on too.. His Secret Obsession Review

Villas Protaras Cyprus (mostly with pools) are ready for you to rent and enjoy the beach and sun, for an awesome vacation experience from RentVillaCyprus.net Villas Protaras

Very useful post. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. Really its great article. Keep it up. Make Him Want You

petty and profoundly stupid thing that motivated Judge's overreach an "ideology." It's dumber, and smaller, than that. Ballet classes in Colorado springs

Caller thing was that Munro's performance was actually not the most embarrassing thing associated with the site that day. loftplan

other talking points that might be of interest to someone trying, for whatever reason, to turn Bryce Harper into Ronald Reagan. loftplan designs

later that day to appropriate Bryce Harper as a conservative icon has had, and may yet have, a longer life. semenax review at strikingly

I’m eager to find the valuable information and for me this is the right place to get the good stuff.
women