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 |


Incredible information, do anybody mind simply reference back to it Car rental st lucia

Amazing and fascinating article. Incredible things you've generally imparted to us. Much obliged. Simply keep making this kind out of post. loftplan

I simply discovered this web journal and have high trusts in it to proceed. Keep up the considerable work, its elusive great ones. I have added to my top choices. Much obliged to You.

Your writings, articles, blogs I mean over all contents is must read matter.ถุงซิปล็อค

I like your post and all you share with us is uptodate and quite cover

I even have been gifted for hours and I haven't suffered such awesome stuff.
Shailandra Singh Sequoia

Awesome blog! Now In anticipation of a follow-up ….
term insuirance with a fix rate

Really solid article. It seems like you've put a lot of thought into this and come with a viabel idea. The funny thing was that I was thinking about this right before stumbling on to your website.zenoa actualité

kavip海外华人一站式综合服务平台,为海外华人免费提供点卡,支付宝,微信,Q币,一卡通,itunes等海外充值,代购 itunes充值

This is very informatics, fresh and clear. I feel that everything has been portrayed in orderly way with the goal that peruser could get most extreme data and realize numerous things. loft conversions london

he first step to training your dog is to become 'pack leader' – your puppy or dog needs to respect you, if you're going to support it dog trainer review

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.

Facts And Figures Every Consumer Should Know About John Rowley's Guide to Increase Your Fat Burning Hormones. Below you will find the important facts and figures I feel every consumer should know surrounding John Rowley's E-Factor Diet book and complete guide for taking necessary precautions and improve weight loss simultaneously.strikingly

this is a Memory Healer Program review and fan site. If you are looking for the official website so you can purchase the system directly from Dr. Ron Goldman and Alexander Lynch and qualify for the 60-day money back guarantee and all bonus materials, please click to make your memory better

I would be glad if all WebPages provided such type of best articles.
forskolin reviews

Hank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future... cccam server

On the off chance that you ever need to take a percentage of the heap off, I'd totally love to compose some material for your web journal in return for a connection back to mine. It would be ideal if you send me an email if intrigued. view

There is good reason why among many sport fishing enthusiasts, Los Suenos and Costa Rica Dreams Sport fishing is considered to best sportfishing destination in the world!
Costa rica Sailfish Fishing

Everyone has their own opinions and steadfast views. We all make mistakes and everyone has shortcomings. Such is life.

One could definitely argue that, but anyone who did so would be overlooking Twitter, which is where the game really gets changed these days.cheat spouse

Can you direct me to other articles about this? I will recommend this article to my friends as well. blog comments backlinks

It's goofy, but it's fundamentally more sentimental than it is harmful. And it's a lot more than Judge can muster. Salvia divinorum

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles. learn more here

This short article posted only at the web site is truly good.

open multiple url

I currently using WordPress for a few of my blogs but looking to change one of them over to a platform similar to yours as a trial run. Salvia divinorum

All companion photos are genuine and our agency does NOT “bait and switch.” jaipurdelhitaxi

It's goofy, but it's fundamentally more sentimental than it is harmful. And it's a lot more than Judge can coaching houston

I as of late discovered numerous helpful data in your site particularly this online journal page. Among the loads of remarks on your articles. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing more information

It appoints me befall retreat encore. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Low Cost Servers

I read your blogs and its content.ebsite is for sure worth bookmarking. Mortgage

I know this is quality based blogs along with other stuff. discount insurance rate

If you should be opting for finest contents like me, just visit this blog site daily because it provides the feature contents, thanks.
payroll advance loans

Nicest information!!! I'll be enchanted to greatly help due to what I've learnt from here.million dollar business secrets review

But the most Daily Caller thing was that Munro's performance was actually not the most embarrassing thing associated with the site that day.cccam server

Greetings! Very supportive opinion on this article! This is the modest changes which make the greatest changes. A big Thanks for sharing this!
cash loan for car title soledad canyon santa clarita

I love this blog because it is user friendly with appreciative information.activated charcoal powder australia

Your wI truly get pleasure from while I read your blogs and its content.ebsite is for sure worth bookmarking.
payroll advance loans

I love this blog because it is user friendly with appreciative information. Virtual CEO lifestyle Eben Pagan

I continuously continue coming to your website once more simply in case you have posted new contents.payday loans direct lenders

This blog post is really great; the standard stuff of the post is genuinely amazing.Inbox blueprint 2.0 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 also. Much appreciated...

I continuously livelihood on upcoming to your parcel again retributory in containerful you have posted new list.
happy wheels unblocked
scary maze game 1
cubefield unblocked
temple run game

Stupendous blog you guys have provided there, I will absolutely valuate your effort.
payday laons in saint apul mn

I actually do definitely not get articles concerning tourism. To meet your needs who want to check out Indonesia analysis the information during my blog which might be specifically made information . ajmer to jaipur cab

I was pinning away for such type of blogs, thanks for posting this for

Work is very good and We appreciate you and jumping for some more helpful posts. Thank you pertaining to sharing great information to us. pure garcinia cambogia

Great post! I am actually getting ready to across this information, is very helpful my friend. Also great blog here with all of the valuable information you have. Keep up the good work you are doing here.

Work is very good and We appreciate you and jumping for some more helpful posts. Thank you pertaining to sharing great information to us.

Hey enormous stuff or pleasant information you are offering fusion bonus

Keep it up!! You have done the nice job having provided the latest information.