Friday, June 17, 2005

Some Miscellaneous Stuff

Mike Scioscia is wrong, Frank Robinson is right, Jose Guillen did the right thing twice and Brendan Donnelly is quite properly suspended. I see no reason why Scioscia should throw a little hissy fit about Donnelly's glove being checked. He cheated, and that's that. Recall that Scioscia didn't have any problem with Darin Erstad's largely dirty play against Atlanta, when he threw a body block to the catcher's head. You condone that kind of thing in baseball and other teams are going to start watching you closer. You made your bed, Mike, now lie in it. Robinson had every right to call Donnelly on the pine tar in his glove. In fact, to protect his team, he was pretty much obligated to say something if he thought the opposition was cheating (or about to in Donnelly's case). Guillen not only was perfectly justified in letting Robinson know about the pine tar, but he was right to try to defend his manager once it looked like things were going to get heated. It looks like MLB agrees, since Guillen wasn't suspended and Donnelly got ten games. Giving each manager a game was proper as well. You can't have managers throwing down in front of the paying customers...

Speaking of the Nationals, all of you DC fans can simmer down. Until your team proves they can outscore the opposition over the long haul, you should still be dubious about their ability to reach the post-season. The Nats have been outscored by one run this season, indicating that their current record is a bit of a mirage...

Is it just me, or does the media not seem to quite know what to do with themselves without the Yankees playing well? I understand that a .500 team with the highest payroll in baseball history is a story, but rather than pursue that story line, I find the media continually hinting that the Yankees are about to go on a run. Giambi hit a homer to bring the team back to .500, after the first base ump blew a call to keep them alive in the game, and this is somehow viewed as the "turning point" of their season? How can any game against the Pirates be a turning point? Face it, ESPN, the Yankees are just a mediocre, aging ballclub this year...

Part of what follows is not going to be politically correct, but it needs to be said. Before I say it, let me try to cut off some of the more popular attacks that will surely come my way. First, I think women are great. My wife is my favorite person and my daughter is in my personal top-3. My mother, sister, nieces and mother-in-law are all high on my list, too. They are all intelligent, strong, witty, caring people. And at least two women in my family are cancer survivors, including the lovely woman I conned into marrying me, so I'm all in favor of cancer research in all its forms. I wear one of Lance Armstrong's "Live Strong" bracelets not because it is fashionable but as a display of support for my wife. I made certain to earmark my annual United Way contribution this year to go to The American Cancer Society.

So there's that. Let me also make it clear that, as someone with a degree in U.S. History, I am fully aware that the United States, and pretty much the rest of Earth as well, has been the personal playground of men for a long, long time. Women in this country, and a lot of men who didn't share a similar skin color or religious belief with the power brokers, were truly downtrodden. In many aspects of our society they still are, so I'm in favor of most of the efforts in the last 40 years or so to achieve equality between the sexes. Those were, and are, noble, necessary efforts.

But, in some glaring cases, they have gone too far. Our desire to right historical wrongs often takes us from one bad extreme to another bad extreme. In fact, I probably should have just dropped "bad" from that last sentence because, in my view, any extreme is de facto "bad". Good rarely comes from an extreme view.

The glaring case that has set me off on this little rant is The Breast Cancer 3-Day, promoted on the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's web site as, "a 60-mile walk for women and men who want to make a personal difference in the fight against breast cancer. Participants walk 60 miles in three days, help raise millions of dollars for breast cancer research and patient support programs and are part of something way bigger than themselves." Now, that sounds like a wonderful cause. Under other circumstances, I'd gladly hand over a few dollars to support it. I won't be doing so this year, however, because the Breast Cancer 3-Day concludes on, you guessed it, FATHER'S DAY! The only officially-recognized day of the entire year that is specifically set aside for men has been usurped by a national charity for a women's health issue.

I will readily admit that men have their other, non-official days. Football Sundays spring to mind, as do countless poker nights, bachelor parties and so forth. But, in terms of national recognition, Father's Day is it. It is the only day of the year when men can be the lazy bums they generally are with the understanding that they can't catch any crap for it and don't have to feel guilty about it. I think I'm pretty much representative of men in general, and I know that there are numerous weekend days, not to mention weekdays, when I'm a lazy lout, lounging around in my recliner in shorts and a t-shirt, watching a ballgame, when I should be putting up a new wallpaper border in my kids' rooms or washing the cars or some other fatherly duty. My wife is a warm, kind-hearted soul, and is not the type of person to hen-peck me into action, but that does nothing but accentuate the guilt I feel, knowing I should get out of my exceptionally comfortable, soft, leather recliner, turn off the TV and go mow the lawn. Sometimes, the guilt even makes me do that. It's rare, but it's been known to happen. Father's Day removes all of that guilt, at least for a day.

So why would any women's organization, even one fighting such a noble fight against such a worthy opponent, breast cancer, choose this singular day on most men's calendars to promote a women's issue? I mean, let's turn the tables. According to

The American Cancer Society's figures from 1997-2004, prostate cancer and breast cancer are running neck-and-neck. Prostate cancer is the most frequent cancer in men; breast cancer is the most frequent cancer in women. Prostate cancer is the number two cause of cancer deaths in men; breast cancer is number two in women. The mortality rates of the two diseases are similar - 27.5%, on average, for prostate cancer; 26.2% for breast cancer. They are pretty equal in terms of new diagnoses as well - over 230,00 new prostate cancer diagnoses in 2004; over 215,000 new breast cancer diagnoses. Clearly, prostate cancer is just as serious a health issue for men as breast cancer is for women.

So, if the Prostate Cancer Research Institute held its national convention on Mother's Day, can you imagine the criticism they would face? It would be enormous. Women's organizations everywhere would issue statements of how insensitive the Prostate Cancer Institute was being for publicizing a men's issue on Mother's Day. And they would be 100% correct in their outrage. Knowing this, and being sensitive to the fact that it is a men's health issue, what did the Prostate Cancer Institute choose, properly, to do? They decided that their national convention would conclude on, you guessed it, FATHER'S DAY! See how nicely that works? Isn't it selfless of these men, many of whom are certainly fathers, to give up their one day of guilt-free recreation and acknowledgment from their families in order to shed light on such a worthy men's health issue?

Couldn't the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation have held the Breast Cancer 3-Day on Mother's Day? I know many other breast cancer awareness events were held at that time, so if they wanted to spread these efforts out through the year, that's perfectly understandable, but why choose the only weekend when we should be thinking about the men in our lives? Would it have been so hard to push this back to next weekend, so as not to take away from the one day of the year when we can honor the men who have always helped care for breast cancer's victims? The men who often single-handedly raise the children breast cancer's victims leave behind? The men who have helped research it's causes and searched for it's cures?

Father's Day is one day in 365. I don't think it is too much to ask the Komen Foundation to take less than one-quarter of one percent of the calendar year, Father's Day, to recognize these men by not using it to focus on a primarily women's issue. And if they must, keep in mind that 1% of all breast cancers occur in men. Maybe the Breast Cancer 3-Day should have been the Men's Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Or maybe Breast Cancer Caregiver Recognition Day.

That's something that would get me out of my recliner.

No comments: