Home Sport Was wäre, wenn Baseball für Anthony Rendon nur ein Job wäre?

Was wäre, wenn Baseball für Anthony Rendon nur ein Job wäre?

von NFI Redaktion

The NFL season is in the rearview mirror and baseball is back. Spring training is underway and baseball reporters around the world are desperately looking for something to write about. Amid the usual stories of players being in the „best shape of their lives“ coming out of training camps, often-injured Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon couldn’t have chosen a worse time to be brutally honest about what he does for a living. Here’s what Rendon, who once famously said he didn’t watch baseball because it was „too long and boring,“ told reporters, with permission from Sam Blum of The Athletic:

Let’s start by saying that this isn’t the first time Rendon has stated that his faith and family are more important to him than baseball. In a 2018 interview, he said, „I want to be known as a Christian baseball player. I’m still trying to grow into that. But in the end, I’d rather be ‚Christian‘ than ‚baseball player.'“ None of that caused a stir back then, probably because Rendon hit .308 for the Washington Nationals that season, rather than people approving of his lifestyle choices. It’s much harder to argue that *insert pro sports* isn’t your top priority when your average has plummeted to a meager .236.

But to be fair, Rendon has been hampered by injuries since the shortened 2020 season due to COVID, including hip surgery in 2021, wrist surgery in 2022, and a fractured shin in the last season. For what it’s worth, Angels manager Ron Washington said he has no problem with Rendon’s priorities. „He was asked what’s important and all he said was his family and his faith,“ Washington said. „He’s here. He’s going to go on this journey with us through this 162-game baseball season. He didn’t say he didn’t care about baseball. He’s here and gung-ho and ready to go.“

So why the outrage from fans and sports journalists alike? Rendon seems to have not changed his attitude since his great time with the Nats, although the fact of having kids leads one to be distracted from everything else in life and refocus on the little, psychotic ankle-biters trying to put everything in their mouths. But in my opinion, Rendon’s situation goes beyond just fans‘ concern about his injury history and rapidly declining hitting numbers. Billy Beane, former A’s GM, once said, „It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball,“ and he’s right. Despite America’s love for the NBA and absolute passion for the NFL, no other sport conjures up images of backyard catch games, long lazy days in the stands, and .500 games with the neighbors in the relaxed golden after-dinner summer light as quickly as baseball. And while the aging baseball fan base watches as baseball loses the attention of their children, and witnesses their interest shifting to Madden and fantasy football instead of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, panic ensues. The feeling that our children might never experience the joys of a game in the biggest backyard, of hotbox and ghost runners, of the sound of Vin Scully’s voice. If you love baseball, you find it romantic. But for those who make a living from it, baseball is a job. And because it’s a job so many fans dreamed of as kids (and let’s be honest, the rookie gave a whole generation of 40-year-olds hope), we demand that the few chosen ones who realize our dreams treat the sport with the same reverence we would imagine if the baseball gods had deemed us worthy of a thunderous arm or a perfect swing that serves to drive balls to the outfield. But every job, no matter how hard you worked for it, how much you wanted it, how much you love it, is still a job. Baseball is no different. Sure, players have the winter off, their offices are pastoral cathedrals, and they get millions of dollars to play a kid’s game. But they still have to go (almost) every day from mid-February to September, dealing with nagging injuries and, health-permitting, when things go well and when they don’t. They have bosses, performance expectations, they are far from their families and, especially on days when things go wrong, a throng of reporters standing around their lockers, waiting to ask them exactly why things went so badly. I don’t shed any tears for baseball players. God knows most of us would trade places with them in an instant if we could, but is there not room for someone to see their job, even if it means playing baseball in the sunshine, as … (gasp) a job? And why is it viewed as cold, heartless, family-unfriendly, and some kind of cat-swinging tragedy in almost any other profession when someone says the job is top priority, unless the person saying it is a professional athlete? You’re supposed to say your family is a bigger priority than your job, unless your job is to entertain the masses. Then you better kick your wife to the curb during childbirth because we need your bat in the five-hole. There’s also a healthy dose of sexism at play. I suspect Rendon wouldn’t get nearly as much backlash if, for example, he played in the WNBA or NWSL. Personally, I get annoyed when I hear a woman with a great career say she „lives for her children,“ because it completely erases her as a person with things to contribute to the world. But that’s acceptable for a woman because ultimately we expect women to prioritize their spouses and children. But not men, and certainly not manly men who make their living getting dirty. The irony that much of the online criticism directed at Rendon lays the blame on „society’s problems on too many absent fathers!“ is not lost on me. So here’s a father saying his family is more important to him than baseball. Don’t we want fathers to say that? Aren’t fathers supposed to be present and engaged, putting their children first?

The problem with Rendon has several layers. He is perceived as sensitive by fans and has made it clear that he doesn’t particularly enjoy talking to reporters. And honestly, there are many situations where he could handle himself better, including remembering that Jesus wouldn’t „be a jerk to reporters trying to do their jobs.“ But the law of averages demands that while there are players like Sammy Sosa who loved every single second he spent on the diamond, there are also players like Rendon – who discover they are better at something than 99.9 percent of society, and come to terms with it for a paycheck. If it makes fans feel better, Rendon would probably rather play baseball than do what the outrage brigade does for a living, sitting in a cabin and angrily tweeting about priorities between zoom calls. Or maybe he wouldn’t. But does it really matter?

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