Certain words in the English language are over-used. Travesty is one of them.
I can’t stand when people frivolously refer to things, or events, as travesties. Travesties are bad break-ups. Travesties are romances that should have been but never were. Travesties are failed movies, with great actors, but zero screen play. Travesties, however, do not describe the inclusion of baseball’s most exciting player into an exhibition game that has no meaning.
Perhaps a pocket dictionary should be required reading for those of us with opinions.
I was driving home the other night, listening to sports radio as I’m accustomed to doing, and heard some numbskull, national sportswriter babbling on about how it would be a “travesty” if Los Angeles Dodger, Yasiel Puig, were allowed to play in next weekend’s All-Star Game. All Puig has done, after a full month in the Majors, is hit .440. He became the first player in over100 years to amass 44 hits in his first month of play. Considering baseball’s obsession with statistics, when a player accomplishes something that hasn’t been done in over a century, it’s safe to say he’s doing something special. His fielding isn’t bad either. From deep right field, he’s punching out base runners with line drive assists pinpointed into his third baseman’s glove.
Forget Stephen Strasburg. Forget Bryce Harper. Puig is the sport’s hottest, young commodity. He is must see TV.
Yet because he hasn’t played the entire first half of the season, some feel he’s not All-Star worthy. Even relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon, who hasn’t been relevant since he took off his Red Sox uniform, called the All-Star inclusion of the Cuban-born Puig “an absolute joke.” At least he didn’t call it a travesty.
Whatever happened to player camaraderie or the general interest in the betterment of the game? The fact that we’re even having this debate shows how backwards the sport still is. The ever-silent Commissioner Selig should just man up and mandate that Puig suits up, unless attracting television viewers isn’t his concern.
As we adjust to our post-basketball doldrums and desperately count down the days until football season, Yasiel Puig is the only reason any of us are watching baseball right now. He’s the reason Don Mattingly still has a job. He has nearly singlehandedly lifted the Los Angeles Dodgers out of last place in the National League West to 2 ½ games out of first. He’d be the reason I watch the All-Star Game as opposed to not watching it at all, and I’m a baseball fan. Imagine what he’d do for the casual fan. What if Puig knocks one out of the park, which he probably would, or what if he dazzled us all with repeated moon shots in the Home Run Derby? Wouldn’t that be a story worth telling?
The All-Star Game is an exhibition game designed for the fans. Purists like Papelbon or that overpaid, blowhard sports writer are the reason the game has failed to evolve. For the sake of our national pastime, and some quality entertainment, I urge you all to write Puig onto your ballot so that we can see something out of the ordinary this mid-summer classic.
I read somewhere that ‘travesty’ is an over-used word so let me conclude by saying this. Excluding Yasiel Puig from this year’s All-Star festivities simply because he lacks the at-bats to qualify would be the biggest travesty of all.