Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Worst Team Mate Ever: Baseball Ireland Edition.

Playing a sport in a country where that given sport is a minority exercise often brings up funny situations. Baseball and indeed softball in Ireland are great examples of that. You get this 'big fish, small pond' syndrome where certain individuals think they are really something, when, in actual fact, they are not.






This can manifest itself in all sorts of shapes and sizes and sometimes the results are hilarious. Sometimes it's as simple as someone making an absolute buffoon of themselves over email. The great sports website Deadspin occasionally posts funny emails from amateur teams and individuals, and I have a beauty to share with you.


A few years ago a guy I played baseball with for a little while left my club team in inglorious fashion, via the media of angry-rant email, in fact. A little bit about this chap, for context and so you get how funny this email is. A mediocre ball player, this fella thinks he is someone. His ego does not match his output, he has considerably out-punted his coverage. He used to send us extravagant stories as to how he led the Spanish baseball league in all sorts of stats, but when we looked into it, he hadn't played in the actual league, instead was splashing around in some Mickey Mouse, glorified pick-up games. He would constantly yack on about his skills and, if things didn't go his way, he would just change teams. He changed squads twice in Ireland before joining my team, and I believe has changed squads twice since sending this nuclear fart of an email below. If my math is correct, and I think it is, he's played for 5 Irish baseball teams.


Yeah, that guy.


This guy is actually relatively popular amongst his peers, however those that have read his hilarious emails down the years, and listened to his bizarrely narcissistic and exaggerated stories of self-success on the diamond, know that he's a simple blow-hard and a terrible team-mate who will stab you in the back quicker than you can say 'Douche Bag' if things aren't going his way.


What led to this hilariously inept email below?


This guy played every game when available over a couple of years, and was slotted in to various positions on the field, despite a an anemic batting average. An enjoyable side-note, when faced with his pathetic statistics, he actually accused one of the team co-captains, one of the most honorable and responsible men I have ever met, of 'cooking the books' to make him look bad.  That's the kind of deluded clown we're dealing with here. The team did all it could to make him happy, and he certainly wasn't lacking playing time. So why the anger? For one, he was behind me in the team's pitching rotation, and as you can see below he singles me out for a couple of choice stabs in the back. A couple of weeks prior to this email I had a back and forth with him about caring for his injury over email, and I always tried to support him as a team-mate. As you'll see, apparently that wasn't enough for this guy.


Let's cut to the chase, shall we.


The email in full, for your absolute entertainment. Unedited save for a couple of added, contextual comments and redacting names to protect the innocent and indeed the moronic. Spelling mistakes left as is, again, for your pure unadulterated enjoyment (bear in mind this was written by an adult male, not by some kind of exceptional chimpanzee that recently, with the help of scientists, 'mastered' the English language).


Enjoy, in all its glory.


Hey [Redacted team co-captain] and [Redacted team co-captain], 

Decided to boycott your team man,after long deliberation with my freinds,familly and colleagues about how things have been handled on the team,ive decided im not happy playin for you,being benched is just completetly embarrasing for one [Editors note - bear in mind he wasn't benched, he got to bat, he just wasn't pitching],put in in the 5th to let dry loosing big time cause mac is shit [Editors note - Love this bit! 'Mac is shit'. Whilst no Pedro Martinez, I think my 158 wins in the league, with a 10-1 season coming the year after this email, speaks for itself] is just not exeptable [Editors note - nothing should ever be 'exeptable', guy!], you should of benched his ass after the 2nd,dont care what you say anymore,you always make false promises,but at the end you will always have your guys play cause its your team, I have rested for 1 month after playing in barca to recuperate, i wouldnt come to the field if i wasnt fit to play,and you bench me ( I had work that day for money [Editors note - this as opposed to the days where he had to work for bananas] but cancelled to come play ) ? Plus your going to say its to keep me fit for the Spartans for the play offs, i dont beleive your lies anymore, i know for a fact Mac will pitch all the way even if the spartans are kiking his ass [Editors note - I love it when someone is 'Kiking' my ass] you will leave him in the hopes that we will get runs back, i havnt been happy playin for you at all,always bullshit and drama to deal wit [Editors note - this within the single biggest bullshit, dramatic email I have seen in club baseball]. So thats it for me, ive been part of the canes for 5 years now, I wont be playin for you anymore. Period. Ive had great times but more bad times.

I dont even beleive you wil play me against Spartans in the play offs, its all bullshit  [Editors note - he likes that word!] for Mac to get his award for best pitcher [Editors note - I did, thank you, and two more after that also.] but in my opignion [Editors note - everyone's got an 'opignion' these days!!] he is not the best pitcher in the league and should not be a starting pitcher,his time is up [Editors note - the guy was almost correct here, I only pitched another 4 years after this was sent] ,everybody in the league knows it,all the national team laugh about him and say it,its a joke. I guess being benched was the last straw for me, you handled me completely wrong.
 
I have told you many times, I take baseball very serisiouly [Editors note - if you're not taking things serisiouly, well, there's no hope for you!] . Good luck with your team and cant wait to see Mac do it all by himself next year like he wants, I will not clean up shit for anyone expect myself [Editors note - well, at least we know he has sanitary bathroom habits] 

Thanks again for the years playing with the canes [Editors note - worst thank you, ever?] 

Your a good guy [Redacted team co-captain] , i mean that but for me personally, thats it. Look forward facing you next year.





Monday, July 04, 2016

In Response To The Irish Times Article On American Sports


Dear Sir,

I was very disappointed to see column inches dedicated to the erroneous and indeed lazy article by Brian O’Connor on American sports. Normally in the journalistic World, ignorance of a subject precludes writers from tackling same, Mr. O’Connor seems to wear that same ignorance of American sports like a badge of honour.

His article is wildly inaccurate on a number of levels, and is actually quite offensive in parts.
He appears to be making an odd case that American sports are not popular in the rest of the World, and offers a few glib remarks to back this up, but very little of actual substance. Indeed, he takes a quick swipe at baseball and yet doesn’t actually tackle the game in the body of his content. It’s as if he awoke, saw news of Fourth of July celebrations and snidely thought, ‘Screw them, their sports are crap!’.

From an Irish perspective I have to wonder if Mr. O’Connor knows anything about sports in Ireland outside of a seemingly very narrow understanding on his part. Basketball is absolutely enormous across Ireland, and indeed Irish keeper Darren Randolph’s father, Ed, is a legend in Irish basketball circles. The game is played in schools and clubs all over the country and has enjoyed several years of huge success as it makes it mark as one of the bigger sports outside of the biggest players such as soccer, GAA and rugby.

Mr. O’Connor’s poorly argued article would fall down on the topic of basketball alone, however he is also hugely incorrect when it comes to American Football and indeed baseball too.

American Football has been growing steadily in Ireland since the 1980s and is home to a vibrant league, the IAFL, with thousands of registered members both North and South of the border. One of the joys of the sport in Ireland is that it is played by teams North and South, fostering sporting ties in broad communities. It is one of the biggest ‘minority’ sports in Ireland, and its thousands of members should be greatly offended by Mr. O’Connor’s lazy article (in which he actually goes out of his way to offend those very people in a bizarrely arrogant sentence).

Baseball is smaller in terms of membership and yet ironically better placed internationally than its footballing brothers. The Irish National baseball team has taken part in European Championship tournaments since 1996 and has achieved medals and notable scalps along the way. We’ve beaten several big European teams (Austria, Belgium, Finland and England, twice, on their home patch, to name but a few) and have achieved bronze and silver medals at European tournaments in ’04 and ’06. The team is growing as is the sport in Ireland. The Irish Baseball League contains teams from literally every corner of Ireland, again North and South, and is developing and growing annually.
Both football and baseball have huge followings all through Europe. As a member of the Irish baseball team from ’96 to ’06, I had the huge privilege to travel the World in an Irish jersey, and I can tell you, there are some beautiful baseball facilities all over Europe, in places as disparate as Karlovac Croatia, Prague, Hull, Vienna, Stockholm, Croydon, Regensburg Germany and Antwerp. Baseball is absolutely enormous in France, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands in particular.

Mr. O’Connor’s article is wrong on both sides of the Atlantic. In his shopping list of sporting clichés, he appears to copy and paste in the old refrain that soccer, football, isn’t big in America. I would openly wonder has Mr. O’Connor bothered studying the game in the USA lately, as it’s absolutely huge at this point. Huge at all levels. Soccer is pushing the established sports at school, college and professional level all across the States. Seattle, where I am now and for example, has some of the most incredible soccer facilities I have ever seen, with literally thousands of players playing in hundreds of games in tens of leagues on a weekly basis. There is soccer everywhere you look here, and for Mr. O’Connor to write the Beautiful Game’s place in America off so lazily is nothing short of pathetic.

One last glaring part of Mr. O’Connor’s article was his misguided and also hypocritical analysis of American sports as ‘static’. First, to call basketball static would suggest the writer has never watched a second of sports in his or her life. That’s just awful. Second, if that gentleman had ever tried understanding either baseball and or football, he would understand the physical demands, skill and commitment required to play those sports well. He might then also understand the passages of play in those sports. Further to this, if he wasn’t just having a bitter, disinterested pop at Americana, he might have realized he was being super hypocritical in labelling any sport static considering he appears to be a fan of Rugby Union. Much as I love that particular sport, have you been watching the deterioration of the scrum in the last decade? Yeah, static? Really?

I find it very worrying that your paper prints and article by a writer who clearly hasn’t researched his piece at all, and is instead left to jot down a few lazy personal opinions about American Sports.
Everyone in entitled to their opinions, of course. However, a paid journalist shouldn’t take so much glee in being so wildly inaccurate in his clearly personal ramblings. One would think that the title ‘Sports Journalist’ would come with a basic understanding of a wide variety of sports, not just breathless fan-boy drooling over rugby, framed by a lazy, arrogant dismissiveness of sports one doesn’t understand.

Yours in sports,
Cormac
The Irish National Baseball team in historic Fenway Park, August 2001

Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

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