Its not often that a middle reliever gets written about in Pinch Sulzberger’s New York Times. I’ve been told the old grey lady has been dying a slow circulatory death the last few years. Mainly by boring or infuriating most of middle America with its smugness and condescending tone. Unless you went to Harvard or Princeton and are on a first name basis with the Obamas, Bushs, Clintons or Al Sharpton, rumor has it they’re not much interested in anything a lot of us are. But this also tends to be the same demographic that makes up most of baseball’s fan base. So most baseball followers tend not to spend a lot of time perusing the Times.
Somewhere along the line somebody at the NYT decided that it might be a nice idea to host a sports blog. I don’t know if that is a good idea or not. Its certainly not innovative as most any idiot who can run a keyboard can run a blog, as I can attest…being an idiot and all. But like most old institutions with a condescending eye, they tend to focus more on personal interest stories with a social message when addressing we common folk. I guess thats alright. They don’t much offend me or most folks I associate with, even though we probably don’t fit into their target demographic. But then, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying or writing about Al Sharpton or Anthony Weiner. Silly or unserious folks don’t really hold my attention for very long after the laughing stops.
As a rule, I don’t much care for what anybody associated with the NYT thinks or writes as long as it isn’t genuinely harmful. But thats a general rule. And for rules there are exceptions. Hey, its why they play the game on the field and not on paper. So when the link to Jeremy Affeldt popped up, I suspected, it was going to be one of those touchy-feely stories that some folks like to write about in order to impress their friends with their compassionate insight. If it had been about anybody but Jeremy Affledt, I doubt I would have read on; having heard him interviewed when he first came over to the Giants, I suspected that this was not your ordinary every day professional athlete. And thats about what I got with the first few lines. Yet another story about the Giants fan in the parking lot who got his brains beat in by a couple of gangbangers and all the kumbyas about diverse communities coming together to condemn violence and the conditions that breed violence and all the same slogans that we’ve all been listening to since 1964. I don’t know, I just get kinda bugged after about the 38th celebrity jumping on a risk-free cause just to generate some free publicity; but this was not the case. Here’s an excerpt:
As most folks who follow the Giants know, Jeremy Afeldt is not only a supporter of charities, and friend to the friendless, he is a very very intellectually curious and intense man who happens to be a major league baseball player. He has some interesting insights that do not necessarily meet the entertainment-political standards of correctness:
"Love has become ‘feminized,’ ” he wrote recently on his blog, jeremyaffeldt.wordpress.com. “When you talk about love, a lot of people will say you’re soft. But love is what saves people. Loving them. If you ask me, that’s pretty strong stuff.”
Affeldt, 32, works with several organizations, focusing on producing clean water, feeding the hungry, housing orphans and ending human trafficking and slavery. He is ambitious in his goals, and tries to address them with urgency. He is a Christian, he said, but his motivation goes beyond faith."………………
"He asked the team if he could meet Stow, who is in a medically induced coma. Affeldt met with family members, then held Stow’s hand and prayed. He was hoping that Bryan would, on some level, at some point, know it,” Baer said. “And when Jeremy started speaking to him, his eyes opened — halfway, or three-quarters — and that was just amazing. It was almost like a power beyond us.”
And man is he right. Love is hard. Ask any dedicated parent. And it is strong stuff. Not politically correct. Just correct. I don’t know him, and probably never will, but to me he sounds like a really good man. And its really nice to hear from them a about them.