What A Load of Bull

“Isn’t one of the greatest things about going to the ballpark that you can sit next to someone you don’t agree about anything with and cheer for the same thing?”

My sentiments exactly, Mr. Robbins. But, apparently the bonehead in charge of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Dale Petroskey, doesn’t see it that way. Petroskey canceled a planned 15th anniversary celebration of Bull Durham, because in his opinion comments by Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon “could put our troops in more danger.”

This is completely into the deep end of the whacko pool (or in something deep at any rate). I understand that Robbins and Sarandon might have said things that Petroskey doesn’t agree with. And I understand that, technically, the Hall is a private institution (though it will receive $750,000 in taxpayer money in 2003). That just means that they have a right to exclude whomever they choose. It doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.

Shame on the HoF for politicizing the celebration of a great movie about the greatest of sports. So what that its stars are political off camera? Do we boycott old John Wayne and Ronald Reagan movies now?

Shame on Mr. Petroskey for dragging the name of baseball – a game that has represented the spirit of America for over a century – through the mud. Hasn’t the current administration of Major League Baseball done enough to tarnish baseball’s image on its own?

Shame on us all for letting our fears create a near total lack of respect for free speech these days. I don’t need to agree with Robbins, Sarandon, Michael Moore (or Charlton Heston, for that matter) to find this “if you don’t agree with me, you shouldn’t be allowed to speak” attitude disgustingly un-American. Now, it’s being extended to “if there’s a possibility that you might disagree with me, you should shut the hell up.”

Enough is enough. If you don’t like what someone has to say, then engage them in a civilized discussion. You might learn something. Or they might. Either way, you’ll both be exercising one of the basic liberties to which every human has a right – and for which our troops are fighting and dying across the globe.

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9 Responses to What A Load of Bull

  1. Linkmeister says:

    It’s weird; I’ve gotten into civil but noisy discussions with a couple of good blog-friends about this, and I can’t seem to get it across that this sort of thing could have a chilling effect on everybody who disagrees with the “accepted” view, and that I don’t find that a particularly desirable route for public discourse to go.

  2. Ric The Schmuck says:

    So when do we liberate Cooperstown? 🙂
    General Pete Rose is ready and waiting…. in line at the OTB.

  3. Scott says:

    I’ve been disgusted by this as well. Yes, I see the sites that regularly trounce Sarandon, Moore, et al, but this is essentially the new Black List.

    A couple of weeks ago, a Florida United Way fundraiser that Sarandon was to be at was cancelled; now this.

    Again, it’s people wrapping themselves in their fear-inspired false cloaks of patriotism. It disgusts me as an American that these people would silence any and all critics of the administration.

    And I have a serious question: Just how are Sarandon and Robbins speaking out putting our troops in danger? Somehow, the picture of Saddam in some bombed out bunker in Baghdad thinking, “Ahh! Susan and Tim don’t want war! I feel all warm and fuzzy and can continue on with my fight, now!” is really loopy, as that’s what’s implied by Petroskey’s comments.

    It also helps to know he was a Reagan administration official.

    Like baseball needs this sort of sour taste.

  4. Solonor says:

    That’s another thing! They’ve got a breaker of just about every “Thou shalt not” in the Hall. What right do they have to judge what anybody says?

    For the record: Pete Rose is a scum bunny. But he still belongs in the HoF!

    And yet another reason to forget about real baseball altogether and enjoy the glory that is Tolkien Baseball.

  5. Ric The Schmuck says:

    DISCLAIMER – The following statement has nothing to do with trying to incite a political discussion –
    I just laugh at how Robbins and Sarandon are outraged by this stuff, when they’ve become the poster children for using their fame to further their personal viewpoints. Yes, they are not alone, on either side of the ideology, but they’ve been making public statements like these for an awfully long time now. Yet they are surprised when someone chooses to not have them appear at something related to their acting, due to the political statements that they make? Kinda want it both ways, don’t they? Hehe heh…. Again, I’m not getting into the politics themselves here, just these two very privledged actors being upset that the world doesn’t always agree with them. I still like their work, though, and personally I think I’ll watch Bull Durham again this weekend, if only to make up for their larger loss at Cooperstown! 🙂

  6. GeekGrrl says:

    Playing the devil’s advocate for a moment…

    Wouldn’t Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins probably have turned it into a political forum anyway? Maybe he just beat them to the punch?

    ::puts on her flame retardent suit::


    The comments expressed herein are not necessarily representative of GeekGrrl opinions, her employer or anyone else for that matter.

  7. Ric The Schmuck says:

    My thoughts exactly, your Geekiness! 🙂
    They every right in the world to say the things that they want to say, but they need to realize that there might be people who choose not to want to have to listen to them. Play ball!
    (The guy from Cooperstown was certainly off base in the way he tried to explain the cancellation. It was an amazingly poor attempt at spin. In his own way, he’s as political as Robbins/Sarandon. But much more poorly spoken! heh heh)

  8. Solonor says:

    Well, they said they were not going to do that and that they were looking forward to a nice break from all the political stuff. So, do you ban them because they “might” say something you don’t agree with?

  9. Ric The Schmuck says:

    I think it’s just a case of their history coming back to bite them. They’ve been doing this for quite some time now. I was surprised at how subdued they were at this years Oscars, simply going with the peace sign. (Which I thought was perfectly appropriate. Sez what you mean, no big fuss or distraction, yet makes the statement.) But back when they started their political activism, they were quite vocal at any event that they were presenting anything, especially the awards shows. (Richard Gere, as well. I believe it was his past activism that cost him the Best Male nomination this year. He used to go off on Tibet every time you turned around.) So if you’re putting on an event, do you try and come to an agreement with them beforehand, which at that point actually becomes censorship, or do you skip the whole potential issue completely, eliminating the chance for a scene to be made? Tough choice. I just get a bit tired of the Hollywood “experts” making their case all the time, at fucntions that have nothing to do with politics at all. It’s not like these folks couldn’t get all the airtime that they want, any time that they want, simply by holding a press conference. The networks, (at least the cable ones) would jump at the opportunity, and the major networks would cover it on their nightly news as well. It’s not like joe-public citizen, who knows as much or as little as these people do, but doesn’t have the access to the media that they do. IMHO, if they talk politics when and where it’s appropriate, those poor celebrities won’t get their feelings hurt. Public opinion is not going to change because someone makes a scene at the Oscars. (Not Michael Moore specifically, just scenes in general.) Those scene-makers are only getting more publicity for themselves…. which in Hollywood, is what it’s all about, isn’t it? 🙂

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