Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Under the Microscope

Little ambivalence exists about the Red Sox. Yes, playing in Boston means living with the passion, the second-guessing, the frustration, as well as the adulation and the perquisites of celebrity status.

Performing under pressure means many different things. Sure, that could be winning, but how many parents work two jobs to get a kid through college or just to pay the rent and feed their kids.

Our idea of suffering pales in comparison with that throughout much of the country and the world. As much as we may object to the kings' ransom that players command, we might also understand better had we grown up in the slums around Santo Domingo or the barrio in East LA.

Professional athletes don't have to make excuses for their salaries, but we ask that they don't need to make excuses for either their attitude or their effort. Did you do the best you could do? If you had told me that Jeremy Gonzalez were going to have seven strikeouts and pitch even decently, I wouldn't have been amazed, but moderately surprised.

Mickey Mantle had three seasons worth of strikeouts during his career, and at least at the time, I believed that he always did his best. Maybe it was always his best, although performing (even well) sleep-deprived or hung over isn't my definition of professionalism.

All we can ask for is concentration and hustle. The results are not always proportionate to the effort.

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