The sportswriter as poltical commentator

Christoper Caldwell of the Weekly Standard reports the strange story of a Boston sportswriter who blasted a Red Sox relief pitcher for displaying a pro-war bumper sticker on his locker. The offending player is Mike Timlin who, if memory serves, saved the seventh game of the 1992 World Series for Toronto. Timlin hails from Midland, Texas, hometown of President Bush. Apparently, a Midland policeman gave Timlin a sticker with the peace sign and the legend, “the footprint of the AMERICAN CHICKEN.” Timlin thought it was funny, so he placed it on his locker.
Boston Herald sportswriter Howard Bryant was not amused. He took Timlin to task, calling him a “Southern neoconservative,” no less. He also criticized Timlin’s “brazen machismo” as the kind of “muscle-headed thinking that continues the stupidity of war.” Trying to make this into a sports story, he then claimed that other Red Sox were offended. The best he could do in this regard was quote a first base coach who wasn’t “particularly comfortable with the war” and a Dominican-born player (ex-Twin David Ortiz) who didn’t see “how people getting killed could ever be good.” The team seems to have reacted a bit more strongly to Bryant’s piece. Star pitchers Derek Lowe and Pedro Martinez (another Dominican) were furious. Martinez announced that he would stop talking to the press.
One suspects that Bryant would be among the first to deplore criticism of the Dixie Chicks for attacking President Bush before a British audience. But apparently Timlin became fair game when he expressed pro-war views in the semi-privacy of his own work area. Caldwell’s line on this — that Bryant wants to opine on the big issues of the day and is frustrated by having to write about baseball — is probably correct. Bryant should start a blog.

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