Retro Relapse: The Impact of Goonery On the Modern Game

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2016.

At this point, everyone should be aware of the Dennis Wideman incident from the other night.

If you aren’t, in a nutshell, he took a hard hit, which was missed by the refs. He responded by violently knocking down linesman Don Henderson. Now while Wideman says it wasn’t intentional, the video evidence is pretty damning. And whether or not he was dazed and meant to hit an opposing player, he still struck a referee and it was still a massive illegal hit even if he did strike a player.

Between this incident by the Calgary Flames, often times aggressive, defenseman and the recent sucker punch thrown by the Los Angeles Kings’ Milan Lucic, which also hit a ref, there has been a recent trend of Slap Shot style goonery.

The thing is, Slap Shot is a slapstick comedy movie and it is also about 40 years old. The NHL isn’t a backyard wrestling federation and has evolved significantly since those days. But some players still seem to draw inspiration from the fictional Hanson Bros. and the Charlestown Chiefs.

And sure, all the hockey purists, myself included, love a certain level of aggression in the sport. I will always defend fighting as part of the sport’s tradition and heritage. I’ve also seen the negative effects of what happens when you don’t allow fighting in hockey by witnessing ridiculous hits in the college and junior levels of the game where players have no real outlet to blow off steam other than smashing a guy into the boards more violently than necessary.

That is the point of fighting. It is to blow off steam or to let two men on the ice settle their beef with a bit of gentlemanly fisticuffs instead of an all out war on the human bodies of everyone in their vicinity.

At the end of the day, however, you never, ever hit an official.

But everything I am saying here is agreed upon by most, except for Neanderthals and pacifists.

I fully support the hefty suspension on Wideman and I think most people do. In fact, I may even say that it is too light. But that is up to the League to decide and they have.

If the NHL doesn’t make examples out of guys like Wideman and Lucic, things like this will become more commonplace. If that were to happen, there’d be a lot more push back by those opposed to hockey violence. More of these situations would add credibility to their argument. And even though these incidents aren’t true examples of what fighting in hockey is, it won’t matter. If the game is perceived as too violent, it is only a matter of time before the NHL has to crackdown.

If the NHL does feel as if its hand is forced to crackdown, we are looking at a league without fighting or a very diet form of fighting. The effects of that will create more violence in how the game is played on the ice. There will be harder hits and more injuries. This will have a bigger negative impact on the sport and be truly counterproductive to the solution pushed forward by those with these biases and criticisms. It’s like politics, some big change is born with good intentions but finds itself plagued by unintended consequences. Although, it doesn’t take a genius to see the writing on the wall.

The game is already evolving away from fighting anyway. I think it will always exist, to a degree, unless it is completely banned. But the old school giant goon of yesteryear is having a much harder time finding a job in the modern NHL. Teams would rather fill their rosters spots with snipers and d-men that can actually play defense. Also, the game is getting faster each year and big thugs can’t keep up with the action. And all this is reflected in the fact that fights have been decreasing each year.

Unfortunate things happen in hockey but it’s the same in all sports. Regardless, if it is caused by a few knuckleheaded individuals doesn’t matter to the busybodies. And that is why examples have to be made.

I just hope other players learn from incidents like these and have more respect for the game, their livelihood, the players and the officials on the ice.

Retro Relapse: Making ‘May Madness’ A Thing

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

May Madness! Or should it be June Madness? Or maybe May-to-June Madness, as it plays out in two different months? Well, it starts at the end of May and goes into the end of June, so most games are played in June.

Regardless of what to officially call it, I love the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament, which culminates into the College World Series. In fact, I love it in the same way that I love March Madness a.k.a. the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament (I like the Women’s one too and the NIT Tournament).

The thing is, every time March rolls around, people all over America print their brackets, fill them out and duke it out with their friends over who knows the sport best. Truthfully, most people only watch the sport during March Madness and really don’t know as much as they think they do. But that is the cool thing about it, playing some stupid bracket game sparks a lot of interest in college basketball: ratings soar and everyone is glued to the television come Final Four time. College baseball could certainly use a similar spark and people could use some good summertime fun.

The thing that makes March Madness so exciting is the insane amount of teams that are in the tournament. College baseball is similar in that there are 64 teams in their tournament (out of 298 Division I programs), the same amount as the basketball tournament before they expanded it to 68 just a few years ago (a change I still don’t get). Additionally, like the basketball tournament, the conference winners get automatic bids and the rest of the field is selected by an NCAA committee.

However, there are a few things that make the baseball tournament different than the basketball tournament.

In March Madness, the basketball teams play in a “one and done” scenario. You lose once, you’re out of the tournament and that’s it. In the baseball tournament, it is a bit more complicated although more interesting.

In college baseball, teams don’t find themselves in a “one and done” situation. They are divided into sixteen regional brackets with a double-elimination format. Regional champions then face each other in eight Super Regionals. The eight winners of those contests then go on to be the participants in the College World Series, which is essentially baseball’s version of basketball’s Final Four, except there are eight teams instead of four.

In the College World Series, teams are split into two groups of four and play a double-elimination format. When it gets down to the final four teams, they play in a best of three series in the semifinals and finals.

It is harder for the average Joe to follow but those of us who follow collegiate baseball, don’t find it that difficult and like the fact that it is a more complex playoff system. Although, it isn’t perfect and for the betterment of the sport, I’m not opposed to some changes to make it more accessible to the masses. Besides, with more accessibility comes more viewership and hopefully, a lot more excitement which will only better the sport of baseball at the collegiate level.

The “one and done” style of college basketball and the large number of participants is what makes it really unpredictable and exciting. Upsets happen on a pretty frequent basis but no one seems to have a problem with the system, as it is. Well, the vast majority of people, anyway.

College baseball could benefit from getting rid of the double-elimination format and go for a straight up 64 team bracket. However, to make it more balanced to what currently exists, I would propose making each round a best of three series, which would still require a double-elimination (or two-loss) scenario.

Where this would make May Madness more exciting than March Madness is that people filling out their brackets could have the option of picking the winner and the amount of games played – a good way to determine tiebreakers.

I’d also like to see the baseball Final Four expand to at least a best of five series: seven would be better.

I’m just a fan of college baseball and a fan of March Madness and think that the energy surrounding the NCAA Basketball Tournament could carry over to another great sport with a similar playoff system already in play. Besides, it’s not like you can do this with college football, which just started a playoff system that is only comprised of four teams. And I love NCAA hockey but they don’t have enough teams to have anything bigger than a sixteen team tournament.

College baseball is the only thing that could provide the world with a proper spin-off of the mega successful March Madness monster. Besides, what else is going on in sports this time of year? Football, hockey and basketball are in their off season and Major League Baseball is in the long drawn out middle of their regular season: gearing up for a joke of an All-Star Game.

Well, I guess I’ll watch the third and final game of the College World Series tonight and continue to dream of a sport that could grow much larger and potentially open the doors of bracketology pandemonium during the summer.

Book Review: ‘Florida Mat Wars 1977’ by Robert D. VanKavelaar & Scott Teal

At this point, many of you know that I grew up in Florida and witnessed Championship Wrestling From Florida live and in-person, as a kid in the ’80s. My earliest and some of my fondest wrestling memories came from this great promotion.

That being said, I like to read every book that has ties or stories to the company. Since I wasn’t alive in 1977, I found this one particularly interesting, as it chronicles a full year in the company before I was born.

However, 1977 was also an incredible year where CWF was packed full of immense prime time level talent.

This book is a collection of photos, newspaper articles and promotional advertisements of every event the company held in the State of Florida that year.

By looking through this, the year takes shape as you see rivalries form, feuds ignite and what came next for the wrestlers involved. Also, I liked seeing where all these events took place, as I could pinpoint ones that I knew my father and my uncles would have gone to live.

This is just a really cool book to own and to thumb through if you’re a fan of the promotion and wrestling history in general.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: other books on the history of the old school territory wrestling business, as well as biographies on the personalities who lived it.

Retro Relapse: Fighting In Hockey

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

There are a lot of busybody nobodies out there bitching about fighting in hockey. I get it though, we live in a much softer and politically correct society than generations prior.

However, in our neutered societal state, hockey is a safe haven, where men are still men (except Sidney Crosby) and we can find solace in the fact that some things never change and that if you start trouble, someone will be there to punch you in the face. It is called retaliation and it is a major part of hockey.

Now there are a lot of good arguments out there for the banishment of ending fighting in hockey and I get a lot of the points made. I understand that concussions are horrible, especially in the long-term and if a player receives multiple. I also understand that a player can have a longer career, if he isn’t getting his teeth knocked out. Additionally, hockey players would have better smiles. There are plenty of realistic negatives that can happen to a human body that gets pummeled on a regular basis.

Many of these people though, are the same people who want to ban boxing and mixed martial arts. Some of them even think that American football is too dangerous for the athletes that participate.

Here’s the thing. These athletes are adults. These adults know the risk of the sport that they play. They still decide to play these sports anyway. Sure, one could point to them being motivated by seven-to-eight figure salaries but the fact of the matter is, you have to be one of the best in the world to earn yourself that millionaire status. So what does that say about the millions of athletes who participate in these sports that never make it? They certainly aren’t getting pummeled for huge contracts.

These critics of fighting in hockey are missing the point. For the most part, these men are tough as nails and they certainly don’t need a bunch of pansies who never played the game speaking for them. They are adults that make their own adult decisions. Again, they know the risks and they still play. That is their choice. If you find hockey too dangerous, don’t play it. If you find it too “barbaric” to watch, then don’t watch it. These men don’t need nannies and would probably punch one in the face.

This isn’t some alpha male rant, this is reality. And the reality of this situation is that fighting is ingrained in hockey culture. It is a part of the sport, an important part.

Yes, you could argue that the game would be better if it were more of a skills showcase than a land of thugs but those who make that argument apparently don’t watch the sport. For the most part, each game is a showcase of elite skill and prowess on the ice. There is more finesse in the game today than there has ever been. However, there is still that fighting element that exists because in the heat of battle, it is necessary. Is it a land of thugs? Certainly not.

A hockey enforcer (or goon, as many call them) is the sport’s version of the retaliatory pitch in baseball. And like in baseball, it is employed to send a message and to protect the team’s star players. It shouldn’t be used to intentionally hurt or maim another player and for the most part, it doesn’t. Things can get out of hand, in hockey and in baseball, but in this day and age, fines, suspensions and other punishments are handed out pretty quickly when a player crosses that line. There are checks and balances in the system.

People can get hurt pretty badly in a hockey fight, as they can with a retaliatory pitch, but serious injuries aren’t as common as the sensationalist sports media would like you to assume. Players can also get hurt pretty bad just falling on the ice or hitting the boards. Are you going to remove the ice and boards too? Maybe they’ll just play field hockey on a field made out of pillows, sticks made out of pool noodles and a lemon as a puck.

This growing anti-fighting coalition wants to constantly point out how barbaric humans are, especially men. It shares and promotes similar ideas that have been espoused by those embracing extreme feminism. You know, those people out there who see manliness as a sort of primal Neanderthalism that has no place in our prissy modern world.

What this faulty idealism fails to realize and accept is that men (and all humans, actually) need to work out their aggression and angst in a healthy way. When the hunter-gatherer way of life ended, men needed new ways to express their manliness and feel bad ass. Thus came sports, which weren’t just games but physical competitions against one another to see who was the best and the king of the tribe.

Many can point to ancient gladiatorial sports and their bloodshed but we have evolved way passed that. Besides, men were usually forced to fight each other and didn’t participate in those gladiator games voluntarily. Many were slaves or captured enemies forcibly thrown to the lions for the entertainment of their captors.

Hockey is not that same sort of barbarism and shouldn’t be compared to it. Yet that is one of the most common arguments, as those criticizing the sport’s violence like to paint a picture of men, who they perceive as victims of an outdated barbaric system, being sacrificed for the entertainment of the savage-hearted spectator. When you really look at this argument, it is bullshit.

Unfortunately, we live in a very reactionary world and if a player were to get hit and killed, whether from a punch or a hard smack to the ice or the boards, the nanny police will come out in full force, the media will provide them their soapbox and the sport will probably be forced to ban fighting. While I hope this never happens and I never want to see a player get hurt, especially killed, I could see this happening.

In the end, banning fighting in hockey would kill the spirit of the sport and probably cause more problems on the ice than what people perceive there to be now. There is a reason for an enforcer and retaliation. Without it, you open the door to greater danger and a dirtier game.

More of this, please:

Documentary Review: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

Release Date: March 25th, 2007 (Dallas International Film Festival)
Directed by: Seth Gordon
Written by: Seth Gordon
Music by: Craig Richey
Cast: Steve Wiebe, Billy Mitchell, Walter Day

Large Lab, Picturehouse, Dendy Cinemas, 79 Minutes

Review:

“I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs. I play video games, which I think is a far superior addiction to any of those other ones.” – Adam Wood

Back when this came out in 2007, I was enthralled by it. In fact, I bought the DVD and watched it quite a bit, which is strange for me in that it’s a documentary.

However, this true story is just as good as a great work of fiction. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction or at least, more interesting than it.

In the case of Donkey Kong rivals Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell, we were given something so human, endearing and intriguing that it rivaled the best films of its year of release. Strangely, it didn’t even get nominated by the Academy for Best Documentary.

I guess movies about middle-aged dudes playing retro video games isn’t as politically and socially starved for as movies about dolphins, rainforests and some old, hermit dude that spent his entire life crafting a violin out of garbage. No, this is actually more important than all of that as it shows the triumph of the human spirit and how even a regular Joe can overcome the odds and topple a giant and a system that’s working against him.

Steve Wiebe is a hero and you truly get a sense of that while watching this. On the flipside of that, Billy Mitchell is one hell of a villain and his personality and charisma rivals that of the greatest heel managers in professional wrestling history. At the same time, looking passed all of Mitchell’s shady shenanigans, you can’t not help but like the guy. He’s f’n charming and he’s doing his damnedest to protect his legacy, even if that means cheating and using his power and influence to great advantage.

This is just a fantastic story about a guy that is great at something, finally stepping up to get recognized for it, while the man who feels threatened by him, does everything he can to hold him down. Who will win? You have to watch this and find out.

The King of Kong is heartwarming and heartbreaking at different points. But most importantly, it is one of my favorite documentaries ever made.

Rating: 9.25/10
Pairs well with: other video game/gaming documentaries like Chasing Ghosts and Special When Lit.

Book Review: ‘Drawing Heat’ by Jim Freedman

I’ve read a lot of books this year about the days of the old school wrestling territories. While this one wasn’t by any means the best, it did have some of the most interesting stuff in it, especially considering the time in which it was written and published.

In a lot of ways, this reminded me of The Fall Guys, as it peeks behind the curtain and exposes certain secrets of the wrestling business.

The true story that is covered here, sees the author initially start out to write about a small wrestling promotion through the eyes of a fan. However, as he interviews more people and becomes familiar with them, he ends up working for the promotion.

What he didn’t know when he started writing this, is that he was chronicling the demise of a small local Canadian wrestling promotion, which eventually got swallowed up by a large corporation that was taking over the industry and becoming a multi-national company.

While just about every wrestling territory had the same demise as this one, it’s really interesting seeing it told from the perspective of the small company while it was happening.

Beyond that, this book also has several subplots due to the wacky things that weaved in and out of this company during its final days.

The most interesting and fucked up story in the book is about the company’s wrestling bear, a beloved living mascot, that killed the girlfriend of its trainer.

All in all, this wasn’t great but for those with an interest in the subject, it’s got a lot of meat to chew through, most of it pretty good.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: other books on the history of the old school territory wrestling business, as well as biographies on the personalities who lived it.

Retro Relapse: Umpires Are Sensitive Egomaniacal Bitches

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

I hate baseball umpires more than the officials of any other sport. While baseball is and will always be my favorite sport, the men (and I use “men” lightly) that officiate the game are overly sensitive, power hungry, egomaniacal bitches.

Last night was just another example of this.

After what was perceived as a bad call, Torii Hunter of the Minnesota Twins started arguing with the umpire. He was actually fairly calm about it. But within just a few seconds, the home plate umpire lost his cool and ejected Hunter. He also immediately ejected Twins manager Paul Molitor who walked out to backup his player, as a manager does in these situations.

Hunter then lost his cool in a tantrum that saw him strip off his uniform and yell until he walked off the field in disgust.

Some people may think Hunter overreacted. I don’t, I think the umpire was a big bitch that needs to toughen up, grow some fucking balls and put his ego in check. Besides, if you eject a player for getting mad about a call, once he’s ejected, what is to then stop him from escalating his tirade? A fine? A suspension?

A guy like Hunter is a multimillionaire and he doesn’t care about some bullshit fine. He also probably doesn’t care about a suspension either, as the monetary hit isn’t going to come close to breaking him and he may benefit from a few days rest.

Rewind back to a few weeks ago. Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals was ejected twice in one week under similar circumstances, although he was visibly more heated than Hunter. In a press conference following his second ejection, Harper hit the nail on the head when he said:

I don’t think 40,000 people came to watch him ump tonight. Plain and simple, I really don’t think they did. Especially when we’re playing the Yankees. The Yankees are a good team, we’re a good team and we’re rolling. I don’t want to get tossed. There’s no reason for me to get tossed in that situation. I don’t think I did anything bad to get tossed. Maybe he just had a bad morning or he didn’t get his coffee.

Bryce Harper is right, the fans didn’t buy a ticket to watch an umpire putting on a show.

The thing is, power is a fucked up thing. Some can handle it, some can’t. Umpires have always been cantankerous jerks throughout baseball’s century and a half of history. That doesn’t mean that they have to abuse their power. And it certainly doesn’t mean that Major League Baseball has to coddle their officials, as if they can do no wrong.

Look, I get that an umpire has a tough job and that there is a high level of stress in the position but if anything, that should make them relate to the pressure a Major League Baseball player is under. And more often than not, when a player gripes about a call, it is because the umpire didn’t just make a bad call once, he made several over multiple at-bats. Sure, some players have unjustifiably lost their shit but not as much as umpires have unjustifiably lost theirs.

These umpires remind me of the asshole cops out there who overstep their bounds and use their power and their badge to justify horrible behavior. Many think that they are above the law and thrive on that high. They have a god complex and anytime someone challenges that, they can toss them out of a game, just as a shitty cop can toss someone in jail (or worse) for expressing displeasure.

It has gotten to the point in baseball, where if you even question an official, you’re out of the game and that’s that.

While Major League Baseball is so focused on protecting the integrity of the game in every way it can, their attitude that the umpire is always right is foolhardy and ridiculous. People make mistakes, umpires are people. And many of these people don’t have great track records.

When an umpire, like the one last night, throws a player out of a game over nothing and then walks away, as other umps try and get the irate batter off of the field, that umpire looks like an overly sensitive bitch and someone with a severe ego problem.

In other sports, athletes get in referees faces all the time, more so than in baseball. How often do they get ejected from a game though? There is just something with these baseball umpires that needs to be checked and this is an example of the archaic culture surrounding Major League Baseball.

I also get that this is part of the sport and part of the show. But when it comes to the pure competition of what is happening on the field, shit like this is a distraction and hurts the essence of the game itself. This is baseball, a sport. This isn’t World Wrestling Entertainment. People aren’t paying to see the Authority screw over Daniel Bryan day after day. What happens within the confines of the contest itself is the story that should be told. The umpires aren’t the stars, nor should they be, and their overreactions make baseball look like an episode of Jerry Springer.

Now I’m not calling for umpires to be replaced with computers, as some have suggested, but something needs to be done. I’m also not saying that all umpires are egomaniacal bitches but there are certainly many who fit the bill. Maybe they need psychological evaluations on a regular basis.

And sure, the sport has always been this way but it does seem as if the tolerance of umpires is at an all-time low.

Then again, maybe they are just rejected wannabe ballplayers that never amounted to anything and this is their way of getting revenge. Kind of like the bullied kid in high school who goes on to become successful, only to use his success to punish those who wronged him. Even though those being punished aren’t the same people who wronged him.

Is this situation fixable? Yes. Will it be fixed? No. And that folks, is baseball.

Retro Relapse: Fix Your Fucking Hat

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

I’ve watched baseball for a long time – 36 years to be exact. Now while I might not have understood it as an infant, I was certainly in the room when my grandma was watching the Chicago Cubs when I was that age. I was brought up a sports fan and loved baseball as far back as I can remember: collecting baseball cards and all the mini batting helmets and team ICEE cups from my local K-Mart.

Growing up, I also listened to a lot of hip-hop, heavy metal and punk rock. I embraced the whole counterculture thing and always strived to be an individual against the establishment, even though I didn’t realize I was conforming to the trendiness of nonconformity. I was a kid, it’s what kids do before they grow up and experience life and reality. And yes, I still like those things but I’ve become more of an individual as I’ve gotten older and understood what that actually means. Or I’m just older and stopped giving a fuck so much.

But as I got older, I had to join the workforce. As a teenager, I wasn’t satisfied with my allowance and got a job because I wanted to buy shit. In fact, I had several jobs in my teens and early twenties. Many of those jobs came with wearing a uniform. Sure, I loved the jobs that didn’t require a uniform but we don’t always have that luxury when it comes to having to make money. I’d wear my ugly khakis and my collared shirts and sometimes a hat with my employer’s logo on it. It comes with the job and that is the image the companies who paid my salary wanted to convey. Whether I liked it or not, I was a member of a team and I had to be a part of that team if I was going to work there.

In Major League Baseball, like all professional sports, uniforms are required. Being a paid player in the MLB means that you have to wear the uniforms provided by your employer. Some teams have strict rules, other teams are a bit more relaxed. For instance, the New York Yankees require you to shave and you cannot have your name on your jersey. Other teams let you have bodacious beards and they print your name on your back so the world can see who you are when you make an amazing play or when you fuck up on the field.

A part of the uniform in Major League Baseball is wearing your team’s cap. Why do you think they call them “baseball caps”? It’s because the hat style was invented for baseball players way back in the 1800s. It is not only a required part of the uniform in baseball but it serves a function, which is the real reason why it became the norm in the sport. That function is to block the sun out of the player’s eyes while on the field.

Culturally, baseball caps have evolved and become the badge of honor for players on their various teams. As sports breed tribalism, the logo and the cap is the flag of that tribe. It should be respected and cherished by those who wear it and those who follow the team. Hell, it should be respected by the opponents and rivals of each team, as it is a part of the sport’s history and heritage that has provided everyone on that field with a place to ply their trade.

Besides, there aren’t very many jobs out there better than being a Major League Baseball player. That alone should be enough for these players to want to honor the tradition and heritage of this great sport. But many players today, don’t.

From Fernando Rodney to Michael Pineda to Felix Hernandez to my Chicago Cubs’ Pedro Strop and others, they prefer to wear their hats crooked. While they may think they look cool and are taking fashion liberties in expressing their individuality, they look like assholes and are just following a crappy trend.

Someone who came from being a kid with nothing who now has millions, still looks like a child. Fernando Rodney is 38 years-old and he looks like a teenage clown with an old man’s face. It looks out of place and bizarre. The whole thing is just weird. The fact that their teammates don’t slap them in the back of the head is baffling to me.

Whether or not they think they’re rock stars or not is a moot point. The fact remains that they are employees and they have a uniform that should be worn correctly with pride. Some could point to these players being Latino and saying it is part of their culture. Regardless, they are still uniformed employees of a company and they are putting their own touch on something that is supposed to be held to a higher standard.

As a member of a team, you are just that – a member of a team. Sure, teams are made up of individuals but the individual should never put the spotlight on themselves over the team. Deliberately wearing a uniform incorrectly states that the player really doesn’t give a shit about the tradition, heritage or pride of the team that they play for.

Don’t even get me started on the guys who wear their Mr. T starter kits over their jerseys. We know you’re rich asshole, now put your big gold chains away and throw the fucking ball.

But staying on point here, the hats serve a function. If it is worn incorrectly, it can’t correctly serve that function. I can’t necessarily say that wearing a crooked hat has cost a team a game but it does present the possibility of it being a disadvantage.

The baseball cap is gear and a player should never wear gear incorrectly. They wouldn’t put their protective cup on crooked would they? They wouldn’t deliberately put their shoes on the wrong feet, right? I mean, maybe they would if they wanted to follow a trend and show their uniqueness.

Besides, when does it stop? How far does a player have to twist their cap before a team says “no”? In a few years, we may have players other than catchers wearing backwards hats or even turning them inside out like rally caps. Where is the line drawn here?

Lastly, I suffer from a bit of OCD. It was much worse as a child but it still exists. Whenever I see one of these self-obsessed idiots wearing a crooked cap, it sends me into a frenzy. How does it not drive them crazy? I guess looking cool (or like a clown) is more important than having functional gear and looking like a proud member of the team that pays you millions.