When it comes time to vote on the award for "2006’s Oddest Insults," I’d like to throw Jason Kendall’s name into the ring. Upon hearing that Major League baseball refused to lesson his 4-game suspension for charging Angels pitcher John Lackey, Kendall directed the following harsh words to the powers that be:
"Major League Baseball has turned into a badminton league."
It’s a shame Kendall was afraid to prove his point by using a completely random comparison.
I’ll admit, while I’ve written about sports ranging from basketball to bass fishing, I’m hardly an all-purpose "sports expert." And frankly, aside from tennis, the "net-centric" sports (ping pong, beach volleyball, that version of volleyball you play in a swimming pool) rank among my least knowledgeable. So I may just be out of the loop. But when did badminton get slapped with the "soft" rep? That’s really word on the street these days? Is it really any less rough a sport than, I don’t know, squash? You don’t hear that sport getting the ***** label. Don’t guys occasionally cheap shot an opponent’s kneecap with their racket? Drill a shuttlecock into an opponent’s face? Never? Ever? I’m not saying "pro badminton player" and "NHL enforcer" should be mentioned in the same breath, but is Jason Kendall really giving badminton a fair shake?
And for that matter, when did baseball become known as the "hardest" sport this side of Ultimate Fighting. Did I miss that memo? Obviously, the sport requires a certain amount of strength and endurance. I’m not calling these guys pansies or nothing. But it’s not like the hitting comes fast and furious during your typical nine innings. Except for trying to dislodge a ball from a fielder, the occasional hit batsman, or the rare bench clearing brawl, there are few occasions when a big leaguer even makes physical contact with guys in the other dugout. When’s the last time you saw a team go out and play "physical baseball?" When’s the last time Albert Pujols threatened to lay out the next guy coming hard into his house (otherwise known as "first base")? And let’s be honest. Half the guys in The Show fall somewhere between "slightly doughy" and "flat out tubby." They’re not equipped for that kind of rough and tumble, anyway. If baseball actually were a contact sport, they’d be among the last ones picked for a team, anyway. Except maybe Kyle Farnsworth. That guy’s pretty freakin’ yoked.
One thing’s for sure, though. If Kendall’s right about the namby-pamby world that is professional badminton, Delmon Young’s probably not the ideal candidate to become the circuit’s first two sport athlete.
Also, wanted to let people know, my brother Brian and I are doing a Dodgers blog for Latimes.com. If you’re looking for a one stop shop for everything a man needs to "think blue," I can’t think of a better place to visit (and not just because I’m totally biased). You can bookmark this link (dodgerblog.typepad.com) or go to latimes.com and hit the link in the sports section. Thanks.