bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Violence in Baltimore disrupts baseball

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The world of sports is often insulated from the troubles of the outside world. Fans use it as an escape from the difficulties of their lives and of society around them. Sometimes, though, the non-sports stuff can’t help but break through that barrier, and the last few days have seen that very thing happen in Baltimore, as riots triggered by the death of a man named Freddie Gray have had a significant impact.

In case you somehow don’t know, Gray was a man who died a couple of weeks ago after he was injured while in the custody of police. After several recent, high-profile deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police, the situation hit a critical point with this incident, and violence erupted during a protest right near Camden Yards on Saturday. The Baltimore Orioles were playing the Boston Red Sox there at the stadium, and fans were notified that they should remain inside the ballpark at the end of the game rather than venturing out into the melee.

The people at the game eventually left as the ruckus subsided, but that was not the end of things. Sunday’s day game against Boston went on as planned, but the games that were scheduled for Monday and Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox were postponed due to fears for fans’ safety. That was likely a good decision, as the violence was even more pronounced on Monday night, as police cars were set on fire and stores were looted. Schools were closed and a city-wide curfew was imposed Tuesday night. Wednesday’s scheduled game against Chicago will be played, but in a first for Major League Baseball, the stadium will be empty during the game. No fans will be allowed in, which should make for an extremely bizarre environment for the teams.The team has also shifted its series scheduled for Friday through Sunday against Tampa Bay to the Rays’ stadium in Florida.

Clearly, what is happening on the streets of Baltimore is far more important and significant than a couple of baseball games. The mix of understandably outraged and disenfranchised citizens along with a bunch of people who simply want to take advantage of the situation to steal and destroy has made for a powder keg of an environment in which the simple pastime of sports can not and should not try to exist. Hopefully, the Baltimore authorities, with the help of the National Guard, will get things under control and the games, at least, can go back to normal. Whether or not the city will, or even should, go back to “normal” is a different conversation.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Brittney Griner, who starred in basketball at Baylor before moving on to the WNBA, was arrested last week after an argument with her fiancee turned physical. She pleaded guilty and will undergo required counseling.

3) A regatta was happening in Mobile Bay, Alabama, when a large storm arrived and capsized a number of the boats. Two people have been found dead and five more are still missing.

4) Dion Jordan, the defensive end who was taken third overall in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, has put a cherry on top of his bust-so-far career by being suspended for the 2015 season after his third violation of the league’s policy against substance abuse. Rumors suggest Jordan was about to be traded to the Philadelphia Eagles when the suspension was announced.

5) The New York Jets were fined $100,000 for tampering in a case filed by the New England Patriots late last year. The penalty, handed down on Tuesday, was for the remarks made by team owner Woody Johnson regarding his desire to have Darrelle Revis come back and play for the Jets. Revis did sign with the Jets on the first day of free agency.

6) Former Detroit Tigers outfielder and Arizona Diamnodbacks manager Kirk Gibson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it was announced on Tuesday. Gibson is 57 and is employed by Fox Sports Detroit.

Good sports:

1) Cleveland Browns wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who spent the first eight years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs before signing with Cleveland this offseason, went back to Kansas City on Tuesday to attend the funeral of a woman who was well known as a long-time, loyal Chiefs fan. Nice gesture.

2) It’s always nice to see a sense of humor in sports. Adrian Beltre, third baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers, sent a $300 invoice to Texas Rangers pitcher Garrett Richards after Richards broke three of his bats while striking him out three times during the game between the two teams on Friday.

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Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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