Just as many political reporters only report political gossip instead of actual politics, I never watch sports of any kind, yet I still like to stay current on my sports gossip. That way, if I ever get trapped at a party and have to discuss sports, I’ll have a good idea of what I’m talking about. I might not know all the newest players, but I know many of the ones people talk about and am good at faking the rest. But beyond that, I really learn a lot about human nature by following sports gossip.
Like the whole steroids in baseball thing. I don’t care about that, but I do care about how people talk about it and what’s going to happen to all these guys and their records. And so I just read this news story of the guy who got Barry Bonds’ last homerun ball. But that because he didn’t get it officially authenticated immediately during the game, it might not be worth as much. But for as much as that might be interesting, I found the backstory of the guys who try to shag these balls in the stands to be far more interesting.
Apparently, there’s this San Francisco Giant’s fan named Jake Frazier who works “in the medical marijuana business” and is a “notorious ballhawk,” who has “caught thousands of batting practice balls – some in stylish, behind-the-back fashion – and more than 25 game home runs, including three from Bonds. He’s also known for crashing into people and reaching in front of them for balls – so known, in fact, that other ballhawks in the Bay Area (and beyond) now describe themselves as getting “jaked” whenever anybody denies them.”
Here’s Jake’s explanation for how he "outmaneuvered" a guy seventy pounds lighter than him who was better positioned to get the ball:
“He was bringing up the rear,” the 240-pound Frazier said. “I didn’t hip-check him out of the way. I just beat him to the spot. He’s an old-timer, dude. If I hip-checked that guy, he wouldn’t (expletive) be standing up … it’s a baseball, man, it’s a prize. You have to be aggressive.”
Yes, it’s a baseball, man. But apparently, his efforts weren’t good enough, and as the article suggests, “somebody jaked Jake.” And what is his excuse for this failure “I’m always stoned to the bone during games. I’d been smoking big weed about 10 minutes before that (expletive) guy hit that ball, so they had a little advantage on me.”
Stoned to the bone. That’s some spokesman for the medical marijuana business, huh. It turned this 240-pound man into a baseball losing blob, and we’re supposed to give it to cancer patients? Ross Rebagliati, he ain't.
And thus concludes my object lesson in showing what’s wrong with political reporting. They follow politics the same way I follow sports. The only difference is that I at least know how sports are played, choose not to follow them, and realize that I’m not actually watching them. Most reporters just cover hearsay and imagine that's as good as it gets.