Some of my family members are in a huff because Dr. Seuss is getting canceled. This is not true, of course, the “cancelation,” as it were, is coming from Dr. Seuss Enterprises and they are voluntarily stopping the sale of some books that portray stereotypes of groups of people that are hurtful and wrong. This is what compassion and caring for those around us, particularly those who have been historically marginalized, is supposed to be. And yet, the decision stokes outrage because that’s what our country is geared up for at this moment in history, a fight.
Meanwhile, to paraphrase Shakespeare, something is rotten in the state of Cleveland — something legitimately worth getting in a huff about. Terry Francona, Chris Antonetti, and surely more members of the Cleveland baseball club’s management knew about Mickey Callaway’s predatory and aggressively lewd behavior toward women and did nothing.
We already knew the team was not going to take proactive steps to stop perpetuating hurtful stereotypes of other humans, as they announced they would keep the team nickname for at least one more season, and clearly, nothing was done proactively about Callaway, who went on to manage the Mets and coach the Angels with nary a word from anyone in Cleveland. In fact, Francona went out of his way to praise Callaway in 2016, before he was interviewing for new jobs but after his pattern of behavior had led to one former staffer coining the phrase “the Mickey treatment.”
But no matter, because now, as made clear by Francona himself, is not the time to talk about this.
When exactly is the time? If you believe the team’s official messaging, then the time to do the right thing is right now.
Clearly, this organization is engaged in nothing but pretense. The sanitized, safe language coming from the mouthpieces of the organization — social media or official statements — do not match the actions. If, as the team stated yesterday, it wants its actions to reflect its commitment, why is there such a disconnect? Furthermore, why should anyone believe this group of individuals?
I’ve already stated that I do not believe the Cleveland baseball club loves its fans, and now I wonder who does receive the affection of the club. I doubt it’s the players — the trade of Carlos Carrasco shows how much loyalty the organization felt toward a player who took a pay cut to stick around. It’s not the low-level members of the front office, as they were furloughed during the COVID-19 shutdowns. It’s certainly not women, as the Callaway saga has shown us. And it’s definitely not minority groups, evidenced by retaining the team name in spite of [gestures wildly] everything.
So what is the recourse at this moment? Do we rise up like the culture warriors of cable news mythology and cancel the team? No, because that’s not a thing, and even if it were it would not accomplish much. This is a personal decision, as is everything with fandom, and we all have to reckon with it in our own way.
I personally have lost my enthusiasm for the Cleveland baseball club, and I know I’m not alone in that. Maybe my emotional connection to sports is resetting itself after the pandemic, or maybe I just need to not actively cheer for the team for a while. I’ve said it before, but maybe it’s time to stop giving this ownership group another cent of our hard-earned money until we see some changes. If anything, the Callaway saga only makes this resolve that much stronger.
The list of things from the last few months that have been no fun, disappointing, and downright disgusting regarding this team is lengthy, and it’d be hard to blame anyone for not feeling much of the excitement as they usually do when spring training resumes.
Whether or not fans agree about not spending money or cheering, we humans need to be good to one another. We should all try harder and demand those we care about to do the same.