Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Daily Sports Blurb, Anecdote or Quote

I realized recently that this blog has somehow gotten away from discussing sports and ended up being primarily oriented around politics. This week the Indians traded the reigning Cy Young Award winner, CC Sabathia to the Brewers and I didn't even bother to post on the trade. Anyways, noticing that reminded me that I wanted to include sports commentary as a key element of this blog while still noting current events. With that in mind, I'm starting a daily feature labeled the Daily Sports Blurb, Anecdote, or Quote. With the quotes and anecdotes I'll attempt to choose entries obscure enough that they are new to most people. Today I'll start with a story I found to be pretty ironic. In his autobiography, written in 1988 Willie Mays relates a story about helping a troubled teenager.
"I got a phone call at home from Lefty Gordon. He was a youth counselor. He asked me if I could straighten out a sensational athlete, a kid of fourteen who was about to end up in a lot of trouble with the law. The boy's name was O.J., and he was a member of a youth gang that had robbed a liquor store. The police were waiting for O.J. when he got home after a dance. They already had his buddies and O.J. joined them in San Francisco's Juvenile Hall for the weekend. His mother picked him up on Monday and brought him home and he went up to his room and fell asleep.

That's when I got there. I spoke to his mother and asked her if it would be alright for the boy to go out with me for a couple hours. I didn't have a lecture in mind. I just thought that by showing him I cared about him, I might be able to help him.

When O.J. came down stairs he didn't look excited. He didn't even seem surprised. I asked him if he wanted to spend the afternoon with me. He nodded "Okay." He probably expected a lecture. Instead we hopped into my car and I just did was I had planned to do that afternoon. I stopped at the cleaners and an appliance store. I went over to a friends house and then I took O.J. home. No lecture. We just talked about a lot of things - cars, baseball, football. He was already talking about going to college in Utah to play football. I advised him not to. I told him to go to Los Angeles. He'd be closer to home and in an area with a big television market. If he was as great an athlete as I had heard that would help him get his name around. The few hours we spent together were my way of showing O.J. what to do by giving him an example. I didn't want to set myself up as a god, just as someone who tried to do the right thing.
A few things hit me when I read that section of Mays' book. I got the book quite a while after it was printed and the subject of that section, O.J. Simpson had made news outside the sports world in the intervening years. One of the compelling elements of the Simpson double murder trial was he had such a clean cut image prior to that event. It was odd to read he was involved in robbing a liquor store as a kid and it never came up during the trial. I also wondered if Mays would have told that story in his book if he wrote it a decade later. Obviously, it was included to show him having a positive affect on a young man who went on to be very successful. The other surprising thing is, as far as I know when O.J. killed those two people no reporters bothered to contact Willie Mays for a reaction.

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Blogger Ben said...


what did you think of the trade?

I was hoping he would go to the Phillies.

July 9, 2008 at 2:35 PM

Blogger LargeBill said...

Color me less than impressed. That could change depending on the PTBNL. LaPorta is dominating as a hitter, but he is old for the AA level. His defense has been called average at best. He was a very good college 1B but the Brewers had Fielder so they moved LaPorta to OF. We may want to move him back to first down the road.

July 10, 2008 at 7:28 AM

Blogger Ben said...

At least Sabathia gets to hit, thats how I see it.

July 10, 2008 at 12:11 PM


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