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We've Come A Long Way, Baby.

Within the context that sports reflects society, and vice versa, Luke Scott's remarks really aren't all that shocking.

Sometimes, measuring cultural change in society is like watching the minute hand on a clock. If you stare unblinking directly at it for an extended period of time, you'll never actually see it move. But make note of a starting point and check back a relatively short time later and you'll see clear evidence of movement. Take baseball, for example. It's the sport that has changed the least since its inception. Sure, there have been modifications and innovations (domed stadiums, batting helmets, etc.) but you've got to really adjust your perspective and look along the fringes to find real change. For one example, it seems hard to believe now, but less than 50 years ago, the St. Louis Cardinals living accomodations during spring training in St. Petersburg were segregated by race. Another example can also be found along the fringe, the lunatic fringe.

This used to be how a ballplayer would call out the president of the United States:  

" I had a better year than he did." -- Babe Ruth, responding to criticism that his salary was higher than President Hoover

This is how that's done these days, apparently:

"Obama does not represent America. Nor does he represent anything what our forefathers stood for...He was not born here...The man has dodged everything. He dodges questions, he doesn't answer anything. And why? Because he's hiding something...Something as simple providing a birth certificate. Come on. If you're born here, there's plenty of documents. But you know what? There's no documentation of him. No legal documentation of him. There's been lie after lie after lie exposed, but people put it under the carpet. Hence, the problem we have in this country." -- Luke Scott, responding to a question posed by David Brown of Yahoo! Sports, 'So how's Obama doing?'  

There's a bit of a difference between arguably the 2nd most world-famous American athlete of all time (right after Muhammad Ali) saying he's better at mashing the ol' horsehide than Herbert Hoover was at presidenting (which is true and covered under the "It ain't braggin' if you can back it up" statute) and an outfielder on a last place team being one of those people who doesn't believe the president was even born in the United States (which is not true and covered under the "You might want to do a cursory search on Snopes regarding the topic before you pop off" statute). And that bit of difference is how we measure...progress.

None of this should come as a surprise. What happens in sports is either a mirror of what's happening in society or vice versa but definitely one or the other (although probably both). And as we as a society continue to lose our collective marbles and gravitate towards the extreme aspects of whatever our individual philosophies and values are, it's only natural that our ballplayers reflect that trend. Luke Scott didn't say anything that thousands of people don't believe. He didn't come up with that stuff up on his own. He's a product of our times and it's ridiculous to think he's the only pro athlete with these beliefs. But the fact that he spoke out in an era where it's much more safe (and profitable) to blend in than stand out brands him as a baseball weirdo

Baseball weirdos used to be Dizzy Dean and Yogi Berra, guys who talked funny. Then it was Mark Fidrych and Doug Rader, who talked baseballs and about eating baseball cards. Now we have Darren Daulton and Luke Scott, talking not-so-funny about vibrating dimensions and the end of the world and disparaging the integrity of the president based on 'evidence' that is easily proven false.

We've come a long way, baby.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.