Monday, September 8, 2008

Max Kellerman's Monday Musings Vol XXV - Pigeonholes, Overreactions and the Mets

Today's Max Kellerman and Brian Kenny show had its usual quality take on the weekend in sports, along with a giant helping of social commentary (in my opinion). I will try to hit some of the high points in this post.

There was a discussion about whether athletes are too pigeonholed which emanated from their analysis of the Jets-Dolphins game. When Mike Nugent was attempting a field goal he came up lame and the Jets did not attempt any field goals thereafter. Instead, the punter (Ben Graham) did the kickoffs for a few quarters and the Jets went for it on 4th down (scoring a touchdown in the process) and tried the two point conversion (unsuccessfully).

The above scenario prompted a conversation between Max and Brian as to whether athletes are too pigeonholed. Max talked about how teams need to be prepared, like a baseball team having a player who knows that he is also the emergency catcher. He also joked about how some relief pitchers feel that they only have a specific role (8th inning guy or lefty specialist) and have some trepidation about taking on tasks that they are unaccustomed too. Max correctly laid the blame at Eric Mangini's feet for not having been prepared for this possibility. I would have liked someone to have talked about how a kicker gets a deep thigh bruise kicking a field goal, but that will await another day.

There was also a discussion about the Yankees and how "the meatheads are right" that the Yankees have a bloated $200 million payroll with nothing to show for it (they are in 4th at the moment). They later spoke to Mel Kiper Jr about how the Yankees could use Pedroia and Ellsbury. It was an interesting exchange as Kiper said to Brian and Max that he "can't believe that he was telling NY sports radio guys not to overreact." To which Brian Kenny quipped "you're talking to the wrong guys."

There was also a great line by Max Kellerman about how the Mets did their best to collapse, but Johan Santana would not let them. Kudos were also given to Carlos Delgado, with Brian saying that it could not happen to a nicer guy. I don't know Carlos personally or otherwise, so I can't comment.

There was also a frustrated swipe taken at A-Rod (I can only hope this was an attempt at humor). Max said that A-Rod is garbage under pressure and that Max blames A-Rod's father for walking out on him and A-Rod's (soon to be ex-) wife Cynthia for divorcing him and that these events have contributed to A-Rod's inability to perform in the clutch.

Back to the issue of pigeonholes and staying in place, Max's commentary was right in line with Torah thought. I can recall hearing a shiur (class) when I was involved in kiruv wherein it was asked whether its OK to stay the same without attempting to improve. The answer of course, is no. Max would probably have some fancy sociology term for this, but Judaism knows this as you can't stay still. It is a fundamental tenet of mussar that if a person does not attempt to improve himself he will wind up backsliding. Instead, we need to try to do better each day and to improve ourselves on a regular basis. If we stay in our pigeonhole, satisfied with our level of interaction with others and Hashem, we will undoubtedly take steps backward. However, if we are willing to step out of the hole and improve ourselves we can accomplish great things.

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