Monday, March 10, 2008

There's No Nazis In Baseball

Ian Kinsler, Super Jew
Ian Kinsler, Sluggin' Against Anti-Semites

Even in a fantasy world, bigots exist.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that I've recently gotten into playing Fantasy Baseball. And you've probably read all about my Jewish Fantasy Baseball team, which is scheduled to kick off its sophomore season later this month.

Well this year, I joined an AL-Only Fantasy Baseball league on CBS Sportsline. The draft was automated, so I could waste as little time as possible in setting my team up. The computer actually picked a nice team for me. A-Rod and David Ortiz on the same squad! Ian Kinsler, Jewish baseball player extraordinaire at second base! I was excited for the season to start.

Then I took a look at the other teams in the league. Most were innocuous, normal. Nick's Yankees, Mean Machine, Hamilton Havoc. But then I saw what one owner named his team. "Mein Kampf".

For those of you who don't know, that is the infamous title of Adolf Hitler's memoir and political manifesto. A book in which Hitler rationalized his hatred for the Jewish people and outlined his philosophy for the Nazi state. Neo-nazis and some Muslim extremists are known to treat the book like a bible for their causes.

And someone decided to choose that title for their fantasy baseball team's name.

To do something like that, I reasoned, someone has to be pretty fervent about their cause. A person who spreads their hate in a venue as frivolous as fantasy baseball most likely spreads their hate in other, more important areas of their life. A disturbed individual indeed.

Luckily for my Jewish baseball teammates, none of them were drafted by the Nazi squad.

What could I do? I figured CBS Sportsline wouldn't allow such an inappropriate team name to remain on their web site. So I sent them an email alerting them to the situation.

A few hours later, I checked back and "Mein Kampf" had been replaced by "INAPPROPRIATE". Big bold capital letters that will hopefully remind "Mein Kampf" that Hitler failed, and that most of the world today believes in tolerance, not hatred.

L'Chiam!!

I'd like to applaud CBS Sportsline on their swift reaction. I've always thought their fantasy leagues were better organized and provided more information than Yahoo! or others, and now I also know that they are committed to preserving the fun of the game for everyone. "Mein Kampf" may be able to spread his hate elsewhere, but he won't be able to ruin Fantasy Baseball. Not for this Jew.

I look forward to kicking his ass come April. On the Fantasy Baseball field. Ian Kinsler leading the way.

Just like Hitler, the Baseball Nazi will be defeated.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mazel Tov! We must fight nazism wherever it rears its ugly head!

Ron Kaplan said...

Hi, Adam.

I'm the sports editor for the NJ Jewish News and would be interested in discussing this post some more. Please contact me,

Thanks,

Ron Kaplan

Anonymous said...

The most consistently interesting blog on the net!

bensheetsraindelay said...

Adam...I linked to your blog from Ron Kaplan's baseball bookshelf. He posted in the comments section of your latest blog...Mr. Kaplan's baseball bookshelf is one of a kind fascinating!!

Anyway, Mein Kampf as a fantasy team name raises questions about Indians and Braves as MLB Team Names. Personally, I prefer preserving the Indians and the Braves as well as The Mein Kampfs. What I find inappropriate is censoring because the only way to expose ignorance and destroy it once and for all is to allow it a place to be seen.

There are very few cultural reminders of Native Americans.. Many say that the furthest one can travel in America is by visiting a Reservation. It tends to cause far more cultural shock than say, a trip to Germany or South America.

I've asked lay baseball people what they think of Indians and Braves...What images pop into their heads when they see the sinister looking Indian-Native American on my baseball cap...and they say "fire, fight, and dancing." And more often than not, they are inspired to do their own research and ideally discover that Native American literature is alive and well and growing. They discover the APTN cable network. They learn about Geronimo the Apache....the Mohawk Long House....Miguel Btista Navajo poetry...and on and on an on.

Similarly, a Mein Kampf fantasy team name should not be destroyed. It should not be allowed to be covered up. It can only stifle the evil that it is and lead in a worste case-horrific scenario to another American Holocaust.

I say, let Mein Kampf free to be...It will only cause people to do some research and discover the heinous treatment of Jews throughout history and ideally, clue people into the dangers of pure race ideology which is not limited to Germans...

Also, Nazi Germany can potentially upset not only us Jews...but Catholics, homosexuals, gypsies, probably Muslims....because the Aryan race had no room for anyone except German bloods....and millions were killed in the name of what? Pure evil!!

Maybe, I have too much faith in mankind...it's very possible.
However, I prefer ignorance being caught with it's pants down than letting it slip conveniently underground where it can still take root...be nurtured...and explode in our face...

Glad to have discovered your blog Adam...I"m eagerly awaiting the Passover arrival of my Jewish Baseball Card Set 2008....Shalom!

Etan Myers

Adam said...

Thanks Etan. You raise some interesting points. I agree that people should be made aware of racism, bigotry and intolerance, and it shouldn't be swept under the rug... one reason why I discussed the "mein kampf" team on my blog. We should use every instance of intolerance as an educational tool. You've given me a lot to think about. But I do believe that when we witness racism, bigotry, or antisemitism, it is our duty to speak up about it and seek its end.

I highly doubt that Chief Wahoo and the Braves' Tomahawk motivate people to learn more about Native Americans. That said, the names "indians" and "braves" aren't offensive by themselves (redskins, on the other hand, most certainly is). Rather, the acceptance of such symbols and names in our society has granted them legitamacy, relegating native americans to being second class citizens. Would the removal of such symbols from sports teams help native americans reach equality? No. But it would send the message that our society believes we should begin showing them the respect they deserve.

Maybe I'm naive for believing that embarassing "mein kampf" with the team name "INAPPROPRIATE" will make him think twice about spreading his hate around. But the more unacceptable racism and bigotry become in our society, the further to the fringes that hate gets pushed. And I'd rather it live there than be allowed to exist in my neighborhood.

Steve said...

Adam...I'm glad to read your comment. Dialogues spawnig from a blog...reader's comments, etc. is what this medium is all about. Too often, it's one disconnected comment after another...but it's all good.

You said, "I highly doubt that Chief Wahoo and the Braves' Tomahawk motivate people to learn more about Native Americans."

You are right. It doesn't motivate people. It's up to the teams borrowing the logo to spin the medium in an informative and positive light....to spread awareness...Give Chief Nokahoma a regional specific tribal affiliation.....link the Trail of Tears with Braves promotional nights.... Cherokee Day with an after game Pow Wow dance...

Baseball like America, in general, has missed out on a gold mine opportunity with Native American Tourism. Most of the world is fascinated by the multi faceted history and culture of native Americans and most of them know that a revival is already under way....has always been under way....and will always be under way.

I say gold mine opportunity because I don't expect our so called leaders, who suffer amnesia like the rest of us, to suddenly be enamoured with the vision of Native American revival...However, if they are lured into the idea with financial bribes, it benefits everyone involved...and most importantly, even the Red Skin on a football helmet becomes an educational tool...

One thing I love about the Jewish religion is the acceptance of everything under the sun. The essence of our prophets vision seems to strive for an understanding of all things dark and light. There is so much incest and adultery and murder committed by everyday Hebrews in the Torah because they are human...like you and me..Being Jewish is not necessarily about being good. It's about believing in something bigger than ourselves. It opens us up to the unknown...and I think instills a faith that tangibly sees a flower growing on a grave...good comes from bad....but we have to recycle the bad...invert it..We have to use what destiny, life, chance, God, the Devil, or whatever you want to call it...drops in our path.

It reminds me of Moses using the same magic stick of the Egyptians to demonstrate that magic is not an end in itself...it is a means provided by the higher power..a power like language itself. If we police mein kampf team names out of existance, we run from the bully and don't face him head on. In my view, the bully devil gains from our phoning the police because he too believes in something bigger than himself...and has little faith in the police...in the world. The bully-devil gains momentum when we label him "inappropriate"

Dennis Rodman is no devil, but he thrives when people boo him.

It's a tricky challenge when confronted with anti-semitism. I try and take a deep breath and use my power of reason to persuade opinions..ask for words to pass through me that change the other person's ignorance...and if that doesn't work, I am totally in favor of violence...of inflicting enough pain or fear that the hateful person thinks twice about bothering a boy wearing a yamulka. The fear inside the hate monger becomes a necessary mountain separating people....a wall separating Palestinians and Israeli's. It is unfortunate, but necessary. It seems the world is not ready to live together. There is alot more ugly sacrifices waiting to go down. But, we will win.

Again, thank you for your response...Don't ever think of yourself as naieve! You have vision! You're one of the brave ones! Etan

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