Tuesday, March 15, 2005

What Not to Say

Hey, guess who's back in the AL East? Shea Hillenbrand, after a stint in Arizona, will open the season with the Toronto Blue Jays and he wants to make it clear that despite being traded, he has the utmost respect for Theo Epstein and is ecstatic that the Red Sox finally won the World Series. The only problem is that when Hillenbrand was traded to the Diamondbacks two years ago, some of his parting shots at the Red Sox were, at least to hear him tell it, taken out of context. Specifically:
"When it [the trade] happened, it was, 'Shea said this, Shea said that and Shea said Theo's a fag,'" recalled the Blue Jays first baseman-DH prior to yesterday's 7-3 Blue Jays victory.
Oh. OK. Maybe Hillenbrand was misquoted on his way out of town; maybe he's really not a homophobe (or a meathead -- or both), but instead some ne'er-do-well with a press pass had an axe to grind. Maybe. Until you read a few sentences down and come to this:
"What I said was 'Trade me now, fag.' And I regret saying 'fag,' because that's obviously discriminatory toward homosexual people - I regret saying that. But I didn't say it toward Theo, I was saying it toward one of the radio show hosts I was bantering with on the show. So, it was more or less a comment that was said just like that, 'Trade me now, fag' and people said, 'Oh, he's saying it toward Theo,' when they didn't understand what was going on."
Whew! That clears up everything. Just as long as you're not making your anti-gay comments towards the general manager, then all's well. I mean really, radio show hosts don't really count as people anyway, right, so what's the difference (which of course begs the question, shouldn't homosexuals be doubly upset with Hillenbrand for comparing them to DJs)?

Back on earth ...

People with real jobs (or at least ones that don't require wearing stirrups, skin-tight koulots, eye paint and hats) often are required to attend sensitivity training that covers such topics as sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as stuff like workplace diversity. Usually these seminars are unbelievably boring. And that's primarily because you often wonder what kind of idiot needs to be reminded not to tell the joke about the bi-racial, transvestite hooker at the office holiday party. Well, apparently the answer to that question is: Shea Hillenbrand.

So the next time you're at an office gathering and someone drops an F-bomb, or breaks out their favorite off-color joke, you can say, "yeah, Jones from accounting went 'Hillenbrand' on us at the party"; or "I was minding my own business next to the spiked Egg Nog when I got 'Hillenbranded.' "

To be fair, I was a Hillenbrand fan when he was in Boston. You seldom heard from him, and the times I saw him play, he played hard. And he said as much in the Herald article:
"I pride myself on being a truthful person, I pride myself on saying the truth and people tend to forget that the 2 years I was there, no one ever had a problem with me saying something toward the media. I never said anything to the media, anything like that and then this came up. There's certain members of the media that, of course, us as players have a problem with in Boston because we're liable. Same thing happened with Nomar (Garciaparra) when he left, same thing happened when Pedro (Martinez) when he left - it hurts."
He's right -- the two years he was in Boston he didn't get into with the media (like say, this guy), but that in no way absolves him of what he did (alleged or admitted). It's stuff like this and the whole steroid debacle that make it clear to me that MLB should implement a diversity seminar for all players -- not just rookies -- every spring training. The skits can include re-enactments of those "After School Special" topics that never quite get too old to get the point across. You know, classics like:

"One Too Many"
"No Means No"
"I Want to Keep my Baby"
"Torn Between Two Fathers"
"Angel Dusted"

OK, I think you get the point. Now if someone would just explain it to Shea Hillenbrand.