Thanks for comin’ out, Miguel

Today is May Day. Pinkos everywhere still celebrate it, though it never became a big deal in the Excited States, where it began. (Where credit is due: “Excited States of America” is all Allan Fotheringham, booted from Maclean’s magazine but still kicking at .) It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out today, though, as the minds behind “A Day Without Immigrants” try to show Americans how their lives would be changed without the newcomers that so many former newcomers would love to deport.

There’s a very interesting article by Dave Zirin on on how this would really come home to Americans. What if fifteen big-league games happened today and no Latinos played? Some clubs wouldn’t be able to field a lineup without Triple A call-ups. Over 35% of today’s MLB players, including many of the greatest stars, are from Latin America, and the numbers are going to rise. The third world doesn’t only produce our cheap T-shirts and cool shoes; it also produces our favourite athletic entertainers, including the ones coming from the poverty of the black American underclass. (Hockey, for the most part, avoids this by “virtue” of its fantastically expensive nature. The game has luxury taxes right at the roots.)

Mr. Zirin, as usual, is caustic in his latest column. I can’t always get with his extremism – I like George Will on baseball, for example, though I confess that I haven’t read him otherwise – but Zirin jabs a finger directly on a blister that we don’t want to acknowledge: we will cheer ourselves hoarse for an athlete that many of us wouldn’t want living next door. And there’s the other side of idolatry, too; when we turn against black players (Terrell Owens, Barry Bonds) or Latin ones (is it just me, or did Sammy Sosa take a harder ride than Mark McGwire after the Congressional hearings on steroid use?), it tends to be vicious.

The same dynamic applies to white athletes, too, but to a lesser extent. In professional sports, the performers are idolized or demonized, two sides of the same dehumanized coin. We think little of what conditions they have come from or how many like them are on the scrapheap of thanks for comin’ out, now get lost; and we care little about where they go after their legs do. And we hate them for how much money they make, though we’ll cheer as long as they make us feel better about ourselves.

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