Thinking About Lidle

There isn't much to say about Cory Lidle's death that hasn't already been said 100 times over on every news / sports / entertainment outlet. I hurt for his family, especially his kid, and to a lesser extent, the Yankees organization which is dealing with a very real loss in the most haunting fashion. I also think about the other "anonymous" people who were killed and I hope their loved ones know that people have them in their thoughts even though they weren't professional athletes.

But there is one thing my mind keeps coming back to that really has very little to do with this accident or Lidle's death. Lidle was a "scab" because he wanted to play baseball a decade ago when the players' union went on strike. I don't think I'm prepared to get into a discussion on if unions are a good or bad thing. My sense is that they are good, that they protect a group of people who have very little power and influence individually. When I say that, I'm thinking of carpetners or steel workers.

Baseball players need a union too. I mean, NFL players could really use one (you go, Bryant Gumbel!). The baseball players union is often identified as the most powerful union in sports and there was a time when its existence was absolutely necessary. But by the time Lidle crossed the line, the union was fighting basically to make sure anybody who made a major league roster would be a millionaire, that the economics of baseball would be forever screwed up (no salary cap - ask the NHL how that worked out for them), and so their players good juice and speed their way to record-breaking home run numbers. Hardly a noble fight in my opnion.

Because Lidle was a replacement player he, along with about a dozen other major leaguers (Cowboy Kevin Millar among them), were never permitted to join the union. Fine. But as recently as this summer, after Lidle made negative comments about his former team, the "scab" tag was thrown out by Arthur Rhodes.

It was 13 years ago. Who knows if Lidle regretted crossing the line. He may have if for no other reason than the pounds of shit he had to take over the years. But again, it was 13 years ago. How many people would like to be judged based on one event 13 years prior? Lidle was following his dream to play professional baseball. He eventually made it to the big leagues and was a good enough pitcher that he was always wanted - he played for seven teams and was involved in two midseason deals - over his nine professional seasons.

Shouldn't his consistiency, accomplishments, and skills have been enough for him to shed the "scab" tag? I think it's time to let it go.

R.I.P. Cory Lidle.

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