Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Punishing Fans for Disparaging Remarks

I've had it!  I've had it up to here (I'm literally holding one hand far over my head and typing with the other, with extreme precision, I might add)!

Every week, I write a landmark Monday Morning Madness post (link, in case you missed this past Monday's madness).  In it, I always take to the Twins' Facebook page to answer a hypothetical question asked by a fan of the team.  This is one of my smarmiest of ideas and also one of my personal favorites.  Well, I enjoy writing the sardonic response, but going through the comments looking for questions is exhausting.  I usually need a 5-6 hour nap when finished. 

Why, you might ask?

Negativity!  People can be so negative.  Twitter is just as bad as Facebook, but harder to search and easier to ignore.  Now, I get it, the internet is a negative place and "get over it and stop crying you baby do you need some juice," but still.  Every single post I look through, no matter the original content, some Charleton will post a sarcastic, biting comment about the team, a player or management.  Each is hilarious, as everyone on the internet is hilarious.  Some are hostile and others are psychotic.  I usually leave those alone.  However, some are simply mean and sassy, which is a combo that I do not enjoy on a regular basis.

The most frequent recipient of these witty barbs is Aaron Hicks.  Everyone knows that Aaron Hicks is off to a slow start and many are calling for his proverbial head.  In fact, I present to you, seven examples of unprovoked attacks on Aaron Hicks, accompanied by my "analysis."
  • From Facebook - "Correia should be hitting in front of Hicks"  Me - HAHA lol, Hicks is worse at batting than the pitcher!
  • From Facebook - "Willingham is starting to look like hicks."  Me - This guy won't even capitalize Hicks' name.  Burn.  See, Josh Willingham is in a slump, so he sucks too.
  • From Facebook - "Hey Hicks... YOU PLAY BALL LIKE A GIRL!"  Me - This is a "The Sandlot" reference, but very sexist as well.  Some girls are excellent ballplayers. 
  • From Facebook - "Maybe they can teach Hicks to hit and get that average above .220"  Me - This was posted as a response to a photo of Hicks with "Ham" and "Squints" from The Sandlot.  I would prefer more seasoned coaches.
  • From Twitter - "Oh man... Hicks is just terrible.  Time to give it up and stick to basketball"  Me - Ok, that's racist.
  • From Twitter - "I like Pedro florimon but Aaron Hicks sucks"  Me - This is odd juxtaposition. 
  • From Twitter - "Aaron Hicks sucks"  Me - This was actually posted twice, by the same person.  It's short, but mean. 
I don't know Aaron Hicks.  He seems nice.  He golfs.  I feel a need to defend Hicks from these sharp-tongued insult-mongers.  My standard reply is "hey man, leave Aaron alone, he's cool and nice" but that almost never gets anyone to stop being mean jerks.  So, a more extreme solution is needed. 

In fact, this might become my main platform, should I ever run for POTUS.  I become eligible in 2020, so I have plenty of time to refine this platform.  Anyway, here goes:

Player Blackouts

Thanks for reading everyone!

Perhaps Player Blackouts is not as self-explanatory as I hoped.  Let me go into tedious depth.  The idea is that anyone who badmouths a young player, slumping player, or injured player gets three strikes.  If you make a mean comment about a specific player, you get a strike.  At three strikes, you lose the right to watch that player when they either blossom, end their slump, or heal from their injury.  

The comments that count as a strike are like those examples above.  If you are making rational remarks, you don't get a strike.  Examples:

Hicks looks lost at the plate right now - Not a strike
Hicks might need more delicious seasoning in AAA - Not a strike.
Hicks plays baseball like a one-armed centaur with poor balance and ill-fitting shoes - Strike.

When you reach strike three, you enter Player Blackout mode.  If you are rational and/or kind, you can say negative things, you just can't say jerky things that contribute nothing to society.

This is how you qualify, but the best way to describe how the actual blackout works is to give a scenario:

Fast forward to 2014 as Aaron Hicks has returned from AAA.  He has made all the proper adjustments, had a big Spring and is ready to assume the leadoff spot.  Of course, you referred to him as human garbage, compared him to a mythical beast with disabilities, and then just said that he "blows," so you have three strikes. 

It's game one of the 2014 season and Dick Bremer is stoked.  Joe Mauer's sideburns have grown back.  The opposing pitcher finishes his warm-up tosses and "California Love" plays faintly in the background.  Just then, your TV goes completely black.  When the game comes back, Aaron Hicks is standing on first base, looking pretty pleased with himself.  You have no idea what happened. 

Then, right as the next pitch is thrown, your TV goes black again.  When it's back, Hicks is on second, covered in dirt.  Later in the game, a line drive is hit toward center field.  Black.  When your TV comes back, Hicks is on screen, but you don't get to know why. 

Player Blackout. 

You basically lose your right to watch the player you disparaged and you lose that right for two years.  So, in this scenario, every time Hicks comes to the plate, every time he takes off to steal a base and every time a ball is hit in his general vicinity, your TV just goes black. 

Based on the depth of the comments above, it would probably take these folks almost the full two years to realize what is happening.  There would be a lot of yelling, grunting, remote throwing and general confused, yet intense anger.  However, we will all live in a better place.  Through this form of negative punishment, people will inherently learn to be more patient with baseball players. 

You shouldn't get to rip a player endlessly when times are tough and then enjoy their talents when times are good.  That's lame.  I haven't figured out how to make this work live and in person.  Violators might just be banned from all games.  I'd be a terrible President.  

The other option would be groin punches, but I'm not sure how to implement that effectively.

What do you think?  What totalitarian idea do you think best keeps people from exercising their right to free speech?  Please respond carefully in the comments below.


  1. I don't know Brad...

    I watch a lot of games at a saloon. Would the TV go black every time a ball was hit by or to a player who had gathered 3 strikes from anyone in the bar? I wouldn't even get to see Mauer bat.

    Don't get me wrong, I rather like this particular 3 strike rule. It just needs some work.

    I will try to think of my own strike to free speech and run it past you.

    Thanks for the article.

    1. Figuring out how to limit free speech was my number 1 goal for this blog. I'd say bars would almost have to be completely blacked out under this plan. If you think of the bar as a collective entity, then pretty much all players will have been disparaged too often. This is certainly a flaw in my plan and a worthy opponent would use it to their advantage.