Can’t Tell Me Nothing

Jose Vilson Jose

Miguel Tejada as a Baltimore Oriole

Excuse the double negative, my people, but a brotha’s got a little less patience for fools than usual.

Imagine me watching ESPN today, when I see a segment about 4-time All-Star (possibly more if not for the Jeter-A-Rod-Garciaparra collective from a few years back) and future Hall of Famer Miguel Tejada, now a member of the Houston Astros, but whose image has been tainted by the Mitchell Report for taking performance-enhancing drugs. Let’s assume that that’s all behind him; dude’s hitting .328 with 3 homeruns and 11 RBIs. In other words, still stellar numbers for this man. No Oriole, Astros, or A’s fan can deny him that.

He alleged he was 32 at the time of the interview. Just then, the interviewer has his original birth certificate from the Dominican government, and says, “I want you to explain this to me.” It turns out Miguel’s actually closer to 34 according to that document. Of course, Miguel felt embarrassed by the situation and left, then issued a public apology to the team and ownership for the little fib, but that’s not what bothers me. Frankly, what was ESPN thinking by trying to ridicule the crap out of him by giving him his original birth certificate on national television? There’s a fine line between real reporting and gossip-mongering, and I’d call this gossip-mongering.

Yes, Tejada lied. He was 19 when he was encouraged to tell scouts that he was 17, thinking knowing that teams wouldn’t take him if they didn’t see a lengthy future for him. A couple of decades later, we see how that young man’s become one of the more popular players in the league, a hard worker, and someone who made it far from the poverty many baseball players experience in Dominican Republic. Rather than make the interview an educational piece, possibly collaborating with Tejada to discuss the pressures of teenage youth in Central and South American countries to report lower ages, they bash the player and hold him responsible even when frankly no one else really cares, when his age really never gave him some performance-enhancing benefit, or when ESPN is a conduit for those behaviors of exploitation continue to occur.

But unfortunately, that’s what happens when people don’t speak to people directly. Today, I was confronted with similar situations, though not on public television, but in a forum I nonetheless expected a little professionalism. While I can’t go into specifics, I will say that we need to really reconsider what it means to conduct ourselves in a manner that’s consistent with the expectations we have for others. Therefore, there’s really no need to try and find out my nationality, who my girlfriend is, if I like you or not, or what I do with my private time unless it directly affects the work I’m doing, which I can assure anyone, it won’t. If I was a celebrity, then I’d have no problem seeing my picture all up on MzVirgo or NB, but I’m not. Regardless of whatever energies are thrown towards me, I’m nothing but a professional now. In my growth, no one should expect that this aspect of my career change.

Do I come to bat everyday? Yes. Do I have a blog that might get me in trouble? Sure, but I’m not scared. And no, I’ve never lied about my age, nor have I ever taken performance-enhancing drugs (though I can’t lie about a beer or two), but I can tell you that you should expect nothing but the best from me morning and afternoon when I come into work, 20-30 minutes early as usual. I’m not here to play those games at work. Can’t tell me nothin’ …

jose, who sees a wonderful opportunity to hit Washington DC next week …

edit: my bad COMPLETELY! there’s an ed carnival at The CEA Blog! Must give props …