By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Major-league baseball, as we all know, is populated with jerks, douches, ass wipes, douche bags, major dicks and royal douche bags. So with the 2006 season just ahead, you may be wondering if there's anyone you can really root for.
We'd suggest you consider Carlos Delgado. Granted, Delgado plays for the New York Mets and won't even make a trip to Anaheim—to see him you'll have to go to Dodger Stadium June 5-7—but his résumé is too good to ignore.
In 13 seasons, Delgado has established himself as one of the top first basemen in the sport—hitting 369 home runs and driving in 1,173 runs. Last season, playing for the Florida Marlins, he batted .301, hit 33 home runs and drove in 115.
But any douche, royal or otherwise, can compile impressive stats—how's it going, Barry? What separates Delgado is principle, a word most ballplayers associate only with signing bonuses. A native of Puerto Rico, Delgado has refused to stand when "God Bless America" is played at major-league parks, choosing instead to remain in the dugout as a quiet protest against the Iraq War and the Navy's use of Vieques, an island near Puerto Rico, for bombing exercises.
"It takes a man to stand up for what he believes," Delgado said in July 2004. "Especially in a society where everything is supposed to be politically correct."
Of course, the reason athletes don't speak or act politically has nothing to do with manners and everything to do with money. While there's a rich tradition of American athletes speaking and acting out, ranging from Jackie Robinson to Muhammad Ali to Bill Walton, it has slowly and decidedly died in the modern professional athlete, no doubt dealt its most devastating blow when Michael Jordan—the prototype for the modern athlete/marketing blank slate—refused to speak on behalf of North Carolina Senate candidate Harvey Gant, an African-American who was the victim of a race-baiting campaign by race-baiting Senator Jesse Helms.
And so it has gone. Except with the likes of Delgado, who was willing to take the crap he knew would come questioning his patriotism, intellect and the right of anyone who gets paid to play a sport to have an opinion. And, oh yeah, he was also one of the first major-leaguers to donate money—$50,000—in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (Delgado has a foundation, Extra Bases, that contributes to several organizations and charities, and he's involved with the Special Olympics).
Go Carlos! We're all for you . . . unless you get traded to the A's or Giants. Then you suck.