Monday, April 16, 2018

"And a very neat line in character assassination."

Thanks to the great Elvis Costello for providing the title of this post.

It fits perfectly with what Billwitz, henceforth to be known as "The Little Assassin," did to Giancarlo Stanton in the Times today.

Picking up the paper, desperate for some baseball news, I found to my surprise a feature on Stanton—under, of course, the thrilling, SportsMonday lead piece on how Man City won the Premier League on its day off—and which was all about how Giancarlo's troubles were due to...his new furniture taking awhile to arrive.

Oh no, I thought, they'll never forgive him this. A big, rich athlete falling down on the job because he's worried about home decorating.

Except he didn't say that. Not once.

Read past the split and into the piece, and the only quotes from Stanton come from when he was asked if he was trying too hard.

"No, I just felt there was a lot going on. Focusing on maybe too many things. But not trying too hard, I don't think."

Asked to elaborate—presumably by The Little Assassin—all Stanton would do was smile and say, "Not to worry about."

Asked to elaborate again, all he would say was, "I'm not going to make excuses."

So, how did a polite, smiling effort by an athlete NOT to make ANY excuses, become a big feature on how he's more worried about home decor than baseball?

Well, because The Little Assassin then went and asked everybody he could about it, including Ma Boone, Mets pitcher A.J. Ramos, whom Stanton is subletting from, and even Stanton's father.

Not knowing the context, of course, and trying to say something nice about Stanton, they all said something to the effect of, Yeah, it must be hard to concentrate when you're not settled in yet.

And voila! A new "truth" is invented.

It really is a beautiful piece of work. A perfect gutting that poses as a sympathy piece. The Little Assassin missed his calling by not going into politics.

Meanwhile, Soccer and the Yankees have been making as much ground on each other as the two sides did on the Western Front in WW I.  Each has rung up five pieces, making our total for the year, Soccer 61, Yankees 57.

Gonna be a long season.

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