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CC Sabathia, Carlos Beltran, and the ugliest aspects of sports fandom

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CC Sabathia announced he will miss the playoffs due to seeking help for his alcoholism. Carlos Beltran's wife just went into labor. The responses to this range from supportive to sickening. Let's look at the latter.

If you are criticizing CC for taking the time to get himself the help he needs, there's the bunting door.
If you are criticizing CC for taking the time to get himself the help he needs, there's the bunting door.
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The cliched opening to what I'm about to write is the classic statement about how the word "fan" is short for "fanatic." Then, I'm supposed to give you the definition of that word, even though most people taking the time to read this obviously know what the word means. The reason I'm telling you this now is because if you are the type of fan who is criticizing CC Sabathia's decision to seek help for his alcohol addiction right before the playoffs, you should stop reading this right now because I am about to go into full-on rant mode and plan to point out what a horrible human being you are.

As Andrew Mearns wrote about earlier, CC Sabathia announced that he has decided to seek help for his alcoholism and will miss the playoffs this year. This announcement came as a shock to the Yankees and Yankee fans. With any shock announcement like this, emotions run high, confusion starts to follow, and questions are asked. People do not just want answers. In this day and age, people want answers immediately. In this type of situation, there are no quick and easy answers. Sabathia, for reasons unbeknownst to us, decided that he needed to check himself into rehab. That is really the only answer we are going to get for a while. It's also the only answer that matters. Everything else is a private matter between him and his family. If he decides to share more about this in the future, that's on CC. Make absolutely no mistake here; you are not entitled to know any details about Sabathia's decision or personal life just because he plays for your favorite team, is under contract, or because of the timing of it. I cannot stress that fact enough.

While a lot of the reactions to Sabathia's decision have been positive, other reactions highlight and showcase a real ugliness in sports fandom when it comes to how they view players and people. That ugliness is the fact that a lot of fans view their overall enjoyment of the sport they are watching as way more important than the actual people playing it. We see this all the time, in every sport, with a wide variety of different issues. When a human being puts on the uniform of your favorite sports team, they somehow become more (or less) than just a person. They become icons or heroes. They become head cases or problems. Most of all, they become assets or "laundry" as Jerry Seinfeld once famously said.

There are many reasons and excuses as to why people view athletes like this. With the "rooting for laundry" analogy, it's just like Seinfeld said. It's easier to root for the team as a whole than a player on the team. Sabathia leaving to seek help "hurts the team" in the eyes of many fans, and the team is more important than the player. The same thing goes for when an athlete leaves to be with their loved ones for the birth of their child. Fans, radio show hosts, and other such jerkstores will spout off idiotic blather and ramblings about how this is a crucial time in their team's year. Who gives a bunt? It's a sport. What they are essentially admitting is that the needs of their sports team are more important than that player's family, their loved ones, or their need for personal time. These same assclogs and buntsuckers will use the money said players are earning, their long term contracts, or the fact that they themselves pay for tickets and booze to go see these athletes play as some kind of excuse as to why the players should put the team above personal needs or obligations. To those people, a heartfelt "bunt you" from me. I'd bet good money that a huge portion of fans that make that excuse probably watch college sports and say the same exact thing about athletes who don't even get paid.

Then there's the reverse of that, where the athlete involved is actually a vile, reprehensible, and otherwise despicable human piece of garbage, which goes out the window because that athlete is otherwise helping their team. You probably know where I'm going with this, but I'm going to spell it out anyway. There are fans out there who will actively stand proud and tall on that mountaintop and defend rapists, child abusers, and other such wasters of our planet's oxygen, simply because they are good at what they do athletically. Their enjoyment of the sport is more important than real life. I'd love to say that's the worst of it, but it's not. All you have to do to make what I've typed out worse is to simply add the word "fantasy" before team. Oh yes, those people are out there as well. Not only is the enjoyment of their sports team more important than the players playing them, but their fake sports team is as well. But hey, you do you, you bunt smoking motherbunters.

Compounding further on the above point, you see another ugly side of fans as they attack other people, writers, bloggers, and Henry Barstoolfan at the end of the bar who points out that a player, who is helping their team, is indeed an awful human being. These attacks can rank from simple and fun profanity to otherwise horrifying racism and sexism. It can go deeper than that and many examples can be used, whether in sports, politics, religion, or other things of such nature. This is a sports blog so I'm sticking to sports and these particular issues. The bottom line is, whenever someone or something conflicts with a person's happy place, idyllic fantasy, make-believe world, or entertainment-induced stupor, they are irrationally and sometimes horribly quick to side with whatever keeps them in that place. You can guarantee that people wouldn't be this upset about CC Sabathia's decision if it weren't for his new knee brace that allows him to pitch close to the CC Sabathia of older, more dominant times.

I was going to end it there, but as I was angrily typing this rant, something interesting showed up in my Twitter feed which relates to a point I was making above:

Carlos Beltran's wife is in labor, which is absolutely wonderful. For those that do not know, the Beltrans tragically lost their unborn son last September. For those who do know, I'd bet that a lot of them don't care. The fact that there will be fans who will ridicule Beltran and throw him under the bus for being with his wife and possibly missing the Wild Card game after what they went through last year is sickening. The fact that he will get the same type of vile treatment for "bad timing" that CC Sabathia is getting is awful and disheartening.

People out there are always spouting off how we are becoming too "PC" in today's world. Well, allow me to close this by offering you my arrogant, self-fulfilling, non-PC view of your inane banter and worthless rabble. If you criticize CC Sabathia or Carlos Beltran for taking off for serious personal matters and for wanting/needing to be there for their families, for whatever important reason, instead of being there for your own personal enjoyment of a freakin' sporting event, you are wrong, your opinion is stupid, and from the bottom of my heart, go bunt yourself.

Let's go Yankees!