And today, on SI.com, I was wrong.
My column, which can be read here, blasted three Mets (Luis Castillo, Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez) for not joining their teammates on a visit to the Walter Reed Hospital. While I do think their absences were regrettable and, in the case of Castillo and Perez, somewhat inexcusable, well, I blew this one. I really did.
Started thinking about it this afternoon, while doing my regular Friday segment on Hardly Workin’ With Greg Burton, an ESPN Radio show in Richmond. Greg asked about the column, and as I began to dump on the players it hit me: How many times have I visited Walter Reed? How many cards have I sent the troops? How many meals have I cooked? How much money have I donated?
In other words, why am I expecting more of three ballplayers than I am of myself? And why do they have a greater obligation to charitable deeds than I do?
Answer: They don’t. If they were wrong not attending, I’m wrong for doing jack shit.
One person who rightly called me on this was Dave Singer, author of the excellent blog, NYSportsDog. If you read the comments section beneath my initial post of the column, you’ll see this from Dave:
I know all of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Marines there will enjoy the personally autographed books you’ll be bringing them.
E-mail me if you want me to go with you…really.
Inspired by Dave, as well as the Tweets of Sean Pidgeon (he’s also a contributor to a baseball blog, Surviving The Citi), tonight I contacted Walter Reed, asking if they’d have any interest in a sports writer coming for a visit, distributing books (Lord knows I’ve got enough copies of the Clemens bio sitting around ) and holding some sort of discussion. I’m no celebrity, obviously. But, again, why should we expect so much of the famous, and not of ourselves?
PS: A final thought: Admitting you’re wrong is hard. It’s especially hard when you have something of a public forum. But I do try here to acknowledge my errors. Writing is an imperfect science. You want your words to convey your exact feelings, but: A. It’s occasionally impossible; B. Exact feelings change all the time.
What I’m trying to say is, I’m sorry for screwing this one up. Again, how can I call out three ballplayers when I’m more or less guilty of the same sin?
PPS: One area from the column that I still stand by: Most players don’t understand the power they have to do good. They really don’t.