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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Friday, May 25, 2007

If one takes a look at the press Mets minor leaguer Lastings Milledge has been getting of late they might assume he’s public enemy number one. Last year he caught heat for high five-ing the fans after his first big league homer (an act I still applaud him for being that it was nice to see an athlete acknowledge the numerous folks who shell out quite a bit of money to go to a game) and this past week he’s been reprimanded by various members of the press and even people within the Mets organization for appearing on a rap album. Apparently those questioning Milledge’s musical endeavor weren’t too happy with the song’s lyrical content. Now this could be a big deal under certain circumstances, like if there was nothing else going on, but something else has been going on in the Mets minor league system, these past few weeks we've had pitchers failing their drug tests (and yes I say "we" because I bleed orange and blue). The odd thing about this is which one of the two situations is getting all the headlines.

Steroids is a huge problem in Major League Baseball. It’s inarguably the biggest issue in the sport today (the quandary of how to find a way to get more Molina and Izturis brothers into the league is still lagging behind by quite a bit). So when Lino Urdaneta was suspended 50 games for having performance enhancing drugs in his system almost immediately after being demoted to AAA and only a week after Jorge Reyes was given a 100 game suspension for a second positive test for the same thing I figured this would be “shit hits the fan” back page news. Well, it wasn’t. In fact, in most articles it was nothing more than a footnote to the story on Milledge’s rap album.

Milledge probably shouldn’t be recording music right now, and to be fair he’s really only making a guest appearance on a song by Manny D, the first artist on Milledge’s label, Soulja Boi Records. That being said, after seeing the way Milledge was fielding in right last year I’d much rather see him working on shagging flies than bragging about shagging women. I figure one of those two things might get him out of AAA, and it sure ain’t the latter. What Milledge did, however, wasn’t that bad and in reality it didn’t hurt anybody. Milledge didn’t break any rules, all he did was use some poor judgment. Urdaneta and Reyes broke one of the biggest rules in the book, and one of them has now broken it twice. That should be the headline!

A large part of me hopes Milledge’s foray into the music world is one that would have been largely ignored had it happened during the off-season, but I’m a realist and what this situation is showing loud and clear is that many folks are still terrified of rap music. There’s really no other way to explain not only why Milledge’s rap effort trumped two of his minor league compatriots’ steroid suspensions, but also why suddenly the team is saying his trade value has plummeted. I don't recall Shaq having these types of problems after the release of Shaq Diesel. Of course, he was rollin with the Fu-Schnickens.

For me personally it’s sad to read the sports pages (OK, sites) and see the reaction Milledge has been getting versus the complete lack of coverage the steroid suspensions have received. It makes me wonder if Bonds would be more hated if he had just recorded a rap song rather than taken illegal performance enhancing drugs (oh yeah, “allegedly”). The fact that I can even hazard such a question shows how far we as members of the Hip-Hop community still have to go, although I’m not sure if any of the unconverted are ever going to be willing to change their current ways of thinking.

Omar Minaya, who I still believe is a nothing short of a god for us and may be one of the ten greatest GMs of all time, said he didn’t approve of Milledge’s lyrical content. Well guess what, you don’t have to. Milledge didn’t write the song for the Mets, or to perform it at Shea, he did it for a side project. I’d have much rather heard Minaya say something along the lines of “what Lastings does on his own time is his business. As long as he’s not breaking the law, or hurting anybody, and he stays healthy and keeps that batting average up over .300 we’ll all know his head is in the right place.” Instead we had Minaya and crew critiquing Milledge’s music like a bunch of flunkies from I’m From Rolling Stone (and Lord knows we have enough of them already!).

In a week where players were suspended for using performance enhancing drugs the focus ended up on Milledge for doing something that had zero effect on the team’s on-field play. This has to seem backwards to someone other than me. The only reasoning I can come up with for this is that in 2007, despite all the albums sold and mainstream successes, a lot of people still have major issues with rap music and Hip-Hop. In the end maybe we’re not as accepted, or in the case of the other side of the coin, accepting, as we might have thought.

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posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:51 AM  
  • At 9:21 AM, Blogger CREW said…

    Man rap is the downfall of society, people are looking for the ETERNAL SCAPEGOAT, and the easiest thing to target in society right now is rap music. It's the most popular by the young and the most hated by the old.

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