Bad Behavior is Learned – The Cards – Braves “Lesson”
By Paul Langhorst October 7, 2012
Once again I am thrilled to see my St. Louis Cardinals in the post-season hunt. In 2011, they came from 10 games back with 30 days to play to make it into the post-season. This year the end of the season was equally dramatic but not so graceful. With the season again coming down to the wire, the Cardinals earned the newly created 2nd NL Wild Card spot and the right to play in the single-game wild card playoff.
What does all this have to do with bullying? Like Yadier Molina legging out a double…I’m getting there.
After being down 2-0, throwing errors by Chipper Jones and Matt Uggla, coupled with timely hitting and aggressive play, allowed the Cards to go up 6-3 on the Braves. Then in the bottom of the 8th, with two on, Brave’s Andrelton Simmon, hit a shallow fly ball to left field. Cardinal’s shortstop Pete Kazma, camped out under it and then suddenly veered away as left-fielder Matt Holliday approached. Based loaded right? No! Left-field line umpire Sam Holdbrook called “infield fly – batter out.”
After a long discussion with the Braves manager and baseball commissioner Joe Torre, MLB VP of Baseball Operations, who upheld the call, the fans erupted in furor tossing bottles, foam tomahawks, and anything not nailed down on to the field. The scene was eerily reminiscent of Disco Demolition Night in 1979 at Comiskey Field and 10-cent Beer Night in 1974 at Cleveland Field. (It scares me that I remember these things – I am getting old!)
Getting to my point…Yadier makes it to 2nd!
While the Braves fans’ frustration is understandable, their behavior is not. Imagine how many young fans at the game and watching on TV got a lesson in how to react to adversity and disappointment. A lone fan tossing a bottle is an idiot. Thousands doing the same is a reflection of our culture I fear, where today if you don’t like something you tear up the place. How many reality TV shows now feed our youth a daily stream of violence as when a boy starts a conversation with another girl, or when one talent show judge makes a remark that does not sit well with another.
Bad behavior is learned. Babies are not born fighters and bullies, they are converted into them by parents, siblings, relatives, peers and even by so-called “TV stars” who show them how its done. Experts say bullying behavior is learned starting at the age of 3-4; by the time a kid starts school they may have had years of coaching in bullying and abuse. Then, already overloaded school administrators must face the hard task of picking up the pieces where this behavior has 8 hours a day to manifest itself. Worse yet, through social media, bad behavior runs rampant on the internet where bullies can practice their trade with even less restraint.
So, sports fans, parents, brothers, sisters, and Reality TV stars, the next time you toss a bottle, an insult, or a punch, consider what message you are sending and who may be watching; and like the field crew at Braves stadium, who is left to clean up your mess.
Go Cardinals!!! 12 in 12!!!