"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Out of Whack

Anthony McCarron has a piece in the News today about the Yankees’ offense. Here’s a quote from general manager, Brian Cashman:

“Jeter is not hitting up to his ability, (Curtis) Granderson is not hitting for average and Gardner is struggling mightily. Those guys are our foot soldiers and since they are not firing, it makes us look one-dimensional. No biggie. We’re capable of running you down, hitting, hitting the ball over the fence.

“We have full capabilities. We just haven’t shown it yet.”

An innocuous quote. But what strikes  me is the term “foot soldiers.” We hear this kind of thing all the time in sports–so I don’t mean to pick on Cashman–where professional jocks are described as “warriors” who “do battle,” ready to “go to war.” Guys who play sports for a living, often guys who are paid handsomely and are in fact celebrities. These statements are made in an unthinking, self-absorbed manner and should not be taken literally. But still, they are words and words have power and at a time when our country is at war these military metaphors are gross and foolish.


1 The Hawk   ~  Apr 19, 2011 11:43 am

Yeah they need to cut that out

2 williamnyy23   ~  Apr 19, 2011 11:55 am

I don’t have a problem with the militaristic language because it seems as if athletics have always been a metaphor for war. I also don’t think the metaphors disrespect real life members of the military. In fact, I see them more as a sign of respect. After all, if Derek Jeter is a “foot soldier”, then that must mean foot soldiers are pretty important, right?

3 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 19, 2011 12:07 pm

2) I just think it's hyperbole that's misguided. Interesting that you see it as a sign of respect. Perhaps some military people feel the same way.

4 stormer   ~  Apr 19, 2011 3:59 pm

I agree with Alex, the metaphor is misguided. In some cases, most notably while a nation is currently engaged in several conflicts, it's extraordinarily offensive. Moreover, it both makes light of and glorifies something immensely profound and dangerous at the same time. Whether some military rank and file find it complimentary is beside the point. Some foot soldiers find killing to be pleasurable, but that isn't the standard.

True warriors return home emotionally scarred, sometimes dead, but more often missing arms or legs, eyesight or hearing, or are forced to make use of colostomy bags for the remainder of their life. This is the reality of life as a "foot soldier." I hardly think running from first to third on a hard hit single is the proper metaphor.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver