UPDATE: The Starting Five has split up. Long-range, I think it'll help the writers to be separate. But short-range...to me, this was the best thinking-man's sports blog out there.
For this week, I decided to focus on some unlikely heroes. The aging Trot Nixon and Vinny Testaverde and the unlikely play-off bound Rockies are the poster topics for this week.
My mini-rant is on the attention paid to the Rockies' Christian leanings. I think that Christians in positions of power need to be very careful about subjecting non-Christians to Christian standards. That said, banning pornography and playing music with obscene lyrics from the workplace is hardly an unusual move. It's not as if most workplaces outside sports allow those things either.
I'm more cynical about columnists' reasons for questioning the Rockies. Think back to changes in the default athletic culture over the years--whether it's coaches who are soft-spoken instead of drill sergeants (Tony Dungy), using mathematical know-how to design a team (Moneyball with Oakland), or a change in the dominant demographics (majority black, Latino, or Christian players). Usually, what we saw initially in all those cases are columnists' harshly judging these changes. It's made to sound as if the previous culture made no demands on anyone, and all these new quiet or smart or black or Christian people are ruining everything.
However, this is a manipulation of the truth. The dominant culture (or if you will, government) ALWAYS coerces follower personalities to do what it wants. We just don't recognize the type of coercion after we have lived in it for a while. To pretend as if the new culture is coercive and the previous culture was not is revising the truth.
The main question instead is, which type of behaviors do you want the dominant culture to push on people? And after the deaths of Beck, Hancock, Caminiti and other baseball players due to rampant substance abuse, I think the Rockies style deserves a try. Even though as a Christian, I have some concerns about the Rockies's decisions (Christians are called to influence and infiltrate the dominant culture, rather than create their own separate culture), I think that this is an improvement over the default sports culture. So I'd ask you as well, dear reader, to keep an open mind.