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Is NASCAR a sport?Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2009, at 11:54 AM
The Payoff Pitch
Here, I'm going to introduce a new section of this blog where I discuss my opinions on things outside of the Cardinals since not much is going on with the Redbirds right now. These opinions may or may not be sports-related depending on what I'm thinking about that day.
Today, I want to talk a bit about NASCAR. If you know me, you will know that I have written thoughts in other publications regarding my thoughts on this pseudo-sport and I just want to bring these thoughts to the Daily Dunklin Democrat.
Basically, there is no way on Earth that anyone can possibly convince me that NASCAR is a sport. You can't do it. I've converted many a NASCAR fan to my viewpoint through simple discussion. Perhaps you could call me a sports evangelist, preaching the gospel of true sports to the masses. My sermon is as follows:
First of all, NASCAR fans are going to write me off as an idiot, but I just ask that they hear me out and listen to what I have to say. I'm not staging a bashing of NASCAR and attacking it ad hominem; rather, I will attempt to describe what makes a sport a sport and go from there.
So, what is a sport? To me, a sport is an event with at least two competitors who use athletic abilities to determine a winner. Most definitions of a sport will exclude the "athletic" part, but I feel as though it's essential, and this is where NASCAR falters. Racers aren't athletes. Now, racers can be athletes in that they can have athletic abilities, but the actual act of racing requires no athleticism whatsoever. Is there agility involved? No. Is there personal speed involved? No. Are you using athletic ability to defeat an opponent? No, you're using a machine to compete. That's not a sport to me.
Most people will say that the reason NASCAR is a sport is that it requires great mental skill, perseverance and physical skill. Well, I'm not arguing that. Racers are in a league of their own with regard to concentration and perseverance. That argument is irrelevant because there are many activities that require that particular skill set. Brain surgery, for instance, requires unparalleled mental skill, perseverance and manual dexterity, but is it a sport? No. Competitive eating requires all of these things, but is it a sport? No. How about competitive spelling? Is that a sport? No. Just because something is competitive and it's hard doesn't make it a sport.
Still, others have used the argument of "well, you can't do it," to defend NASCAR as a sport. You're absolutely right. I also can't give birth, but that's not a sport. I can't surgically remove the bladder of a possum under no anaesthesia, yet I would venture to guess that is not a sport. Someone's inability to do something doesn't render said activity a sport. It's poor logic, a non sequitur argument.
Other people have cited NASCAR's entertainment factor as support for their argument, but that doesn't make any sense, either. Some people don't find baseball entertaining, but you can't argue that it's not a sport. Furthermore, I like to do crossword puzzles. I guess that makes it a sport, right? Wrong. Perceived entertainment alone does nothing to justify an activity as a sport.
There you have it, folks -- my sermon on NASCAR's lack of credibility as a sport. For those of you who are ready to be converted to the way of sports, please let it be known as, together, we stand and sing to encourage you (cue "Just As I Am").
More on Khalil Greene's move to third
It seems more and more like the Cards are really hoping they can get some production out of Khalil Greene, and I don't really blame them. I mean, if you were paying someone $6.5 million, wouldn't you want to get a bit of worth out of them? I'll be honest -- for some reason, I like the move. Do I think it will be the answer the Cardinals are looking for? Not at all. But do I think Greene can be more productive there than at SS? I think so, especially defensively, and hopefully that will spill over into his offense.
Third base is a position of pure reaction. It lacks the absurd amount of thinking a SS must be doing during every pitch, so this could spell some relief for Greene's anxiety problems if he goes into it with a simple approach. People are going to smoke balls at him, and he'll just have to react. The most thinking he will be doing will be on bunt plays, but those should be second nature at this point. Let's not forget that Greene was an All-American third baseman at Clemson when he was drafted. It's his natural position. If he has a good attitude and somehow gets hot offensively and defensively then that would be a huge boost and would let the Cardinals explore other offensive options. This is their absolute last-ditch effort before they feel like they need to make a move for a third baseman. If you think of it as a business move for the front office -- and it is -- then you have to give Greene a shot to produce at third so his salary doesn't go to waste on the bench. Here's to hoping Greene rights himself and has some success. He has the talent; there's no question about that. Put him there and keep Brendan Ryan at SS where he ranks among the league leaders defensively. Also, they need to keep Tyler Greene in the lineup and play him at second base during this period. Leave Skip Schumaker in the outfield with Rasmus and Ludwick. Skip is actually one of the worst defensive second basemen in the league. Shore up that defense all around and make people earn runs off of you. Then, you can make any number of possible trades and readjust accordingly. The bottom line is that something has to be done to bring in a powerful right-handed bat to help anchor this lineup. It's essential.
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A blog for Cardinals fans by a Cardinals fan. This blog will explore the happenings in the St. Louis Cardinals organization on a semi-daily basis, from roster moves to game-by-game analysis.