It’s high time someone spoke up about a potentially dangerous trend in Major League Baseball. The league has been pushing its luck for years in assembling awards candidates at season’s end. Driven (I can only assume) by some kind of twisted sensationalism, it has been arranging players not only in closer and closer proximity for photoshoots, but forcing them into more and more active and realistic positions, and thereby greatly increasing the chance of accidental injury. Don’t get me wrong: we all love looking at these pictures. But someone, at some point, is going to get hurt. And we cannot allow that to happen.
These shoots have been going on for as long as we can remember, but the basic safety controls have been gradually eroded for years now. While players were traditionally photographed in casual, head-on poses:
…these poses were abandoned in favor of “action shots” like the following — though each player was still confined to a separate small room, with fairly thick walls.
These walls were progressively shrunk to the point of virtual elimination, with candidates forced degradingly into each other’s personal space:
Last year’s MVP race was a watershed in terms of brazenly disregarding basic precautions. Judging from the photo below, not only were Trout and Cabrera coerced into intimately sharing space, but Cabrera was instructed to swing his bat in close proximity to Trout’s head. What would have been the consequences, had he failed to comply? And what, indeed, would have been the consequences — one shudders to imagine — had that swing gone awry? Does this not amount to exploitative abuse, on the part of the organization to which these men have entrusted their bodies and livelihoods?
This year’s awards season has seen more of the same, with Cy Young winners Scherzer and Kershaw literally rubbing elbows, and endangering their prized arms in the process:
But it was only this morning, when I saw the picture below, that I thought: Enough is enough. The sight of these six men herded into a room like cattle, contorted into a cruel game of Twister, and flailing away irresponsibly with their bats — one false step ensuring a concussion, or worse — has made my indignation boil over at last. Will you join me, readers? Will you take a stand to preserve the health, and the dignity, of the players you love?
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