(possibly not queued up at Citi Field for Jon Rauch’s next jog from the bullpen)
Mets reliever Jon Rauch capped off a weekend for the team that was as miserable as the prior week’s sweep of the Cardinals was glorious, allowing a 9th inning, game-winning HR to Yankees C Russell Martin (his 2nd of the day) in the hosts’ 5-4 victory at the Nu Stadium. Afterwards, some of social media’s creepier types (or at least those unwilling to pepper Rauch with references to The Fall) suggested the towering pitcher, “hang yourself” or “choke on food, not in games”. Citing Twitter’s anonymity, Amazin Avenue’s Matthew Callen writes, “I’ve been to a billion ballgames and heard crowds scream nasty things at ballplayers, but never once have I heard someone in a ballpark wish death on a player.” While I’m hopeful that Armando Benitez or Charles Smith have memories as selective (or hearing as poor) as Callen, I cannot disagree with him that allegedly civilized persons ought to “draw the line at telling another person to kill themselves”. And you need not be old enough to remember Donnie Moore to concur with such a reasonable stance.
Because we are constantly told that New York is So Tough, some people take it as their birthright to prove it by becoming the worst people ever and expressing that “toughness” in the manner shown above. If an athlete can’t take a very personal attack–saying someone should no longer be alive is about as personal as it gets–maybe he’s not cut out for New York, The City That Never Sleeps or Stops Telling Strangers To Kill Themselves.
In truth, these expressions of “toughness” are cowardice in its most craven form, several rungs down the ladder from ringing someone’s doorbell and running away. That’s because none of these people literally intends what they’ve written. They’re just deriving a crank call thriil from hassling a famous person in the most vile way. Like all bad comedians, they confuse meanness and violence with humor. Rauch shouldn’t have to endure this just because be plays in New York. Death threats shouldn’t be one of his job hazards any more than heavy sack beatings should be one of yours, whatever it is you do for a living.