Vladdy’s Victoria Day benching is more complicated than you think
The Toronto Blue Jays walked themselves into a PR blunder when the coaching and management sat rookie phenom, the #1 rated prospect in all baseball, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the Victoria Day matinee at the Rogers Centre. Never mind the fact that the 20 year old superstar-in-waiting just broke out with a four homerun week that earned him American League player of the week honours. Never mind the fact that the attendance on a holiday Monday at the Rogers Centre cracked over 26,000 for only the third time this year.
For Blue Jays management, Vladdy Jr. needed a rest. It’s that simple, or indeed complicated. Professional sports franchises increasingly rely on sport science and analytics to fill out their rosters. Players sit to keep them in top physical shape. The fans don’t care. They wanted to see Vladdy Jr. play and the benching created a mini storm of negative PR for the team, especially the General Manager and President.
As one who teaches about sport from a variety of perspectives, this episode illustrates some very interesting dynamics about pressure in professional sports. The classical Marxist interpretation of commercial sport posits it as a debased commodified version of a pure activity. Once subsumed to the marketplace, sport loses all of its inherent moral characteristics and becomes a debauched spectacle meant to mollify a distracted population from their position of political and economic powerlessness.
I don’t personally believe that, but it’s interesting to observe the recent flare-up over Vladdy’s day off through that lens. First, there are tons of commercial elements present to analyze, but secondly these particular pressures didn’t manifest in that classical Marxist fashion (in reality, what ever does!)
In a capitalist economy, the consumers hold the power. Their collective decisions signal to entrepreneurs what is worth producing and what is not. For professional sports, this means the fans should be in the driver’s seat. The over 26,500 fans at Rogers Centre chanted for Vladdy Jr. at Monday’s game. They felt ripped off. The managers of the team have cut salary, told the fan base not to expect a competitive team, and have marketed this season as one to view the future. Vladdy Jr. is the cornerstone of this marketing strategy. The hype and anticipation over his debut this year is the largest commercial driver for the Blue Jays. His debut on April 26th drew the second largest crowd of the season, trailing only Opening Day.
The classical Marxist approach informs us that the Blue Jays management should do everything in their power to maximize profit. This would mean disregarding the health and future of Vladdy Jr. to reap as much short term profit as possible. They would give the fans what they want, more Vladdy Jr., all day everyday. But they didn’t. In fact, they enraged their fan base by protecting him. Manager Charlie Montoya and General Manager Ross Atkins towed the company line, that Vlad Jr. sits for health reasons. “We’ve got a set deal, he needs to get a day off,” Montoyo said after the game. “Everybody is going to get a day off, anyway, 16 straight days, so today was Vlad’s.” All of the commercial pressure and marketing strategy aligned, but in the wrong way. Holiday Monday, big crowds excited to see the game, but no superstar to cheer for.
The capitalist pressure of profit seemed to take a back seat to the internal values of the game. Yes, professional sport is for the fans, but the Marxist idea of profit maximization debases the professional athlete into a public prostitution, whereby the athlete’s body is sold to the highest bidder and deemed worthy only when it produces. The athlete is discarded when they are no longer able to compete, deemed worthless. The Blue Jays sitting Vladdy Jr. shows us that the competitive drive is not incompatible with the inherent qualities of the game. In order to capitalize and compete in the future, some sacrifice must be made in the present.
The preservation of the athlete’s body is important, they are not simply used and abused. Now, more than ever, there is over precaution taken to protect the professional athlete. Many have asked questions about the physical capabilities of 20-year-old athletes, shouldn’t Vladdy be able to play all the games when he’s young and energetic? Many have questioned sheltering him from the emotional pressures of being the brightest young star in baseball and already to biggest star on his struggling team. As an athlete, that’s what you sign up for, especially if you want to play in the pros. Again, the decision to sit Vladdy in the face of all these questions and pressures speaks to the variability within the world of sport. No Marxist reductionism and over simplification.
In the end, this episode reveals the often competing variables that dictate decisions in pro sports when it comes to marketing, commercial gain, and the health of the athletes at the centre of the spectacle. While many fans are outraged and angered with management, they are doing what they think is best for the long-term future of the team and the player. Are they right? Time will tell. But we’ve reached a point in professional sport where the athlete’s body and mind are protected by their franchises instead of exploited and discarded without consideration for anything except the bottom line. Yes, decision are still made with a commercial motivation, but it’s not the debauched and demoralized fashion that the classical Marxist perspective predicts. In that sense, there is some reason to applaud the decision made by the Blue Jays, even if I really wanted to see Vladdy Jr. smash a homerun on Victoria day.
Ontario health officials announced that a “presumptive case” of coronavirus is confirmed at Toronto’s Sunnybrook hospital.
Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. David Williams made the announcement Saturday afternoon alongside Health Minister Christine Elliott. Williams said, “”It’s our first presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus virus. The risk to Ontarians is still low. The system is working as it should.”
The patient is a man in his fifties who travelled to Canada recently from Wuhan, China.
The full press conference can be viewed here:
This is the first official case of the deadly viral strain in Canada. More than 1400 people have been infected worldwide.
The Ontario government has launched a website where you can see all the updates of the coronavirus.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated
Depending on the temperature this weekend, Southern Ontario is either going to be affected by a snowstorm or heavy rain this weekend, according to the Weather Network.
Speaking to The Post Millennial, Natasha Ramsahai who is the Meteorologist at 680 news stated that “it’s already started in the form of rainfall across southwestern Ontario, parts of the GTA have already started to get into the rain … this rain will have lots of moisture in it, it’s pulling it straight out of the gulf of Mexico.”
“This is smack dab in the middle of what is supposed to be the coldest week of the year, and so if it was a couple of degrees colder it would be a huge snowstorm.”
Toronto is expected to get a combination of both snow and rain this weekend, dependant upon the temperature. All in all, the area’s affected will receive up to a month of rain across the weekend.
This may result in some flooding as numerous storm drains will be blocked. This accompanied by melting snow and heavy rainfall may facilitate pooling water.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that parts of Ontario would receive up to 50-60 cm of snow. This is incorrect, with 20-25 cm of snow expected through parts of the province. The Post Millennial regrets the error.
The National Capital Commission passed a vote Thursday which gives the green light for a national monument to the LGBTQ2+ community in Ottawa.
The monument is planned to be located on the south shore of the Ottawa River by the Fleet Street Pumping Station next to the Portage Bridge near the Royal Canadian Navy Monument.
The monument is being built to acknowledge public servants who were purged from their positions in the 1950s all the way out into the 1960s.
The monument will be covered by the LGBT Purge Fund, a not-for-profit corporation that was established in Canada in October 2018 to manage a $15–25 million fund.
The money for the fund was provided from a settlement of a class-action lawsuit between the Government of Canada and the LGBTQ2+ community once employed by the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, and the Canadian federal public service.
“LGBT members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, and the federal public service were systemically discriminated against, harassed and often fired as a matter of policy and sanctioned practice. They were followed, interrogated and abused. This shameful period is known as the “LGBT purge” and it generally took place in Canada from the 1950’s to the mid-1990’s,” reads the Purge Fund’s website.
LGBT Purge Fund Executive Director Michelle Douglas told CTV News Ottawa that “more than a symbol, building a permanent monument to mark the discrimination experienced by LGBTQ2+ Canadians will create opportunities to educate and inspire its visitors.”
There will be a two-stage competition to determine the design of the monument.
The Ontario teachers’ strikes are proving to be more acrimonious than anyone expected. Some Elementary teachers have now opted out of sending report cards to parents, and have already begun to engage in rotating strikes.
The Ontario government, on the other hand, have offered up to $60 per day for parents who are feeling the fiscal consequences of the strike, and rumours of back to work legislation is being floated around the corridors of Queen’s Park.
The teachers’ strikes are deeply consequential and have affected the day-to-day lives of 13 million Ontarians who live in the most populace province in Canada. Due to the vast impact this strike, and the mainstream media’s lack of balance in the coverage (often siding with the unions and tecahers), The Post Millennial has compiled a list of things you need to know about the Ontario teachers’ strikes.
1. Ontario’s teachers are among the highest paid in the country
Ontario’s teachers are among the best paid in the country. In the Greater Toronto Area, for instance, top teachers can expect to get paid up to $96,000 a year. The average salary for a teachers in Ontario is $89,300 for elementary teachers and $92,900 for high school teachers. In contrast, the average Ontarian earns $55,000 per year.
2. Ontario teachers are taking more and more sick days
A 2017 study found that teachers have been taking more and more sick days over the past five years. On average, sick days have increased by over 30 percent. In 2020, another report revealed even starker results with teachers taking 70 percent more sick days than over a decade ago.
3. Teachers get a whole lot of time off
Ontario’s teacher’s have a pretty great job. Not only do they get paid a wage that is far higher than the average Ontarian, they also get a lot of time off. Due to breaks in the school year, teachers are allowed three whole months off, on top of the aforementioned sick days.
4. Teachers’ Unions are spending big bucks to win the PR war
So far, the OSSTF has spent $336,389 on Facebook ads alone. These ads usually attack the Ford government and have been running since June. In one week alone, they spent over $40,000. They’re also waging a war of words against Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce through the mainstream press.
5. The Ontario government has already made concessions, but unions won’t meet in the middle
Premier Doug Ford has offered numerous concessions to the teachers’ unions from the government’s initial demands. Ford, for example, offered to meet the teachers half-way on classroom size. This, however, was not good enough for the teachers, and they walked away from the negotiation table. They’re also refusing to send report cards to parents and help out in after school activities, despite claiming the strikes are primarily for the students, not their pay cheques.
6. Ontario’s students are flunking math tests
If you’re going to teach mathematics to a new generation of students, you should probably have to prove that you have some basic ability to do so. This hardly unreasonable request, however, created some tension with the teachers’ unions. Despite EQAO tests showing all-time lows, the unions were upset that teachers had to score at least 70 percent in a math test.
7. Ontario’s debt is astronomically high
After a decade of Liberal government, Ontario’s debt stands at over $350,000,000,000. This figure constitutes one of the highest sub-national debts in the world. Due to this, the Ford government is trying to cut back public sector salaries, which means slowing down the rate at which teachers are paid. Teachers in Ontario also have what many experts consider to be a great pension package.