McCague: When people become commodities in baseball

From Allison McCague at The Hardball Times on September 25, 2019:

At the end of July, I–like everyone else in the baseball world–was wrapped up in the fanfare of another major league trade deadline. There was so much to think about: How would teams approach the deadline this year with the new rules in place eliminating August waiver trades? Which teams were going for it? What would my team do–or not do? 

On my commute home from work on the afternoon of the deadline, as I listened to a podcast about the science of human empathy, something that has nagged at me for years and feels more salient than ever came to the forefront of my mind: The language we use to talk about baseball players–not just at the trade deadline, but almost all the time–makes me deeply uncomfortable. Players being referred to as “commodities” in headlines and articles makes me cringe. It’s language that turns people into property.

Social science has a lot to teach us about how deploying empathy in our sports fandom more often and more effectively can inject some humanity into baseball–a humanity for which the game would be much better off. Not only can it improve the fan experience by broadening our horizons and becoming more invested in the successes of individual players, but when players feel their humanity is recognized, they are more likely to exude the love for the game and its fans that makes this sport meaningful.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 2, 2019. Last Updated: October 2, 2019.