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Wolf: I would stand and applaud

There are questions lurking in the corners of the dark shadows this evening. Let us open our minds and peer into the soul, looking for that deeper shade of pitch.

And so it begins…this personal question to which there is no “right” or “wrong” answer; there are only opinions and personal choices.

Randy Johnson was a bad teammate. So what? Do we buy tickets to watch a player be a good teammate or to do his job?

Would it be nice to have both – to be a good teammate and do your job? Yes. Is having both a prerequisite for my warm acknowledgment of what a player did in his career? No.


I’m not honoring the man; I’m honoring the player and his career. I know better than most how uniquely human professional athletes are. They are just like you and me, subjected to the same condition, the same frailties as us.

Would you stand and honor a man that was a liar? Of course not; yet we all know in our life we have told lies.

Would you stand and honor a man that was a cheat? No. But at some point in our life we probably cheated somebody out of what they were owed.

Would you stand and honor a man that treated people poorly? No. But have you ever treated somebody poorly?

Just because you have told a lie, cheated somebody or treated a person poorly doesn’t make you a bad human being; it merely makes you human. And, just because you don’t wish to applaud Randy Johnson for his accomplishments doesn’t make you a bad person.

But (in a massive fit of irony) it does make you human. Most of us know we’re flawed products, but we won’t applaud The Unit for what he has accomplished in his career because he is a flawed product.

That’s beautifully human, isn’t it?

The tribute to Randy Johnson at Chase Field isn’t a tribute to the person of Randy Johnson, it’s a tribute to what he accomplished on the diamond in his career. It’s not about the man. It’s about the player.

Maybe it says more about you – whether you acknowledge Johnson’s achievements or not by applauding – than it says about The Unit’s career. Maybe it unearths your personality – the authentic you – better than 100 hours of psychotherapy.

Most of us have a higher opinion of ourselves than we probably should. Our pride makes us do and say things that we probably shouldn’t do or say. Yet, we do them…in word and deed – and we do them vigorously!

That’s called being human. Welcome. I hope you enjoy the show. By the way, you have a sleepy eye, a booger’s in your nose and you just treated your neighbor like a slice of cowpie smothered in mayonnaise that’s been baking in the sun for three days.

But we won’t stand and acknowledge a man’s achievements while competing because he wasn’t a great teammate? He wasn’t a likeable, warm and fuzzy person…like you.

How do your co-workers perceive you? Do they think you’re a great teammate or would they need some convincing? Do they think it’s “one-for-all-and-all-for-one” or would they say you’re out for yourself? Should they stand and acknowledge your successes or sit on their hands because you’re not a great office-person?

If you don’t want to applaud Randy Johnson for personal reasons of your own that’s your prerogative. But whom would you applaud if we paid tribute to a man for his career but had to filter his accomplishments through the moral-screen of humanity?

I’m not a great person. I am flawed, “chief of all sinners.”

And that’s why I would stand and applaud Randy Johnson.