I'm a little late to this Roger McDowell story, but I figure I have to weigh in.
There are too many tie-ins to ignore - he was a member of the 1986 Mets, he's currently with a division rival in the Atlanta Braves - and it's terribly upsetting to hear what he did.
If you missed the comments, like I did at first, this link provides a quick recap.
McDowell is serving a 2-week suspension, and he was also fined for his actions.
But I can't get over what he did.
I don't even know where to start. McDowell was always known around the Mets as a prankster, the crazy one. (Funny crazy, I should specify...when you consider there were legitimate "crazy" guys like Kevin Mitchell on that 1986 Mets team.) But it was always innocent stuff - hotfoots, rally caps, the best was when he put his uniform pants on his head and shirt on his legs and walked around the dugout like some weird zombie-like thing - never was Roger McDowell accused of saying something hateful or controversial.
But that's just what his actions in San Francisco were. He was apparently unprovoked (maybe he was provoked, but even if he was he crossed a line with his reaction). It was almost like he was drunk or impaired when he made those comments...and I wouldn't be surprised if we later find out that McDowell was going through some huge personal problems when this all happened.
Barring any of that - and maybe along with all of that - the only other rationale is that McDowell is a huge idiot. HIs actions were ignorant and idiotic. Coming on the heels of Kobe Bryant's controversy not a month earlier, which every professional athlete and person involved in any sport should have taken note of and realized the power of what they say at all times, emphasizes how stupid McDowell was.
(There's an interesting side story here that Derek Lowe was arrested for DUI less than a week after the McDowell incident. Perhaps they were two isolated incidents...perhaps they're two examples of a team with a severe discipline problem...could Bobby Cox have made that much of a difference in his time with the Braves that less than a month into the first year following his departure there are two such stark examples of lapses in judgment? Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but it's worth keeping an eye on.)
There are levels of disturbance to the McDowell situation. First, that he did and said what he did to fans - maybe he was provoked, but it shouldn't matter. There's the empty apology McDowell made at first - "I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday. I apologize to everyone for my actions." (Shouldn't someone be checking this and saying, you might want to take a little more responsibility in this apology?) There's the fact that there was just this Kobe Bryant flap, and one would think one would be a little more guarded in their comments. And finally, it makes you think that if this is happening with a pitching coach, it's probably happening in many more spots in sports...and that means there's a real problem in professional sports.
As a dad trying to teach my children what's right and wrong and trying to figure out who and what to expose my children to, it bothers me that there are adults in such high-profile spots that have absolutely no filter...and live in a world where they may not realize what is or isn't appropriate behavior. And that makes my job all the more difficult.
It makes me think Roger McDowell was right on one count: Maybe kids don't belong at a baseball park.