-This is about how people behave. How they choose to comport themselves. There are few people around these days who you can point to and say..."That guy is a gentleman." Let's leave women out of this discussion. But, there are many examples lately of women behaving like boorish men...particularly when it comes to crime. You never used to see that. When you say the word gentleman...images of Abraham Lincoln, Cary Grant, Joe DiMaggio, and Robert E. Lee come to mind. None of those guys are still around to give instructions. So, we seem to have lost our sense of what one is.
I read, with interest, today's column by Bryan Burwell of the Post-Dispatch about the recent antics of our own "Prince Albert". I wrote about the surly nature of Albert Pujols...particularly when it comes to dealing with the press...last year. And, I suggested that Albert's claim to everlasting fame and adulation among Cardinals fans was beginning to move into the "jeopardy zone". It appears, based on Burwell's article and several comments by talk-show hosts that I've heard recently, that Albert has moved even farther into that zone this post-season. He apparently has no use for the members of the press, and doesn't mind showing and telling them so.
What Albert, who is always anxious to portray himself as a man of God, should remember is that the members of the press corps are human beings, and creations of his God, too. They just have a different job to do. If it annoys him, he should be able to stomach the annoyance for a few minutes each day. Dont' you think? Especially when that press corps is his conduit to the public...the same public that sits in the seats at the ballpark...and buys those tickets...and supports his team...so that he can make all those millions of dollars to be able to build that fabulous mansion in West County.
I'm sure Stan Musial had a bad day or two along the way. I'm guessing he was short with a reporter once or twice during his playing days. But, have you ever...ever...heard anybody say, or write, anything bad about "the Man"? Stan Musial, by every account I've ever come across, was always a gentleman and also comes to mind when the term is used...like the guys on the list in paragraph one. That is one of the main reasons Stan is still held in such everlasting esteem by fans of the Cardinals. And the reason his statue is bigger than any other at the entrance to Busch Stadium. He, and his behavior, are worthy of high praise and never-ending reverance.
Is it so hard, man of God or not, to treat other people as equals? Isn't that the foundation mentality of the Golden Rule? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you do that, how can you help but be a gentleman? Why has this behavior become so out-of-favor? Is it that boring? That unmanly? That un-fun? Or is it that it doesn't bring with it the "buzz" or "rush" of talking down your nose to others?
This discussion needn't be limited to Albert Pujols, Barry Bonds, or any of today's spoiled and overpaid pro athletes. Ungentlemanly behavior seems to be all too fashionable, and visible, in other circles as well. To those who display it, it seems a way for them to say "I'm more important than you"...the exact opposite mind-set of the afforementioned Golden Rule. We see it regularly from politicians, movie stars, pop music artists, business leaders, and yes, some members of the press.
Good for Bryan Burwell to call out Mr. Pujols. It's time that we all started reigning in our "superstars" when they get out of control. They need to be held to a higher standard of off-field behavior. Because they are the examples of acceptable behavior for our young people...like it, or not.
There is no doubt that Albert will, barring anything unforseen, become thought of as one of the greatest players of all time. I'm hoping that something unforseen happens soon to make him understand that he should, and could, also go down in history...like someone before him...as one of the great gentlemen in baseball history. All it takes is a change in his own attitude...and maybe ours toward him. Wouldn't it make our society more pleasant if baseball, and all sports, put more emphasis on the P in MVP....and gave the greatest awards and accolades to the most valuable person, instead of player?
gen‧tle‧man–noun, plural -men.
1. a man of good family, breeding, or social position.
2. (used as a polite term) a man: Do you know that gentleman over there?
3. gentlemen, (used as a form of address): Gentlemen, please come this way.
4. a civilized, educated, sensitive, or well-mannered man: He behaved like a true gentleman.