Here’s what I’d like to hear from Roger McDowell, beyond his apology: an explanation.
McDowell, the former Dodger, one-time “Seinfeld” second spitter and current Atlanta Braves pitching coach, has been suspended for two weeks by Major League Baseball for his inappropriate, offensive and threatening behavior before an April 23 game in San Francisco.
“I understand the decision made today by the commissioner,” McDowell said in a statement. “I am embarrassed by my actions and I plan to give a personal apology to Mr. Quinn and his family. I would also like to offer a public and heartfelt apology to the fans of San Francisco, to the Atlanta Braves organization, my family and to Major League Baseball.”
It’s great that McDowell won’t have to go to Rocket Scientist School to realize what he did was wrong. All things considered, considering the facts of the case don’t seem to be in dispute, it seems the punishment could have been much worse, but he’s going to sensitivity training, and maybe he’ll come out of this a better person.
But I’d still like to know what in the world could have made him act this way in the first place, because if nothing else, it sure might be instructive.
When Kobe Bryant got fined $100,000 after issuing a gay slur at a referee during an April 13 NBA game, he didn’t exactly fall down and beg weeping for forgiveness, but he did discuss his actions publicly. As many questions as his incident raised about Bryant’s character — and as difficult as his explanation might have been to accept — what McDowell did, in the calm of pregame batting practice and directly in front of fans and children, was dimensionally more unfathomable and disturbing.
Is it unreasonable for me to wonder what could possibly have been going on in McDowell’s head, to wonder where that anger and hostility came from, to wonder whether there might a benefit from the answer?