I presume this is going to be an unpopular opinion but, I was pretty creeped out earlier this week when Evan Longoria felt compelled to answer questions about his relationship status for a story that ran on the Sports front in an actual newspaper. (I actually kind of pictured the Times passing Longo a note during BP that said “Are you and Jamie ‘dating,’ check yes or no.”). It sort of reminded of the time Mike Piazza called a press conference to deny stories about his private life.
For the record, I don’t begrudge anyone that likes to follow the personal lives of ballplayers, or actors, or singers. Ballplayers made a conscious decision to become public figures and, that decision comes with certain negative consequences. I also don’t think this obsession was somehow created during the internet age or in some blog-driven hunt for pageviews. See Monroe, Marilyn and DiMaggio, Joe.
I also don’t want to be too high-and-mighty. I read the story in the Times. And I read the story at Rays Index/The Big Lead about Reid Brignac. I have even clicked through the WAG database Rays Index maintains. But, I have to say, it always feels just a little wrong.
After all, I am a grown man. I don’t sit around with my male friend and gossip about the people they are dating, or not dating. In fact, if one of my male friends offered that kind of information, I would ridicule him mercilessly. Why then, would I care about the private lives of men I don’t even know?
In the final analysis, none of this stuff really matters to me. I don’t need to know about the private lives of the Rays (or the sleepovers attended by the players’ dogs) unless that private life somehow effects their public life. And even then, it isn’t really any of my business. I just want the Rays to be good ballplayers and, when they leave the clubhouse, I want to them to at least be good enough people that I feel good rooting for them. Other than that, the rest is their business, not mine.
What do you think? Is it time to give our boys some privacy? Or am I some uppity schoolmarm trying to make sure no one in my class ever sees a Playboy?