Of Prince Fielder’s recent on-field struggles, the Detroit Free Press’ Mitch Albom considers inquiries into the Tigers’ first baseman’s martial problems none of his business or yours, calling Fielder, “another statistic in the envy-based, build-them-up-then-knock-them-down world we live in.”
What does his married life have to do with baseball? Could the divorce be affecting his play? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it’s a sore shoulder. Maybe it’s a swing adjustment. Maybe he’s fighting with a sibling. Maybe a business deal went bad. Maybe he needs his eyes checked. Maybe it’s just — how about this for a radical concept? — a slump or an off year.
Not everyone reacts the same way to issues. Miguel Cabrera was arrested for drunken driving in February 2011; with that hanging over his head, he had one of his best seasons. You simply cannot assume connections.
I am glad I was not assigned to ask Fielder about his marriage issues, because I wouldn’t have done it. I refuse to ask him about his love life unless he says he wants to talk about it or his wife pulls on a uniform and bats cleanup.
Fielder, writes Albom, “doesn’t owe me details. He doesn’t owe you. We may watch him play, but we don’t pay him.” Which is fair enough, except as the columnist himself points out elsewhere in his piece, the shit hit the fan concerning Fielder’s personal life not because of internet sleuthery (“since everyone seems to be a blogger, all it takes is one overly curious person and the cyberspace monster is globally fed”), but rather, Fielder’s own teammate, Torii Hunter telling reporters the former “was dealing bravely” with some unspecified non-baseball issue.
Most writers covering the Tigers — would’ve been doing their employers and readers a massive disservice had they failed to at least show a little curiosity about Hunter’s claims. If Albom considers Fielder’s privacy to be a precious thing, fine, but blaming the blogosphere (or what’s left of it) for something that was clearly provoked by Hunter is the height of hysteria.