Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Does Being "Nice, Gentle & Kind" Still Count?

"He is the nicest, gentlest, kindest guy you will ever meet … to everything except the baseball, he still hits that really hard." -Michael Cuddyer on Jim Thome

Jim Thome (see articles by Tim Kurkjian and Jayson Stark) hit his 600th homerun last night. Only 7 guys have done it besides him and 3 of those (Bonds, Sosa, and Rodriguez) have all been linked to steroid usage. He is one of the greatest power hitters of all time, and certainly deserves to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Remarkably he has not received a lot of press, more than likely because of his temperament and the fact that Cleveland and now Minnesota are not exactly big markets. But what seems to be most incredible about the guy is how other professional baseball players view him.

How many people are genuinely known to be nice, kind and gentle? To be more blunt, how many men are known for those characteristics? Today's American culture desires strong men, powerful men, and men who have "it" - whatever it might be. Rarely do you hear people seeking a nice guy. In fact the nice guy is at an all time low in terms of desirability. And yet here you have a prominent major league slugger who is known for his gentleness in personality if not his ability to hit a ball 500 feet. Teammates, opponents, coaches, members of the media, clubhouse workers, and the casual fan all encounter a guy who is so genuine and caring they are left deeply impressed. It might not get him front page press, but in the end he is the type of guy you want to be around, you want to emulate and you hope your kids turn out like. Perhaps its time we start re-evaluating our priorities and tastes in America. We need more men like Jim Thome - who recognize that being nice, gentle and kind is a helluva lot better than being an asshole...even if you lose out on publicity.


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