Unsporting Behaviour, by Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs is the creator of the popular blog Pen-Elayne on the Web. She was a founding member of Friends of Lulu, an organization dedicated to increasing the involvement of girls and women in comics, as readers and creators. She is married to inker Robin Riggs, with whom she shares two cats, and has odd love/hate relationship with Hillary Clinton.

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14 Responses

  1. Alan Coil says:

    As I pay little attention to spring baseball, I didn't know of the broken wrist, only of the spikes-high slide. It makes more sense as retaliation than it did as a random event, although spikes that high are an attempt to injure; the attempt to score resulted in an accidental injury.Sportscasters are there to describe the game. After listening to Ernie Harwell on radio all my life, the current radio guys are merely okay. They tend to whine all the time, which really takes the fun out of the game.Aggressive teams win more often than non-aggressive teams, but I wonder which is the cart and which is the horse. Is it talent which makes them think they can be aggressive, or is it actually the aggressiveness that makes them winners.

  2. John Tebbel says:

    Straight talk on sports. Bravo. Reminds me I miss Howard Cosell.

    • Elayne Riggs says:

      Cosell, really? I never got the impression he was a straight-talk sportscaster at all. It always seemed to me that he went into broadcasting mostly to hear himself talk. He obviously loved the cadence of his voice, his addiction to alliteration, etc. (My brother does a spot-on imitation of Cosell, to this day.) I think in a lot of ways he was a precursor to the modern sportscaster, where the pundit's personality far outweighs any considerations of what's happening on the field of play.

      • John Tebbel says:

        Yes, really. He was the man who wasn't owned by any team, who didn't come up in the go along to get along system that has given us the thoroughly corrupt system of professional and "scholastic" sports. He said what he thought, and, big surprise, most of the fans on the couch were upset that the lies they'd bought to keep their team spirit in the consuming zone were just that, lies told to keep them buying and watching and swilling and gorging. Technically, Coslell was a color man, not the guy who says, "A gain of five on that one, let's have another look." He was there to illuminate the broader picture. And he wasn't a sportscaster at all, he was a journalist, they're different professions; most sportscasters (and every single one not so many years ago) are employed by the carnivals for which they shill.

        • Russ Rogers says:

          Cosell was also one of the few famous people to recognize Mohamed Ali's contentious objection to the Vietnam war for the brave stand that it was. Cosell got a lot of flack for that. Remember, Ali had been stripped of his title and put in jail for refusing to participate in the war.And I remember Cosell had Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster on his Saturday Night Live show to talk about their fights with DC to gain some of their rights with Superman! Pretty cool!

  3. Russ Rogers says:

    Ask Tonya Harding about violent, "unsporting behavior" in Women's Sports. Admittedly, her conduct wasn't during an event and the violence was coordinated through male surrogates. "Toni Stone, 75, First Woman To Play Big-League Baseball," is an interesting eulogy in the New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=98…Stone played in 1953, during the waning years of the Negro Baseball League, for the Indianapolis Clowns. During her brief career, she batted .243.On Easter Sunday of 1953, Stone got a hit off of Satchel Paige in an exhibition game in Omaha. Hers was the only hit off him that day. Maybe Toni Stone is deserving of a graphic novel about her career. Her hit off of Paige could be the climax of the book! Maybe James Sturm & Rich Tommaso could be tempted to do an eight page one shot on ComicMix. I'm always thinking. http://www.comicmix.com/news/2008/04/26/review-sa…I don't think women should be banned from baseball. But, Women in Men's MLB would still only be a novelty at best. My question is, with Title 9 providing a large population of skilled players, why isn't there more attention paid to National Pro Fastpitch or even college softball? I think we are just one good TV Reality series away from National Pro Fastpitch becoming a phenomenon. Call it, "A League of Our Own."Off the subject, but: I'm sick to death of TV Reality Series based on the wretched excesses of pretty, spoiled women with few skills other than a massive … sense of entitlement. Does that sum up "The Simple Life," "The Girls Next Door," "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "The Anna Nicole Show," "The Real Wives…," "The Hills," and most episodes of "My Super Sweet 16"? What is with our national fascination and obsession with BIMBOS! Argh! Tia Tequila may actually be the Root of All Evil.Back on track. Only five women have umped in MLB affiliated games. This is blatant sexism and needs to be addressed with affirmative action by MLB. Women's eyes are just as acute as men's. And maybe having more women on the field would tame some of MLB's own wretched excesses.

  4. mike weber says:

    Oh, come on. Baseball is a game for sissies compared to the first half of the last century:Ty Cobb (who was a flaming asshole in many ways – leading to one of the better throwaway lines in "Field of Dreams" when Joe Hardy says "Ty Cobb wanted to come, but, hell, none of us could stand that SOB when he was alive…") used to sit on the dugout steps or the bench, sharpening his spikes with a file and staring at the second baseman.Of pitcher Early Wynn:"Wynn learned how to pitch in an era when managers instructed their pitchers to knock batters down deliberately. That seemed to suit Wynn's temperament perfectly. Mickey Mantle said Wynn was so mean 'he'd knock you down in the dugout.' Ted Williams called him 'the toughest pitcher I ever faced.' Wynn made his feelings clear in one interview when he said: 'That space between the white lines – that's my office, that's where I conduct my business. You take a look at the batter's box, and part of it belongs to the hitter. But when he crowds in just that hair, he's stepping into my office, and nobody comes into my office without an invitation when I'm going to work.'" Bill Veeck said he said to Wynn "You'd brush back your own grandmother." and said Wyunn thought for a second and then said "Only if she was digging in at the plate."

  5. Frank Beans says:


    • Linda Gold says:

      I'm with you Frank.

      • Elayne Riggs says:

        Sorry, Frank and Linda. I can't write about comics every week, any more than the other columnists. But I will try harder to up my comics quotient.

        • Linda Gold says:

          No your fault Elayne, just my irrational loathing for all things sports related coming out. I realize I am in the teeny, tiny minority of humankind but I find all sports deadly dull and I really dislike the competitive aspects of it. I feel it brings out the worst in folks. Guess it's the old socialist in me but I'd rather we encouraged cooperation instead.

      • Russ Rogers says:

        Read it again. Focus on the last paragraph. I think Elayne does a pretty good job of tying her love of sports in with her love of comics. And I think she does a pretty good job of contrasting masculine versus feminine aesthetics on sports and comics. Men want violence. Women want plot. I think you could characterize masculine and feminine views of sex that way. Stereotypically, men are concerned with the statistics and mechanics of sex, while women are more concerned with the relationship and romance. This has EVERYTHING to do with comics, who reads them, who writes them and why. Why are comics male dominated?

        • Elayne Riggs says:

          Aw, thanks for your support, Russ, and for seeing what I was trying to do, but overall I think it's a fair cop. ComicMix is a pop-culture site dominated by people heavily interested in comics, I can understand readers' expectations that the columnists will focus on that subject as much as the news reporters do (even though when John O writes about politics and Denny pontificates on the Pope and Michael riffs on TV shows readers seem to be okay with that). In fact, that'll be the topic of my next column, for which I thank Frank and Linda!

  6. Lauren says:

    coming late to the party, but I am a woman who does not like baseball very much and I htought the article was interesting. I think the comments have also provided thought especially the comments about Toni Stone and Howard Cosell. And as Russ pointed out, there was an attempt made to bring it into comics culture.I like it when you and Martha write stuff since I cna see if your expereince mirrors my own in any way more closely than the fellows.