Thursday, November 03, 2005

Baseball and hateful partisans

Yes, nothing gets my goat more than blinkered ideologues of any stripe, be they politicians, artists or journalists. I also have my principles and prejudices, but I do try to keep my mind open and my facts straight.

Forgive me for blowing off some steam, but this article made my head boil. Yes, it's from the Nation, a decidedly left-wing magazine. However, this is no excuse for doing lousy journalism.

The author slams pro U.S. baseball teams who run academies for talented Dominican kids for luring with promises of fame and riches, only to leave most of them penniless and without an education.

Yet, he never really talks to anyone directly involved: the managers of these baseball academies, the kids living there or their parents. Curiously, he never even investigates or actually affirms in black and white that the academies don't provide any education, while admitting that they do provide decent room and board and benefits such as English lessons.

It gets worse. If nearly all or even most Dominican kids had decent educational opportunities, the author's main premise might have made sense. After all, the expected lifetime income of a high school graduate is probably higher than the expected income of a person who drops out of school to pursue the 1/1000 chance of becoming a pro baseball player. However, most Dominican kids don't have that opportunity. According to UNESCO, only 31% of Dominican boys are enrolled in secondary schools (probably of very poor quality).

Given this grim reality, attending a baseball academy is probably the best rational choice for these kids. Not that we'll ever know form journalistic merde such as this piece.