Context Terrible

Books, Media, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players

I saw the story about former Mets and Royals righty Brian Bannister‘s decision to retire from Japanese baseball and wondered why he would announce it in such a way.

The AP report on ESPN made it appear as if Bannister was terrified by the earthquake and tsunami last month and just bailed on the Yomiuri Giants because he didn’t want to deal with another natural catastrophe. It would be understandable if that were the case, but it’s hard to see a baseball player putting forth that image of fear when there was the built-in excuse (just provided by Gabe Gross, who also retired) that his heart’s no longer in doing everything necessary to play up to the level he needs to.

I thought it was odd.

Then I checked into the story a bit more and found this on the Japan Times site which clarifies the reason Bannister is retiring a bit better when it says: “Yomiuri right-hander Brian Bannister has voluntarily left the Giants organization, citing fears over the nuclear crisis facing the Fukushima Daiichi plant following the March 11 earthquake in eastern Japan.”

Bannister has retired saying he doesn’t intend to pitch at all, but that’s neither her nor there.

The nuclear fear is a little more palatable than simply saying. “I’m outta here” after the earthquake. That one sentence regarding fear of nuclear contamination explained Bannister’s position in far more clarity than the out-of-context presentation on ESPN; it’s a concise lesson in the importance of full disclosure in writing a story.


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