This new series is guest blogged by Doug Logan.
Doug Logan is an Adjunct Professor of Sports Management, at New York University.
He was the CEO for USATF from 2008 until September 2010.
He was also the CEO, President and Commissioner for Major League Soccer from 1995 to 1999. To read more about his background and involvement in Track, Soccer, Rugby and the Music industry, read my Freelap Friday Five Interview
This is his 21st article. Click here for his entire series.
SHIN SPLINTS REDUX
Barry and the Wrecking Ball
You may think this essay is about President “Barry” [his childhood nickname] Obama and the Tea Party, but you would be mistaken.
Once upon a time there was this superbly athletic baseball player named Barry Bonds. He began his career as a lithe outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a young prospect he was considered a “five tool” player; that is, he was rated a five score out of five in the five scouted talent categories [fielding, throwing , base-running, hitting for average and hitting with power]. He had grown up as the son of a journeyman ballplayer named Bobby Bonds and spent his youth around his dad and his teammates on the San Francisco Giants. The great Willie Mays was his godfather. He has a college degree, ironically, in criminology from Arizona State University.
Barry played a total of twenty-two seasons, seven for the Pirates and fifteen for the Giants. He is considered by some the greatest baseball player who ever lived. He is the career home run leader, is the only player to hit 500 home runs and steal 500 bases in a career, and only one of four players [joining Jose Canseco, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano] in the elite “40 and 40” Club; athletes who hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in the same season. Barry was the National League Most Valuable Player a record seven times in his twenty-two seasons.
Some-time around the year 2000, Barry made a business decision to re-engineer his body and add substantial muscle. He embarked on a vigorous physical regimen that included many nutritional supplements. He also used several salves provided by the infamous BALCO laboratories that turned out to contain performance enhancing substances. It should be emphasized that this was during a period where baseball was doing no testing for drugs. It was a time when bulked-up home-run hitters were at a premium and considered the stars of baseball. Athletic, lean players were treated by the press and the fans in a more humdrum manner and Barry obviously was seeking a legacy of fame and fortune. The latter worked out fine for him as he ranks fourth in the all-time baseball earnings list with a whopping $188M.
As far as fame is concerned, he retired from baseball after being convicted of an Obstruction of Justice offense and is considered by many as a bit of a pariah. His musculature was the object of much derision in the waning days of his playing career and his stand-offish public persona continues to offend traditionalists and purists in the game. Hall-of-Fame electors have ignored his on-field prowess and denied him entrance based on his notoriety.
The music business and pop culture currently is witnessing its own version of the Barry Bonds conversion. Last August, Miley Cyrus, the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana, appeared in the MTV Music Awards in a whisper of a costume and performed what can only be described as a soft porn song-and-dance with the R&B singer Robin Thicke. The next morning the Twitter-sphere went into apoplexy and a rebranded career was launched. Suddenly it is all Miley, all the time. She is on the covers of Rolling Stone, Harper’s Bazaar and even Cosmo. Her song, Wrecking Ball, was No. 1 on the Billboard charts despite the fact it is insipid and uninspired. The video for the song, directed by the notorious “bad-boy”, Terry Richardson, shows off her budding pulchritude as she is filmed, largely nude, occasionally licking construction equipment.
Like Barry Bonds, Miley Cyrus has made a business decision. She has been locked in a career and a brand, fashioned by the Walt Disney Company, where she epitomized the adolescent daughter all parents crave to have. She was modest, dutiful and respectful. Wholesomeness oozed from every pore of Hannah. If she did nothing she would be locked into the same future experienced by Hailey Mills and Annette Funicello. “Goody-two-shoes” does not sell, particularly to post adolescent young women who don’t want to be seen in their own parents’ zip code. She had to “break out”, much like former Mouseketeers, Brittany and Cristina. And, her foray appears to be working.
Janice Min, editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter, said: “I think Miley Cyrus is a genius. She doesn’t just talk like a bad girl, she behaves like one, but she never crosses the line into Lindsay Lohan territory. You don’t see her getting arrested for DWI’s. She doesn’t do stupid things. She wants mothers all across America to be horrified. This is her brand. She’s been on a relentless campaign not to be Hannah Montana and to be this emblem of rebellion and trouble. If you are a musician, that’s an incredible place to be.”
Last Wednesday, a one hour documentary, “Miley: The Movement”, aired on MTV; Saturday night she hosted “Saturday Night Live”; Monday she performed on the “Today” show. Are we witnessing the new Madonna? Will she elbow Lady Gaga aside? Or will she suffer the slings and arrows aimed at Barry for having the temerity to rebrand himself in a controversial way. Stay tuned!
However, she seems to be having a lot of fun with this transformation. Peggy Noonan, the old prune and prude columnist for the Wall Street Journal, called Miley lewd and “mindlessly vulgar”. I disagree. It took a lot of planning and “mind” power to execute this campaign.