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Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Asian "Crush" in American Sports

Urban Dictionary defines "Yellow Fever" as...

Yeah, someone will surely view this as clearly one of the most racist blogs I have ever written, but…

The major American sports all seem to have developed a form of Yellow fever in which EVERY player to come through their organization of Asian descent, they’re lifted and treated like the crown savior of that sport.
Don’t believe me?

  • Hideo Nomo
    came in with the baffling stretch-and-twist delivery that was soon caught onto by batters in MLB and despite the "ZOMG, HE'S ASIAN!!!" hype machine that carried him, he was traded once and released 4 or 5 times within his first 5 years.
    12 MLB seasons, TWO post-season appearances, both losses, $35ish million earned on the strength of being Asian, it seems.

  • Tiger Woods
    you know what? I can't be all the way mad at this one, he was by far the most successful on this list, speaking purely in terms of accomplishing what was ahead of him to do as his job. I can fully understand the hype behind him, almost excusing the extra hype that America's yellow fever (even if it was used to call him something other than "black" in the sport he was in) may have given it. All told, he made a billion and counting before his approach to his sport fucked his knees and caused him to miss some time, in which he dabbled in well-documented philandery.

  • Hines Ward
    this one is FUCKED up. His mother was pretty much blackballed for having a half-black baby as a Korean and his family, father in the military, moved to GA where his parents would split and mom still couldn't get help back home. All told, living in East Point Atlanta, Hines HAD to have been raised as/like the simple majority of the area, other black dudes.
    then it gets fun...
    When he goes through college and makes it big on the biggest stage in the Super Bowl, Yellow Fever set RIGHT the fuck back in and he was welcomed back into the family and allowed to be Asian again, since of course "it was his Asian side catching the ball so well" (yes, someone on a forum I frequent said that). Never mind that Hines is (or was) known for using his considerable size at his position as a weapon, once voted by 296 of his peers as the dirtiest player in the NFL.

  • Ichiro Suzuki
    know what? This guy lives and plays in an Asian-friendly area of the US, and does so at a consistently good level, 10x all-star/Gold Glove, 1x MVP and has the single-season record for hits. If anything, the accolades are earned, all he can blame Yellow Fever for is for holding it under a magnifying glass, but his team's lack of titles are not a result of his lack of input.

  • Yao Ming
    lol

  • Daisuke Matsuzaka
    not as accomplished as Ichiro, but surely not the flameout that Hideo Nomo was. At the very least, he has a win in a World Series game in which his team won. Still only 31 in a sport friendly to the 40+, he is still early enough in his for the jury to still be out on him, but remember that the he IS in the fishbowl that Yellow Fever causes.

  • Manny Pacquiao
    Google the guys name, and click on results related to online forums or comment-driven stories. You will see a sparkling won/loss record, but when you compare his wins of the last couple years, you will see that he has beaten a collection of nobodies, people who he SHOULD beat and fighters on their last legs, all while NOT fighting the one person who his beating would legitimize the hype machine behind him.
    Oh, but the hype machine, dear god is it strong! Let some people tell it, there has never been and never be one better than Manny, despite the collective records of who he has fought and the eroding strength of the overall field available to beat in boxing since the heavyweight division became extinct in the mid-00s.
    Promoters love it, since the Yellow Fever-driven craze sells $1500+ seats and $50 PPVs every few months.

  • … and now
    Jeremy Lin
    oh. my. GOD!!!
    Did we learn NOTHING from Yao Ming? wait, this is different... Lin was born to first-gen immigrants in California, and is therefore an American citizen. This makes him the first ever American-born Chinese descent player to play in the NBA, endearing him to the hearts of all those like him in the US, AS WELL as the billions of those still in his parents' native land (even if none of them gave a damn about basketball when he was toiling away in the D-League 2 weeks prior). Factor in the people who learned NOTHING when Tim Tebow got his ass handed to him because Jeremy Lin is also an outspoken Christian as well.
    And here is where it gets interesting... In a dearth of the Knicks' superstars (out with injury and death in the family, respectively), Lin is called up and installed into the starting lineup of a NOTORIOUSLY Point Guard-friendly offensive system in which he will have the ball and the keys to the car on most possessions. As could be expected - but definitely to his credit - he excels and is crowned as the "Yellow Mamba" (yes, I JUST made that up) in a stretch of games in which his team actually takes off the LA Lakers.
    ... and you guessed it, despite being in THE "fishbowl" market in America in NYC, it is somehow magnified by America's Yellow Fever. As an unpaid professional basketball analyst, I am SURE this will come crashing to the ground with the return of those superstars. Moreso Carmelo Anthony's return than Amar'e Stoudemire, but that has things to do with each of their own styles that I will not get into here. When Carmelo brings it crashing to the ground, Lin will be scapegoated, because DAMNED if the Knicks' organization will cop to being WRONG for that quarter billion of contracts they have tied up in their frontcourt.
As above mentioned, the reason for Yellow Fever in THIS case is not so much people of other races' obsession with all things Asian, at least not in total. Look at it like this...
there are about 7 BILLION people on the planet and roughly two-thirds of that are Asian nations, with a third of THAT in China alone. When your country/continent has the most people, it will (or should, in my opinion) create the most immigrants TO other countries. With those immigrants now in the US, they might assimilate at least partially, but will just the same remain loyal to their roots, for which I will NOT blame them.
With this in place, now, we can expect that the balance between assimilation and loyalty will cause an advanced effect when something similar is taken into now-local landscape. When that happens, Yao Ming gets more votes as a rookie than a still-in-his-prime Shaquille O'Neal to the 2003 All-Star game, and then to seven more in spite of being physically unable to play in four of them.
While I can make mathematical sense of this, it is still QUITE odd to me in the grand scheme of things, and I am pretty much reserving that I am not going to get it.

Jeremy Lin had better milk this cow fast, because the next Asian Sports Crush is but around the corner... We've not seen one in Hockey yet, have we?

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