Look, Mark Mulder is my boy.
As a lifelong, ardent A’s fan, I see Mulder only in Green and Gold, a hero galvanized by fond nostalgia; it is as though he exists in no other context, just a third of The Big Three, a participant in one of the most endearing eras of contemporary A’s history. So with almost any mention of him, I reserve a bit of bias in thinking ill.
Except when he had to go and cast a grown man’s shade on the freshly disgraced Jackie Robinson West.
Let’s be clear, what manager Darold Butler did is wrong; simply put, you’re not supposed to put together a team of imports and mercs. That’s only been obvious to every little league since the beginning of ball. He’s also not the first to do it and hell if countless other little league programs across the nation get away with it with nothing more than the clamor of a handful of frustrated, angry parents.
It’s not cool.
Now to hold a grudge against a little league team for that long (even after a pretty good professional career) is kinda juvenile and unbecoming of a dude his age. The shame that JRW is endearing publicly falls, unfortunately, on the kids but not the kids he played against, though and that is what makes the whole thing that much more troubling.
It just strikes me a bit peculiar that he would share that publicly, I guess. I respect the vindication he would feel because I understand the frustration in losing knowing the deck was stacked against you. However, that doesn’t preclude him from taking care not to add shade on a situation that is already very somber. These kids played their asses off and played some damned good ball. They may have been a Frankstein super team but that doesn’t take anything away from how they played.
Alas, we sadly have yet another dubious asterisk to log to memory.