He’s never been my favorite—the overly wholesome televangelist types always make me want to smoke or litter or get pregnant or something, just for the sake of contrariness—but he hadn’t been much in my thoughts until recently, when he revealed that he was assembling an ownership group in the hopes of purchasing the troubled Dodger franchise. You see, Garvey wants to restore the Dodgers to their former glory. “There was a Dodger way,” he says in the linked article, “but that way has drifted by the wayside.” (No way! Way.)
No doubt there are plenty of sentimental Dodger fans who would love to see Garvey take the reins; he had a stellar career here, and a clean-cut persona that made parents want their kids to shake his hand and get his autograph.* There’s only one real problem: Steve Garvey out-McCourts the McCourts.
Take a look at this 2006 Los Angeles Times article. It describes in punishing detail the debts the Garveys racked up, the people they screwed over, and the lavish lifestyle they continued to enjoy even as they failed to pay everything from their nannies’ salaries to their electric bills. According to the article, they even stiffed their own church after a charity auction. Why all the money trouble? Well, some of it is attributable to the not insignificant amount of child support that Garvey shells out for the children who resulted from two of his extramarital affairs, but most of it seems to be just an all-American combination of irresponsibility and greed.
If that’s not sufficient evidence that Steve Garvey shouldn’t be allowed within home-run distance of the Dodgers’ front office, consider this: He’s parlayed his history of succeeding at baseball and failing at life into a lucrative gig as—you guessed it—a motivational speaker.
Let’s be clear about this. Even if you’re not a hypocritical, debt-ridden cheater, “motivational speaker” is still NOT A REAL JOB. It’s like “spokesmodel” or “personal color palette consultant” or “in-home candle party facilitator.” It’s roughly as legitimate as anything the Bullshit Job Title Generator comes up with. Motivational speakers, on the whole, are people who became rich and/or famous largely due to generous helpings of privilege and luck that they will never, ever acknowledge during their $10,000-a-pop sermons, because CEOs want their drones to hear about the virtues of teamwork and positive thinking, not the good fortune of great genes and athletic scholarships. (The last motivational speaker I was forced to listen to was Olympic swimmer John Naber, who insisted with a straight face that his victory over a field of swimmers from countries without Olympic-sized pools was entirely attributable to his Willingness To Invest In His Dreams.)
Anyway, if you can bear to watch the video at Steve Garvey’s motivational-speaking link, you’ll receive the benefit of wise and profound statements like this one:
“Baseball…..the only game where the defense has the ball.”
I’ll stop typing for a moment so that you can let the full weight of that sink in. Or vomit. Your choice.
Folks, even if Steve Garvey had a trillion dollars in the bank and a credit rating higher than Andre Ethier’s OPS, he ought to be banned from purchasing any part of the team on the grounds that his interviews and call-in shows would be more excruciating than Ryan Franklin multiplied by Jonathan Broxton. He’s an empty uniform and a palaver-peddler at best, a feckless cheat at worst.
Garvey isn’t Mr. Clean—he’s Mr. Clean-and-Jerk. And he can keep his “Dodger way” way, way, far away from me.
Bonus reading #1: I found someone who dislikes Steve Garvey even more than I do. And he does it with cartoons!
Bonus reading #2: Check out Garvey’s own website, where you’ll learn that Garvey is “a devoted family man” (Big Love-style!) who is “destined for enshrinement at Cooperstown” (pay no attention to the fact that he received 21% of the vote in his final year of regular eligibility!).
* The one friend of mine who actually did get Garvey’s autograph reports that he “felt dirty afterward.”