Friday, February 26, 2010

In Defense of Eric Hinske

Eric Hinske, former American League Rookie of the Year, made headlines (with a small-H) this week when he unveiled a rather large back piece of Japanese inspiration. Unsurprisingly, this reveal provoked a great deal of snark in the usually informed and slow-to-judge Internet world.

Probably my least favorite insult of all time was lobbed towards the now-heavily tattooed Hinske; the old "he's going to look stupid when he's 60/he'll regret that in a few years" line of lazy attack. To them I say the same thing Eric Hinske is saying with his choice of skin decoration: fuck you.

Eric Hinske is rich. Really fucking rich. He may not be A-Rod or Vernon Wells rich, but he's still wildly, wildly wealthy. Beyond both my comprehension and yours. Eric Hinske's earned in upwards of $17 million dollars over his baseball career, spanning better than 8 seasons. That's Fuck You money no matter how you look at it. All he had to do to get it was excel at vocation in which competition is so stiff, so dependent on one or two individual performances in the moment with no margin for error. Not to mention the ongoing war of attrition with his joints and tendons. An athlete like Hinkse has likely forsaken friends, family, commitments and a stable home life in pursuit of his dream to play professional baseball.

Now, with 8 years of service time, he has a new pursuit. The Pension.

If Eric Hinkse reaches 10 years of service time, he's set. He can retire back to Wisconsin or Chicago or somewhere else in fly-over country and do fuck-all. He can work as the defensive line coach at the high school down the street or he can sit on his porch and watch the checks roll in.

So while it's easy to point at Hinske's potentially regrettable tattoos and laugh, think about what you'll look like when you're 60. A lifetime working, making somebody else an extra 2% on their annual bottom line in hopes that you can get your bonus and buy a boat. Or a cottage. Or a motorcycle. Or a trip to Belize. Eric Hinske can do that shit tomorrow with the change in his couch.

Think his tattoo might look stupid if he puts on an extra 25 pounds? When you put on that extra weight, you're just another fat guy. He's former Major Leaguer Eric Hinske, former Rookie of the Year, two-time World Series Champ. The flat ass you accrued through 30 years of sitting in a stiff office chair and fighting your way through traffic every day? The stress of meeting arbitrary deadline X for new douchebag boss Y? Eric Hinkse will laugh in your sagging, wrinkled, browbeaten face.

Eric Hinske chose to cover his back with a warrior of some description. Maybe that's how Hinske sees himself? He needs to fight back the snakes, the young up-and-comers standing between him and his 10 year pension. Maybe he didn't think it through past "whoa, that looks badass." Either way, Eric Hinske sat in a chair for 40-odd hours and inscribed something into his skin. He paid $5000 for the honor. Just about the exact amount of time most people reading this spent at work this week. Coordinating Outlook schedules. Pouring over spreadsheets. Dealing with rude or snotty customers. Resizing images or revising color schemes to "match the client's vision." Writing game stories on a 20 minute deadline. Chances are you're not paid $5000 bucks to do it. Now who's laughing?

Image via Matt T & the AJC.


  1. I think Banana Republic may have lost a few customers today...

  2. I fully admit, I'm guilty of saying that Hinske is at some point down the road, going to regret turning his back into a giant ink blot. If it was any other baseball player, I'd say the exact same thing - but it's just more hilarious because of the fact that it's Eric Hinske.

    I just hope that 3-4 years down the road, we aren't treated to the same Josh Hamilton song and dance, where Hinske regrets the mistakes he made in the past, blah blah blah

    But you're right, he made more money in one year then I'll ever make in my lifetime, so I'll shut up now.

  3. In my mind, it isn't about money. It's about overcoming insane odds. The crazy long odds to get drafted and get a nice signing bonus and then continuing on to carve out a long career. If that's how he celebrates, good on him. If the satisfaction in knowing he lead the exact life he dreamed of as a kid, then full marks to him.

    I can't pretend to know Eric Hinske, but knowing I achieved what he achieved, however modest in the grand scheme of things, is reason enough to dedicate my body to the cause. When he's 60 he can look back at his body, at his faded or wrinkled back piece and say "I had this done when I was 30 years old. I'd just won the World Series for the second time. My life was then as it is now: awesome."

    Josh Hamilton is a born-again Christian. He's programmed to disavow any misdeeds from his previous life. Plus his tattoos are TERRIBLE.

  4. If he doesn't get that pension, he could always try to get some work with the Yakuza.

  5. Personally, I have to reason to hate Eric Hinske. I just think that I (like others) get caught up in what other people think, and just pile up on him.

  6. happiness, money and success do not buy.

  7. I think this post goes further than just "he makes more money than you so don't diss him" or "his life is more successful than yours so don't diss him".

    Yeah, he got a tattoo. So fucking what. It's his life, he can do what he wants with it. This post is telling all those people who are dissing Hinske because of his tattoo to examine their own life. People want to diss Hinske to make themselves feel better about their own life. This is what the post is saying.

    To each their own. If Hinske wants to get an ugly ass tattoo, more power to him. It wouldn't be my personal choice but hey, it's his life; my life is my life. Do what you want with it - who gives a F what others think.

  8. More specifically, this most was meant to bring those Hinske tattoo dissers back down to earth, using money and success as tools to do so. While I agree that money and success are not necessarily indicators of life happiness and satisfaction, it's sad that we find ourselves compelled to make fun of a guy because of his life choices when half of us are dissatisfied with our own lives.

  9. Do you think he'll get his 10 years? It's getting harder and harder it seems, to get MLB contracts.

    Doesn't McDonald have 8 years too?

  10. hinske is a fucklot better than jmac. actually he would have been a great pickup for the jays if they weren't such cheap fucking scabby cunts.

  11. Weird little cause you've taken up, Drew. Come on, it's Eric Hinske!

  12. The real problem people have with hinske's tattoos, isn't that they don't appreciate the odds he's over come or how more successful he is than them. It's that they DO see how successful he's become and how fucking stupid his tattoo's show him to be.. A lifetime of dedication to the game we all love paid off for him and he gets a great big redneck fuck you drawn on his back. Fuck Hinske, he's a fat piece of shit blessed with the ability to hit a ball with a piece of wood.

  13. So you're not allowed to make fun of someone who makes more money than you? Who made up that crazy rule? This is one of the best Jays blogs around but this was just about the dumbest post I've ever read.

  14. I think my main point was lost in my misguided anger. It isn't about money; it's about freedom. Hinske's money gives him the freedom to get a full back tattoo and spend 45 hours doing it without the worry of job interviews or offending somebody at the company picnic.

    The somewhat conservative stance that tattoos are regrettable and a sign of redneckery or stupidity gets me angry. Why should he regret it, because you would? Why are tattoos stupid? Why is getting tattooed something he'll regret or look back on with shame?

    The question I hoped to pose was: is living a life of joyless, soulless work more regrettable than expressing yourself through tattoos in a meaningful way when you have the means and desire? Does writing tattoos off as stupid because you assume Eric Hinske to be stupid make it so?

    Basically, there are many, many things in life more regrettable than covering one's self in tattoos. The way one lives is far more important than how they look doing it.


  15. This post got me that much closer to the edge of the roof. Seriously. How depressing is this?

  16. Jesus, thanks for making me feel like a whole lot of nothing, Drew.

  17. I don't think anyone begrudges Hinske his right to get a tattoo, what people are saying is that he's a tool for actually doing so.

    Regarding Hinske choosing to see himself as a warrior, that's exactly what pisses people off. Sure, Hinske has to make sure that other people don't steal his job. So does Alex Anthopoulos, who, if anything has a job in even shorter supply. I certainly hope we'd mock AA if he got the same tattoo.

    The bottom line here is that, yes, Hinske reserves the right to get a tattoo. However, by exercising that right, he's inviting us to criticize him. If he feels justified in his reasons, he won't care what other people say so you shouldn't feel compelled to defend him.

  18. You said nothing in defense of the tattoo itself.
    White guys should not be getting Yakuza body tattoos.

    Being rich doesn't make you cool or a nice guy.

    I've met Eric Hinske and he was kind of a douche. Your argument kind of makes you sound like one too.

    I love your blog though.

  19. Although I think this is a great blog, I have to agree with some of the other posters here - this post is bullshit. I doubt you meant it this way, but it reads as if you're saying that because Hinske makes more money than us readers, he's better than us. That's crap and I think you know it.

    I'm also not sure I buy your argument that because he beat great odds (how many people actually make it to the majors leagues, etc), he's also better than your readers. What does that even mean? Baseball, after all, is just a game. I love the game. You love the game. Your readers love the game. But come on - it's not like Hinske's curing cancer or winning Nobel Peace prizes. He's become a marginal player who happened to sit on the bench when two great teams won the World Series. I'm not sure that deserves our undying respect.

    Once again, I'm a big fan of the blog and your writing. I just think you missed the mark entirely with this post.


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