Tuesday, January 08, 2013

John Olerud: Blasphemer and Bully

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The successful campaign by former professional baseball player John Olerud to enrich himself at his neighbor's expense would be just another chapter in the sordid history of modern sports but for the additional elements of religion and law.
The facts are not in dispute:

  • Olerud bought a house
  • When Olerud bought the house, he knew that there were trees in his neighbor's yard.
  • Olerud figured he could increase the value of his house by about $250,000 if he cut down his neighbor's trees, so he'd get a better view. (He words it another way; he says the trees cut the value of his house but here's the thing: he bought the house with the trees already there, so the price already factored that into account.)
  • If Olerud had gone onto his neighbor's yard with an ax, he might have to pay to replace the trees. That tactic was attempted by a judge on the eastside a few years ago. 
  • Olerud has money and he's used to getting his way. After all, he played professional sports, and that makes him special 
  • Olerud hired a lawyer and proceeded to sue. 
  • He won, because the eastside's corrupt arbitrator system is well-designed to give bullies what they want.
  • The neighbor had a pretty strong constitutional argument, but faced huge legal bills. Also, the neighbor has now learned that he has a rich litigious bully living next door who needs to be placated, lest he take offense at something else. The neighbor gave up.
  • There was a face-saving settlement involving the replacement of the trees Olerud plans to kill with shorter trees, but to rub salt on the neighbor's wounds, the neighbor will be legally obligated to ensure that the replacement trees never interfere with Olerud's pleasure, or that of whoever Olerud sells his house to.
  • According to the "experts" Olerud hired, his house will be worth $250,000 more and the neighbor gets none of the profit. 

So far, this is just ordinary bullying, and a good example of why Olerud should never be invited to speak to schoolchildren about how sports builds good character. To the contrary; he's a good example of how our current system is corrupted by money and you really don't want to live in a neighborhood with ligitious, rich, entitled-feeling professionals. They just might decide to enrich themelves at your expense.
But the additional element of blasphemy may be of interest to those who care about such things. According to reports, Olerud and the neighbor go to the same church. It's a Christian church, so Olerud's representative decided to use that in negotiations. Olerud or his representative accused the neighbor of being unChristian in not sacrificing himself to enrich Olerud.
Yes. Jesus died to make Olerud rich.
It is blasphemous to call upon the Holy Name to bully your neighbors. I appreciate that not everyone agrees on what happens after we die, and I confess to not being at all sure myself, but I sure do wish I could see what happens when Olerud has to account for THAT little maneuver before the Final Umpire.

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