Sean Reilly has been a vegetarian since high school, which puts him decades aead of Prince Fielder and a lifetime ahead of me. After I noted that the Detroit Tigers’ new first baseman was the heftiest vegetarian I’d ever seen, Reilly weighed in from Austin, Texas, with an insightful perspective.
Fielder, for the record, said at his introductory press conference Thursday that he’s no longer a vegetarian. Why it took him four years to deliver that message is unclear, given how many times it was mentioned in print and on the air, but no matter.
What’s important is that vegetarians like Reilly, 37, who’s originally from Birmingham, are tired of stereotypes, misinformation and misunderstanding about what’s not only a dietary choice but “our culture.” When it comes to portraying the typical vegetarian or vegan as looking like Gandhi training for a marathon — yup, that was me — Reilly is ”constantly amazed at how ignorant people are.”
“The whole sickly thing is a joke,” he said, “as meat-eaters are far more likely to be obese and suffer terrible health consequences as a result of their diet.”
There’s a skill to being a vegetarian, and some anemic souls never quite master it. But in the wild, Reilly pointed out – or sometimes at first base — “The biggest animals in nature are vegetarians: gorillas, hippos, elephants, horses and giraffes to name a few. None of them seem sickly.”
Having said all that, Reilly made sure to welcome Fielder to Detroit. ”I’m happy to have Prince as a Tiger,” he said, “but please don’t call someone who orders a plate of ribs a vegetarian. He merely eats healthy … most of the time.”