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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jim Kaat: Will we finally get The Real Deal?

Kaat Said: Orientalism.

A couple of short stories about Asian pitchers and Irabu: I was announcing Yankee games in the mid-90s when I said over the air, “I wonder if we’ll ever see an Oriental position player in the Major Leagues?” Dion James was playing for the Yankees at the time, and told me about an exciting 19-year old named Ichiro Suzuki who had a chance to be the first. We all know that story. Big fan of Bernie Williams from watching Yankee games in Japan. Wears number 51 because of that.

So, I get a letter about a week later from an Asian baseball fan. Not a malicious letter but scolding me gently for referring to Asian players as “Oriental.” He said, “Noodles and rugs are Oriental, not people. We are Asians.” Fortunately for me, he put his phone number in the letter, so I called him.

We had a pleasant conversation and I told him I certainly didn’t intentionally say “Oriental’ as a slur or condescending remark. It was said innocently out of ignorance. He understood. I asked him if he would be watching the next game we televised. He said he would. He was a huge baseball fan and was complimentary of our telecasts on the MSG Network. I asked if he would please watch and listen in the top of the 4th inning. He said he would.  I took the opportunity to clear up the Oriental/Asian situation.

...So, I’lll be keeping a close eye on Yu Darvish and see if he is finally the one to be able to challenge and dominate our bigger, more powerful big league hitters. For his and the Rangers’ sake, I hope he does. It will be good for the game and the Rangers profit and loss statement!

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2012 at 07:20 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, history, international, japan, media, rangers, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: January 21, 2012 at 07:47 PM (#4042037)
I'm all for calling people what they want to be called, but it should be noted that "Orient" comes from the Latin word for "rising" (and "Occident" comes from the Latin word for "setting"). It's not an insult; it essentially means "Land of the Rising Sun", just like the Japanese word for "Japan" does.

Again, though, "Orient is an insult" has somehow got into the popular consciousness (I think it started with a popular book that claimed "Oriental" meant "foreigner"), and I'm totally willing to avoid calling people "Oriental" due to that in and of itself. But that doesn't change the fact that it's wrong.
   2. Cooperstown Schtick Posted: January 21, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4042059)
From what Latin word is "colored" derived? It's not just the meaning of the word, it's also the historical context of its use.
   3. shoewizard Posted: January 21, 2012 at 09:28 PM (#4042091)
Did you ever watch Dice-K pitch? Painful. He’d rather bite the head off a rattlesnake than throw his fastball for a strike. He was actually a long relief pitcher even when he was winning games, because with today’s pitch count limitations he was over his limit in the 5th inning most of the time.


By far the best summation of Dice K I've seen yet.

   4. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: January 21, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4042098)
Yeah, "negro" is just the Spanish word for black. Still OK in that context, but not otherwise. Much like "Oriental" when it references people. Does anyone even use it much to refer to rugs or noodles these days? Seems like we've come far enough socially (and culinarily) to specify whether foods are Japanese or Chinese or what have you most of the time.
   5. UCCF Posted: January 21, 2012 at 10:05 PM (#4042107)
Dude, Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.
   6. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 21, 2012 at 10:47 PM (#4042124)
"Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, what are these?"
   7. ajnrules Posted: January 22, 2012 at 12:46 AM (#4042187)
Never would have guessed that the Pride of Taiwan was Jim Kaat's favorite Asian pitcher, but that sure makes me happy!
   8. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 22, 2012 at 01:02 AM (#4042202)
Yeah, "negro" is just the Spanish word for black. Still OK in that context, but not otherwise.

Just ask Luis Suarez.
   9. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 22, 2012 at 01:16 AM (#4042208)
Does anyone even use it much to refer to rugs or noodles these days? Seems like we've come far enough socially (and culinarily) to specify whether foods are Japanese or Chinese or what have you most of the time.


I've always been amused by "Oriental" flavor ramen. Shrimp ramen tastes like shrimp. Chicken ramen tastes like chicken. What the heck is "Oriental" ramen supposed to taste like?
   10. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 22, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4042211)
Dion James was playing for the Yankees at the time, and told me about an exciting 19-year old named Ichiro Suzuki who had a chance to be the first. We all know that story. Big fan of Bernie Williams from watching Yankee games in Japan. Wears number 51 because of that.


Um, no. Bernie Williams was a rookie in 1991, wearing #51 for the Yankees, and hit .238 in 85 games. Ichiro Suzuki was a rookie in 1992 for the Orix Blue Wave, and wore #51.

There's no significance to Ichiro's number.

Ichiro tells John Hickey, Mariners beat writer for the P-I, that he was a low draft pick and that he was simply handed a uniform bearing #51 in recognition of his lowly status at the start of his career. When Ichiro began to demonstrate his prodigious talents, he was offered a more prestigious number (#7) but declined. He has stayed with #51 ever since.


http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/The-Answer-Guy-Ichiro-s-number-hearkens-back-1119865.php
   11. CFiJ Posted: January 22, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4042341)
I've always been amused by "Oriental" flavor ramen. Shrimp ramen tastes like shrimp. Chicken ramen tastes like chicken. What the heck is "Oriental" ramen supposed to taste like?

Soy sauce.
   12. Bob Evans Posted: January 22, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4042397)
What the heck is "Oriental" ramen supposed to taste like?

It's not the taste. It's that it goes through you like the Orient Express.
   13. DanG Posted: January 22, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4042538)
I’lll be keeping a close eye on Yu Darvish and see if he is finally the one to be able to challenge and dominate our bigger, more powerful big league hitters.
This guy was OK:

....Player  SO/9 ERA+  W  L  WAR    IP Year Age  Tm
Hideo Nomo 11.10  150 13  6  4.9 191.1 1995  26 LAD
Hideo Nomo  9.22  122 16 11  4.4 228.1 1996  27 LAD
Hideo Nomo 10.11   91 14 12  1.7 207.1 1997  28 LAD
Hideo Nomo  9.55   84  6 12  0.5 157.1 1998  29 TOT
Hideo Nomo  8.22  100 12  8  2.2 176.1 1999  30 MIL
Hideo Nomo  8.57   99  8 12  2.5 190.0 2000  31 DET
Hideo Nomo 10.00  101 13 10  2.9 198.0 2001  32 BOS
Hideo Nomo  7.88  112 16  6  2.6 220.1 2002  33 LAD
Hideo Nomo  7.30  131 16 13  3.9 218.1 2003  34 LAD 

Or this guy:
.......Player  SO/9 ERA+  W  L  WAR    IP Year Age  Tm
Takashi Saito 12.29  218  6  2  3.1  78.1 2006  36 LAD
Takashi Saito 10.91  319  2  1  3.7  64.1 2007  37 LAD
Takashi Saito 11.49  169  4  4  1.4  47.0 2008  38 LAD
Takashi Saito  8.41  194  3  3  1.4  55.2 2009  39 BOS
Takashi Saito 11.50  139  2  3  0.6  54.0 2010  40 ATL
Takashi Saito  7.76  195  4  2  0.9  26.2 2011  41 MIL 

Or:
......Player  SO/9 ERA+  W  L  WAR    IP Year Age  Tm
Chan Ho Park  9.86  107  5  5  1.2 108.2 1996  23 LAD
Chan Ho Park  7.78  115 14  8  3.3 192.0 1997  24 LAD
Chan Ho Park  7.79  109 15  9  3.2 220.2 1998  25 LAD
Chan Ho Park  8.06   82 13 11 
-0.2 194.1 1999  26 LAD
Chan Ho Park  8.64  134 18 10  4.8 226.0 2000  27 LAD
Chan Ho Park  8.38  114 15 11  4.3 234.0 2001  28 LAD
Chan Ho Park  7.46  123  4  4  0.8  95.1 2008  35 LAD
Chan Ho Park  7.88   95  3  3  0.3  83.1 2009  36 PHI 

Or:
........Player  SO/9 ERA+  W  L  WAR    IP Year Age  Tm
Byung
-Hyun Kim 10.21  101  1  2  0.0  27.1 1999  20 ARI
Byung
-Hyun Kim 14.14  108  6  6  0.3  70.2 2000  21 ARI
Byung
-Hyun Kim 10.38  159  5  6  2.7  98.0 2001  22 ARI
Byung
-Hyun Kim  9.86  225  8  3  3.9  84.0 2002  23 ARI
Byung
-Hyun Kim  7.50  142  9 10  2.5 122.1 2003  24 TOT 
   14. OCF Posted: January 22, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4042560)
Who has been the best baseball player of Persian ancestry?

Who has been the best professional athlete (in an even that would get shown on television in the U.S.) of Persian ancestry? I suppose Andre Agassi could fill that bill.
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 22, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4042576)
Shrimp ramen tastes like shrimp.


This is just empirically not true.

   16. Gazizza, my Dilznoofuses! Posted: January 22, 2012 at 07:08 PM (#4042625)
   17. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 22, 2012 at 08:05 PM (#4042665)
13: Kuroda and Otsuka as well

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