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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Latest bigotry reminds us that baseball is a white man’s game.

When Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones famously said two years ago that “baseball is a white man’s sport,” he was castigated in some corners, lauded in others, the bifurcated reaction a pretty reasonable foretelling of America today. Jones was right, of course. Major League Baseball is a white man’s sport. Its teams are owned, disproportionately, by white men. They are run, disproportionately, by white men. The league’s top executives are, disproportionately, white men. The power structure neither represents the labor pool nor the fan base – the latter of which is, in most places, overwhelmingly white, if not entirely male.

This article seems to be a bit overwrought in my opinion but I guess I am not “woke”.

spanx for the memories Posted: August 14, 2018 at 10:48 AM | 319 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: atlanta braves, washington nationals

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5726313)
Pass.
   2. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:08 AM (#5726315)
"Pass" is, of course, something middle aged white men get to do if they're uncomfortable with a moment. Some might call that a "privilege."
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5726318)
The power structure neither represents the labor pool nor the fan base – the latter of which is, in most places, overwhelmingly white, if not entirely male.

Sounds like the power structure represent the fan base fine, then.

The "bigotry" cited in TFA is a Braves' announcer speculating that Juan Soto is older than his listed age.
   4. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5726328)
That's not "bigotry" snapper, it's bigotry. The next time an American born player gets that kind of skepticism will be the first time. I don't think it means Simpson is a bad guy or anything, he's human and we are all flawed but it's unnecessary. There is no reason to insinuate something without any evidence and in fact with plenty of evidence to suggest that he is exactly as old as he says he is.
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5726329)
Pass" is, of course, something middle aged white men get to do if they're uncomfortable with a moment.

I'm comfortable with the fact that questioning the age of a player from a country with a widespread history of age fraud is different from, say, suggesting that someone from a country or commonwealth with no such history is suspect simply because they are Hispanic.

the latter is racist. I don't particularly care for the Soto comment, but there is some basis for it (even though I believe Soto is not lying about his age).

calling non-racist - even if questionable - comments racist does nothing to contribute to, well, anything positive.

racism is real and prevalent. we don't need to expand it beyond what is real - nor try to bully people into joining a virtue signaling club.

sorry if my observation makes anyone "uncomfortable."

......................

"The next time an American born player gets that kind of skepticism will be the first time."

this would make sense if no players from any country had even been found to have lied about their age, yet foreign players were questioned anyway. that is not a universe we live in.
   6. dlf Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5726336)
I don't know what is in Joe Simpson's heart of hearts, but he has made stupid and at least borderline offensive comments about players who, like Simpson himself, are white. He once wished an injury on Matt Harvey and criticized Chase Utley for wearing an anti-cancer charity fundraiser shirt last month.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5726337)
So, we know which way these threads tend to explode, but can we discuss it without getting all political? I'm interested in the words here.

"Bigotry: obstinate or intolerant devotion to one's own opinions and prejudices"

Mildly speculating on Soto's age doesn't seem to be bigotry to me, he corrected himself, it's not like he doubled down on the comment. How about prejudice?

"Prejudice: an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics."

That's a fairly generous reading. "Irrational" is debatable - it's been years since age-lying was a thing you could get away with, but it used to be a thing, and I'll allow for the possibility that Simpson is a dolt that is unaware of the change. "Hostility?" There's a necessary implication that Soto is morally deficient if he were to lie about his age, so while that's not exactly hostility, it is at least a negative reaction.

So what's the best word for what Simpson did here? Prejudice? Insensitivity? Just plain stupidity?
   8. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5726338)
I guess I think that "bigot" is a useful word and that it's made less useful if it's applied to anyone that's ever said something offensive/insensitive. It should be reserved for those that are consistent and obstinate and unapologetic in their offensive beliefs.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:27 AM (#5726340)
Its teams are owned, disproportionately, by white men. They are run, disproportionately, by white men. The league’s top executives are, disproportionately, white men.


Isn't that of football as well, and to a lesser extent also true of basketball?

   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5726345)
I'm comfortable with the fact that questioning the age of a player from a country with a widespread history of age fraud is different from, say, suggesting that someone from a country or commonwealth with no such history is suspect simply because they are Hispanic.

the latter is racist. I don't particularly care for the Soto comment, but there is some basis for it (even though I believe Soto is not lying about his age).

calling non-racist - even if questionable - comments racist does nothing to contribute to, well, anything positive.

racism is real and prevalent. we don't need to expand it beyond what is real - nor try to bully people into joining a virtue signaling club.

sorry if my observation makes anyone "uncomfortable."

......................

"The next time an American born player gets that kind of skepticism will be the first time."

this would make sense if no players from any country had even been found to have lied about their age, yet foreign players were questioned anyway. that is not a universe we live in.


Co-sign.
   11. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5726346)
So what's the best word for what Simpson did here? Prejudice? Insensitivity? Just plain stupidity?


Cantankerous?

From the bits of Braves ball I've seen this year, Simpson seems to have fully slid into "GET OFF MY LAWN" territory. No ethnicity or race seems exempt from his miserable, bitter scorn.

Dude spent like half an inning ranting about the Dodgers not wearing the "right" gear during batting practice.
   12. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5726349)
So what's the best word for what Simpson did here? Prejudice? Insensitivity? Just plain stupidity?


I like this question. I think bigotry is the right word. Maybe something softer but I'm focusing on the "devotion to one's own opinions" portion of that definition. He gets to "if Soto is 19" from the starting point of "players from the DR are likely to be lying about their age." I would say that he made a bigoted comment but it wouldn't be fair to call him a bigot based on this single incident if that makes sense.
   13. BDC Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:32 AM (#5726351)
Sounds like the power structure represent the fan base fine, then.


The fan base, in Texas at least, is majority Anglo, but has a substantial Latino component. The crowd at Rangers' games – based on my unscientific experience – "looks like Texas" in that respect.

Not that assuming a player is lying based on his ethnicity is a good thing, even if he's from East Timor and there are no East Timorian baseball fans at all.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5726356)
it's been years since age-lying was a thing you could get away with, but it used to be a thing,

Honest question. What would prevent a player from a small town in a foreign country from claiming to be his brother, who was 2 years younger, starting at age 14, say. i.e. He's 16, but claims to be 14.

Most people below 18 don't have picture ID in this country. I can't imagine they do in most less developed countries.

I also can't imagine people in that small town ratting out a kid who has a chance to make it big.
   15. bfan Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:35 AM (#5726360)
That's not "bigotry" snapper, it's bigotry. The next time an American born player


We have more precise birth records and a lesser ability to game the system. There have been at least 2 high profile disclosures of age fraud in the last several years involving the non-USA born kids in baseball, and I believe there was an article (NY Times maybe) at the time about how the agents trying to help the kids get contracts worked to better their age (make them younger in the official records).

Danny Altamonte (and others) earned this age skepticism and I happily point out that his coach called the questions about young Danny's age "racism", until it was finally proved that Danny and others had lied about his year of birth to aid in his career, at which point they became strangely silent.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5726361)
Not that assuming a player is lying based on his ethnicity is a good thing, even if he's from East Timor and there are no East Timorian baseball fans at all.

It's based on his place of birth, not his ethnicity. A place that has had widespread age-fraud, and other legal shenanagins in the past. If he said this about a U.S. born hispanic, then I'd agree it was bigotry.
   17. , Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:36 AM (#5726362)
I heard Simpson's comments in real time, as he said them, and immediately knew he was in trouble.

However, it was equally clear he just bungled the words. He was simply trying to say that Soto's body doesn't "look" 19. Which, of course, it doesn't. He was trying to say he's already full grown and it's hard to imagine him "filling out" in a way a lot of 19 year old's, even other phenoms, do.

It came off bad because Simpson falls over words a lot. An incredible amount for a man paid to talk for a living.

The full comment was highly praiseworthy of Soto and not about his age. Simpson is not reluctant to criticize anyone he finds fault with (and, in my opinion, he finds waaaaay too much fault in the world) but this wasn't such a case. He was trying to be poetic and he doesn't have the linguistic chops for it. I suspect that if Simpson really questioned Soto's age, he would be much more blunt about it.


As for whether or not it's okay to question age, even for someone from a country where there have been falsified ages, I think you need something to go on other than the player is very good. However, if there is something suspicious in a player's record from such a country, I think it's fair to talk about it. I'm not aware of anything suspicious at all in Soto's record other than his hitting really good. He certainly gets picked off like a 19 year old.
   18. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5726365)
I like this question. I think bigotry is the right word. Maybe something softer but I'm focusing on the "devotion to one's own opinions" portion of that definition. He gets to "if Soto is 19" from the starting point of "players from the DR are likely to be lying about their age." I would say that he made a bigoted comment but it wouldn't be fair to call him a bigot based on this single incident if that makes sense.


"Devotion to one's own opinions" requires something other than the initial expression of the opinion.

A "bigoted comment" is a single comment that resembles something that a bigot might say? I guess so, but that kind of ruins the word. If we're defining "bigot" by consistency and obstinance in the opinion, you can't go calling one-off comments bigoted if there's no evidence of consistency or obstinance. It's kind of like saying that Duane Kuiper hit a "Hall of Fame" homerun, because it went just as far as a Hall of Famer might hit a homerun.
   19. Stormy JE Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5726366)
this would make sense if no players from any country had even been found to have lied about their age, yet foreign players were questioned anyway. that is not a universe we live in.
Also co-sign. Simpson is a buffoon and leave it at that.

Who knows, maybe a year from now Passan claims the line "No one walks off the island" is racist?
   20. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5726371)
A "bigoted comment" is a single comment that resembles something that a bigot might say? I guess so, but that kind of ruins the word. If we're defining "bigot" by consistency and obstinance in the opinion, you can't go calling one-off comments bigoted if there's no evidence of consistency or obstinance. It's kind of like saying that Duane Kuiper hit a "Hall of Fame" homerun, because it went just as far as a Hall of Famer might hit a homerun.


I'm open to a different word to describe it, I'm just not sure what that would be. I think in your description though that WOULD be accurate but just as it would be unfair to say Kuiper belongs in the Hall on the basis of that home run IMO Simpson is a bigot or a racist based on one comment.
   21. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:42 AM (#5726375)
Who knows, maybe a year from now Passan claims the line "No one walks off the island" is racist?
Depends on what island, of course. England, probably not.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5726376)
I'm open to a different word to describe it,

Insensitive? Insensitive to the fact that it could be perceived as bigotry.
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5726379)
this dialogue is getting way too reasonable - we might break the internet!
   24. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5726382)
I'm open to a different word to describe it, I'm just not sure what that would be. I think in your description though that WOULD be accurate but just as it would be unfair to say Kuiper belongs in the Hall on the basis of that home run IMO Simpson isn't a bigot or a racist based on one comment.


"Said something bigoted, but not necessarily a bigot." I think that take on an inflammatory word is probably too subtle to be useful.
   25. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5726383)

That's not "bigotry" snapper, it's bigotry.
No, it's not.
The next time an American born player gets that kind of skepticism will be the first time.
Recordkeeping in the U.S. is a bit more established than in the DR, which had major issues relating to baseball age fakery in the very recent past.
   26. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:47 AM (#5726386)
I think I would go with "prejudiced." I think that bigotry is necessarily mean-spirited, venomous, unapologetically negative. I see no evidence of that in Simpson's words. Prejudice can be venomous, but it can also be unintentional, it can even be contrary to our better selves and more considered impulses.

Prejudice deserves an apology. Bigotry deserves termination.

There's very little open bigotry in American media now, and that's a great thing.
   27. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5726389)
So what's the best word for what Simpson did here? Prejudice? Insensitivity? Just plain stupidity?
Bunyon is more charitable to Simpson than I'd be -- though since I don't listen to him, I can't be sure bunyon isn't right -- but go with unfairness, perhaps?
   28. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5726391)
*enters panting*

WHAT DID I MISS?
   29. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5726396)
I think I would go with "prejudiced." I think that bigotry is necessarily mean-spirited, venomous, unapologetically negative. I see no evidence of that in Simpson's words. Prejudice can be venomous, but it can also be unintentional, it can even be contrary to our better selves and more considered impulses.

Prejudice deserves an apology. Bigotry deserves termination.


OK, that makes sense to me.
   30. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5726398)
The next time an American born player gets that kind of skepticism will be the first time.


Satchel Paige.
   31. , Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5726399)
@27: I'm saying that Simpson's discussion HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH AGE OTHER THAN how unlike a 19 year old his body was. He was not saying, suggesting or hinting that he isn't 19. It was an awkward turn of phrase. I'm not being charitable. Simpson is an ass very often. I think he's a good enough guy to call a game but when he gets on his pet issues, he's an ass. But this wasn't that. He was praising Soto for a lot of stuff. He was trying to say that it's hard to imagine how he could grow any more. That's it. There was nothing in the entire inning about "is he really 19?". Just bad phrasing.

So, not bigotry, racism, elitism, nazism, communism. Just an Okie who uses language badly.
   32. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5726400)
OK, that makes sense to me.


I WON AN INTERNET ARGUMENT
   33. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5726401)
There's very little open bigotry in American media now, and that's a great thing.
I ask this in the spirit of continuing to focus on words and their use rather than to go OTP:

What would you call, for example, Fox News' repeatedly providing Trump and others a platform for spouting birtherism and not challenging it, and indeed Fox's own hosts parroting the "Why doesn't/didn't he just show the birth certificate?" line?
   34. Stormy JE Posted: August 14, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5726405)
What would you call, for example, Fox News' repeatedly providing Trump and others a platform for spouting birtherism and not challenging it, and indeed Fox's own hosts parroting the "Why doesn't/didn't he just show the birth certificate?" line?
If you're going to be disingenuous, yes, please head over to OTP where that sort of thing is commonplace. CNN and Morning Shmoe did as much, if not more, to promote Trump in 2015, even before his GOP primary poll numbers rose. And even now, they delight in talking all things Trump, because ratings über alles.
   35. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5726411)
If you're going to be disingenuous, yes, please head over to OTP where that sort of thing is commonplace. CNN and Morning Shmoe did as much, if not more, to promote Trump in 2015, even before his GOP primary poll numbers rose.
No. Please go back and read the first sentence of my post. It's an undeniable fact that Fox News did provide a platform for birtherism and its own hosts did use that line. Of course you'll dismiss the link because it's Media Matters, but there are quotes there. Can't get around those. But I'm not interested in that - fine, you want to "even the score" by whatabouting to CNN and MSNBC, you can have it for the sake of this question. I will bet you any amount of money there are not as many or more examples of allowance/promotion of birtherism (and not just "promotion of Trump," as you try to move the goalpost) on CNN and/or MSNBC, but that's not the issue here.
   36. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5726417)
What would you call, for example, Fox News' repeatedly providing Trump and others a platform for spouting birtherism and not challenging it, and indeed Fox's own hosts parroting the "Why doesn't/didn't he just show the birth certificate?" line?

If you're going to be disingenuous, yes, please head over to OTP where that sort of thing is commonplace. CNN and Morning Shmoe


THE JUANABOUTS, THEY ARE SPREADING
   37. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:13 PM (#5726421)
So is it bigotry to cater to a bigoted audience?

In the cases of both Trump and Fox (and CNN!?!?) their own actions can be explained by opportunism rather than racism, but the chance for opportunism only exists because of the actual bigots watching television.

I'm not sure what the right word to use is. It's despicable behavior, obviously.
   38. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:14 PM (#5726423)
Anyway, I'm not going to let this thread get dragged off on an OTP tangent. My original question stands, which I think is clear in its intent. What would you call such conduct by media outlets, be they Fox News or (for the sake of argument) CNN, MSNBC or Sesame Street?

EDIT: Posted before seeing PF's response above.
   39. SoSH U at work Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5726425)
No. Please go back and read the first sentence of my post. It's an undeniable fact that Fox News did provide a platform for birtherism and its own hosts did use that line. Of course you'll dismiss the link because it's Media Matters, but there are quotes there. Can't get around those. But I'm not interested in that - fine, you want to "even the score" by whatabouting to CNN and MSNBC, you can have it for the sake of this question. I will bet you any amount of money there are not as many or more examples of allowance/promotion of birtherism (and not just "promotion of Trump," as you try to move the goalpost) on CNN and/or MSNBC, but that's not the issue here.


Even if his comment was relevant to your argument, that would just amplify your original thought that there's open bigotry in the media, not refute it.

   40. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:21 PM (#5726435)
I think if there were a word that succinctly expressed the way in which speakers knowingly cater to the bigoted and cretinous, referencing views that they don't necessarily share, we would have heard an awful lot of it lately. It would be a useful word. It should exist.
   41. Stormy JE Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5726437)
Right, Face, I'm not interested in Media Matters any more than you would be in my posting links to Newsbusters. EDIT: I watched Fox News back in the day and, while the birtherism charge was reported, heard zero favorable coverage.

EDIT no. 2: I deleted the Shorenstein Center link and excerpt because it appears Face is open to conceding the point.
   42. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5726443)
Jason. Please, let this one go. Your link doesn't even mention birtherism. It has absolutely nothing to do with what we're talking about. Stop trying to make this OTP.

EDIT: Posted before JE deleted the link above. Let's just move on, ok?
   43. Stormy JE Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:31 PM (#5726446)
Never mind. Yes, let's move on.
   44. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:32 PM (#5726448)
Soto has 310 PA in 74 games played. That is about 4.19 pa/game. If he plays the remainder of the Nats games at the same pace, he will finish with around 490 PA, which is 12 shy of qualifying. He has a .421 OB%. Votto is currently at .428. They are the only 2 active players in the NL (Jesse Winker is at .405, but, out for the year) over .400. Whether he is 19, 21, 23 years old, that is still amazing. If he gets hot, he may end up leading the league in OB% as a rookie.
   45. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:33 PM (#5726449)
EDIT: OK, no more cross-posting.
   46. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:36 PM (#5726450)
If we were German we could combine "bigotry" and "pandering" into a single word.
   47. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:38 PM (#5726455)
If we were German we could combine "bigotry" and "pandering" into a single word.
The word would also specify what type of bigotry and what audience was being pandered to.
   48. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:40 PM (#5726457)
If we were German we could combine "bigotry" and "pandering" into a single word.

The word would also specify what type of bigotry and what audience was being pandered to.


In addition, Panzers would be included. Somehow.
   49. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:46 PM (#5726467)
If we were German we could combine "bigotry" and "pandering" into a single word.


And somehow it would be twice as long as if they simply made it "bigotrypandering"!

Anyway, on the Bigotry-Prejudice-Cynicism scale, I vote this episode somewhere between prejudice and cynicism.

[edit] I should add "at the worst" ... I'm perfectly willing to accept bunyon's reading of this as an episode of marbles-in-mouth disease.

   50. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5726470)
Yes, cynicism is another option here. Perhaps Simpson believes that all young baseball players are equally unethical, but merely recognizes an enhanced opportunity for these specific shenanigans among the Latino youths.

Also, bunyon might be right that he just talked bad.
   51. bfan Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:49 PM (#5726471)
The next time an American born player gets that kind of skepticism will be the first time.


Isn't that the point people raise about the weaker system of generating and retaining birth records? I remember a lot of people thought OSU center and #1 draft choice Greg Oden looked "old" as a 19 year old, but no one was saying he was old, because the birth records establishing his DOB were not subject to manipulation.
   52. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5726474)
I'm not necessarily sold on "cynicism" as a broad enough word, at least in reference to issues larger than just the Simpson-Soto fracas. If you look at bigotry as a general problem at the social level, rather than (or in addition to) individual attitudes, doesn't the cynical act of pandering to bigotry become part and parcel of the institutional problem of bigotry?
   53. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:56 PM (#5726476)
How old was Sonny Liston when he died?
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:56 PM (#5726477)
Isn't that the point people raise about the weaker system of generating and retaining birth records? I remember a lot of people thought OSU center and #1 draft choice Greg Oden looked "old" as a 19 year old, but no one was saying he was old, because the birth records establishing his DOB were not subject to manipulation.

Thinking more about this, birth records really just tell you a male or female child was born to which mother (and sometimes the father) on a certain date.

Say an American family homeschooled their kids, and sent their 16 y.o. son to public HS in the identity of their 14 y.o. son. How would that be caught? Only if the family or close friends ratted them out. If the family moved, they might even be able to swap kids who were already enrolled in public school.
   55. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: August 14, 2018 at 12:58 PM (#5726481)
Greg Oden looked "old" as a 19 year old


LeBron James has looked 30+ for at least half his life.
   56. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5726483)
doesn't the cynical act of pandering to bigotry become part and parcel of the institutional problem of bigotry?


Yes.
   57. perros Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5726488)
I don't particularly care for the Soto comment, but there is some basis for it


No. There is no basis for it. From TFA:

Chances are, Joe Simpson didn’t know that the United States government verified Juan Soto’s birth date when he was 9 years old. Or that MLB’s rigorous age-and-identity test at 15 did the same. Or that he was given a five-year worker’s visa at 16. Those are facts, according to a letter written by Ulises Cabrera, the co-founder of the Dominican Prospect League, which counts Soto among its graduates.


This website, like mlb, is full of Joe Simpsons -- aging, largely monchrome fans content in their ignorance and prejudices, and who can barely be bothered to read anything, let alone hear the voices of peoples unlike themselves.

Prove me wrong, read the letter from Cabrera, and reflect upon why you are willing to broadcast uninformed, prejudiced opinions at bbtf.
   58. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5726490)
A few stray comments on the topic (and avoiding the DJT entirely or I'll make this OT-P immediately and irrevocably):

I tend to focus more on patterns of behavior and speech than isolated incidents (barring dramatic examples of bad behavior). Also, you can say or do a racist thing without being a "racist" (more accurately, this stuff is on a spectrum - where I suspect almost all of us are farther from being racist-free than we would (hopefully) like to be, given the amount of cultural baggage, etc... we all carry around with us - when I'm saying "being racist", I mean being beyond point 'x' on that spectrum though I've no idea where that threshold is. anywayyyyyy).

Incidentally, we would all benefit by taking more worried about being racist than about being called racist. (This applies to ourselves and those we intake through media, like baseball announcers.)

I've noticed a tendency to speak as if there are American/Western standards and Latin American/Caribbean standards, without accounting for differences therein. For example, the standards of documentation are thought to be stronger for a guy who grew up middle class in Santo Domingo than for a guy who grew up poor by the Haitian border. (Side note: players of recent Haitian descent are probably undervalued accordingly, due to the ensuing overreaction.) I don't expect fans to know the specific circumstances of each prospect, but we don't even give thought to the idea that these sorts of things might be issues.

What percentage of Dominican signings do you (the collective you, whatever) think are lying about their age? How high would it have to be for speculations like this to be reasonable? I am under the impression that the crackdown on this issue has been hugely successful and that we won't have a return to the mass findings of age fraud that we saw several years ago - particularly for elite prospects. (There are other huge, significant problems, mind you.) I ask this while noting that the consensus here seems to be that Simpson was being somewhere between ignorant and bigoted (which sounds about right to me).
   59. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:19 PM (#5726497)
Incidentally, the last US born player that I remember getting busted for lying about his age was Rich Rowland, best known as a catcher with the Tigers - who successfully claimed to be two years younger than he actually was for most of his big league career (iirc, Nick Cafardo broke the story after Rowland moved to the Red Sox in the mid 90s).
   60. Howie Menckel Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5726503)
Simpson's exact quote was, according to the article: "If he’s 19, he has certainly got his man growth. He is big and strong.”

I now favor the death penalty.
   61. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:28 PM (#5726506)
This website, like mlb, is full of Joe Simpsons -- aging, largely monchrome fans content in their ignorance and prejudices, and who can barely be bothered to read anything, let alone hear the voices of peoples unlike themselves.


"PS - Free Mumia."
   62. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5726509)
Who knows, maybe a year from now Passan claims the line "No one walks off the island" is racist?

Ichiro could have walked more if he wanted to, but he was beholden to the "no one walks off the archipelago" mindset of the era.
   63. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5726515)
There was nothing in the entire inning about "is he really 19?". Just bad phrasing.
But his words literally did say that, so you arguing that there was nothing about it doesn't make any sense. The charitability is assuming that it was bad phrasing rather than saying what he meant.
   64. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:34 PM (#5726517)
Say an American family homeschooled their kids, and sent their 16 y.o. son to public HS in the identity of their 14 y.o. son. How would that be caught? Only if the family or close friends ratted them out. If the family moved, they might even be able to swap kids who were already enrolled in public school.

This American Life had a story about a girl that grew up with crazy anti-government off-the-grid types. After escaping her family she wanted to integrate into normal society, but had zero identification, no birth certificate, no nothing. Couldn't rent an apartment, open a bank account, get a job, nuttin. Bureaucrats had no ability to help her. Judges wouldn't help. Finally a Youtube campaign brought her some media notice and local politicians had to pass a special rule just to verify that she existed.
   65. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5726531)
This American Life had a story about a girl that grew up with crazy anti-government off-the-grid types. After escaping her family she wanted to integrate into normal society, but had zero identification, no birth certificate, no nothing. Couldn't rent an apartment, open a bank account, get a job, nuttin. Bureaucrats had no ability to help her. Judges wouldn't help. Finally a Youtube campaign brought her some media notice and local politicians had to pass a special rule just to verify that she existed.

That's wild.
   66. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:49 PM (#5726538)
If he’s 19, he has certainly got his man growth.
This alone points to a charitable interpretation. No one would say something like that intentionally outside of a "romance" novel.
   67. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5726549)

From TFA:

Chances are, Joe Simpson didn’t know that the United States government verified Juan Soto’s birth date when he was 9 years old. Or that MLB’s rigorous age-and-identity test at 15 did the same. Or that he was given a five-year worker’s visa at 16. Those are facts, according to a letter written by Ulises Cabrera, the co-founder of the Dominican Prospect League, which counts Soto among its graduates.
Setting aside the obvious vested interest Mr. Cabrera has in convincing people that these things can't happen, all these things are saying is that it's unlikely. Unless you do a DNA test at birth and securely store it somewhere for later comparison, all you're really saying is that there's supporting paperwork. I mean, you might as well argue that Bernie Madoff couldn't have committed fraud because he was investigated a bunch of times by the SEC and they didn't find out anything.
   68. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5726550)
Incidentally, the last US born player that I remember getting busted for lying about his age was Rich Rowland, best known as a catcher with the Tigers - who successfully claimed to be two years younger than he actually was for most of his big league career (iirc, Nick Cafardo broke the story after Rowland moved to the Red Sox in the mid 90s).

Age lying can work both ways. Whenever I beat some young gun I've never seen before in a pool tournament, I'll sometimes rag on him by saying "You know you just got beat by an 85 year old man", just to watch the expression on his face. Most people under a certain age seem to think that everyone over 50 (or even 40) is just one big mass of undifferentiated "old", so about half the time the only reaction I get is a quite sincere "For real?" Just one of life's little pleasures.
   69. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5726553)
If he’s 19, he has certainly got his man growth.

Just another example of the white elite assuming that other races were put on earth simply for their erotic gratification.
   70. McCoy Posted: August 14, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5726555)

Age lying can work both ways. Whenever I beat some young gun I've never seen before in a pool tournament, I'll sometimes rag on him by saying "You know you just got beat by an 85 year old man", just to watch the expression on his face. Most people under a certain age seem to think that everyone over 50 (or even 40) is just one big mass of undifferentiated "old", so about half the time the only reaction I get is a quite sincere "For real?" Just one of life's little pleasures


Geez, even old people remove a few decades from their age. When will it stop? I would have thought it would have been more impressive to tell them the truth and tell them they just got beat by a 120 year old.
   71. Rally Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5726572)
I'd be interested to hear what some prominent Dominican players have to say about this age speculation. Like David Ortiz, Vlad Guerrero, Miguel Tejada, Rafael Furcal, Bartolo Colon, or Ervin Santana.



   72. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:16 PM (#5726576)
Whenever I beat some young gun I've never seen before in a pool tournament, I'll sometimes rag on him by saying "You know you just got beat by an 85 year old man", just to watch the expression on his face.

My father-in-law is 72 and routinely clowns 40 and 50-somethings at his gym on the racquetball courts, beating them 2-on-1, etc.
   73. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5726588)
If we were German we could combine "bigotry" and "pandering" into a single word.

I am going with 'Intoleranzunterhaltungsbedienung.'
   74. dlf Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5726594)
Since talk about how bad Joe Simpson is as an announcer is old hat and since discussion of race here rarely progresses towards understanding or consensus, I'm happy to go chasing down rabbit trails ...

How old was Sonny Liston when he died?


Mark Knopfler may have the best answer:

At the foot of his bed with his feet on the floor
There was dope in his veins and a pistol on the drawer
There was no investigation as such
He hated needles but he knew too much
Cris-crossed on his back
Scars from his daddy like slavery tracks
The second-last child was the second-last king
Never again was it the same in the ring
He had a left like Henry's hammer
A right like Betty Bamalam
Rode with the muggers in the dark and dread
And all them sluggers went down like lead
They never could be sure about the day he was born
A motherless child set to working on the farm
And they never could be sure about the day he died
The bear was the king they cast aside


Song for Sonny Liston
   75. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:32 PM (#5726598)
Jack Dempsey famously thrashed two teenage muggers on Christmas Eve in 1969 when he was 74 years old.
   76. bfan Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:33 PM (#5726599)


ahem:

"Sports Illustrated reported Tuesday that 19-year-old Washington Nationals prospect Esmailyn Gonzalez is actually a 23-year-old named Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo. Lugo had lied about his age while being scouted in his native Dominican Republic to draw interest from major league teams.

Nationals president Stan Kasten said in a conference call Wednesday that he was “very angry” about the situation. “There were really elaborate stuff and I have to give MLB’s department of investigations a lot of credit for finally cracking through this,” he said. “I can assure you, this will have serious repercussions. I have people examining all possible avenues and recourse with regard to legal and financial concerns.”

Lugo signed with the Nationals in 2006, receiving a $1.4 million signing bonus. The shortstop, who was named the Nationals 10th best prospect by Baseball America, hit .342 with 33 RBIs in the Gulf Coast (rookie) League last year. “Those are great numbers,” a scout told Sports Illustrated, “but you should be hitting that well if you’re that much older than your competition.”

It is not known what the Nationals will do with Lugo, who now has little value as a prospect. Lugo has obtained a new passport and work visa—despite prior warnings by the U.S. government that players with false identities would never be given visas—and is scheduled to arrive at the team’s spring training camp on March 13. The team may try to recoup all or part of his signing bonus, though it is more likely that they will simply release him.

Lugo is just the latest in a long line of Dominican players to lie about his age to major league clubs. The practice is encouraged by Dominican street agents, known as “buscons,” who have been accused of exploiting young players and stealing money.
   77. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:37 PM (#5726605)
Esmailyn is a good cover name though.
   78. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5726614)
But his words literally did say that, so you arguing that there was nothing about it doesn't make any sense.


His cliche ridden on air banter, transcribed and taken out of context, and then broadcast as a "statement" via Twitter, said that. If all you have is a bad AI human speech to transcription algorithm, he "said" that, but in human speaking, he did not.
   79. DavidFoss Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5726617)
Lugo is just the latest in a long line of Dominican players to lie about his age to major league clubs.

I mentioned this in another thread recently, but the Twins did bone scans to verify the age of Miguel Sano before signing him in 2009. I figured this would be more common now? Or would this only be done for the expensive signees?
   80. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 02:56 PM (#5726630)

Esmailyn is a good cover name though.

Not as good as Fausto Carmona, though.
   81. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 03:01 PM (#5726636)
Bone scans are unreliable in that they only assess the existence and degree of calcification of epiphyseal plates in long bones. The only reliable way to determine the age of a Dominican is to cut him in half and count the rings.
   82. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 14, 2018 at 03:07 PM (#5726643)
The only reliable way to determine the age of a Dominican is to cut him in half and count the rings.
We may have found the explanation for Sano's performance this year.
   83. , Posted: August 14, 2018 at 03:10 PM (#5726648)
But his words literally did say that, so you arguing that there was nothing about it doesn't make any sense.

Tone and context do a lot of work in any conversation. Yes, if you just read his words, he said that.

I listened to him say that and I'm saying my impression isn't charitable. I'm very eager to conclude that most white men, of which I am one, are a lot more racist and bigoted than they think. I'm sure Joe Simpson has ideas about race and ethnicity I wouldn't like. I'm sure you do, too. I know I do.

What I'm saying is that, in this instance, Simpson wasn't saying anything other than Soto is an amazing young player who plays, and his built, older than his years.

   84. , Posted: August 14, 2018 at 03:16 PM (#5726656)
The only reliable way to determine the age of a Dominican is to cut him in half and count the rings.

Here at BBTF, we know that the rings aren't a good measure of an individual.
   85. Stormy JE Posted: August 14, 2018 at 03:21 PM (#5726664)
The only reliable way to determine the age of a Dominican is to cut him in half and count the rings.
You misspelled RINGZZZ!!!
   86. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: August 14, 2018 at 03:25 PM (#5726670)
Unless you do a DNA test at birth and securely store it somewhere for later comparison, all you're really saying is that there's supporting paperwork. I mean, you might as well argue that Bernie Madoff couldn't have committed fraud because he was investigated a bunch of times by the SEC and they didn't find out anything.

Yes, anything is possible (well not literally). But typically, we would expect a bit more before accusing an individual, than some vague guilt by association.

I am sure you would not want to be accused, of the worst things any lawyer in history has done, just because you happen to be a lawyer. Asking for some kind of smoke around the actual person at least, let alone fire, before throwing out accusations, does not seem to be asking too much to me. So unless you have something a bit more to offer than "well he is from x," don't be surprised if people react negatively to such accusations.
   87. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 03:27 PM (#5726675)
So unless you have something a bit more to offer than "well he is from x," don't be surprised if people react negatively to such accusations.

Agree. But, the negative reaction should be more like "That's a really dumb thing to say w/o any evidence", instead of "Bigot!"
   88. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 03:40 PM (#5726691)
Bone scans are unreliable in that they only assess the existence and degree of calcification of epiphyseal plates in long bones.
It's not remotely my area of expertise, but this New Scientist article certainly matches what my guess would be: With no paper trail, can science determine age?
Unfortunately, attempts to assess age with X-ray scans of teeth or wrists are doomed to failure, according to work to be published this week in the British Medical Bulletin. The fundamental flaw with such tests is that, because children grow at widely different rates, skeletal maturity shown on X-rays – which is used to gauge age – doesn’t necessarily match chronological age. Teenagers can have adult bone structure as early as 15 or later than 20, says study author Tim Cole at University College London (UCL). He says X-rays can provide the wrong answer about whether someone is under or over 18 up to a third of the time.

[...]

Dental scans are also used to determine the maturity of wisdom teeth. These can reach full maturity as early as age 15, as late as 25, or in some cases never fully develop at all.

In wrist scans, age is estimated by looking at 20 or so bones initially separated by cartilage, but which progressively move closer to one another until they fuse in the mature wrist. The reference used for this test is a 1959 atlas compiled for doctors to assess healthy bone development, not age. It includes 1000 X-ray images of wrists of white middle-class American children, and the fully mature wrist of a 19-year-old. Yet wrists can be fully mature in children as young as 15, says Cole. A rival atlas compiled a few years later indicates a mean chronological age for wrist maturity of 17.6 years – give or take 1.3 years. So most “children” have “adult” wrists before 18.
   89. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 03:43 PM (#5726697)

Yes, anything is possible (well not literally). But typically, we would expect a bit more before accusing an individual, than some vague guilt by association.
And if we were discussing how old Soto actually is, I'd agree with you. (I believe I made that exact point many many many many many times in the steroid discussions here at BBTF.) The issue I was addressing here, though, was whether it was so impossible for Soto to be older that someone suggesting otherwise is a racist who should be punished for even opening his mouth.
   90. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 03:51 PM (#5726701)
Asking for some kind of smoke around the actual person at least, let alone fire, before throwing out accusations, does not seem to be asking too much to me.


The "smoke," of course, is that Soto is something like the best 19-year old hitter ever.
   91. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: August 14, 2018 at 03:56 PM (#5726709)
There was push back on genetic testing of prospects, for the expected reasons.

bfan, that was about a decade ago - you might want to update your references. (Furthermore, it's not a great example to advance your argument, but I digress.)
   92. Rally Posted: August 14, 2018 at 04:01 PM (#5726717)
In wrist scans, age is estimated by looking at 20 or so bones initially separated by cartilage, but which progressively move closer to one another until they fuse in the mature wrist. The reference used for this test is a 1959 atlas compiled for doctors to assess healthy bone development, not age. It includes 1000 X-ray images of wrists of white middle-class American children, and the fully mature wrist of a 19-year-old. Yet wrists can be fully mature in children as young as 15, says Cole. A rival atlas compiled a few years later indicates a mean chronological age for wrist maturity of 17.6 years – give or take 1.3 years. So most “children” have “adult” wrists before 18.


I wonder what wrist scans would have said about Mike Trout in 2012. A picture of him on the cover of SI shows wrists that simply should not belong to someone that young.
   93. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5726733)
Definite correlation between man growth and wrist fitness.
   94. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 04:25 PM (#5726740)
Have Soto drop by the Smithsonian on an off-day for some Carbon-14 dating. Problem solved.
   95. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 14, 2018 at 04:36 PM (#5726755)
I heard Simpson's comments in real time, as he said them, and immediately knew he was in trouble. However, it was equally clear he just bungled the words. He was simply trying to say that Soto's body doesn't "look" 19. Which, of course, it doesn't. He was trying to say he's already full grown and it's hard to imagine him "filling out" in a way a lot of 19 year old's, even other phenoms, do. It came off bad because Simpson falls over words a lot. An incredible amount for a man paid to talk for a living.

I didn't hear the remarks, but it certainly seems possible that Simpson simply bungled his intended "sure doesn't play like a rookie" point. Soto may finish with the best age-19 season ever, at least in some categories, even if his story doesn't seem to have attracted as much notice as it deserves. Maybe not that surprising that a visiting team announcer regarded as less than articulate mangles it a bit.
   96. bfan Posted: August 14, 2018 at 05:23 PM (#5726796)

Agree. But, the negative reaction should be more like "That's a really dumb thing to say w/o any evidence",


I am just curious; during the Sosa, Bonds, McGuire high performance period, were people saying "wow, people normally do not bulk up and enhance performance in their mid 30's", but I guess that is just an anomaly associated with these guys", until the rat sang?

Hasn't Brady Anderson been greeted with a lot of eye rolls, without any supporting evidence that he did anything illegal or inappropriate?
   97. BDC Posted: August 14, 2018 at 05:45 PM (#5726810)
Well, all I can say is that the way Adrian Beltre has played in the last decade, he has clearly been lying about his age. When he signed with the Dodgers he must have been eight years old :)
   98. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: August 14, 2018 at 06:17 PM (#5726841)
Everybody's a racist, except of course for me and my friends. People like us just can't be racists, you see.
   99. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: August 14, 2018 at 06:47 PM (#5726866)
And if we were discussing how old Soto actually is, I'd agree with you. (I believe I made that exact point many many many many many times in the steroid discussions here at BBTF.) The issue I was addressing here, though, was whether it was so impossible for Soto to be older that someone suggesting otherwise is a racist who should be punished for even opening his mouth.

That is just 'I'm not saying, I am just saying' nonsense.

If you bring up the subject, you are in fact saying it outright, you just don't want to own it. And if you defend it being brought up, your are defending it as reasonable speculation without any hint of real evidence.
   100. perros Posted: August 14, 2018 at 08:09 PM (#5726895)
The "smoke," of course, is that Soto is something like the best 19-year old hitter ever.


As in the similarity between Soto's skin color and the color of smoke? Or from the way Dominicans are able to sneak around mlb rules quietly, entering "like smoke"?
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