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Monday, April 16, 2007

Bugs and Cranks: Tobin: The sad truth about Jackie Robinson Day in Boston

Franconehead?

So to recap, 60 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, 38 years after the Red Sox followed suit, they have exactly one (1) African-American player on the team, and Francona chose to bench him on the day honoring the emergence of African-American players in baseball. Only three people were going to wear the 42 for the Red Sox yesterday, and one was the third-base coach.

I’m glad he didn’t bench him for, like, Eric Hinske, but come on. I know, Coco’s in a bad slump and needs a day off, and winning baseball games for the Red Sox should be a priority over symbolic gestures. BUT COME ON. It’s the 8-spot in the lineup and his presence is imbued with significance. WOULD YOU COME ON ALREADY?!

I don’t think there was an actively racist motive behind the move, but it shows remarkable insensitivity: implicit racism is just as bad as explicit, and far more dangerous. As Chuck D once said, “These days you can’t see whose in cahoots, ’cause now the KKK wears three-piece suits.” I don’t think Francona’s a Grand Wizard or anything. But if he was willing to bench his only black player on Jackie Robinson Day, I think he truly doesn’t get it. As a recent South Park pointed out, maybe a white person never truly can. But they can do better than this, and I’m sad my team didn’t.

Repoz Posted: April 16, 2007 at 01:10 PM | 87 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 16, 2007 at 01:44 PM (#2336023)
I don’t think Francona’s a Grand Wizard or anything.


But is he more like a Harry Dresden wizard?
   2. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 16, 2007 at 01:48 PM (#2336025)
I agree 100% with this article. In fact, I think the Red Sox should spend the reason of the season making symbolic, team-damaging gestures. If the Sox want WMP in the line-up that bad, they should bench Ortiz or Manny and let Crisp play. It's what Jackie would want.
   3. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: April 16, 2007 at 01:51 PM (#2336028)
For most of his life, Jackie Robinson hated red socks. In honor of Jackie, Boston should disband the team.
   4. Spahn Insane Posted: April 16, 2007 at 01:54 PM (#2336029)
I thought it somewhat ironic that at the Cubs/Reds game, in a gesture to celebrate the integration (and theoretically, color-blindness) of major league baseball, only African-American players and coaches wore the number 42.
   5. HowardMegdal Posted: April 16, 2007 at 01:55 PM (#2336030)
I can think of no more appropriate tribute to Jackie Robinson than choosing a lineup based on the color of a player's skin.
   6. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 16, 2007 at 01:56 PM (#2336033)
What a lame article.

My main criticism is the festivities is the over-emphasis on Jackie Robinson. The color barrier wasn't some magic wall that was broken the moment Robinson stepped on the field but something that had to be dismantled over time by not just Robinson but by other courageous black players like Larry Doby and Hank Thompson that had to endure every bit as much hatred as Robinson did.

Pretty much everybody knows who Jackie Robinson is and what he accomplished in his life. It would have been nice that if on the anniversary of the Robinson's debut, instead of additional exposure on a life which hardly needs additional publicity, time was taken out to honor some of the other men that underwent just as much suffering to break the color line in baseball and are practically forgotten today. To most fans, Doby was just some guy on a HOF list who played in the Negro Leagues. Very few fans know who Thompson is. Or even Monte Irvin. And Minnie Minoso is nothing more than that guy who played in a bunch of different decades. It would have been nice if, instead of the Pirates all wearing 42 for Jackie Robinson, they wore a 7 for Curt Roberts.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 16, 2007 at 01:56 PM (#2336035)
He should have put Pumpsie Green in CF.

I don't like tokens like this, but for the last franchise to integrate, the one that was known to have a racist in the front office to not play their only African-American on Jackie Robinson Day - well, it doesn't help their image.
   8. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 16, 2007 at 01:58 PM (#2336037)
I have a dream that baseball players will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the content of their VORP but by the color of their skin.
   9. HowardMegdal Posted: April 16, 2007 at 02:17 PM (#2336058)
"Robinson took part in a long withdrawal from the unfortunate segregationist policies that arose after the Civil War. He was an important part of that. But he wasn't the seminal figure that Lincoln or Grant or MLK were. He wasn't even as influential a A Philip Randolph or WEB Dubois were. Let's try to keep things in perspective."

You're aware that none of these men besides Robinson won both Rookie of the Year and MVP, right?

Many have made the case that Robinson's public success made MLK's accomplishments possible, and I think there is likely a great deal of truth to that.

Whether or not the qualitative statements made along the way are agreed with or not, I don't think this man shouldn't be celebrated to the extent he has.
   10. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: April 16, 2007 at 02:18 PM (#2336063)
Given the context, I don't know if I disagree with Gammons.

He's a sports guy on a sports network. I don't think it would have been legit to go to MLK. Besides, I think the day should be taken into it. I doubt that a similar statement would have been made on MLK day.

By the way, Howard's #5 is a great post. I was looking to express the same sentiment, but his encapsulated it better than I could have.
   11. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: April 16, 2007 at 02:27 PM (#2336072)
And what is Wily Mo? Chinese?

Not African-american.
   12. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 16, 2007 at 02:29 PM (#2336075)

And what is Wily Mo? Chinese?


Dark-skinned hispanic players never count as being black, unfortunately. Because, after all, those inner-city cabs, when seeing a black guy hailing a cab, always pull over and verify is the black guy is a "real" black guy rather than a hispanic black guy before driving off without them.
   13. Darren Posted: April 16, 2007 at 02:29 PM (#2336076)
Coco has started every single game this year. It does seem pretty insensitive to me to sit him on Jackie Robinson Day, when he is the only "black" player on the team. They could have handled this a lot better.
   14. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: April 16, 2007 at 02:32 PM (#2336077)
If they traded him, the problem would be solved.
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 16, 2007 at 02:36 PM (#2336079)
#5 is perfect. The rest of us may as well close our browsers and go home.
   16. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 16, 2007 at 02:37 PM (#2336081)
Yawn. Are you kidding me?
   17. HowardMegdal Posted: April 16, 2007 at 02:42 PM (#2336089)
"I don't agree with that at all. Robinson or no Robinson, there would have been a civil rights movement post-WWII and it would have been successful in the end."

I think this has the advantage of hindsight. And I'm not sure I agree. Obviously, no one knows. But to the extent that integration of the national pastime brought a familiarity and positive image of African-Americans to those who perhaps had other views, that doubtlessly made the popular support for the civil rights movement easier ground down the line.

Put it this way- no way does the 1965 Civil Rights Act get passed in 1945 political conditions. How much of that change can be attributed to Robinson breaking the color barrier? Impossible to say. But to think it was a non-trivial amount seems reasonable to me.
   18. Steve Treder Posted: April 16, 2007 at 02:42 PM (#2336090)
Great post, Szym, but one quibble:

It would have been nice if, instead of the Pirates all wearing 42 for Jackie Robinson, they wore a 7 for Curt Roberts.

How about Carlos Bernier's number, since Bernier was actually the first black player for the Pirates, but of course, being Puerto Rican, doesn't count?
   19. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: April 16, 2007 at 02:57 PM (#2336104)
By how? By continuing to play someone who sucks just because he's black? How does that honor Robinson's memory? I thought the idea was to play the best players, regardless of color? Is that what Robinson wanted? For every team to have a token sucky black player out there?

But it's not like Crisp is about to be released or sent down. He's one of their starting OFs. He hasn't been playing well, but it wouldn't have killed them to pick a different day to rest him. All in all, I don't think this is any big deal, but I think Darren's right that they could have handled it better.
   20. Guapo Posted: April 16, 2007 at 03:10 PM (#2336116)
I don’t think Francona’s a Grand Wizard or anything.


Behold!
   21. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 16, 2007 at 03:16 PM (#2336121)
How about Carlos Bernier's number, since Bernier was actually the first black player for the Pirates, but of course, being Puerto Rican, doesn't count?

This probably illustrates my point. I consider myself a more-learned-than-average baseball fan and I know little about Carlos Bernier beyond not taking him in my 1953 DMB draft.
   22. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: April 16, 2007 at 03:16 PM (#2336123)
Would Wily Mo have been able to play pre-"Breaking the color barrier"?
   23. Justin T's pasta pass was not revoked Posted: April 16, 2007 at 03:24 PM (#2336132)
Given the context, I don't know if I disagree with Gammons.

He's a sports guy on a sports network. I don't think it would have been legit to go to MLK. Besides, I think the day should be taken into it. I doubt that a similar statement would have been made on MLK day.


Given the context that Gammons is a sports guy on a sports network and it was Jackie Robinson Day, after all, Gammons was correct to say Robinson was the most influential American of the 20th century? I am barely awake, so maybe I'm missing something, but that seems like a very silly thing to say. The facts change based on who the person's employer is and whether the historical figure in question is getting fellated across the country on that day?
   24. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: April 16, 2007 at 03:27 PM (#2336135)
Not that he was correct, but that it was understandable and forgiveable in that spot. IMO.

If you're speaking at the funeral of a very good man, do you break into an oratory about far greater men?
   25. Smelly is a Firework Posted: April 16, 2007 at 03:27 PM (#2336136)
Pretty much everybody knows who Jackie Robinson is and what he accomplished in his life. It would have been nice that if on the anniversary of the
Robinson's debut, instead of additional exposure on a life which hardly needs additional publicity, time was taken out to honor some of the other men that underwent just as much suffering to break the color line in baseball and are practically forgotten today. To most fans, Doby was just some guy on a HOF list who played in the Negro Leagues. Very few fans know who Thompson is. Or even Monte Irvin. And Minnie Minoso is nothing more than that guy who played in a bunch of different decades. It would have been nice if, instead of the Pirates all wearing 42 for Jackie Robinson, they wore a 7 for Curt Roberts.


The Tribe is petitioning MLB to have their whole team where #14 on July 5 (Larry Doby's number, and his debut game).
   26. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 16, 2007 at 03:28 PM (#2336138)
Would Wily Mo have been able to play pre-"Breaking the color barrier"?

Not with skin that dark. Hispanics didn't have a strict color line, they had a Roberto Estalella line - don't bother applying if you're blacker than Estalella.
   27. Smelly is a Firework Posted: April 16, 2007 at 03:29 PM (#2336139)
hmm, that got screwed up.
   28. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: April 16, 2007 at 03:29 PM (#2336140)
#30 was awkward in many, many ways.
   29. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: April 16, 2007 at 03:33 PM (#2336148)
Not with skin that dark. Hispanics didn't have a strict color line, they had a Roberto Estalella line - don't bother applying if you're blacker than Estalella.
Exactly. So, what's the problem exactly? The Sox chose their lineup irrespective of skin color (and also played a dude who would not have been able to play prior to JR.) Tobin is ######## to have something to ##### about.
   30. pkb33 Posted: April 16, 2007 at 03:33 PM (#2336150)
I can think of no more appropriate tribute to Jackie Robinson than choosing a lineup based on the color of a player's skin.

Exactly...who is the idiot who wrote this article?
   31. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 16, 2007 at 03:38 PM (#2336154)
The Tribe is petitioning MLB to have their whole team where #14 on July 5 (Larry Doby's number, and his debut game).

That I didn't know. Awesome.
   32. bibigon Posted: April 16, 2007 at 04:15 PM (#2336187)
I can think of no more appropriate tribute to Jackie Robinson than choosing a lineup based on the color of a player's skin.


I don't see how this thread continued after this comment.
   33. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 16, 2007 at 04:24 PM (#2336201)
The facts change based on who the person's employer is and whether the historical figure in question is getting fellated across the country on that day?

I believe we're dealing with opinion, not fact, and opinions change based on context.

That said, it was a bit overboard.
   34. Paul Posted: April 16, 2007 at 04:30 PM (#2336211)
And why is it necessary to continue to beat up the Red Sox for being the last team to integrate? All the people who were involved in that sorry affair are either dead or sipping lemonade on the front porch. The team has changed hands. By all accounts, it is progressive in its practices towards minorities. To continue to treat them as pariahs after the reasons for it have long passed is rather petty and mean-spirited, I think.

Over the years, the Yankees have been beaten up on this as much as the Red Sox. Almost no one criticizes the Tigers or Phils who integrated after the Yankees. I think that part of the Red Sox issue is that many of the fans appear to be more anti-black than fans in other cities. Or maybe it's just the Boston writers; I don't live there so I don't know.
   35. Zonk Can Sell Culture Posted: April 16, 2007 at 04:33 PM (#2336215)
And why is it necessary to continue to beat up the Red Sox for being the last team to integrate? All the people who were involved in that sorry affair are either dead or sipping lemonade on the front porch. The team has changed hands. By all accounts, it is progressive in its practices towards minorities. To continue to treat them as pariahs after the reasons for it have long passed is rather petty and mean-spirited, I think.

Risking the wrath of RS nation --

My brother moved to Boston last summer after spending the previous 10 years in Chicago. He is far and away NOT the politically active sort (though - as a chef, he's very much upset at the whole foie gras ban thing). However, due to his industry and circle of friends - he spends a fair bit of time around folks less than lilly white. He's been absolutely shocked by the difference between Boston and Chicago - and that's saying something because Chicago hardly has a sterling history when it comes to equality and race relations. Never heard so many racial epitaphs hurled -- often by people who proudly boast about their "liberal" bonafides, never seen so many service denials that appeared rather fishy (stories of African-American customers having pre-present a credit card to dine, recent incident at his neighborhood video place where a perfectly respectably dressed African-American was told he needed to put up a $100 deposit to get a rental card, etc).

Of course, one person's anecdotal experience should hardly tar an entire city - much less a team that plays in it...and I'm not even sure it's exactly "right" to say the BoSox should have played Crisp because it was Jackie Robinson day, but it sure seems to me like there's a fair bit of smoke to be seen in Boston so I'm not quite ready to say this is much ado about nothing.
   36. b Posted: April 16, 2007 at 04:37 PM (#2336223)
I caught the Gammo thing in the background, but it didn't sound to me like he himself was claiming that Robinson was the most influential American of the 20th Century...it sounded to me like he was saying that Chris Young wrote a paper while at Princeton that made that claim and it was therefore appropriate that he was getting the start.
   37. bibigon Posted: April 16, 2007 at 05:00 PM (#2336246)
I think that part of the Red Sox issue is that many of the fans appear to be more anti-black than fans in other cities. Or maybe it's just the Boston writers; I don't live there so I don't know.


I think it's less become of any appearance that the fans are more anti-black, than that the questions of racism among the ownership continued until the John Harrington days.
   38. Flynn Posted: April 16, 2007 at 05:14 PM (#2336262)
My main criticism is the festivities is the over-emphasis on Jackie Robinson.

I think it's because MLB was patting itself on the back for just being racist when Jackie Robinson made his debut instead of being really racist.
   39. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: April 16, 2007 at 05:25 PM (#2336277)
Dark-skinned hispanic players never count as being black

except for Minnie Minoso
   40. bibigon Posted: April 16, 2007 at 05:40 PM (#2336288)

Of course, one person's anecdotal experience should hardly tar an entire city - much less a team that plays in it...and I'm not even sure it's exactly "right" to say the BoSox should have played Crisp because it was Jackie Robinson day, but it sure seems to me like there's a fair bit of smoke to be seen in Boston so I'm not quite ready to say this is much ado about nothing.


The problem is that it's hard to judge these things from an observational perspective because of the nature of confirmation bias.
   41. Jeff K. Posted: April 16, 2007 at 05:49 PM (#2336301)
To the people in the Lounge (I'm looking at you, Joe):

I said I was against teams wearing #42 because it's likely that 3 or 4 guys wanted to, pushed the whole team to do it, and guys who didn't care or didn't really want to went along to avoid being possibly branded some sort of racist/against Jackie Robinson.

I also said that I could see articles being written about it.

You all said that would never happen.

So how is this realized article much different than what I claimed was possible?
   42. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: April 16, 2007 at 06:36 PM (#2336348)
The Tribe is petitioning MLB to have their whole team where #14 on July 5 (Larry Doby's number, and his debut game).


And yet they still have chief auto parts on their jersey, way to be racially sensitive guys.
   43. Dr Love Posted: April 16, 2007 at 07:00 PM (#2336371)
I caught the Gammo thing in the background, but it didn't sound to me like he himself was claiming that Robinson was the most influential American of the 20th Century...it sounded to me like he was saying that Chris Young wrote a paper while at Princeton that made that claim and it was therefore appropriate that he was getting the start.


That's exactly what I heard too. Gammons wasn't saying that he thought that, he was saying that Chris Young thought that.
   44. pthomas Posted: April 16, 2007 at 07:38 PM (#2336399)
No matter what you thought of the Robinson festivities, the game on TV was interesting to watch and listen to compared to the blather blather blather of over analyzing announcers. The game going along at its own pace, some nice intelligent conversation going on with some interesting people. Rachel Robinson seems to be a wonderful person. Dave Winfield came off as a nice guy. Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson. I could listen and watch the ball game without being endlessly interrupted with a complete explication of every single pitch or description of every bounce of a ground ball.

I've often said that TV ratings would improve across the board if announcers were put on a per inning word count (just like a pitch count). Last night's telecast proved it again for me.
   45. Styles P. Deadball Posted: April 16, 2007 at 07:55 PM (#2336413)
Man, first Chris Truby worships Satan, now Tito Francona is the Grand Wizard.

Baseball's headed into the crapper, regardless of whether Covelli plays or not.
   46. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: April 16, 2007 at 08:19 PM (#2336431)
Jeff, please don't look at me right now. I look a fright.
   47. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: April 16, 2007 at 08:23 PM (#2336433)
So how is this realized article much different than what I claimed was possible?

The article is about the manager's decision to sit Crisp, not about players feeling coerced into wearing #42. I don't get what you're questioning here.
   48. Jeff K. Posted: April 16, 2007 at 10:07 PM (#2336530)
The article is about the manager's decision to sit Crisp, not about players feeling coerced into wearing #42. I don't get what you're questioning here.

To sit Crisp on a day that he should be out there because it's Robinson Day! So in this you have someone badmouthing a decision to not play Crisp, which is defensible (as he admits) on a much deeper level than a player not wanting to wear #42. I don't get how you don't get the parallel to what I was saying last night. This is much worse, and it happened.
   49. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: April 16, 2007 at 10:35 PM (#2336550)
Jeff, sitting Crisp on JR day is sadly coincidental to how badly he's been playing lately. He needs to sit for while. If the Red Sox lose the East by one game, and had they lost yesterday with Crisp going 0 for 4, then what? It's a lovely gesture to honor JR, and I think it's also an unfortunate coincidence that the Red Sox only have one African-American on the team, but that's the way it is, and there has to be a balance between the honoring and the playing of the game.
   50. Jeff K. Posted: April 16, 2007 at 10:59 PM (#2336559)
Jeff, sitting Crisp on JR day is sadly coincidental to how badly he's been playing lately. He needs to sit for while. If the Red Sox lose the East by one game, and had they lost yesterday with Crisp going 0 for 4, then what? It's a lovely gesture to honor JR, and I think it's also an unfortunate coincidence that the Red Sox only have one African-American on the team, but that's the way it is, and there has to be a balance between the honoring and the playing of the game.

Exactly. Yet someone played the "For teh memory of JR!" card, anyway. My scenario only involved someone not wanting to wear #42.
   51. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: April 16, 2007 at 11:04 PM (#2336564)
OK, so like I said over there, I'm not 100%, so I'm not sure what the inconsistency in my argument is. And I'm laughing as I say that. Whew.
   52. philoye Posted: April 16, 2007 at 11:25 PM (#2336583)
Why didn't sit Crisp a day earlier or a day later? Its not like we're talking about a guy at the end of bench who hasn't started this year or promoting a guy from AA just so we can have a black guy on the field. Coco Crisp is a starter.

Managers make all kinds of calls that aren't necessarily the optimal for short-term winning. Pushing a pitcher back for extra rest, resting an MVP-level catcher in May for a day, etc., but these decisions in the aggregate are (probably) optimal for long term winning.

What kind of managerial decision is it to diss one of your employees on a big day for him? Of course, putting Crisp in for being black is absolutely stupid, but putting Crisp in because he wants to honour Jackie is smart. Maybe it'll get him out of his funk? Who knows? Maybe sitting him will insult him and draw him further away from his manager? I have no idea, and it is probably none of these things, but speaking strictly in terms of manager/player relations and getting good performance, I think you don't sit Crisp on this particular day.
   53. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: April 16, 2007 at 11:44 PM (#2336604)
The simplest answer here is that Terry Francona is an idiot.
   54. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 16, 2007 at 11:55 PM (#2336614)
Personally, I would have played Sonny the Cuckoo Bird instead. Of course, I'm biased since I like Coco Puffs better.
   55. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: April 17, 2007 at 12:53 AM (#2336643)
I can think of nothing Jackie Robinson would want more than the Red Sox to put a token black guy in their lineup.
   56. philoye Posted: April 17, 2007 at 12:54 AM (#2336644)
Coco Crisp is a "token black guy"? Whatever.
   57. Jeff K. Posted: April 17, 2007 at 12:56 AM (#2336646)
To make it fair for Joe's addled brain, I should point out that #53 should say "To sit Crisp on a day that he shouldn't be out there", not "should".
   58. Jeff K. Posted: April 17, 2007 at 01:28 AM (#2336673)
Coco Crisp is a "token black guy"? Whatever.

He's a token black guy if the only reason he's in the lineup is because he's the only black guy.
   59. tjm1 Posted: April 17, 2007 at 01:57 AM (#2336695)
This reminds me of the "White Jays" article some columnist in Toronto wrote a few years ago to try to stir people up over some of the Blue Jays personnel moves. It had inane comments like one about Bill James not appreciating players like Rickey Henderson.
   60. Danny Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:26 AM (#2336724)
The point made by Darren, Yeaarggh and Philoye is a great one, and it seems several people have misrepresented it rather than respond to it. No one's arguing Crisp should get more playing time because he's black. It's just that it would make a ton of sense from a PR and player relations standpoint to give Crisp his first day off on some other day.
   61. philoye Posted: April 17, 2007 at 04:41 AM (#2336791)
Thanks Danny for making my point more clearly and succinctly.
   62. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: April 17, 2007 at 01:01 PM (#2336877)
I said I was against teams wearing #42 because it's likely that 3 or 4 guys wanted to, pushed the whole team to do it, and guys who didn't care or didn't really want to went along to avoid being possibly branded some sort of racist/against Jackie Robinson.

I also said that I could see articles being written about it.

You all said that would never happen.

So how is this realized article much different than what I claimed was possible?


Jeff, I don't recall in any discussion where we talked about sitting players who would wear #42. What we talked about was players feeling coerced into wearing the #, or else being branded as not caring about JR. You said articles would be written about that. This article is about something different. And not parallel, IMO. This article is about a manager's decision to sit a player who chose to wear #42. How is it parallel to our discussion about players who may not want to wear the # but are coerced?

My scenario only involved someone not wanting to wear #42.

OK, so if I'm addled, it's your fault. You're now addling me. Stop it.
   63. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: April 17, 2007 at 01:30 PM (#2336888)
Man, first Chris Truby worships Satan, now Tito Francona is the Grand Wizard.

I hate it when Albert Belle and Tito Francona bench their only black players on Jackie Robinson Day.
   64. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:33 PM (#2336947)
Wily Mo has a much darker skin tone than Coco. So does Ortiz.

Yeah they don't count because they're Latin American, but that kind of shows the arbitrariness of much of the discussion over this issue. WMP and Papi aren't black enough for the argument, I guess.

Francona has been talking for a few days now about the need to give WMP a start. Coco's struggling badly, so they did it yesterday.
   65. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:41 PM (#2336955)
Francona has been talking for a few days now about the need to give WMP a start. Coco's struggling badly, so they did it yesterday.


Sure, but the point Darren and others were making was exactly that. Coco's been struggling and Francona knew that for days. He should have given him the day off Saturday and penciled Coco in the lineup Sunday (and, of course, he might have expected that everyone was going to get a day off anyway). It's not a huge deal, but it wasn't terribly well-thought out.

Or look at it this way, would there be any issue at all if Coco was IN the lineup Sunday?
   66. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:53 PM (#2336965)
Wily Mo has a much darker skin tone than Coco. So does Ortiz.

Yeah they don't count because they're Latin American, but that kind of shows the arbitrariness of much of the discussion over this issue. WMP and Papi aren't black enough for the argument, I guess.


So even passing a melanin test administered by Dr. Frances Cress "Every white man is either a faded black man or a bleached black man" Welsing herself won't make Ortiz a brother? Not even with all those walkoffs?
   67. villageidiom Posted: April 17, 2007 at 03:47 PM (#2337002)
Because of Jackie Robinson - and those who came after, and Branch Rickey, I suppose - opportunities were opened up for non-white players, not strictly African-American players. The same holds for race relations in America pre- and post-Jackie, though progress was (and to some extent still is) slow.

Boston's lineup for Sunday, were the other regulars besides Coco slated to start, would have featured four or five players who might not have had such an opportunity were it not for those who paved the way 60 years ago. Is it shameful that only one of those 4-5 players chose to wear #42 that day? Or is it shameful that the manager elected to play one who did not over one who did, for reasons that we all seem to agree were not racially motivated?

My feeling is that neither is shameful at face value. I think making a damn soap opera out of it is.

I'm white. I have not been blessed with enough baseball talent - nor with the desire to do what it takes to develop it - to play in the major leagues. But had I been, I would have considered wearing #42 on Sunday. America is a better place for what happened 60 years ago, and I don't have to be any other race to recognize that I am better off for it. Whether someone else makes the same decision or not, I don't care.

That said, I had a stomach bug on Sunday, and spent most of my day doing things that would be considered inappropriate ways to honor Jackie Robinson.
   68. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: April 17, 2007 at 04:02 PM (#2337011)
Sure, but the point Darren and others were making was exactly that. Coco's been struggling and Francona knew that for days. He should have given him the day off Saturday and penciled Coco in the lineup Sunday (and, of course, he might have expected that everyone was going to get a day off anyway). It's not a huge deal, but it wasn't terribly well-thought out.

I thought he was in the lineup Sunday, but the game got rained out. Am I missing something here?

As villiageidiom points out, before Jackie neither Ortiz nor WMP would have been allowed to play in the major leagues.
   69. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2007 at 04:19 PM (#2337022)
I thought he was in the lineup Sunday, but the game got rained out. Am I missing something here?


No, Coco was not in the starting lineup of the game that was rained out. He was not in the lineup yesterday as well.

And while logically I agree that Ortiz and WMP would not have been allowed to play, the fact is that many African-Americans dont see the issue the same way.

VI says making a damn soap opera out of it is ridiculous. Our point is that it only became possible by a decision that really wasn't necessary. If Coco had been rested Saturday and held out Sunday (of a game that had a good chance of getting rained out), this is a complete non-issue. By not thinking it through, the Sox allowed a rather mild soap opera to emerge where one could have been avoided. And as Philoye points out, the fact that it mattered to Crisp (who was wearing 42) should have been enough to swing the Sox in that direction.

Given the choice to do it over, do you think Tito would have benched Crisp Saturday instead of Sunday?
   70. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2007 at 04:20 PM (#2337024)
That should have said, if Coco had been rested Saturday and in the lineup Sunday...
   71. villageidiom Posted: April 17, 2007 at 06:17 PM (#2337114)
VI says making a damn soap opera out of it is ridiculous.

I said "shameful", but I don't have to be sold on "ridiculous".
Given the choice to do it over, do you think Tito would have benched Crisp Saturday instead of Sunday?

No. Given what we know now - that Dan Freakin' Tobin got all hyperbolic over it - I don't think he would have changed his decision.
   72. tjm1 Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:05 PM (#2337190)
And while logically I agree that Ortiz and WMP would not have been allowed to play, the fact is that many African-Americans dont see the issue the same way.


I don't think this is true. I think it is true that some African-Americans are hoping to use the Jackie Robinson anniversary to help re-ignite interest in baseball in the African-American community. I think it may also be true that some African-Americans consider themselves victims of worse racism (or perhaps just a different kind of racism) than Latin American blacks.

An interesting question is whether an Asian man would have been allowed to play in the major leagues before Jackie Robinson. Given the size of the Asian-American population and the relatively low quality of scouting in the early years of the major leagues, it's entirely possible that the reason there weren't any Asians before Jackie Robinson has nothing to do with racism. Even in todays' major leagues, the only Asian players I can think of are either Japanese/Korean/Taiwanese players who were born and raised in Asia, and Danny Graves, Dave Roberts, and Johnny Damon, who are all sons of American military men and Asian women (and of them, only Damon was born in America).
   73. SoSH U at work Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:14 PM (#2337203)
I don't think this is true. I think it is true that some African-Americans are hoping to use the Jackie Robinson anniversary to help re-ignite interest in baseball in the African-American community. I think it may also be true that some African-Americans consider themselves victims of worse racism (or perhaps just a different kind of racism) than Latin American blacks.


Sorry if I wasn't clear, but you're not really disagreeing with me. I wasn't arguing that African-Americans believe WMP and Ortiz would have been able to play, just that they see this particular issue and this particular day as more complex and more directly related to their struggles.
   74. RobertMachemer Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:17 PM (#2337209)
Don't forget Lenny Sakata.
   75. Mister High Standards Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:33 PM (#2337227)
And while logically I agree that Ortiz and WMP would not have been allowed to play, the fact is that many African-Americans dont see the issue the same way.


Then they are wrong.
   76. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:35 PM (#2337230)
An interesting question is whether an Asian man would have been allowed to play in the major leagues before Jackie Robinson. Given the size of the Asian-American population and the relatively low quality of scouting in the early years of the major leagues, it's entirely possible that the reason there weren't any Asians before Jackie Robinson has nothing to do with racism. Even in todays' major leagues, the only Asian players I can think of are either Japanese/Korean/Taiwanese players who were born and raised in Asia, and Danny Graves, Dave Roberts, and Johnny Damon, who are all sons of American military men and Asian women (and of them, only Damon was born in America).


Actually, I linked an article about a player of Asian descent being ran off of the field during segregation the last time this came up. I lot of people seem to feel like this was the case, but actually, there was a sizable west coast Asian American population, who absolutely were rabid about baseball (females as well as males) and we denied access to mainstream, non-integrated competition.
   77. Steve Treder Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:36 PM (#2337232)
An interesting question is whether an Asian man would have been allowed to play in the major leagues before Jackie Robinson.

Well, there were a few Japanese-Americans who played in the Pacific Coast League and the California League in the 1920s. And Henry "Prince" Oana, a Hawaiian, played in the minors thoughout the 1930s, and briefly in the majors in 1943 and 1945.

Asian-Americans suffered ghastly racism in the US before 1947 (the internment camps being just one egregious example), but it does seem to be the case that there did exist a racist pecking order, and blacks (whether American-born or Latin American; that distinction is a recent invention) were likely on the very bottom.

Don't forget Lenny Sakata.

And Mike Lum.
   78. Steve Treder Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:39 PM (#2337236)
there was a sizable west coast Asian American population, who absolutely were rabid about baseball (females as well as males) and were denied access to mainstream, non-integrated competition.

Not entirely. As I mentioned above, a handful of Nisei played pro ball in the California and Pacific Coast Leagues in the '20s.
   79. 185/456(GGC) Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:45 PM (#2337244)
Even in todays' major leagues, the only Asian players I can think of are either Japanese/Korean/Taiwanese players who were born and raised in Asia, and Danny Graves, Dave Roberts, and Johnny Damon, who are all sons of American military men and Asian women (and of them, only Damon was born in America).


The peripatetic Bruce Chen was born in Panama.
   80. tjm1 Posted: April 17, 2007 at 09:06 PM (#2337270)
The peripatetic Bruce Chen was born in Panama.


Right - I forgot about him.

I hadn't forgotten Sakata or Lum, although they are both long since retired, as are Atlee Hammaker, Ron Darling, and Benny Agbayani. Jim Parque, who's half Vietnamese, is apparently making a comeback.

I hadn't heard of Oana before, but looking up his record, he also played in 1934.
   81. Steve Treder Posted: April 17, 2007 at 09:34 PM (#2337293)
I hadn't heard of Oana before, but looking up his record, he also played in 1934.

That's right.

Another Asia-Pacific pioneer in US pro ball was Tony Solaita.

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