Baseball is an odd sport; there’s no other way to describe it. It’s the only sport where mathematics dominate the culture. It’s the only sport where people freak out for admiring their accomplishments. Don’t stare at that home run you just hit too long or fear getting hit in your next at bat. The question I’m here to ask is whether baseball’s culture needs to change? In particular, I’m talking about the racist culture that lies within baseball.
Recently Adam Jones of the Orioles was heckled at Fenway Park from fans that originated from a racial context. Numerous fans were ejected for their racial slurs at the game. The disturbing part of this situation is how little people seem to care. Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling even tried to somehow claim that Jones lied about being called the racial slurs.
This isn’t the first time this has happened to him either. Jones was also heckled in San Francisco last year when a fan threw a banana at him. Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia also recently said that he expects that kind of behavior, especially in Boston. My question is why does this continue to happen? Whether it’s Boston or any other city, one thing is certain. This kind of behavior can’t be tolerated anymore.
Sports commissioners have the power to change things. There’s a reason why they represent 30 billionaires that make up part of our countries one percent. Adam Silver had the power to boot racist owner Donald Sterling from the Clippers. He also was a proponent of gambling that hasn’t been so popular with other commissioners. We even saw the rampage old baseball commissioner Bud Selig attack the steroid era. My point is when commissioners get their mind on something they have the power to change the sports landscape. It’s your turn to attack the racism that plauges baseball, Rob Manfred.
Major League Baseball has to make it a mission to eliminate this kind of language at the ballpark. Fans know if you touch a ball in play, you’re going to be ejected. Fans know if you streak on the field, you’re going to get ejected and face possible trespassing charges. Fans know this because, well, the public address announcer informs fans of this prior to the start of the game. Why doesn’t the same go for racist language at the ballpark? Why should Adam Jones or any random fan for that matter have to tolerate this kind of language? The first step to fixing the problem is finding a solution. The movement has to start with educating the fans prior to the game that obscene langauge will not be tolerated. Spreading that language around little kids and families is an issue that needs to be taken care of so baseball isn’t just ‘America’s Past Time’. Baseball is a magnificent sport, but they are lost in their ways in this aspect. If a fan says a racist remark, that person should be ejected and banned from the stadium, it’s plain and simple.
Baseball is America’s past-time but it isn’t the most popular sport anymore. A slow pace of play combined, a lack of runs scored, and an old stuffy culture has plagued baseball from becoming as popular as it should be. Unfortunately, baseball hasn’t integrated the young fan base well enough. Of course, the last thing any young fan wants to see is some loud mouth ruining their baseball experience. One of the biggest issues that plague baseball is the fact that the game doesn’t allow any celebrations.
Players from the Carribean play the game with a different style and frankly have a heck of a lot more fun playing the game. Whether it’s Hanley Ramirez having fun in the dugout for the Red Sox or watching the Puerto Rican national team during the World Baseball Classic, players from that part of the world play the game in a fun and cheerful manor. The NFL has gone out of their way to promote touchdown celebrations heading into this year. NFL commisioner Roger Goodell has recognized that fans want to see players but human and celebrate. Baseball sadly hasn’t figured that out yet. However, many players get disrespected by that notation. Take a look at what Bud Norris had to say about this topic. Norris represents why baseball is falling behind the other sports.
“I think it’s a culture shock,’’ Norris said. “This is America’s game. This is America’s pastime, and over the last 10-15 years we’ve seen a very big world influence in this game, which we as a union and as players appreciate. We’re opening this game to everyone that can play. However, if you’re going to come into our country and make our American dollars, you need to respect a game that has been here for over a hundred years, and I think sometimes that can be misconstrued. There are some players that have antics, that have done things over the years that we don’t necessarily agree with.
“I understand you want to say it’s a cultural thing or an upbringing thing. But by the time you get to the big leagues, you better have a pretty good understanding of what this league is and how long it’s been around.’’
Then again should we really be surprised by this? Baseball’s ratings always do better locally. Baseball’s minor league team’s are always trapped in small towns where conservative ideologies dominate the town. Baseball, unlike other sports, is a club. It’s also a sport where a large number of the managers and coaching staff didn’t go to college. They didn’t learn the life lessons you grasped in those dorm rooms because baseball is all they know. Maybe the ignorant culture is part of a bigger issue that gives players this sense that they are elite over someone that’s maybe a little different than they are.
One of the biggest fault to the way our government is set up is money comes before morality. Capitalism is set up to profit off of inadequicy. You constantly see diet industries try to fat sham people into joining the latest diet trends. These companies make money but making people feel less of themselves plain and simple. Who’s the real villian here; people who are overweight or the food industry that pumps preservatives into our food? My point is that we point the finger at the wrong people.
When it comes to baseball, a lot of these players come straight from high school without meeting people outside of their small town. These negative idealoigies created by capitalism are spread out giving the players a sense that they are elite to people who are different from they are. A lot of NBA players for example come from the inner cities and face real adversity growing up. That just isn’t the case in baseball. Spreading the right message from within the sport is just as important as controlling the narative coming from the outside forces. What makes these baseball players better than the local school teacher? At the end of the day everyone is human and race doesn’t affect the way a baseball player can perform at their job.
Racial insensitivity has plagued this country forever. As an attempt to move away from this, oddly enough people haven’t embraced the millennial culture. People bash Kevin Durant for having mobility and choosing where he wants to play but praise people who are selfish and delusional like Russell Westbrook? The older generation is stuck in the past and is unwilling to embrace Millennials. You saw this in the latest presidential election. The largest portion of Trump supporters were people of an older age and have lost a sense of how the world actually works. Instead of moving backwards, shouldn’t we embrace the Millenial culture and try to make the world a better place? People need to be speaking out more against the evils that Donald Trump is pushing onto the public instead of critizing Colin Kaepernick for simply trying to use his sports platform to attack a much larger issue that needs to be addresed.
That’s why we need to drown out ignorant voices such as Mike Schmidt and Jerry Remy. To expand the popularity of baseball, the sport needs to become popular on a global level. The NBA has done a great job of this as the number of International superstars has continued to grow in recent years. Featuring the older, ignorant generation will continue to shun younger viewers interested in the sport. Starting with Mike Schmidt, he claimed that building around a team around a player that is a certain ethnicity is a bad idea.
“My honest answer to that would be no,” Schmidt said. “First of all, it’s a language barrier. Because of that, I think he can’t be a guy that would sort of sit in a circle with four, five American players and talk about the game; or try and learn about the game or discuss the inner workings of the game; or come over to a guy and say, ‘Man, you gotta run that ball out.’ ”
This ignorance in baseball needs to stop. Does a person’s ethnicity affect the way that individual can read or write? The idea that a team can’t be lead by a Spanish speaking player (AKA Yadier Molina who has won two World Series with the Cardinals) is an idiotic notion. Instead of promoting people like this why aren’t we banning this voice from being heard? A similar phenomenon can be said for the morons on TV Networks that say ridiculous things but unfortunately, bad press is better than no press at all in today’s world.
Red Sox color commentator Jerry Remy made matters worse when speaking about Masahiro Tanaka needing a translator when speaking to his coaches on his team.
“Learn baseball language. It’s pretty simple. You break it down pretty easy between pitching coach and pitcher after a long period of time.”
NESN, Remy, and his co-host Dave O’Brien should be embarrassed they let this continue to happen and didn’t immediately remove him from the booth at that point. While both people apologized, the damage was done and the applogizes likely weren’t sincere.
From a media standpoint, I challenge all of you to drown out the voices of ignorant people. Sharing their ideas whether you have good or bad things to say only promotes that person. We know that Jason Whitlock is an idiot but I’m here to tell you that you will do more good by promoting the ideas of someone that’s knowlegable. Stop watching shows that promote people who are uneducated, that’s the only way to make the media a better place. Not everyone has to engage in polotics when they write but everyone should be an advocate for human rights. Let’s make baseball a place where people of all ethnicities can thrive. While this issue isn’t an easy fix, the first step to fixing the problem is addressing that there is one.