MLB’s Problem with Prejudice

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Credit: MLB

On November 23, the PAC for Major League Baseball donated $5,000, the maximum amount allowed, to Cindy Hyde-Smith who is running against Mike Espy in the Mississippi Senate special election runoff.   By doing so, MLB walked right into a hot mess.

Hyde-Smith has been widely quoted as saying she’d willingly attend a “public hanging.” The fact that her opponent is an African American male makes this comment especially reprehensible. She also introduced a resolution supporting a Confederate soldier, because in her worldview, “he was defending his homeland”. And, oh, by the way, Hyde-Smith attended a segregation academy as a child to avoid public schools integrated at the direction of the United States Supreme Court in 1969. Not surprisingly, she’s also a fan of voter suppression.

Although the flood of protest over the contribution induced baseball’s lobbying arm to follow the example of companies like Walmart, Pfizer, and AT&T in asking for a refund, the damage has been done. And, it turns out MLB wasn’t alone in supporting Hyde-Smith. Charles B. Johnson, one of the owners of the San Francisco Giants, and his wife each gave the maximum amounts to her campaign. The Bay Area not being a bastion of white supremacy, San Franciscans may have a thing or two to say about the contributions.

Although Rob Manfred, the commissioner of MLB, spends an inordinate amount of time worrying about the length of baseball games, he has failed to proactively address an ugly undercurrent in and around the sport. Thanks to Yulieski Gurriel’s gesticular insult of Yu Darvish during the 2017 World Series and Josh Hader’s racist (and homophobic) tweets, it’s clear that the sport has a problem.

Even some broadcasters have succumbed to the ugliness. Last year former Phillies star and Hall-of-Famer Mike Schmidt actually suggested that baseball might be better off if the sport included only English-speaking players, according to the New York Daily News. Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy opined on air that Masahiro Tanaka shouldn’t be allowed to have a translator on the mound. Of course, he later said he regretted the remark, but the damage had been done.

To its credit, MLB has been guided by the “Selig Rule,” named after former commissioner Bud Selig, which requires that minority candidates be interviewed for high-ranking positions. Manfred has made his frustrations with the slow improvement in minority hiring known throughout the sport.

Locally, thanks, especially to the team’s general manager, the Padres’ organization, has experienced an influx of talent from Latin America. A.J. Preller has a background in scouting particularly in that region and is fluent in Spanish. During the 2016 to 2017 international signing period, the Padres spent $80 million on young Latin American players. The team’s top prospect, Fernando Tatis Jr., was born in the Dominican Republic, and fans eagerly await his arrival in San Diego sometime next year.

In reality, baseball has not been a white man’s game since the Dodgers and Jackie Robinson had the courage to break the color bar on April 15, 1947. Currently, more than 40 percent of players are Latino, Asian or African American.

The sport has become a global game.  The fact that players come from all over the world and in a multitude of sizes, shapes, and colors should be celebrated. The audience for the sport would grow exponentially if the league actually addressed the racial and cultural ugliness beneath the veneer and led a celebration of that diversity.

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Diane Calkins
Baseball has been a part of Diane's life since her father played professionally (mostly at the minor league level). She has written for a number of publications and concentrated on companion animal welfare. She welcomes the opportunity to write about the sport she loves. Diane shares her home with her husband and a house full of rescued animals.
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Frank Lee Speaking
Frank Lee Speaking
3 years ago

“Not surprisingly, she’s also a fan of voter suppression.” Do you offer any proof? Of course not. Is this journalism? If you care about voter suppression then please do articles on the many ways our votes are suppressed, including your own party, in your own state (e.g. Ballot Harvesting; unregistered voters voting). If not, then do you not qualify as a “fan of voter suppression”? You have a stream of false accusations against the lady senator, with, of course, no evidence. Only innuendos. At least NPR, CNN, NBC, etc offer corrections after their fake news (albeit hours later, with very… Read more »

Dude
Dude
3 years ago

Let’s just say that she is a selective fan of voter suppression.

Crazy Larry
Crazy Larry
3 years ago

I don’t try to be cynical, but I’ve been told I’m good at it. Cynically speaking, MLB was just trying to curry favor with a Republican Senator, in a majority- Republican Senate, who was a shoo-in to get re-elected – and was. The ethics, morality and non-baseball positions of the Senator didn’t enter the equation, it was a strict pay to play move. It would have remained so if the said Senator hadn’t said the things she said, and people – Democrats – hadn’t tried to throw a wrench into her re-election. Senators have been bought before, so it says… Read more »

Frank Lee Speaking
Frank Lee Speaking
3 years ago

Wow, inserting politics again, YOUR politics (although it is under the guise of fighting racism)? First of all, as you know all too well, you lost all credibility months ago, not just because you slandered/libeled millions of people (as racists), we all fail, but because you (and James) go out of your way not to correct this horrible and hurtful public attack on millions of innocent people. Who does that? Not a single person with integrity, credibility, and true concern for accuracy and for others, particular innocent people. This is indefensible, and you prove this by not defending it, just… Read more »

James Clark
Admin
3 years ago

Yawn. It is always the same response from you. Long-winded, self-righteous babble… Good day, sir.

Dude
Dude
3 years ago
Reply to  James Clark

Dude calls you out, points out what you did, and what you will likely do, and then you actually did what was predicted?

James Clark
Admin
3 years ago
Reply to  Dude

Dude

Frank Lee Speaking
Frank Lee Speaking
3 years ago
Reply to  Dude

Yes, as predicted. Otherwise changes would be made.
#10 Accurate self-awareness.

Dude
Dude
3 years ago

Welcome to political correctness Bruh. They get to falsely accuse you and make up all sorts of things. If you protest, if you try to reason with them, if you point out truth, then they’re only response is to ignore reality, distort truth, falsely accuse and personally attack.

Frank Lee Speaking
Frank Lee Speaking
3 years ago
Reply to  Dude

If a person arrives at a certain set of beliefs that come through groupthink, mocking, demonizing, and falsely accusing other people (usually in the name of acceptance, tolerance, compassion), and by avoiding any challenges to their beliefs, or personally attacking the challenger, then there are a couple of options. This first one is they will continue to display the same kind of ways (not thinking for themselves, attacking others, avoiding, refusing to admit error and wrongdoing), which confirms how they came to this place to begin with, and they will likely double-down on their errors. Or, if at some point… Read more »

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