Wednesday, July 09, 2003

The National League All-Stars, and a man named Dusty Baker (seriously)

It didn't seem like Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker could make himself look any more ignorant this week. While watching his team slide back to .500 despite having one of the all-time great young pitching rotations, and keeping rookie sensation Dontrelle Willis off of the all-star team because he "hadn't seen him play", Dusty, who is African-American, still had time for these comments(from ESPN):

"I meant what I said. ... I try to be as honest as possible, and if that's how I feel, then that's how I feel," he told reporters before Monday's game, a 6-3 win by the Cubs over Florida.

On Saturday, in another pregame talk with reporters, Baker said: "We were brought over here for the heat. Isn't that history? Your skin color is more conducive to heat than it is to the lighter-skinned people. I don't see brothers running around burnt."

"It doesn't really matter to me because that's what I said. I'm not going to take it back," Baker said. "What I said to you guys is what I said to my team. I told my other teammates this a long time ago, too. When we talk about how hot it is, I told them that's why my ancestors were brought over here, for that reason, and that's history.

"My mother was a black-American history teacher in Sacramento," he said. "... A lot of people don't know history, that's what it sounds like to me. If they take it as reverse racism ... then they can take it wherever they want to take it."

This is has received a lot of hype in the last few days, so if you're a baseball fan you've probably heard it already, but I still want to go over it.

From what I've read in other places, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to back up Dusty's claim . As for historical evidence, I know that African Americans were brought over because Indians ran away, and they couldn't find enough indentured servants, and the Africans were cheap and plentiful. It's sick, but assuming they all didn't just die in the cotton fields, I don't think the slave owners would have cared how African-Americans held up in the heat. And If Baker's mother was a history teacher, she must be rolling over in her grave, or she should have been canned. But the more current question is this: Should Dusty be fired?

Most people believe he won't be, and I think that's true. Most people think that if it had been a white person who said it, he would be fired, and I think that's true, too. So there's been this question of a double standard, and I can hear elements of a "White backlash" in some rather intelligent people's arguments, but I don't think that's what's going on here. I'm not someone who's studied group behavior, but I've thought about it for awhile, and I came up with this:

If you are part of the historical majority, a majority that has been considered oppressive, then using stereotypes is seen as bringing back up that oppression, a very sensitive subject to anyone who was or is a victim of that. If you are part of a minority group that has been considered to be oppressed, and you use a stereotype, you are seen as reinforcing a way of looking at things that has always in the end hurt your own people, the minority group. Because you are not reinforcing anything that causes serious fear or terrible memories amongst your opposing group, the repercussions are less harsh.

Notice that I didn't mention any particular groups here, because I don't think it's relevant. I bet this would work anyplace where there is a great separation between two groups. It just seems to me that Dusty's not being fired is more human nature than double standard.

But how about the all-star game? Surely baseball can fire Dusty from that? And while we're at it, we can replace a lot of players, too. But we'll wait until the next day. They're being replaced because there are better candidates, not because they are bigots.

The players in bold are not going to the all-star game.

1B Helton and Sexson

2B Vidro, Kent, and Loretta I didn't here any call for Loretta to be the lone Padre, but his OBP is up over .370.

3B Rolen and Lowell

SS Renteria and Furcal I wanted to take Cabrera here, but couldn't.

LF Bonds and Pujols Two of the three best players in baseball.

CF Edmonds and Jones finley just misses.

RF Sheffield and Walker

C IRod, Lieberthal, and Lopez

SP Webb, Schmidt, Brown, Williams, Nomo, Willis, Wood, Prior, Chacon Willis is the LeBron of baseball, selling extra tickets in Miami to the tune of 10,000 - 20,000. But MLB can't find a place for him in their most watched game.

RP Smoltz, Gagne, Cormier, Heredia Needed a couple of lefties. Heredia is the lone Red. Almost, had Dotel.

Comments? Counseling?


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