All Out Guys

It was a throw away comment buried deep in a recent SI piece about Jimmy Rollins. J-Roll is having a great season and SI wrote a very complementary piece about him as a both a player and a presence in the Phillies’ clubhouse. The article also suggested he was a worthy MVP candidate (I’ll discuss baseball awards soon, but Rollins, who’s having a terrific season, has one area in his game that’s not great, and it’s an important area: he’s not especially good at getting on base).

In any event, author Michael Bamberger raised the subject of Rollins’ background:

The Phillies’ fan base is overwhelmingly white and middle-class; suburban Little Leaguers and their parents, and they have adopted Rollins, working-class in his inner-city boyhood in Oakland, black and proud and eager for somebody from the Phillies front office to ask him questions about the experience of the black baseball player. He said in Miami, “The black player today pretty much has to be a superstar. The role player, the guy off the bench, baseball’s not looking to black players in those positions. Baseball has to take the blinders off.” He’s experienced things in his life that many of his fans have not. In 2005 he missed the wedding of his old teammate, Doug Glanville, to attend the funeral of his first cousin, Jamonie Robinson, a reformed drug dealer, Rollins says, whose life ended with a half dozen bullets in his body. (my emphasis).

And, dare I say, Rollins is on to something.

Earlier this season, Gary Sheffield made some remarks about the declining numbers of African Americans in major league baseball. He was widely derided for those comments, especially, at first, though after he clarified them, and other players, like Torii Hunter, stepped forward to make similar statements, there was some discussion of the merits of Sheffield’s main claim: that baseball was, essentially, outsourcing many of its jobs, especially to Latin America, by directing operational, scouting and development resources away from Black communities in the United States toward baseball academies in Latin America, where organizations can mine for talent for pennies on the dollar.

I am not sure Rollins was speaking exactly to the issue that Sheffield was, and the comment has received no attention, as far as I know. But, I had just been thinking about what appear to be different expectations for white and black athletes when I read Rollins’ comment.

Two players I often think about are Shea Hillenbrand and Sean Casey, Hillenbrand’s long been over-rated – a guy who’s triple crown numbers belie his actual value as a baseball player. At his best, when he’s batted over .300 with good pop, he’s been a decent offensive player, as he was for the Diamondback sin 2004, though barely more than adequate for a corner infielder. At his worst, given his low walk totals and the fact that he doesn’t hit many homeruns, he’s a significant liability. Looking at OPS plus (on base percentage plus slugging, and adjusting for league and park contexts) coming into this season, Hillenbrand’s best OPS plus for a single season was 109 (with the league average set at 100) and his career OPS plus, including this year, is 96. In other words, he’s a below average offensive player for his career, playing at positions that demand good offensive production (Hillenbrand’s also been a regular for much of his career).

And, in 2007, Hillenbrand’s been a catastrophe. He’s split the season between the two Los Angeles clubs. He managed three home runs and a putrid .275 on base percentage in 200 at bats for the Angels (was Scioscia just trying to give the other teams in the division a chance?). And, since coming to the Dodgers, he’s actually been slightly worse. His OPS plus for the season – 59. And, incredibly, after Shea came over to the Dodgers, Grady Little was running Hillenbrand out there on a regular basis, in the midst of a pennant race, batting him in the middle of the lineup (until the end of August, anyway).

The other player I think about is Sean Casey, proof positive that Jim Leyland’s genius has its blindspots. Unlike Hillenbrand, Casey, a lifetime .300 hitter, has had seasons when he’s been an excellent player – he had an OPS plus of 142 in 2004 and 136 in 1999, both while playing first base for the Reds. He came to the Tigers in the middle of the 2006 pennant race and, partly because he was left-handed in an all right handed starting lineup, and partly because he’s a big guy who plays first base, Leyland stuck him in the three hole. Casey proceeded to be absolutely awful for Detroit in 2006, managing to hit. 245 with no walks or power – a deadly combination for a first baseman (though he did have his moments in the postseason). In 2007, Leyland’s still regularly writing Casey into the lineup, and Casey’s still a solidly below average offensive player, with an OPS plus in 2007 of 93. Casey’s regular OPS, .730, is the third worst among regular first baseman in the American league this year (Leyland has, at least, moved him down in the lineup this year which, given that lineup, would have been a criminal offense not to do).

Is it true that only white players get this kind of latitude? Certainly not. For example, Gary Matthews has had one good year in his career, 2006, and parlayed that into a fifty million dollar contract that his true ability level doesn’t warrant. The Brewers signed Jeffrey Hammonds to a really stupid contract several years ago and there are, of course, other examples.

But, it does seem to me that, in general, expectations are higher for black athletes than white ones, and when Black athletes under perform (and the standards for under-performance are themselves, not equivalent), there is more criticism of that under-performance. Darryl Strawberry was a very, very good major leaguer for many years. But, the media and fans spent as much, or more time, picking on his faults, his lapses and the inadequacies of his game than they did his enormous positives as a player (and, that’s leaving aside the attention to his off-the-field problems). Having come into the majors with tremendous hype, it’s as if Strawberry was set up to do nothing but disappoint. Forget that Strawberry finished his seventeen year career with 335 homeruns and an outstanding OPS plus of 138. It’s what Strawberry should have done – he should have hit 500 homeruns, he should won multiple MVP awards. It strikes me that Strawberry is of a type that is more common among African American athletes than any other – that even high levels of performance won’t garner more attention than their perceived failure to play at their maximum ability, or their off-field behavior. In a similar vein, one could argue that the same has been true of T.O. and Randy Moss (and, man, is the media back-pedaling on its preseason criticisms of Moss like a frantic cornerback after his destruction of the Jets in week one).

I thought of these threads while watching Baseball Tonight earlier this week. Host Karl Ravech asked his panelists, which included Dusty Baker, who their picks were for “all out guys” – guys who gave great effort all the time. My first thought, before any names were mentioned, was that this was a category that an African American would not be chosen for. Blacks are “natural” athletes, not self-made ones. You all know the studies by now – the ones that show that announcers and fans are overwhelmingly likely to assign descriptors like “intelligence” and “hard work” to white players, and “natural” to Black ones (via The Situationist, here’s one such study).

Baker named Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox rookie second baseman, for the AL. And, the panel came up with Dodgers’ catcher Russell Martin, for the NL. I have no beef with the hustle of those two players. But, it was hard not to think about Rollins’ comment, and Rollins the player in this context. Like Pedroia (5′ 9″), Rollins (5′ 7″) is short – tiny by baseball standards and, it seems to me, a scrappy guy to have made it this far. Furthermore, Pedroia already has a very good batting eye and an onbase percentage near .400 this season. Is that because he’s a hard worker, a smart player, or is it because he has innate handeye coordination that allows him to wait a fraction of a second longer before deciding whether to swing? Rollins may run faster and be stronger (he’s 28 and Pedroia’s 23), but does that make him a more natural athlete? Is Rollins less of an all-out guy?
Like Pedroia, the Canadian-born Martin is an excellent young player and I have nothing against him. But, I do wonder – what would it take for a Black player to be acknowledged a top hustle guy? A recent paper given at the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) convention looked at data from 1947 to 1986 and found, according to Rob Neyer’s summary that:

strongly implies a pervasive bias against black players for many years after Jackie Robinson debuted. This certainly has been suggested by many commentators over the years, but I believe Armour is the first to objectively quantify 1) the degree to which black players dominated the game in the 1950s and ’60s, and 2) the barrier that black non-stars faced when trying to establish themseves in the majors. There’s another level of research that might still be done, but it now seems apparent that many, many legitimate — if marginal — black players were consigned to the minors in the 1950s and ’60s while their white counterparts were holding down bench jobs in the majors.

So, maybe a few things are happening relevant to Rollins’ comment. One, unless an African American player is a standout, they are less likely to be drafted, or given a real shot at making the major leagues, or a real shot at significant playing time. And, two, given the higher bar they have to clear, a greater proportion of African Americans who do make it to the majors are of above-average talent, which then reinforces deeply embedded stereotypes about Blacks as natural athletes, as opposed to scrappy, hustle guys who made it by sheer force of will, character, etc., not by genetic gifts. And, three, therefore, if they do not play well, their under-performance is more likely to be attributed to attitude problems, effort issues, etc., than to the limitations of their athletic abilities.

The BBTN panel was not practicing anything like an overt form of racism. But, the subtlety of how we talk about athletes – who disappoints us, who “overachieves” is necessarily bound up with larger biases – including unconscious ones – about race.

This plays out differently in baseball than in basketball and football, at least in some ways, because those two leagues feature a large proportion of Blacks. The Sheffield comments, as inartfully put as they were at first, only brought to the surface an issue that folks have been talking about for years – why, given the tremendous number of gifted African American athletes, have their numbers declined so drastically in one of America’s three major sports?

Rollins is extremely well liked, and did not include a perceived slur against another ethnic group in his observation about the status of African Americans in baseball today. But, he’s touched on a subject in which some significant research, and plenty of anecdotal evidence, backs him up. The bulk of sports media and fans are tired of talking about race. But, it continues to rear its head in pervasive ways, even when it’s not obvious. Rollins deserves props for raising the issue, even if no one picked up on it.

About these ads

30 Responses to “All Out Guys”

  1. That the people of Pittsburgh wanted Andy Van Slyke to stay in Pittsburgh instead of Barry Bonds largely because of his postseason failures – and that it actually worked out that way – illustrates how good a black player must be to succeed in MLB…..

    Remember that Matthews, Jr. is the son of a ballplayer and they usually receive more chances to make it or hang on than other players and Hammonds is a Stanford man and Stanford athletes, black and white who make it to the bigs or the pros in other sports, usually fare well, even if they are relegated to backup roles.

    Of course the Baseball Tonight panel wasn’t practicing overt racism, but you only mentioned Baker, who is black. Who were the other members of the panel and who were their picks, or was the question only for Baker?

    I also find it interesting that you mention Baker. dusty is known as a “straight up black man” in and out of baseball circles.

    If Baker was Jewish and made a comparable remark, he would be accused of of “self-hate” for not thinking first of and naming Rollins and, say, Juan Pierre.

  2. The quote did stick out. Good piece, J. The only thing I would note is that Russell Martin is half-black, but that may be irrelevant in the perception factor because he is light enough to “pass” (same with the Indians’ Grady Sizemore, also the son of a black father and white mother.)

  3. TheLastPoet Says:

    J-Dub,

    You’re not surprised that such a thing could happen in professional baseball, are you? As I’m sure you know, this problem is not confined to the experiences of Black athletes, but rather Black professionals in all walks of life struggle to accept the commonly held belief in “working twice as hard to receive half our dues,” which is a big part of what’s happening here: Black folk gotta be super-qualified, the “chosen one,” and the next big thing to simply get a foot in the door. Hardscrabble, bootstrapping “minorities” who pulled B’s and C’s in college while working full time and raising kids simply need not apply.

    It’s interesting because nowadays there are certain segments of the population, mostly white males, who pray to the false prophets of “reverse racism” while arguing that it is actually super-qualified whites who are suffering a loss of opportunities to unqualified Blacks, or to “illegal” Latino immigrants who are “taking their jobs.” Such a scenario has always seemed ridiculous to me: try to imagine a scene where well-qualified whites are sitting at home twiddling their thumbs while Pookie and Junebug run things downtown. It happened in Birth of a Nation, sure, but any such “real life” manifestation is a product of racist fear and the “tiny slippages of logic” commonly found among people who think that way.

    Though it is funny to see this fear and ill-logic at work in its various forms and permutations.

    Anyway, you asked what it would take for a Black player to be acknowledged as a top hustle guy?

    He’d have to conduct a press conference, to be simulcast on Fox News, Sportscenter, and Stormfront.org; reported in the New Tork tabloids, and the National Review; and independently, scientfically confirmed by the fine libertarians at the Hoover Institution, where he unequivocally, resolutely renounced his blackness.

    Then he could enter the race draft, once reported by the Chappelle Show, get selected in the 1st round by the white race like Tiger Woods, and officially leave behind any utterance of the words “natural” and “God-given” with respect to his athletic prowess.

    Good luck, brother!

  4. Great piece as always jweil; yeah, I could never understand the animosity directed to Darrrrrrrrrrr-yl (who can forget those chants during the ’86 World Series at Fenway) when, yeah, he had his problems, but it was the old glass-half-full/half-empty construct thrown out there by the corporate sports media. How about building up a guy who could use some encouragement? How about recognizing a guy with about the smoothest swing this side of….geez, George Brett, Griff? Straw always seemed like a great guy and the media just picked, picked, picked at someone’s weaknesses while failing to see this guy, if they’d written more positively about him, might just have gone down as one of the top players of all time. He was a world-class talent-and I can’t wait to see his son play basketball.

  5. Absolutely right on the money TLP.

    And you to JW. That happens all over sports. I remember a couple years ago when Ron Jowarski was talking during the NFL draft about AJ Hawk, he actually caught himself. He said something to the effect of ‘Sorry to use the stereotype of white skill position players from the midwest….but this guy is GRITTY, HARDWORKING….’

    It was hilarious to hear him say it and just so true it hurt. The saddest part is the majority don’t notice these things….or at least they just nod their head in agreement because it is THEIR biases and they honestly believe them to a fault.

  6. LOL to the LastPoet!

    Good find and interesting piece J. I had no idea that Rollins was only 5’7′.That should make him eligible for some of the endless hustle-fawning usually reserved for David Eckstein…

    We know that 8% of baseball players are African-American (non-latino). It would be interesting to see the percentage of black everyday starters vs the percentage of black bench players. If the numbers came back where something like 12% of starters were African-American and 5% or less reserves were African-American, then that would be the smoking gun right there.

  7. Quote “One, unless an African American player is a standout, they are less likely to be drafted, or given a real shot at making the major leagues, or a real shot at significant playing time. And, two, given the higher bar they have to clear, a greater proportion of African Americans who do make it to the majors are of above-average talent, which then reinforces deeply embedded stereotypes about Blacks as natural athletes”

    Slightly off-topic, yet not. This exact reasoning was used by a female friend of mine, during one of those drunk/high 3 a.m. conversations, to explain why every black guy in porn was packing 12″. Not to say brothers aren’t large in general, but she pointed out that we’d have no way of really knowing, since originally the only blacks grudgingly “allowed” in porn were the Mandingo freaks of nature types, for exactly that reason. So that’s all the white porn viewing public would see, hence the stereotype that black guys are all tripods. So yea, why would they want a black guy who is packing 5 inches [y’know, a scrappy, gutsy competitor], when there’s a perfectly good white guy to fit the bill? In fact since the blacks are already naturally gifted, we gotta find a way to try to level the playing field for the poor beleaguered whites who just wanna get involved and wanna work hard with what God gave them. A sort of affirmative action, if you will *snicker*.

    OK yea, sorry to talk about porn in the early morning, but the reasoning reminded me of that little talk me and her had.

  8. ^ Ray, I definitely don’t want to get involved into a discussion on porn either, but that brings up another interesting point. Who do you think are taller; white men or black men? For the longest time growing up, I thought blacks were taller. Then I went out and played a lot of pickup basketball with black guys, and often found myself one of the taller guys there (I’m slightly above average height, about 5’11”). Turns out, white men are slightly taller than black men pretty much across the board: (http://www.halls.md/chart/men-height-w.htm, and I also saw this in Time magazine). Yet I bet you that many white men would think that blacks are actually taller, because so many more black men rather than white men are playing in the NBA. It’s interesting how bias occurs, isn’t it?

  9. So, um, there goes another excuse as to why I can’t dunk. :-p

  10. Many good points you raise Jwei…

    It’s interesting because, as a Red Sox fan, I was just complaing to my Yankee fan friend the other day the difference in the “types” of players that come up in each team’s farm systems. I was saying that the Sox bring up “Dirt Dogs” (for those not aware, it’s a phrase many Sox fans use to describe “all-out guys” and Trot Nixon and Varitek were the first I think) like Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Nixon, etc… I was telling my friend that I like these guys, but the Yankees bring up “naturals” like Soriano, Jeter, and Robinson Cano.

    Now you have actually pointed out my unknown bias. Who is to say that Pedroia and Youkilis are not as naturally gifted as Robinson Cano or Soriano? Maybe Cano and Soriano are “dirt dogs” like the Sox players… Anyways, just realizing some of my own inherent biases…

  11. Jweil

    Great work as usual. And it’s not just limited to athletes. Black coaches seem to suffer the same fate.

    LP
    “It’s interesting because nowadays there are certain segments of the population, mostly white males, who pray to the false prophets of “reverse racism” while arguing that it is actually super-qualified whites who are suffering a loss of opportunities to unqualified Blacks, or to “illegal” Latino immigrants who are “taking their jobs.” Such a scenario has always seemed ridiculous to me: try to imagine a scene where well-qualified whites are sitting at home twiddling their thumbs while Pookie and Junebug run things downtown. It happened in Birth of a Nation, sure, but any such “real life” manifestation is a product of racist fear and the “tiny slippages of logic” commonly found among people who think that way.”

    Absolutely on point LP. Reverse racism….PLEASE!

  12. Ray, very interesting as I can honestly say that I hadn’t given the porn analogy too much analysis!

    J, on a completely separate note I finally got around to reading most of Zirin’s “Welcome to the Terrordome” today and as usual his work kicks ass. Anyway, I was pleased to see that Zirin quoted your analysis of calling out Donnie Deutsch on his hypocrisy with regards to Barry Bonds vs. Randy Johnson as “jerks”. Of course, you nailed it, but it is quite nice to see your work get circulated further…

  13. I’ll try this again:

    Dwil

    I am now not sure whether Baker nominated both guys, or just Pedroia. It may have been John Kruk who nominated Martin. Good points on Matthews and Hammonds.

    And S2N, I wondered about Martin’s background, and agree that he might fall into the same category as Sizemore.

    Ray

    Very interesting analysis.

    KevDog

    Here’s a link to me riffing off of Bomani Jones, who quantified the gap between white and black coaches in the NFL (it’s the second item):

    http://sportsmediareview.typepad.com/sports_media_review/2007/01/two_items.html

    Charles

    Thanks for the heads up. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

  14. J – announcers with regard to Martin and Sizemore have it both ways on the “gritty” and “naturally talented” stereotypes: both are commonly referred to as five-tool players, incredible talents (Sizemore would have been a U-Dub QB had he not gone down the baseball route), but also with hustle and work ethics. It may be the best of both worlds for them.

  15. Great post, J.

    S2N: Don’t forget Jeter, the ultimate example of getting the “best of both worlds”… he’s considered gritty, hustling (“look, he’s diving into the stands again”), talented, and naturally blessed (“he’s so good-looking”)!

  16. J, about your link, great article review how black coaches must outperform white coaches. Johnnie Cochran also headed a very good study on this before he died. My only nitpicking difference is that i wouldn’t classify Art Shell as ever achieving “insider status” despite his rehiring last year. I believe that Art Shell after his great record in his Raiders first stint not getting another shot for another 13 years was a travesty that is unparalled by any other similarly achieving white coach. It is quite possible that during those 13 years, the game passed him by (perhaps Joe Gibbs too). In a related story, 13 years ago I actually had a respectable jump shot…

    As for Zirin’s reference, I’m surprised that you weren’t already aware. It comes on page 163 about him being on a panel discussing Bonds on The Big Idea with Donnie Deutsh. He writes: “Here is sports media analyst Jonathan Weiler on what transpired” and then included the following passage:

    “Perhaps the most revealing moment of the evening came toward the end of the show. Deutsch counted down five sports personalities who have gone wrong. Number two on Deutsch’s list was [white Yankees pitcher] Randy Johnson who Deutsch described as a’jerk.’ Deutsch said that Randy has always been surly with the media (a ‘white version of Bonds’) and that while his sullen personality may have been OK when his ERA was 2.00, now that his ERA is over 5.00 his ‘Barry Bonds personality is catching up to him.’ Earlier, Deutsch had said that ‘most of America now roots for excellence’ and then, in an apparent non-sequitur asked rhetorically ‘if Barry Bonds had been a likeable guy all these years… wouldn’t we have rooted for him, too.’ In case you missed it, Deutsch has just asserted, without realizing it, that two surly guys have been subject to two different standards of evaluation. On the one hand, the ‘white Barry Bonds’ and his unpleasant attitude were tolerated as long as he was great. On the other hand, the real Bonds’ lack of likeability meant that he was never going to get favorable treatment from the fans even when he was the epitome of baseball excellence and before there was any whiff of impropriety about his performances.”

    Way to call out Donnie on his bullshit!!!

    Finally, sorry if I’m all over the place on this post instead of the main topic at hand which is clearly that you are an all-out guy who hustles, sweats, and works reeeeeally hard to write your columns, but dwil is just an effortless natural writer ever since he came out of the womb!

  17. CJ Scudworth Says:

    One example of an “all-out, gritty” black baseball player is Juan Pierre, a fave of sportswriters and a constant target of sabrematricians’ scorn.

    http://www.firejoemorgan.com/search?q=pierre

    Of course, Pierre would be the exception that proves the rule.

    I still believe MLB’s interest in Latin America is economically based as opposed to an effort to lighten the complexion of the game. It’s cheaper for them to go after young Hispanics who know nothing but baseball than it is to fight the NFL and NBA for the top African American athletes.

    But, any thoughts on the media perception of, say, Earl Boykins? Could he remotely be the NBA’s David Eckstein?…

  18. SML: ah, yes — Jeter is the protoype for the “best of both worlds” treatment, sculpted to perfection by New York media.

  19. […] All Out Guys – The Starting Five “expectations are higher for black athletes than white ones, and when Black athletes under perform (and the standards for under-performance are themselves, not equivalent), there is more criticism of that under-performance” (tags: via:solmij14 athlete sports race) […]

  20. What initially struck me about Sheffield’s remarks was the fact that he apparently didn’t realize that a high percentage of the Latin AMERICAN players who play such a prominent role in MLB are also African Americans. Venezuela, the Dominican Republic–they are part of the Americas. Puerto Rico is part of the US. These players share a common heritage with English-speaking black players. I don’t blame Sheffield for this. He’s a ballplayer. I blame the MSM (who else?) for failing to discuss race intelligently. Sheffield (and the rest of us) lack the terminology and conceptual tools even to talk about this rationally.

  21. My dad told me this when I was a little boy just getting started in baseball.

    “If you’re black you’d better be a horse. Ain’t no black boys sitting on the bench.”

    Damn.

  22. “What initially struck me about Sheffield’s remarks was the fact that he apparently didn’t realize that a high percentage of the Latin AMERICAN players who play such a prominent role in MLB are also African Americans. Venezuela, the Dominican Republic–they are part of the Americas. Puerto Rico is part of the US. These players share a common heritage with English-speaking black players. I don’t blame Sheffield for this. He’s a ballplayer. I blame the MSM (who else?) for failing to discuss race intelligently. Sheffield (and the rest of us) lack the terminology and conceptual tools even to talk about this rationally.”

    I agree The MSM and America have always tried to created a divide between black americans and blacks from other countries.

    I remember being on a website and some white posters were saying that Big Papi and other black latin players weren’t actually black. They were just of African decent. I then asked the fool what the F@#$ did he think black americans were……….I then said you do realize black american are people of African decent.

    I swear America got folks brain washed……Nah its just your typical divide and conquer mentality.

  23. Anyway great post by jweiler. This article reminds me of how the white media try to portray a player such as steve nash being so highly intellegent but so unathletic.

    Whatever….Nash might not be able to dunk but he is pretty athletic. He is quick and can change direction very fast. He might not be faster then AI but he is quicker then Billups.

    This is why I hate the NFL. The commentators often talk about the black players as though they are animals with no ability to think. Mcnabb makes a throw and it was instincts not studying and preparation. Farve makes a play and he was using his head and thinking.
    Simeon Rice makes a sack and all I hear is he runs like a cheetah and is a freak of nature. Patrick Kerney makes a play and he is so smart and a hustler. I have to hear how he or some other white player had a 3.5 GPA in college and so forth and so on.

    One last thing not to change the subject but isn’t it also funny how on shows like NFL countdown, NBA pregame and such. They like to do the story on the black athlete that grew up in the ghetto or was in a gang or got shot or was in a single parent home. They always love the story of how some brotha from a single parent home got out the ghetto by playing sports.

    Man they almost love this story almost as much as they love the big bad angry kneegrow.

    Dwil, by jweiler how about you guys do an article on this. I would love to see your take.

  24. jweil, in defense of Casey:

    – Last year when the Tigers picked him up, it was to break up the glut of RH hitters in the middle of the lineup. It’s also the reason why Detroit picked up Matt Stairs as well… When you’re running out a lineup with 1 inconsistent left handed leadoff batter, 1 switch hitter and the rest right handed meat it’s kind of hard to not face a tough right at the end of the game. Casey’s also been a character guy in every city he’s played in as well. He also stepped in and played solid defensively, as well as this year too.

    Sure the OPS may not be pretty, but his OBP is solid. Without missing all that time last year with a fracture in his back, he would have definitely hit over .300 on the season and may have never left Pittsburgh. It would be nice to have some power at 1B, but Thames is not a natural 1B and neither was Sheffield last year in NY. He has 2 errors in 120+ games this year at 1B, and he had 2 last year as well.

    Pats4x, aside from Trot Nixon, which position player for the Red Sox has come up from the minors because they’ve absolutely been mashing the ball in AAA or AA? Sure, it’s stupid to call these guys dirt dogs but when you look at them they’re usually the guys with helmets that look like they’ve been caught on fire, they have scraggly goatees and baggy uniforms… while the Yankees have always been clean (aside from Giambi and his armband tat you can see once in a while).

    I don’t think the “dirt dogs” necessarily comes 100% from the “grit” they show on the field… it’s also because of their appearance.

  25. Origin, so true. That Nash bullshit annoys the crap out of me. how can he be “not athletic” when i watch him blow by 80% of the guards every night? It was Bill Walton a few years ago who was running that bullshit line about Nash’s lack of athleticism. I wanted to reach into my TV set and smack the crap out of him (still do, BTW)

    If you want to REALLY see how the media subconsciously can’t see beyond race just look at how they always compare a new white guy to an old white guy and NEVER compare a black guy to a white guy. Everything about a guy like Charles Oakley’s game fit the white-player stereotype, but after watching the Knicks for years I never heard him compared to a white guy… the most you would hear is “best Knick power forward since Debusschere”

  26. Sweet Jones Says:

    Good stuff jweiler!!

    My eyes were opened to this issue years ago, but through college basketball. My friends and I used to wonder why, other than John Thompson’s Hoyas, Nolan’s Arkansas squads, and occasionally Memphis, why EVERY top 40 program over the years manages to keep its last 4-5 roster spots full of white guys who never play.

    Now, I realize some are walk-ons, but it’s funny how every Senior day, there’s always one or two white stiffs who start that cause you to say, ‘I remember when he came in the class with (insert Black Superstar’s name here’.

    Rarely do you see a Black senior, starting for the first time and averaging 4 pts/3rebs, but playing hard nosed D and doing ‘the little things’, and NOT hear his career classified as a bust. It’s almost always classified as ‘didn’t reach his potential/didn’t meet expectations’.

    I remember having a conversation with some Duke fans, who swore up and down that Steve Wojciechowski has a better college career than Chris Duhon, and that Duhon was a ‘disappointment’. So we fired up the google and compared stats, and they were shocked at the disparity in accomplishment (Duhon smoked Wojo). And yet, they STILL said they thought Wojo was ‘greater’, because you can’t ‘measure’ his ‘intangibles’ and what his ‘hustle’ meant to ‘the program’.

    I just shook my head and walked off.

    Like I always say, there will never be a Black Mark Madsen. He’d be cut the first week of camp.

  27. […] about which I have written previously – the persistence of arguably higher standards facing Black athletes and coaches in big-time athletics. Chizik’s employment by Auburn is a reminder that we will […]

  28. […] which I have written previously – the persistence of arguably higher standards facing Black athletes and coaches in big-time athletics. Chizik’s employment by Auburn is a reminder that we will […]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33 other followers

%d bloggers like this: