A couple of weeks ago, The Atlantic published a feature report on the language that Major League Baseball announcers use to describe different players based on their ethnic origins. The findings, hardly surprising, suggested that baseball broadcasters apply a subtle racial bias to their work by being more likely to comment negatively when judging the effort of non-white players than they are for white players.
This isn’t merely a problem for baseball. It’s something that permeates most of the developed world. While progress has been made in terms of racial equality, it’s foolish to suggest that racism has been conquered and eliminated. While outlandish displays of prejudice based on skin color or background are easily spotted and often labelled as bad behaviour, we still struggle with the inherent racism that acts as an antiquated remnant of our past mistakes.
It thankfully remains a relatively rare occurrence to see overtly racist outbursts, but nonetheless they do occur. And according to Cincinnati Reds second baseman, one occurred last night in his team’s extra inning victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
— Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP) September 11, 2012
The incident of which Phillips tweets is believed to have occurred in the bottom of the eighth inning of yesterday’s game when Phillips was hit in the left leg by a pitch from Pirates reliever Jared Hughes.
After getting hit, the second baseman paused before walking over to the baseball that hit him, picking it up, and tossing it back to the mound.
Hughes didn’t see it right away, and after it landed, he began shouting at Phillips as the base runner made his way to first base.
Phillips remained fairly quiet, merely glaring at the relief pitcher as the umpires rushed over to the mound to contain any chance of things devolving further. Once play resumed, Hughes threw the ball to first base in a mock pick off attempt with Phillips still standing on the base.
At the end of the inning, Phillips, visibly upset, spoke with Andrew McCutchen as the Pirates outfielder made his way to the dugout.
He also explained why he was upset with an umpire.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, and presumably Major League Baseball, are aware of the accusations that Phillips is making, and it’s expected that there will be something of an investigation into the entire affair.
Personally, I hope such an investigation isn’t merely done for the sake of optics, and that MLB takes a real stand if Phillips’ accusation ends up being true and is supported by testimony from those on the field. We see the heavy hand of judgment that the league uses when dealing with banned substances, and part of the justification for that is to dissuade younger fans from mimicking their baseball playing heroes.
Sadly, racism is more accessible than performance enhancing drugs for most children, and MLB would do well to show that this type of behaviour is of the most intolerable in the sport.
And The Rest
Roger Clemens will definitely not be pitching in a Major League Baseball game this season for the Houston Astros. [FOX Houston]
The Chicago White Sox get some distance from the Detroit Tigers with a win last night. [South Side Sox]
The Oakland A’s get a measure of revenge against the Los Angeles Angels. [Athletics Nation]
Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau is playing like the Justin Morneau that we remember. [Baseball Musings]
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is a 10 WAR player. [Halos Heaven]
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost discusses lineup construction. [Fangraphs]
Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria remains confident about his team’s chances in 2013. [Fish Stripes]
Tim Lincecum knows what Stephen Strasburg is going through. [MLB.com]
The Houston Astros have released reliever Francisco Cordero. [MLB Baller]
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman will have surgery today, and could be done as a Major League Baseball player. [Viva El Birdos]
The National League also-rans who are still also-running. [Baseball Nation]
Mistake swings and forbidden steals. [Baseball Prospectus]