There’s No Crying In Baseball …………. So That Must Mean There’s The Perception of Racism …………..
Having not grown up watching or becoming totally immersed and enamored with the sport of baseball. I can well understand the passion and fervor behind “this proud game” ! But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that the game hasn’t been without its faults or self inflicted wounds. Some of “which” still exist to this very day in one form or another.
From its early days of outright segregation amongst the players to the “Black Sox scandal” , the annals of the game has been littered with stories that will either make one wince in horror or take deep pride and joy in many of the game’s greatest moments or achievements. Standing tall amongst this all had to have been the introduction of Jackie Robinson as the first person of color to have been integrated into a major professional team sport in the United States. As to what this says about the social advances of the nation at the time, isn’t necessarily borne out , given the fact that Robinson didn’t have the right to cast “his vote” at the ballot box. But here he was in the uniform of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Never mind the fact that the same time the type of segregation that Robinson found in the US army , was the very same environment that he would find within the game of baseball. Racial intolerance was in almost every facet of life prior to and after the war . It also didn’t take long for it to find itself within the field of competitive sports. Be it as a team sport or as a singular endeavor. One seems to forget also, that many Jews involved in sports as athletes , weren’t at all favorably looked upon.
Slideshow gallery for your perusal .
Now some might feel aggrieved that Branch Rickey the then General Manager of the team sought out Robinson as his prime social example in seeking change. And it may well be, that he saw something in ballplayer not just as an athlete but someone wasn’t going to shy away from what was being asked of him. In essence, once this effort got underway there would be no turning back. If “this” was meant to change the game then it was being done to change it for the better and for not the worst. Understandably miffed by this , it brought about a certain degree resentment not just from the fans but also within the upper echelons of the game from owners to senior executive members of MLB at the time.
April 15th, 1947 is still commemorated within major league baseball (MLB) and is revered as “one of the game’s most historic events”. As it represents the day that Robinson first took the field as a ballplayer in the “big leagues” .
Courtesy of Yahoo Sports
By Jeff Passan , Yahoo Sports
Minneapolis – As Major League Baseball (MLB) prepares for its annual Jackie Robinson Day on Thursday, one prominent African-American player questioned teams’ commitment to employing black players past their prime years.
“You see guys like Jermaine Dye without a job,” Minnesota Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson said Monday. “Guy with [27 home runs and 81 RBIs] and can’t get a job. Pretty much sums it up right there, no? You’ve got some guys who miss a year who can come back and get $5, $6 million, and a guy like Jermaine Dye can’t get a job. A guy like Gary Sheffield , a first-ballot Hall of Famer, can’t get a job. …
“We both know what it is. You’ll get it right. You’ll figure it out. I’m not gonna say it because then I’ll be in [trouble].”
What Hudson wants to say: He believes there is a racist element to the free-agent market in baseball, and that it’s paralyzing the 36-year-old Dye’s ability to earn what non-blacks with commensurate numbers received in the offseason.
“Call it what you want to,” Hudson said. “I ain’t fit to say it. After I retire I’ll say it. I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff to say after I retire.”
Hudson’s comments came on the heels of Dye turning down a one-year contract offer from the Washington Nationals for less than a quarter of his $11.5 million salary with the Chicago White Sox last season. After a first half in which he slugged .567 and hit 20 home runs, Dye spent the second half of 2009 in a deep slump from which he never emerged, batting .179 and slugging .297 while playing subpar defense in right field.
Hudson believed Dye’s credentials – 164 home runs in the last five years and an OPS 21 percent better than the league average – would buy him the benefit of the doubt. Dye hoped to play for a contender, and while he understood he would take a pay cut, he expected a deal in the $4 million-plus range. Hudson said he and Dye spoke on the phone this offseason about his status, though they never broached specifics about why the market never materialized above $3.5 million, a number approached or exceeded by a number of players with inferior credentials.
“We don’t even get into it,” Hudson said. “We both know what it is.”
The Baltimore Orioles guaranteed $4.5 million to first baseman Garrett Atkins , 30, after he hit .226 and slugged .342 in 354 at-bats last season. Thirty-three-year-old Aubrey Huff’s on-base percentage was 30 points lower than Dye’s and his slugging percentage 69 points lower, yet the San Francisco Giants gave him $3 million. The Chicago Cubs paid 31-year-old Xavier Nady $3.3 million after an elbow injury limited him to 28 at-bats last season.
Whether teams with first base openings didn’t trust Dye’s ability to convert or others with outfield slots preferred different players, his presence on the open market in mid-April is particularly puzzling when coupled with the fates of other black players.
Second baseman Ray Durham(notes), coming off a 2008 in which he got on base at a .380 clip and slugged .432, couldn’t get anything more than a backup sniff as a 37-year-old. Durham’s case, one source said, is among those being looked at by the MLB players’ association in its potential collusion case against MLB.
Outfielder Kenny Lofton put up an above-average OPS as a 40-year-old in 2007 and hasn’t been seen since. And Sheffield, 41, remains a free agent after slugging .451 with spacious Citi Field as his home stadium.
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This offseason within baseball , the crop of free agents that came to the market wasn’t exactly at a premium. But with due diligence general managers, managers and their coaching staff could find a player to meet their needs. However, what was becoming abundantly clear ,was that there were a great many seasoned veteran fee agents that were being overlooked by teams . As to the reasons why ? Well your guess is as good as mine. Many of these players were as such, viewed as being on the downside of their careers. Though it has to be said, with the experience there and in the case of someone like Jermaine Dye . One would be missing out on a player who has been known for his consistency and productivity throughout the course of his career. And many of Dye’s peers were beginning to notice as well. Most notably amongst them was Orlando Hudson , who went so far as to suggest that team owners and the game’s hierarchy were in fact using blatant racism in determining whether or not they would sign a free agent. I for one would like to think that the game hasn’t sunk back to such times !. But given what we know as to the game’s history. It’s hard not to take this all in and ask, could it be possible still in this day and age ?
My own views on the matter, are that in some cases it may well stem from the fact, the prospective free agent in question is looking for more money than a team is willing to pay for their services. But then again when an agent such as Scott Boras can seemingly place an elite client of his, out unto to the free agency market and elicit a bidding war for that player’s services. What should one then think ? Be the player African American or Latino should not at all matter. What should set the precedent is that player’s abilities to perform and be productive. Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB now finds itself as the defendant in a proposed case being brought against them by plaintiffs, the MLBPA (Players’ Union) . The suit alleges that the game’s hierarchy knowingly and purposely colluded with the owners in conspiring against free agents.
MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner is adamant that his union and its members have a valid case against the game’s hierarchy. How this will all play out within the legal system remains to be seen. But you can be sure that this battle and trial will be contentious should it ever reach the judicial system.
Courtesy of The New York Times …..
By Ken Belson , The New York Times
The Major League Baseball Players Association is considering, among a number of options, filing a grievance accusing owners of conspiring to suppress player salaries this past winter.
“We have concerns about the operation of this year’s market, and we’re investigating those concerns,” said Michael Weiner, the general counsel for the union. “We’re far along and not yet through.”
Weiner said the union would decide in the coming weeks how to respond. That could include filing a grievance under its collective bargaining agreement. If the union’s claims are not resolved, an arbitrator could be appointed.
Although Weiner spoke of a possible grievance, the union on Tuesday also issued a statement disputing an article in USA Today on Monday that said average opening day salaries were down 17 percent from 2009. According to the union, the average opening day salary this season is $3,340,133, an increase of $22,658 over the 2009 figure. USA Today has since issued a correction stating that the average salary this year is actually slightly above the number from a year ago.
This marked the first time the union has announced its calculation of opening day salaries.
One gets the impression that the game is still intent on inflicting itself with even more wounds than is totally necessary ? We’ve had the obfuscation of responsibility on both sides when it came to the fallout from the “steroid abuse fallout”>. And now we have millionaire players and multi-millionaire owners now squabbling over ” money” . When in fact the very financial stability of the game is very much at risk. But you will hardly hear either Bud Selig or his counterpart Michael Weiner actually acknowledge that very fact.
For the players who would choose to bring up racism as the fact that they cannot land a place on a major league roster smacks of stupidity and is an insult to their predecessors such as Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby , Hank Aaron , Satchel Paige , Roy Campanella , Willie Mays and Ernie Banks . Such distinguished and illustrious player who’ve had to endure and undergo far more than many of today’s players will have seen in their baseball career’s thus far.
Do you just get the impression that the game of baseball now has very little to do with on-field success but more so how much money that the teams and the owners can continue to fight over. With an ever diminishing pie that can be only severed into so many piece. You have to now wonder where will it all end next ? If the fans are already being asked to pay for a watered down product and to observe players who are far more interested in what they can achieve off the field by way of endorsement contracts, than anything that they can achieve by way of success on it. Then the present predicament the game now finds itself is a totally deserving one for the fate of baseball. Let them keep on shooting themselves in the foot and sooner rather than later the fans will begin t desert the stadiums. As it is for clubs around the league that is already happening. For Orlando Hudson and the union to now suggest this is all about collusion. I’ll ask this both , what were they indeed doing when there was rampant steroid use within the game ? I don’t seem to remember any coach, executive or player for that matter coming forward to suggest that there was a grave situation going on. Instead it was left to the publicity seeking now deemed parasite in , Jose Canseco to lift the lid off one of the more unsavory aspects of the game over the last decade and a half. There Messr’s Hudson and Weiner is “the real collusion” that has been perpetrated on the fans of the sport !
What are your thoughts on this matter and the does the union have a valid case against the game’s hierarchy as you see it ? By all means leave a comment as to your thoughts on the subject.
Alan Parkins …………………. aka tophatal 🙂 – 😀 – 😀
Picture gallery .
“The Charmed Girls” naughty but ever so nice ! Who wouldn’t want to be amongst that quintet of gorgeous and voluptuous females ? I know I certainly would !