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Bud Selig talks about Arizona . . . kinda

May 13, 2010, 4:14 PM EDT

Arizona outline.jpgToday Bud Selig spoke for the first time about his thoughts on the new Arizona immigration law and the calls for baseball to move the 2011 All-Star Game from Chase Field. His response: Baseball hires a lot of minorities. Really, that was his answer:

Asked about such demands at a news conference Thursday following an
owners meeting, he responded with a defense of baseball’s minority
hiring record.

“Apparently all the people around and in minority
communities think we’re doing OK. That’s the issue, and that’s the
answer,” he said. “I told the clubs today: ‘Be proud of what we’ve
done.’ They are. We should. And that’s our answer. We control our own
fate, and we’ve done very well.”

Which is great and everything, but it does nothing to address the fact that the players’ union, several individual players and at least one manager — Ozzie Guillen — have said that they won’t participate in the All-Star Game if it takes place in Arizona.  You’d think that would be something he’d want to comment on, if for no other reason than to say such talk is premature. Instead we get this:

“We’re a social institution. We have done
everything we should do – should do, our responsibility,” he said.
“Privilege to do it. Don’t want any pats on the back, and we’ll continue
to do it.”

Again, he’s talking about baseball’s hiring record. Which has absolutely nothing to do with this unless you think that all issues that touch on race or ethnicity fall into the same bucket.  Great job with the hiring Bud, we’re all proud of you. But what do you think about your players and your union threatening a wildcat strike?

Like I said yesterday, I’m rather agnostic about the location of the All-Star Game in light of this controversy. I have my issues with the law, but I think that it’s a bit premature, and possibly counterproductive, for baseball to make any grand gesture like moving the game.

But I think that Bud should at least say that much. The response he gave — we’re very good to the brown people in general,
so we are immune from this controversy — is beside the point at best and condescending at worst, and will do nothing to address the concerns of baseball’s constituencies.

  1. BCTF - May 13, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    With the way his team is playing right now I don’t think Ozzie Guillen needs to worry about going to the All-Star game next year no matter where it is played at.

  2. John - May 13, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    Finally Bud does the right thing. As far as any ignorant latino players and coaches that won’t participate because of a law they haven’t even read, they have no problems taking American money to play our national pastime so shut the f u c k up! Go back to your countries and play stick ball with a paper cup in the slums you grew up in then!

  3. BCTF - May 13, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    On second thought, maybe he is losing on purpose so he won’t be invited to the All-Star game. Why else would a manager bat Juan Pierre and AJ Pierzynski 1,2 in the batting order?

  4. Jamie - May 13, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    Isn’t there some sort of “racism captcha” technology that can be instituted around here? I’d like to be able to read the comments on a baseball blog without feeling like I accidentally stumbled into a Klan rally.

  5. The Common Man - May 13, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    Ditto to Jamie. I like that John assumes that the players who have commented were not born in the United States. As we’ve discussed before, Rod Barajas and Adrian Gonzalez are both from California. They are American citizens, and have been their entire life. Dude, you’re racist. If Barajas and Gonzalez have to go back to the home of their ancestors, John should have to go back to the swamp your forefathers crawled out of.
    ReCaptcha: far moisten, which sounds…unpleasant. Almost as unpleasant as being trapped in a room with John for an hour.

  6. Will - May 13, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Jeez – while I actually support the proposed immigration law and believe many of the players commenting on it are mis-informed on the topic I think John went WAY overboard here. No need to be overtly racist in your comments.

  7. John - May 13, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    You guys are ignorant people that probably haven’t even read the law Arizona put out. This is the law that over 70% of the state of Arizona and 60% of the country approve. This country has a major problem with ILLEGAL immigration but you’re too stupid to either accept it or care. I have nothing against people entering this country LEGALLY and waiting their turn for citizenship but ILLEGAL immigrants are costing states billions of dollars each year and taking away millions of jobs Americans can do. Wake up ignorant morons!!!!

  8. Joey B - May 13, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    “I have my issues with the law, but I think that it’s a bit premature, and possibly counterproductive, for baseball to make any grand gesture like moving the game.”
    Again, I’m just having an issue with trying to get companies involved with politics. Should we be asking companies to move out of VA because of insane gun laws, or asking companies to move out of NY because of other insane gun laws?
    How would some people feel if the religious right started demanded boycotts of companies located in states with new gay rights laws? I disagree with the law, but if it is constitutional, which I simply cannot see, then I fully support their right to pass a constitutional law.
    Unless the constitution is no longer in vogue.

  9. Craig Calcaterra - May 13, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    Joe — I don’t think Baseball needs to talk simply because it’s a political issue. I think it needs to say something because its union and many of its players have waded in and that baseball needs to address THEIR concerns.

  10. bruce - May 13, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    This is a totally hypocritical award to the commish….No one believes he did not know that PED’s were in he locker rooms being handed out with the seeds and chew….The very fact that he has failed to take the high road as McGuire has…makes him a complete phony. If by some outside chance he had his head buried in the bockwurst and beer in Milwaukee(which I don’t believe) he should have!!!!! His stand on the bigotry occurring in Arizona is another example of Buddy boy hiding in corporate sponsors pockets. His action have nothing to do with the game or right or wrong. He should be replaced.

  11. Don - May 13, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    I really find it interesting that most of the complaints and outrage is coming from people who DON’T live in Arizona. Of course they don’t have to deal with this problem, they live far away mostly in mansions behind locked gates. How about they ALL move to South Phoenix where most of the homes come with their own burial plots. Gang violence is rampant and the police are for the most part powerless to stop it. Check LA if you don’t believe it.
    Ozzie is a loudmouthed asshole as everyone knows. Why would anyone care what he thinks?? Our southern border leaks like the Titanic and almost nothing is done to stop it.

  12. Bill@TDS - May 13, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    John,
    I’ll pretend you never wrote that horrifyingly ignorant first post, and focus on the merely rude and inane second:
    How many of that 70%/60% do you suppose have actually read the law?
    Look, I’ve read it, and it’s scary, sloppily drafted (at best, and out-and-out racist at worst) garbage. If you have nothing against people who are here legally, you should be against this law and demanding one that actually does what you apparently think this one does.

  13. Tom - May 13, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    Well, if MLB comes out against this law, then why should I bother buying a ticket to the next game I go to? Why should I have to follow their stupid rules when all I want to do is see a baseball game? Why can’t I just buy the cheapest ticket in the place and move down to the best seats? Since I’m already in the stadium, what right do they have to check my ticket and see if I really have 1st row seats?

  14. Russ - May 13, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    Nice post Don! It seems to me that liberals that don’t live in states with illegal immigration problems are the only people not in favor of the AZ law. The fact of the matter is that it is ILLEGAL to be in this country without receiving the proper paperwork from the US government. It is also a fact that current immigration law requires all non-citizens to carry their paperwork with them at all times. Finally, police in AZ are prohibited by the new law from simply approaching anyone and asking for their immigration paperwork. People will only be asked to provide proof of their legal status if they interact with the police for some other reason (traffic stops, domestic disturbances, etc). Latin baseball players attending the ASG will not be asked to produce their paperwork on the field.
    All of the rhetoric from the left is designed to scare people into thinking that AZ is now some sort of a fascist state. It isn’t!!! Since the Feds won’t enforce the law, the good people of AZ have decided to get serious.

  15. Andy - May 13, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    Don: It’s funny that you should reference Los Angeles here, given that the LA city council council “overwhelmingly” approved a boycott of all Arizona-based businesses and governments in response to the immigration bill (link). Apparently they don’t share your views, despite whatever problems with illegal immigration they may have.
    Please let Arizona secede. If anyone was uncertain about opposition to SB1070, the addition of the lunatic ban on ethnic studies passed today should be enough to convince them that racist fear-mongering has more than a small role in Arizona politics of late.
    That said, ReCaptcha seems to sympathize with Governor Brewer: the phrase I had to enter in order to post this comment was “Problem laotian.”

  16. jwb - May 13, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    My Illinois driver’s license is not proof of legal U.S. residence as defined by the Arizona law. If I travel to Arizona, I must carry my passport with me or expect to detained until someone produces it for me if I am stopped for a traffic violation. Therefore, I will not be traveling to Arizona.

  17. Andy - May 13, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    Don: It’s funny that you should cite Los Angeles here, given that the L.A. city council overwhelmingly approved a boycott of all Arizona-based businesses and governments in response to the immigration bill (link). Apparently they don’t share your views, despite whatever problems with illegal immigration L.A. may have.
    Please let Arizona secede. If anyone was uncertain about opposition to SB1070, the addition of the lunatic ban on ethnic studies passed today should be enough to convince them that racist fear-mongering has more than a small role in Arizona politics of late.
    That said, ReCaptcha seems to sympathize with Governor Brewer: the phrase I had to enter in order to post this comment was “Problem laotian.”

  18. Christopher Bates - May 13, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    Well, I am a liberal, and live in Los Angeles. And I can say that:
    1. Don’s statement about out of control gang violence is simply not correct. Are there some gang problems here? Sure. Out of control? Well, I think Don has been watching too many movies.
    2. Russ’ statement about the opposition to the bill is simply not correct. I know many people, liberal and conservative, in California who find the law to be problematic. Inasmuch as California is apparently one of the states that “has a problem,” you are therefore in error.

  19. Boo Hoo Florio picked on your team - GET OVER IT - May 13, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    Good for Selig (for a change.)
    Baseball needs to stay the hell out of politics. The whole hyped controversy surrounding Arizona will die down well before the 2011 All-Star Game anyway. Bud’s smart to let sleeping dogs lie.

  20. Mike G. - May 13, 2010 at 11:54 PM

    It never fails…these arguments denounce into political talking points, when in reality there are good points to be made on both sides of this issue.
    I’m a first generation American whose father (Hispanic) came here legally. I resent illegal immigrants because the U.S. has a fairly progressive system in place that allows people who want to come here and work and make a better life for themselves come here and do exactly that.
    That being said, I don’t want to be stopped and asked for “my papers” because I’m a first generation American. If I haven’t broken any laws, I shouldn’t be stopped. This is a libertarian/conservative principle, not a liberal one.
    On the other hand, I have no problem with illegal immigrants who are stopped – even for a broken tail light – getting deported if they are illegal. They are – as many have pointed out throughout this debate – breaking the law. I might feel bad for people who have families here who get deported, but anyone breaking the law knows or should know that illegal activity comes with high risks.
    I’m against the law for the reason that some who are for the law have cited above. The United States has plenty of laws already in place that should be taking care of this problem. I don’t like when laws are heaped upon laws, because that’s how you get big government, which conservatives should theoretically be against. I do agree with said conservatives who say that the existing laws should be properly applied, but I don’t believe that the Arizona law is going to do much if anything to mitigate the problem…particularly based on the limitations proponents of the law say it has. Stopping legal citizens is a waste of time that can and should be spent fighting crime – whether it is being committed by legal or illegal residents of this country.
    Believe it or not, the Obama administration is doing a lot more than the Bush administration did when it comes to arresting and deporting illegals. Obama’s INS has taken illegals who have been arrested on simple traffic violations and deported or begun deportation procedures. This is a significant shift from the Bush policy on immigration. It’s not going to solve the problem by itself, but it’s a start. If Obama were a Republican, he’d be getting praised by the conservative pundits for his efforts (and the fact that he’s pissing off the ACLU), but since we’re so locked up in a partisan death match in this country, it’s mostly flown under the radar.
    Most illegals who are here aren’t committing crimes but are here to work. Cracking down on illegals and tightening the border are both good ideas, but setting up a more punitive system for corporations who employ illegals would be extremely effective and do much more to tangibly solve the problem. If the work dries up for illegals, most of them are going stop coming here. Get rid of the pool of illegals who are here to work. It follows that stopping the pool of illegals here committing felonies suddenly becomes much, much easier.

  21. Joey B - May 14, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    Thanks Mike. It’s nice to see someone that can come in and discuss the issue rationally, without trying to mimic their favorites radio announcers.
    I think the issue starts and stops with your second paragraph. I’m an American and you’re an American, but I’m Irish and you’re not. I beleive that the law is well-intentioned, and a response to lax laws and enforcement by groups having a vested interest in having more immigrants. The problem is that I see no way to enforce the law that won’t be prejuducial against you. They won’t stop me, but they might stop you. Unequal treatment of two citizens with identical rights should not be allowed.

  22. arizona resident - May 16, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    You’re dead wrong, jwb. Your Illinois driver’s license IS proof of citizenship according to this law. ANY state’s driver’s license is PRESUMED under this law to be adequate proof. (Because, see, you had to provide the proof of citizenship when you applied for the license) JoeyB, they are going to stop both you and Mike if you were breaking some other law – say, speeding for instance. If both you and Mike produce a driver’s license (or a green card or current visa) you both take your speeding ticket and be on your way. And if you produce a valid Sonoran license because you’re just in the city shopping for the day, you will take your speeding ticket and be on your way.

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