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Escobar the victim of a prank? Possible, but unlikely

Sep 18, 2012, 8:24 AM EDT

Yunel Escobar eye black

One possibility that should be considered in the Yunel Escobar eye black thing is that he was the victim of a prank.  The problem with that, though?

Mr. Escobar, a 29-year-old native of Havana, Cuba, has been seen at other games this season with different Spanish phrases written on his eye black.



Seriously: how does one put those stickers on without once checking to see if they’re straight? And even if someone else wrote those words on there, how did Escobar not see it before putting them on? Were they face down on the counter? And did he look away when he went to peel off the adhesive?

Finally, if it was a prank that was supposed to be directed at Escobar, one can assume it was meant to be a joke on him by people he knew, and was never meant to leave the clubhouse. In that case: childish, but likely not malicious.

But if Escobar put those words on there himself, for whom was the message intended?

  1. bigmikemdz - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    if it were a prank, wouldn’t they have written it backwards for HIM to see in the mirror? Am I over thinking this a little?

    Why the hell am I asking you?

  2. stex52 - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    Probably this will get me a lot of negative feedback.

    The makeup adventures of a marginal shortstop for Toronto are of vanishingly small interest to me.
    Perhaps we can get some interesting baseball discussions going today?

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      You’re so uninterested that you took the time to comment on how uninterested you are, eh?

      • stex52 - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:37 AM

        Yes, as a matter of fact. How else am I supposed to register a negative on the subject matter?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        I’m against picketing, but I don’t know how to show it.

        -Mitch Hedberg

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      And two other times in the comment thread, now that I read down a little further.

      • stex52 - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        Same time, second verse. Right now this appears to be the only game in town.

  3. deadeyedesign23 - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Even if he didn’t notice they had words on them it’s a long shot that they both ended on right side up and read correctly from left to right.

  4. proudlycanadian - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Escobar was born and raised in Cuba. His command of English is still marginal. He uses a translator when dealing with the media. Never having met or talked with a Cuban, I have no idea of what the cultural norms are in Cuba; however, they are probably quite different than cultural norms in the US and Canada. Lets just wait and hear what he has to say.

    • kiwicricket - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      I completely understand that. Having worked in many different countries, I have found out first hand what might be acceptable or ‘the norm’ in one country, might be totally different in another.
      The guy might have the mental scholastic abilities of a gum tree….that’s his business and should be taken into account. Lost a bet, ribbing one of his buddies?

      My question….how the hell does he wonder round the clubhouse,dugout and field before/during the game and no one mention to him…’Ummm Yunel, not a good idea champ” ?????

      They are not his babysitters, but it’s a bit of a fail by his teammates and coaches. At the end of the day, he’s responsible, but a 20second conversation could have prevented this episode.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      Geez you dont know proudly? for a guy who makes some silly claims on this board as far as insider info why dont you just call AAZZ and ask him these questions and get back to us? And while you are at it why dont you and your family plan a nice long vacation to Cuba? Good cigars they say

      • kiwicricket - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

        I have several friends who have holidayed in Cuba. Sun, beaches, cocktails, beautiful woman, fantastic music scene……..really did sound awful Harry. I can help you fill out a passport application if you wish? Huh? Harry? Sound good? Or you can stay in the basement.

      • ptfu - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:01 AM

        Funny you should mention asking questions of AA. Rumor has it he’ll be at a press conference this afternoon to discuss the subject, along with Escobar and a few others. It’s amazing what you can learn when you actually read the article. If that’s too hard, you could try reading what proudly’s been saying repeatedly, which is wait and listen to the press conference.

        Kiwi–that’s a great idea. I’ll drive Harry to the airport, but only if his ticket is one-way.

      • cur68 - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:21 AM

        ptfu: man you don’t want ‘harry in your car! First: he’ll rip off anything that isn’t nailed down. He’s on for parole already for that (that’s true, by the way. Ask him.). Second: he don’t bathe. Not his fault really. His only skill is hurling his own feces (so you don’t want him touching stuff in your car) and washing is beyond him. Seriously. Just throw some bus fare his way as you pass the chimp cages at the zoo.

      • skids003 - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:40 AM

        Hey dirtyharry, don’t you just love the very people who claim tolerance and love for all (the libs) call you names when you don’t agree with their philosophy? Disgustingly hypocritical.

      • cur68 - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:07 PM

        You new here skids(insertnumberhere)? You must be. Funny how a nice republican like yourself sides with the admitted felon/convict. You really have no shame at all, do you? You’ll take sides with ANYONE who even remotely might support your distorted view of the world. Well, siding with ‘harry is punishment enough. You’ll have to scrub yourself with bleach for a week after. Have fun!

      • skids003 - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:46 PM

        cur, you have no idea what my affiliations are. And you make my point exactly. Name calling when someone disagrees with you. And if he’s a felon shouldn’t you be tolerant? You people make me sick. Sorry if I call it like I see it, you sure don’t.

      • cur68 - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:04 PM

        “You people”???! You really used the term “You people” on me? Me?? Really? Dang, man…I’m just speechless here…I guess you didn’t say that, right? I guess you HAVE NO IDEA about saying that, right? Like…wow. So, you insert yourself into my usual conversation with ‘harry. Call me out for name calling. THEN riff off with a “You people”, eh? Yup, that’s the moral high ground right there.

      • skids003 - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        Yeah, “you people” is alot more civil than what you called me and dirtyharry, in case you can’t figure that out. Moral ground? Ha.

      • cur68 - Sep 18, 2012 at 2:49 PM

        I called you a “republican”. That’s it. Since you’ve gone out of your way to make this offensive to me as a person of colour allow me to go out there and earn it:
        You haven’t a shred of class.

        I feel sorry for those that have no choice but to know you as a person. They are indeed victims.

        It is my sincere hope that you’ve never reproduced. It is my sincere hope that, if you have reproduced, your children are better than you (they could hardly be worse).

        That fleeting look you see on people’s faces when they have to deal with you? That look is a combination disgust and resignation: disgust for you and resignation for the fact that they have to deal with you, as one might a wart, a spoiled piece of fruit, or dog vomit. Something trivial, but deeply annoying.

        Now, since I’m done with you and will ignore whatever mewlings you have to offer in the future, you may consider this the last bit of e-ink I waste on you. Get lost.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:51 AM

      He’s also been in this country for at least 8 years. I have a hard time figuring he’s been here for nearly a decade and not picked up on the most basic social norms. As in “maybe it’s not a good idea to call people faggots with writing on my face on television.”

  5. tigers182 - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    It was written in Spanish.

  6. escapingexile - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    I think when considering anything, it is also important to take into account cultural differences. I am an American, and work in a shop with 20 Hispanic men. This word gets tossed around more frequently than a football during a tailgate party. In their culture, it is a joke. Nothing more, nothing less. On the flip side, the second someone throws out a chenga tu madre (literal translation would be ef your mother, similar to mother effer in English) they are all ready to go out to the parking lot and kick the living crap out of each other. Now, in the culture in which I was raised, my friends call me mother effer on a daily basis, and it’s not a big deal to me. I am not saying it is right, and personally, I feel that as public figures they should be held to a higher standard than most. I just feel it’s important to understand that what it means to us in our culture isn’t necessarily what it means to them in theirs.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:03 AM

      The difference: in your shop, you are not working in front of thousands of paying customers, thousands more on TV and many, many more in the papers and on the Internet in the coming days. You are not representing an entity in which millions place their time, loyalty, money and love.

      Escobar and his teammates can call each other anything they want. When they step out onto the field and in front of the cameras, however, it’s a totally different story, and the norms he’s used to among his friends are no longer relevant.

      • stex52 - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:18 AM

        Not to him. As we have said before, a lot of these guys just see themselves as working stiffs.

      • escapingexile - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:51 AM

        I hope my point wasn’t missed…. Indeed, there is a large gap between what may be acceptable at my place of employment and what is to be deemed acceptable at his. That is why I included the statement about public figures being held to a higher standard than most. Truth is, I get a small level of satisfaction arguing smaller issues within the context of a much larger issue. Certainly, as a lawyer, you can understand and appreciate that.

        Enjoy your work, by the way, Craig.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:33 AM

        Nobody ever accused Escobar of being bright or thinking of the bigger picture in his decisions. We may just be dealing with stupid here, as opposed to anything more sinister or hateful.

    • kiwicricket - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      Escobar is working for a company, provided a large blue uniform with the well recognized logo on it, is directly visible to 30k fans at the game, broadcast to perhaps 500million people worldwide and accessible to 2billion via the internet. That company is in the entertainment business.
      Escobar can express his views, poke fun of a friend, lose a bet and wear such things…..but representing the company, wearing it’s very valuable(brand) uniform, he must conduct himself in a manner in which is deemed acceptable by his employers.

      If you literally wore that eye-black to work tomorrow at your store, you would be cautioned, suspended or fired. Escobar is wearing a uniform and representing it in front of potentially 2billion people.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:51 AM

        Thats right that Logo is very recognizible, everytime i see it i think of 20 seasons without making the playoffs and thats saying something. You gotta take a lot of pride when you got that logo on your chest!!

      • kiwicricket - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        Escobar is being paid millions to play baseball for a particular team and wears it’s uniform. You are being paid peanuts to wear a uniform and clean up vomit in a Denny’s toilet at 3am.
        Let’s put things into perspective shall we Harry.

  7. kiwicricket - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Please can we have more of you guys who were writing about the Amendment/free speech etc etc make their presence felt again today? I am interested in learning more about your mongol tribe.

    • stex52 - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      Are you really, Kiwi? I would think you had rather too much by now. BTW, I often appreciate the somewhat different slants you bring to a lot of our discussions.

      • kiwicricket - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:37 AM

        Nope. Sarcasm font not detected, Sir.
        Thanks. It’s difficult with the time zones to really get into a discussion, but I do end up with some interesting/bizarre things to read whilst having breakfast.

  8. throughthewickets - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    A prank? Seriously? Please Yunel, come up with something better. Go with “divine intervention” or say that those strips of eye black are like those friggin’ poetry magnets that end up on your girlfriend’s refrigerator. You could say that you could have just as easily picked up ones that said “I love” and “Castro”.

  9. Marty - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Craig Calcatera – a bald white liberal baseball blogger with a pointy finger on the pulse of Spanish slang.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      Go find a random Mexican person on the street and call him a maricone. See how that works out for you.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM

        Dude, Escobar is from Cuba, not Mexico.

      • townballblog - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        Craig, it depends on the context.

        There was a large Cuban population where I grew up, along with many other people from many other Spanish speaking countries. I think it is important to note that although many countries share Spanish as their native tongue, each one of these countries’ Spanish is considered unique in their own way.

        I’ll give you the two examples that I am thinking of right now:

        1. In Cuba, “oye papo” means “hey man” or “yo man.” However, in certain countries the word “papo” literally translates to… let’s just say kitty cat.

        2. In Venezuela, the word “arrecho” or “arrecha” means “pissed off” but in Honduras, when referring to man, it means he…again, let’s just say he is ready to perform.

        There are more examples that I am sure other members of the blog can contribute.

        Another thing, Craig – and I think this is absolutely crucial – there is no word in the Spanish dictionary for “gay.” Over the years many Spanish speaking folks have adopted the english word and use it in Spanish (as with many other English words and terms) but the actual word “maricon” can also simply mean “gay” and not “fa**ot.”

        At the end of the day, however, there is no way Yunel goes 9 innings (hell, half an inning) without someone noticing what is written on his face. Therefore, shame on a lot of people for not saying something during the game.

        As for the theory that it was a prank; if that is the case wouldn’t it say “yo soy maric…” (I am) instead of “tu ere maric…” (you are)?

  10. kevinleaptrot - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    If anyone is a victim of a prank here, it is likely the moronic Globe & Mail reporter who first reported this. Molsons for breakfast is always a bad idea, even if you are a newspaper reporter.

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:01 AM

      Was it the Globe and Mail that first reported it? Unfortunately, my copy did not arrive yesterday due to “production problems”. I did look at yesterday’s paper when it arrived today and did not see the story. The story is in today’s Globe. I did see the story on the Toronto Star’s website yesterday well after Craig reported on it.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:05 AM

        It was not reported first by newspapers. A fan took a picture of Escobar and put it on his Flickr page, where it was picked up by Blue Jays blogs (Drunk Jays Fans and Tao of Stieb is where I saw it). It was confirmed by people like us looking at the Getty images feed from the same game to confirm that the words were what the first guy said they were.

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:20 AM

        Tao of Steib does contribute stories to the Rogers Sportsnet web site. Sportsnet and the Jays are both owned by Rogers Communications. From what I have seen, Sportsnet (TV, Radio and Internet) has considerable editorial freedom.

  11. ericellers - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Problem with this country is we’ve become too sensitive? If my friend like a hairy azz of a guy when he could (if offered in either instance) the hairy azz of a large women, then it’s really are American duty as citizens of this great country to make fun of him!

    • kiwicricket - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      ‘Moonshiners’ not on television yet?

  12. ericellers - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Oh, I almost forgot. GO TROJANS !!!

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      Do you use Trojans?

      • Gobias Industries - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:31 AM

        I wish his dad did.

  13. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    We can go ahead and blame Escobar, and he deserves some blame, but where were the Jays in all this? Let’s face it, some of these guys are probably borderline illiterate. Does nobody double-check them on compliance issues? MLB manages to jump on the Mets for trying to wear FDNY hats, and Francona for sweatshirts. Doesn’t anybody give the players a glance before sending them out on the field?

    • kiwicricket - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      Completely agree. I don’t think there is any malice or dislike/hatred, dude was just being dumb and clowning around. So dumb that it almost defies belief.
      I would guess a minimum of 15 people saw what he had written under his eyes before heading onto the field, not one had the sense to abort it. That’s the most amazing thing, not an idiot doing something stupid.

      • cur68 - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        Nail, meet hammer: BANG! Right on the head.

        How did his coaches, teammates and trainers let him go out there with that on? Really fellas?

  14. 1flyboy1 - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    If he was pranked, he decided to run with it, so that doesn’t absolve him. The Blue Jays organization/team allowing him to go on the field with that eye black on are the ones who really have explaining to do.

    The press conference shall be interesting.

  15. charlutes - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    meant for ur mom, stop crying.

  16. prionogenic - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:23 AM


    “Seriously: how does one put those stickers on without once checking to see if they’re straight?”


  17. randygnyc - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    He may of applied the eye black sticker and then a team mate added the words. He may have been told the words were something different. If that’s the case, WHO WAS THE OTHER PLAYER?

  18. ericellers - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Only used ones.

  19. ericellers - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Really into recycling I guess?

  20. ericellers - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Estoy lista para mi primer Mr. DiMille. Is most likely what he was going for here?

  21. jaysfan64 - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    If Bautista was with the team, this thread and probably this issue wouldn’t exist…

    • cur68 - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      Now that’s an accurate statement. I can recall several instances where Bautista took Yunel aside and lectured him. You could tell what was going on from the increasingly wooden expression on Yunel’s face, too. Kid’s a few bricks shy of a load: he needs a guy like Bautista around to run heard on his ¢5 head. What kills me is where was Vizquel for this one? He should have put a stop to it before it left the clubhouse.

  22. jaysfan64 - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Cur, I agree with you 100%…depending on what the facts are (and we don’t have them all yet but I guarantee the Jays players do as well as every other player in MLB) and depending on how the Jays handle this it could have chilling repercussions on this franchise…if he didn’t write that who did? What do you do with that player and all those who are implicit? If a purging of some sort does not happen how are we perceived by other players as a free agent destination this offseason? AA and especially Beeston (who values integrity above everything else) have to be fuming right now, and not just because they have to address this in NYC, media capital of the world of all places…this has the potential to largely screw up their master plan…I wouldn’t want to be Escobar right now, I tell you…

  23. thatyankeedude - Sep 18, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Let it go already this is such a non story! We got like a ton of teams with playoff implications on the line and we are sitting here talking about what is written on somebodies eye black.

    • stex52 - Sep 18, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      I said that at the start of the thread. No one listened.

  24. ericellers - Sep 18, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Excuse me I was looking for the lady’s sewing circle , oh here it is!

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