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David Cone calls Ichiro’s bat a “chopstick”

Oct 3, 2012, 8:54 AM EDT

Ichiro Suzuki AP

Sometimes, when a pitcher throws a gopherball, the announcer says “I bet he wishes he could have that one back.” I imagine the same goes for a broadcaster who used to be a pitcher. David Cone, specifically.

Last night in the bottom of the 11th, Cone, broadcasting for YES Network, was describing an Ichiro Suzuki hit and said “Ichiro … with the choptick” to describe his bat handling abilities.  Here’s the video. Watch for that awkward broadcast silence followed in which you just know everyone in the booth and in the satellite truck were grimacing and cringing at one another. Good times!

This story about it says “the remark caused an outcry from fans on social media.” Which, OK, but I scrolled back on my baseball-fan-and-watcher-heavy Twitter feed from last night and I didn’t see an “outcry.” I saw a lot of people say stuff like “oooh, Coney, that wasn’t good,” but no “outcry.”

I mean, gosh, even overly-sensitive liberal weenies like me acknowledge that sometimes stuff happens.  At least I hope so.

  1. bgeary8 - Oct 3, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    Agreed, Craig. It wouldn’t surprise me if Coney has already apologized to Ichiro for the slip up. I’ve always seen him as a good guy and I think everyone is allowed a slip up from time to time.

    • southofheaven81 - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:18 AM

      I think he meant that he was chopping at the ball.

      At least, I really hope that’s what he meant.

    • frenchysplatediscipline - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      Yeah. Cone is such a great guy. A real class act.

      Maybe he dropped his drawers and started spanking it in the booth right after the uncomfortable silence because he is such a ‘great guy.’

      Another case of someone being a ‘great guy’ because he was a great athlete.

      Get real.

      • mgdsquiggy17 - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:17 AM

        So since this report was from 2002 do you have what actually happened with it? Reading that article I smell a money grab…

        “The suit also alleged that later in the 1989 season Cone went to a hotel where two of the women were staying and jumped into bed with them.”

        So did they invite him to the room after he supposedly jacked it in the bullpen in front of them or did he just show up, kick the door in and jump in bed with them?

      • blabidibla - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:18 AM

        The lawsuit was dropped. Allegations do not make it true.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        Thanks for sharing the link Frency. I forgot about that. But it is sorta’ fishy that later in the year he went to the hotel where two of the women were staying and jumped into bed with them.
        I mean…obviously…they let him in.
        Why would you let a guy in your room who just Months prior “flogged his dolphin” in front of you…in a MLB Bullpen no less?
        Ya’ think just maybe…they were “friendly” with one another?
        Qualification: I am NOT condoning anything with regards to him “punching the clown” in the bullpen. It’s definitely twisted.
        Just saying the story doesn’t add up when considered with the hotel room thing.

      • jolink653 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:17 PM

        Lol I didn’t even know David Cone was accused of that. The lawsuit was dropped though, so you know those two were probably just gold-digging whores

      • 4cornersfan - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        I wonder what kind of lure he used to “lure” them to the bullpen? A Bass Grande? A Jackall Flick Shake Worm? A Bucktail Jig? See

      • akismet-b1f6e7f3bcb8b52f8131cf2e1d2ad79c - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:29 PM

        That suit was dropped in 1993 as it was ruled “unfounded”. Did you check the National Enquirer too while you were doing your David Cone character study?

    • hojo20 - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      Big deal…Tommy Heisohn said the same thing about Yao Ming during a game and it was hilarious.

  2. mncubsfan - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    It was a simple slip of the tongue and not a big deal

    • drewsylvania - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      Agreed. This is the kind of racism that isn’t racism at all. Instead, it’s PC-ism, and the story mentioned by Craig is clearly trolling for hits with this piece.

    • pw38 - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      Yeah, keep the insensitive comments to himself.

    • Glenn - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      Agreed! Let’s see – Ichiro is Japanese and they use chopsticks (as do I in Asian restaurants), he swings his bat (sometimes referred to as a stick in baseball slang), and he chops at the ball like no one else in the sport.

      I don’t see how this is rascist by merely referring to something culturally specific that is not offensive in and of itself.

      • skids003 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        Craig has to come up with at least one of these every week. He described himself perfectly.

  3. girardisbraces - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    I don’t know if it was fatigue, or nerves, or euphoria, but I heard the comment while watching the game on YES and it didn’t even elicit a raised eyebrow from me.

    Of course I’m not a liberal weenie either LOL…..

    • braddavery - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      Yeah, this “outrage” is pathetic. He’s Asian and Asians use chopsticks like we use forks. How the hell is that anything close to racism or offensive. This society is so freaking sensitive, it’s ridiculous.

  4. The Common Man - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    This shocks the hell out of me, but I’m not convinced that Cone did something wrong here. It was probably a bad joke, and it’s unfortunate that Cone’s first use of it is in conjunction with a Japanese player, but I like “swinging a chopstick” as a descriptor for how players like Ichiro and Ben Revere and others hit balls on the ground and try to beat them out. Like Baltimore chop, or dying quail or whatever. It makes a certain amount of sense, doesn’t it? Or it could be completely lame. It’s early and I’m not caffeinated yet.

    • Kevin S. - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      He probably could have said toothpick, meaning the exact same thing, and nobody would have said anything. Not nearly as egregious as Sterling’s “An A-bomb! From A-Rod!” call a couple years ago on a shot off of Matsuzaka.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:11 AM

        Sterling says that about every A-Rod home run. Why is it egregious? Should he have refrained that one time in hundreds, because the pitcher he hit the home run off was Japanese? Puh-leeze.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:43 AM

        He shouldn’t have used it at all. Using it off a Japanese pitcher just highlighted the issue.

      • Glenn - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:06 PM

        He accidently used the A-bomb call for Matsui a number of years back. Obviously an accident, but A-bombs and killing 100,000s of people is offensive. Chopsticks are not.

  5. paperlions - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Meh, sometimes slips of the tongue are innocent and funny. Is “chopstick” or chopstick usage derogatory in some way? I use them every time I go to an Asian restaurant because doing so entertains me….it adds to the experience….in fact, I use them at home a lot as well, or at the office if I am snacking on something that would make my fingers dirty (e.g. cheetos) and I don’t want to bung up my keyboard.

    • Gobias Industries - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      I can’t tell if you’re making a joke or you really do use chopsticks to eat cheetos. Please clarify. I must know.

      • cur68 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:18 PM

        I do it too. Have done ever sense my Aunt taught me when I was 3 to use them. She was Chinese (RIP Aunty: you made great dumplings) and all her kids used chopsticks. Unbeatable for keeping your hands clean while typing. Try it sometime.

      • paperlions - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        Not a joke, I do it all the time, especially at work…handy for eating chips or nuts or whatever and keeping your hands clean. Also handy when eating snacks while playing poker….people will make fun of you….until they notice that it is just a damned good idea.

      • bigharold - Oct 3, 2012 at 5:58 PM

        “..until they notice that it is just a damned good idea.”

        I’ve tried to eat with chop sticks, .. they are NOT a good idea, .. hence the fork and spoon.

        But, to you point it was a fairly minor slip of the tongue barely worth mentioning.

        It’s certainly not on par as when Howard Cosell called Alvin Garrett a little monkey. And, I kind of thought Ciosell’s remark was fairly innocuous too. He took a lot of heat because he was Howard Cosell and a lot of people clearly hated him.

  6. realgone2 - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Look at that little monkey run!!

  7. richardf954 - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    My Goodness , It is unbelievable to me How our country has turned into a bunch of overly sensitive individuals , Free country ? freedom of speech ? Do we truly believe Ichiro went home that night and lost sleep over that comment ? Cmon people give it a rest already . For anyone to say that they have not made a racial comment in their lifetime could truly be called a blatant liar . And I’m sure this post will be removed as well for the sake of the easily offended.

    • paperlions - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      In fairness, it is better to be vigilant with regard to racism and sexism than to just reject those concepts as unimportant or non-existent while merrily going along being a sexist misogynist. If you are going to err, this is probably the far better side to err on.

      • jjschiller - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:13 AM

        Suprisingly, 7 straight white males disagree with your sentiment.

      • 4cornersfan - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:33 PM


    • realgone2 - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      I wouldn’t say so much freedom of speech as muc as just real touchy. If there wasn’t that big of an outcry then why even report it?

    • The Common Man - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      Sigh. You don’t understand the first amendment, etc. etc. Calling someone out for what they say is different from saying they can’t say it, yada, yada. And I question your reading skills if you look through this timeline and think people are condemning David Cone. Or maybe you just really wanted to be outraged and couldn’t be bothered to pay attention.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      Free country ? freedom of speech ?

      Good god man, freedom of speech doesn’t mean you have the right to say whatever you want. It means the gov’t can’t tell you to shut up. If you are going to cite an amendment as justification for doing something, at least know what is actually said/written.

  8. indaburg - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    Oh, Coney. That was just Linsane.

    • blues1988 - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      speaking of lin, i wonder if he’ll get fired like the “chink in the armor” guy from espn.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:14 AM

        I sure hope he doesn’t Blues. Both were slips of the tongue.
        It’s to the point of being ridiculous really.

      • indaburg - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:47 AM

        I don’t think he’ll get fired. It was just a stupid slip of the tongue. The ESPN guy wrote that. He had time to think about it.

  9. stlouis1baseball - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Craig said “weenie.” Hahaha!

    • stex52 - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      Thanks SLB. Bringing the conversation back to where it really needs to be. WEENIE WEENIE WEENIE!!

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        No problem Suze. We need to maintain our focus on the important things.

  10. lumpyf - Oct 3, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    He can say the same thing describing Jeter tonight. He likes Japanese food too.
    On another note, my AV program blocked the site of the link, called it malicious.

  11. Jason @ IIATMS - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    We all had a ball with it on Twitter last night. Even better still was Coney’s comment later, when he referred to a grab of a baseball by a fan by barking “Nice snatch”. Yeah, good times with Coney in the booth.

    And yes, the pregnant pause was glorious, if you’re into that sorta thing. Which I am and noted on Twitter too. Good times.

  12. albertmn - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    It may have been a slip up by Cone. And, it may not have been a huge deal. But, that doesn’t make it right. It is these type of “innocent” slurs and references that make people think that worse things are okay to say.

  13. papichulo55 - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    It is Cones job to describe the game from a Players perspective. I seriously doubt Ichiro, or anyone else with the Yankees, was offended. Cone is a good announcer, who gives honest, expert insight into the game. The solution here is simple. If you dont like listening to ballplayers announcing games, turn down the volume.

    • albertmn - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:46 PM

      Actually, whether or not Ichiro was offended isn’t the only issue. Maybe most of you don’t work in a place that makes you go through endless Harassment training yearly. But, it isn’t just the intended target that can feel harassed. It can also be anyone else that hears the exchange, which in this case was a lot of people.

  14. dowhatifeellike - Oct 3, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    The question that has to be asked is, has Cone ever called a bat a “chopstick” any other time? If yes, then fine, it was just a coincidence that an asian player was batting. If not, it was a racist comment, whether intentional or not.

  15. frenchysplatediscipline - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    I am not defending Cone here (see my post above), but after thinking about this – WHY IS THIS AN ISSUE?

    Is saying that Ichiro uses his bat like a chopstick really offensive?

    1: Ichiro (especially at this point in his career) is a slap hitter. He chops at the ball. True fact.

    2: Ichiro is Japanese. Japanese people use chopsticks to eat. Both true facts. Not derogatory facts.

    3: Saying someone who is Japanese uses chopsticks is not an offensive thing to say. True fact.

    4: Cone’s clever pun is and was not intended to be offensive.

    This country has gone to shit because of all the over hyped oversensitive PC bullshit.

    Now, I am not condoning people that make fun of other races for insensitive stereotypes for the sake of a laugh. If Cone had made a derogatory remark (like the ESPN writer using chink to describe Jeremy Lin), then by all means, verbally crucify him.

    But for fuck’s sake – where is the issue here?

    • albertmn - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:52 PM

      So, according to frenchy, you can call people whatever you want, as long as you can later make a bunch of bullet points.
      Many Asian people have slanted eyes (compared to Caucasians), so does that make it okay to call them “slant eyes”, just because it’s true?

      By the way, to all of you trying to now claim that Cone used “chopstick” because Ichiro sometimes slaps/chops at the ball, are really reaching. We all know the term was used because he is Japanese.

      I am in no way saying Cone should be crucified. But, it would make sense for him to say “The remark that I made could be considered offensive to some, and I am sorry that I used it. No offense was intended.” If he did that, it would all go away and be forgotten. I truly believe it was likely a slipup. In fact, I would consider it worse if he intended it as a pun, as frenchy surmises, rather than just as a slipup.

      • frenchysplatediscipline - Oct 3, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        Way to compare apples to oranges there, Albert.

        Pretty sure ‘slant eyes’ is a bit on the derogatory side – but who am I to judge.

        While I agree with you that Cone used the term because Ichiro is Japanese (and any claims on the contrary are far fetched), your statement that it is far worse because it was an intended pun, combined with your remark above of how others around Cone were shocked (proving it was offensive) go to great lengths to solidify my original point.

        The people in the booth that cringed/winced when it was said are just conditioned to how little insignificant issues like this one get blown completely out of proportion (especially when its on TV) by people in this country.

  16. deathmonkey41 - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Would it have better if he had called it a Samuri Sword?

  17. jayscarpa - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Ichiro does handle the bat as deftly as he does chopsticks. A Japanese metaphor for a Japanese player. I thought it was a good observation/analogy.

    Unless chopsticks have become a racial symbol and/or a derogatory word and I missed it.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      Jays: I have no doubt chopsticks will become a racial symbol or otherwise derogatory word.
      My guess…in about 3 minutes.

  18. sophiethegreatdane - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Stick a fork in Cone, he’s done.

    Ooops, can I say that? I mean, white guys use forks all the time, perhaps I’m offending all the Caucasians out there.

    Guess I really stepped in it. Damn! There I go again; offending the canines now. It’s not their fault they poop outside. Stupid humans.

  19. highpowered350 - Oct 3, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Cone and O’Neill are great, the only blue collar types the Yankees allow in the booth.

    Coney on his match-up with Kevin Millwood in game 2 of the 99 WS.

    “I rolled him up and smoked him like a Cuban cigar”

  20. butchhuskey - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    I personally don’t find this racist or insensitive at all. Cone’s remark didn’t sound racially based – he was just using the chopstick as a metaphor for Ichiro’s style of play. And even if he used the word “chopstick” because Ichiro is Asian, how exactly is that offensive? Is it racist to point out that many Asian cultures eat with chopsticks? Last time I checked such a thing didn’t have any negative connotations

  21. stackers1 - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    I can’t stop laughing at “nice snatch”.

  22. Utley's Hair - Oct 3, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Nothing to see here…please move along. Except for the one who harped on freedom of speech…please stay behind so we can smack you upside the head until you realize how idiotic your comment was.

  23. aceshigh11 - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Cone clearly misspoke…what he meant to say was:

    *gong sound*

    “Ohhh…most honorabre Ichiro with his chopstick…hit the barr over warr…HOME WON!”

    *gong sound*

    Reminds me of this:

  24. 4cornersfan - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2.

    • albertmn - Oct 3, 2012 at 1:54 PM

      Guess murder is only bad, if you think it is bad. Free all the serial killers, because they didn’t think they were doing bad!

  25. bigleagues - Oct 3, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Honestly, I realize that this comment could be perceived as derogatory, but the problem with Political Correctness is that context and intent has been completely cast aside in favor of absolutism.

    I believe that Cone was attempting to be clever and had no ill intent. And really, let’s be honest, Ichiro does chop at the ball and bats are commonly referred to as ‘sticks’. Just because Ichiro is Japanese, it does not in turn mean that Cone was doing anything other than making an attempt being colorful.

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