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MLB and the Braves need to trash that new batting practice cap now

Jan 3, 2013, 9:26 AM EDT

Braves BP caps

UPDATE:  It seems that the Braves may, possibly, be considering a change.

9:26 AM: Inspired by their atrotious new batting practice caps, Ryan Hill has a take on the Atlanta Braves and their regrettable use of American Indian iconography and how one reconciles being a Braves fan with the existence of that garbage.

My short answer is basically the same as his: it’s horrible and I hate it, but I’m here for the baseball, not to buy in to some cult of fandom which requires me to approve of these things. Nevertheless, if that bp cap is a harbinger of things to come and Liberty Media is making a conscious effort to reemphasize the screaming Indian and other such things, I’m going to have to question my level support for the team.

Hill’s larger point, which applies to not just the Braves, but the Indians, Redskins and any other team which chooses to portray Indians as savages and caricatures, is spot-on:

The more that American Indians and First Nations people are seen as cartoons and caricatures of the past, the less they are likely to be seen as people that exist today, who continue to make contributions to human culture, and who continue to be denied many of the basic rights and respect afforded to others … There was a time when professional baseball moved ahead of society, defying Jim Crow and racially integrating the sport. Today, even with all the formal tributes to its Civil Rights legacy, baseball lags behind by condoning American Indian mascots.

I’ll acknowledge that getting rid of Chief Wahoo will be hard because it’s been around for a long time and is still actively being used by the Indians. There is no excuse for the Braves and the screaming Indian, however. He has been dead for some time and there is no reason why the Braves and Major League Baseball can’t put a stop to that new cap before a single one is sold. It’s the right thing to do and I’d hope they’d know it.

249 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Walk - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    So if this logo is out i guess cowboys and sooners have gotta go too.

    • The Common Man - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      Why, are a lot of cowboys and Oklahomans angry about how they’re being portrayed?

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        Not the Cowboys really, but, yes, some people dislike the Sooner thing. It is bothersome.

      • The Common Man - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        My understanding is that the University in question is the University of Oklahoma. It was founded and primarily attended by people who refer to themselves as “Sooners.” That seems entirely above board.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        Actually, Sooners were people who snuck into Oklahoma Territory before it was legally opened for settlement by white people…after it had been promised to the Indians who were forcibly resettled there “as long as the grass grows and the waters run.” It is bothersome to some to celebrate that then (because it marks another broken treaty) — which is not to say that Indians in Oklahoma are not fans of Sooner football (before anyone jumps my ass about that).

      • Walk - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:21 PM

        You totally missed the point. The point is you can take almost any innocous seeming logo such as cowboys and make an issue of it. As someone with native american ancestry i am bothered by the cowboys as a team name. I cannot help but be reminded of the land where my ancestors lived which became cow pastures. People think settlers when they talk of tribes being displaced. Well who were those settlers then? It is an issue that angers me which is why i took so long to respond, it is personal to me. For years i have read your comments on hbt tcm, please do not take these posts as me being angry at you, i consider you to be both intelligent and a friendly poster.

    • badmajk24 - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:38 AM

      Yes Walk, you are totally right, after being exterminated and stripped of their native lands, Cowboys have had quite a struggle to regain their cultural identity.

  2. notdumb - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    I love all the sheltered white people lining up to show how progressive they are its so cute. But get real, i lived on a reservation and worked at a indian casino, and guess what, if the local indians were’nt wearing the local team(Packers) gear they were wearing CLE INDIANS OR REDSKINS hats or coats, normal every day indians arent offended by it and see it as a source of pride, its the tribal leaders who realised there was publicity and more importantly MONEY to be gained by complaining.

    • Old Gator - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      I agree. I think that horrible image needs to be replaced with Johnny Depp as Tonto.

    • kinggw - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      Just because a few Native Americans aren’t offended doesn’t mean its ok. You living on a reservation and working at an indian casino doesnt mean you are the expert on Native Americans.

      Even if the imagery on the hat is offensive to only a few Native Americans, the Braves should do the right thing and scrap the hat. Whether its defending the image on this hat or using the N word, I will never understand why some White people argue so passionately for the right to negatively objectify other races.

      • jpack1974 - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        And you are an expert why?…..

      • kiwicricket - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        That is entirely correct. It’s the basic principal involved.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:35 PM

        You make the mistake of assuming he is referring to all Indians. He is referring to those Indians he knows, worked with, associated with…etc. Far more than a few…but certainly not all inclusives and he obviously doesn’t know every Indian in the entire Country. No different than me. My post ONLY refers to the 100 – 200 that I know personally. Not all inclusive. Just these couple hundred or so. Does this help clear it up?

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      That’s right. I’m so progressive it’s cute.

      Let other people take a dump on you. I’m fine with that. But let other people take a dump on other people who are not you? No. I’ll make my case to defend their human rights to not be subjected by a bunch of small-minded businessmen when the moment is right. And the moment right now happens to be a blog article discussing such situations.

      I’m not going to your house, Anonymous. I’m not shoving anything down your throat.

      This Internet doohickey sure does suck when it comes to context.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      notdumb: You are on point: As someone who was married to an Indian (they referred to themselves as just that…”Indian”) NOT Native American…I know with 100% certainty they take great pride in it. As someone who was immersed in their culture (from literally dancing in Pow Wows, to going on hunting and fishing trips to breaking bread with them daily)…the love it. The Braves (and their tomahawk chop), Chief Illiniwek of Illinois, Chief Osceola of Florida State, Florida States war drums and subsequent chops, Chief Wahoo, the Washington Redskins…you name it. If it has an Indian…they dig it.
      They take great pride in it. It is the “White Man” in all their self righteousness that takes issue with it. Of course…being up in arms over something is the American way. Let’s “rage.” Down with the Man. Down with the “to each his own” mentality. You simply must conform to my way of thinking because I have a problem with what you are doing. Unless of course you have a problem with something I find harmless. Then…you are a right wing…hate filled…insensitive nut.
      RAGE!

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:39 PM

        Really, Woodpecker? We gotta do this again?

  3. kiwicricket - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    I tend to be slightly observant, respectful and sympathetic for native inhabitants of countries who were raped, murdered and had their land stolen from them. But that’s just me…

    Pretty sure it’s normal to have a percentage of the population who find it unnecessary or offensive for such a thing. I don’t understand why the other part of the population is so aggressively for using such things? What’s it to them?

    • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      Agreed.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:45 PM

        I can’t help myself Philiac. This is a particular subject I know very well and I can not let the holier than thou sect think they speak for others. They are so far off base of the numerous Indians I know it is laughable. Hell…I have Cherokee in my lineage from my Mothers’ side. Her Great Grandfather was full blooded Cherokee. This up in arms mentality bullshit is precisely why I have taken a break from HBT. But unfortunately…I am back! LOL!

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:59 PM

        Ok, so your experience counts more than mine how?

      • philsieg - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        St Looey,

        I wonder do you know what anecdotal evidence is? Do you understand that such evidence garnered from experience with a small number of representatives of a group cannot be extrapolated to suggest it is representative of the entire group?

        Your experience is perfectly valid. It also deserves to be considered along with the other evidence cited here today along with the entire body of the historical record. But in and of itself, it’s not determinative. And all your bluff and bluster won’t change that.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        “Ok, so your experience counts more than mine how?”

        I apologize Philiac if I miss-led you with my comment.
        Of course my experience counts no more (or less) than yours.
        I simply meant (mean)…I found ZERO objections from the numerous Indians I know. I mean that. NONE. They take great pride in it. They revel in it if you will. They were Braves and Redskins fans for this very reason.
        But I will state again these were just the Indians I personally knew, lived with, was related to, etc…
        If they don’t have any issues with it…I am good. I realize that simplifies it quite a bit.
        But for me…it is simple. Not gonna “rage” for the sake of “raging.”

      • bh192012 - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:47 PM

        Here philsieg, so you don’t need to concearn yourself with anecdotal evidence…

        “Asked if high school and college teams should stop using Indian nicknames, 81% of Native American respondents said no. As for pro sports, 83% of Native American respondents said teams should not stop using Indian nicknames, mascots, characters and symbols. ” – http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/magazine/08/17/indian.wars030402/index.html

        83% 83%… How often can you get that % of a population to agree on anything? So you we can go ahead and state that there in fact is real solid factual evidence that a vast majority of Native Americans are ok with using Indian nicknames and icons for sports teams.

      • philsieg - Jan 3, 2013 at 6:12 PM

        I was wondering how long it would take before someone posted a link to the discredited SI survey. Here’s a rather comprehensive take-down of the poll. Two of the academics involved are Native Americans; all are highly credentialed. It even has documentation, something sorely missing from most of the emotional arguments presented by the “traditionalists” here whinging about the PC police. It first appeared in the peer-reviewed Journal of Sports and Social Issues. It’s a long read but enlightening.

      • bh192012 - Jan 3, 2013 at 6:58 PM

        philsieg, you posted an interesting link. I find it odd that they are all in arms that SI used “self reported” Native Americans for their poll, yet found it ok to use “self reported” polls when it suited them (University of North Dakota poll, with a broken URL to the info citation I might add.) I’ll take a national poll over polls of self selected groups (university staff or “Indian Opinion Leaders,” any day.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2013 at 7:06 PM

        Wow, how much do you think it cost SI to track down and poll every Indian living in the US??

      • philsieg - Jan 3, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        Broken links in a web page from 2005. Who would have expected that?

        Look, I’m not going to do it all for you. Use the Google if you’re really interested. Or go to the main Sage publications website and pay to read more than the abstract. This was the most complete version I could find with a simple search. The main thrusts of the research are accurate and the criticisms are valid. This study has never been debunked and isn’t likely to be since it has been peer reviewed. The SI poll is not a national poll. It’s simply an exercise in confirmation bias by a publication who had a vested interest in the outcome.

    • blacksables - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      What you white people did to the Maori was terrible.

      How does that concern a race of people whose entire culture was based on raping, murdering, and stealing land from others? You know, the history of the American Indian.

      Pick up a history book. Read it. You’ll be enlightened.

      • cur68 - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:11 PM

        I think someone is not reading their own history.

        entire culture was based on raping, murdering, and stealing land from others

        See: Crusades. Were those “Indians” doing that? Or is it unfair to paint with so broad a brush?

      • stex52 - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        That’s an overly broad generalization of the North American Indians. And it seems that many whites had no trouble joining in the fun when they got here.

      • blacksables - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        You’re using the phrase ‘overly broad generalization’ while discussing this subject? Good on you.

        Doesn’t mean it wasn’t true. You’re from East Texas, I believe?

        Ever heard of the Commanches?

      • stex52 - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM

        Of course.

        Ever hear of the Cherokee? Trying to adopt white ways certainly worked out for them. Navajo? Hopi? Alabama? We can play this game for a while.

        Choosing one or even a few warrior cultures isn’t going to make the point. Besides, how about the Anglo-Saxon cultures of northern Europe in the first millenium? Noticeably different?

      • kiwicricket - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:41 PM

        Without wading into cultural lineage, my point was to emphasize that there are certain reasons people get upset by such depictions due to historical events. The Aborigines in Australia were still being shot up until 1940, it’s a touchy subject for very good reasons. People seem to forget this, dismiss it as modern day ‘PC’ nonsense….

        I don’t get how the other percentage of the population get so bent out of shape insisting it’s okay to depict a race of people in this manner, when it’s quite clear a certain percentage of the population deems it unacceptable. Is it hard to change it? No. Does this multi-billion dollar corp. need to do it? No.

        “What you white people did to the Maori was terrible” And this involves me how? Because I am actually a vampire who was directly involved in the land wars in NZ 150yrs ago?

        Love how you just assume I am white also

      • blacksables - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:46 PM

        Stex, my great-grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee and her mother walked the Trail of Tears.

        I know my heritage.

      • kiwicricket - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        Which is precisely why I don’t understand why you think it’s okay for a corp. to exploit and comically depict your ancestors in such a manner for their profit.

      • blacksables - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        Kiwi, I wasn’t responding to the issue of the cap. That’s been beat to death. My comment was in response to:

        ‘ tend to be slightly observant, respectful and sympathetic for native inhabitants of countries who were raped, murdered and had their land stolen from them. But that’s just me…’

        As someone who has Indian blood, someone who has spent some time around Indians and on reservations, and someone who has studied history extensively, I can say that’s the pot calling the kettle black.

        The land Indians had stolen from them was land they stole from the Indians who were there before them. Didn’t hear them complaining about that one too much.

        The raids, to steal horses, take scalps, count coup, steal slaves, etc, are all well doucmented and true.

        Tribal warfare was a way of life and expected, and something to look forward to.

        People can’t complain about being treated the same way they have treated others.

        Besides, that’s in the past. We need to look at the way we treat them now. And believe, a hat doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to people living in poverty.

      • stex52 - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        Perhaps you should have made your point a little more clearly. Let me tackle it a bit.

        If you are talking about the warrior cultures – Comanche being the best example – you have a point. In the end they reaped what they sowed. But vast areas of North America were settled by more-or-less stable cultures that farmed, traded and lived more-or-less peaceably. Were there wars and were warriors revered? Of course. Welcome to the human race. I’m hard pressed to name adjacent cultures that have not fought. Did the majority live by rape and plunder? That’s an over-generalization.

        Suggesting – as you seemed to – that they somehow deserved their fate is over the top. Their biggest sin was being in an aboriginal culture that possessed land desired by a technologically advanced culture. That always ends badly for the aborigines.

      • kiwicricket - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        And the Maori’s murdered and ate the previous inhabitants in NZ…pretty similar to plenty of conflicts around the globe over the past 3000yrs. 500yrs ago, half the worlds battles were over salt.

        You are missing the point entirely. Do native Indians really need some multi-billion dollar corp. depicting them in this manner, as it clearly offends/upsets a decent percentage of the population? The answer is no. Let them make money in some other form.

      • blacksables - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        If by a decent percentage of the population you mean white liberals, you’re correct.

        But I can tell you that a decent percentage of Indians don’t give a rats ass.

        You’re complaining that we took their land and their culture.

        Now you want to take their own opinions and their own voice away from them and speak for them?

        Good on ya’, Cristobal.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        Great point Sables. My ex-Wife was half Commanche and half Kiowa.
        Commanche’s are known to be very violent. Bat shit crazy in fact.
        And it is accepted and cherished among their culture.
        They wear that distinction like a badge of honor.
        Not saying there is anything wrong with that.
        Just saying a lot of people who feel they are somewhat well versed on a particular subject ultimately don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground.
        This would include me. LOL! Just not on this particular topic and how it correlates to the Indians I was related to and myself personally.

      • stex52 - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        I trust you behaved yourself around her, SLB. Sounds like it could have gotten dangerous.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        Stex, clearly, she drove him bonkers cuz he is off his rocker! lol

      • Old Gator - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        Cur: but can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

      • cur68 - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        Gator: No, but I can wind will all the colours of paint. In fact after a big egg-curry and a glass of milk…I am DANGEROUS.

  4. notdumb - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    White people, pouring your hearts out, call your closest indian friend and ask him how he feels about it, thats right you dont have any and have no idea what you’re blabbing about. I have lived around worked with and been close friends with indians and speak from EXPERIENCE.

    • kiwicricket - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      I beg to differ….

    • historiophiliac - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:49 PM

      Actually, I have been discussing this thread today with a co-worker who is Euchee (a group that has been folded into the Muscogee nation, losing their independence during removal) and she finds these depictions offensive. But, the better part of our conversation has been about her frustrations at losing her language. So, it was an interesting conversation in the end.

  5. realgone2 - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Craig should stop wasting his efforts on a minor baseball blog. He could use his powers for a greater good and champion other offended people’s causes. “i’m not only a baseball blogger I’m a difference maker.”

  6. brandontroutman - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Well, I guess this made something easier for me, if the article is written by Craig Calcaterra, don’t read it.

    What is with all of the whining and complaining? If he’s sooooo offended by this, why use the picture of the cap in the article?

    The fact that people think it’s degrading to have a nickname of something related to Indians, Native Americans, First Nations, whatever you want to call them, it’s absurd.

    Do baseballs get offended when they are portrayed with huge heads and small bodies by the Mets mascot? No.

    Do oceanic pirates of the sea get offended at the Pittsburgh logo? Do the Lord’s Angels get offended with their logo? Do bear cubs get offended at the sad portrayal of a small bear that the Cubs put out? Seriously, where does this stop?

    Quit being a bunch of self important, politically correct whiners, and just deal with it. If any of the number of Indian nations in this country have a problem with this, they will deal with it.

    So let the Braves, Indians, Seminoles, and Cherokees of the world be.

    • philsieg - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      Yet you read it. You not only read it, but you saw fit to comment on it. And you really shouldn’t have. I mean really, really shouldn’t have. Not only does it appear that the fundamentals of logic have escaped your notice, you’ve managed to be inane and offensive all at the same time. Because we all know baseballs and bear cubs are the same thing as human beings who have a long history of being abused and discriminated against. Better take your own advice next time.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:03 PM

        “wonder do you know what anecdotal evidence is?”

        Seriously Phil? If so…yeah. Essentially…small sample size.
        If you read my posts you would see that throughout each one I referred to those that I know personally. Numerous Indians mind you. Say…100 – 200.
        But certainly a very small sample size when compared to the entire population.
        However, I can only reference what I have experienced personally.

        But back to the Confederate Flag comparison… Again…well done!

      • philsieg - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:29 PM

        Actually, anecdotal in this instance goes beyond small sample size, although that’s usually implied, to being based on or consisting of reports or observations of usually unscientific observers. I didn’t deny the validity of your experience, only that you seem to be using it to draw broad conclusions about how an entire group might respond and to dismiss the concerns of those who disagree with you. You’ve pretty much said that based on your experience, those of us here who find the caricature offensive and support the POV of Native Americans who do object (such as the blogger to whom I linked) don’t have a valid opinion.

        Let’s try and reverse this. Do you think that your former in-laws or other acquaintances with native heritage would object or cry foul if the Braves’ and other similar sports logos were to disappear and be replaced by less offensive images and names? Would they no longer feel any connection to the teams they rooted for?

  7. stex52 - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    And I swore I was going to stay away from this one…………………..

  8. philsieg - Jan 3, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Lotta verbiage here today. Let’s leave it up to Louis CK to help us understand the real crux of this “disagreement”. (Warning: NSFW)

  9. iladel90 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    Check out this fun free baseball game

    http://brushbackbaseball.com/index.jsp?rf=1233

    Create & train players or run a team.

  10. mazblast - Jan 4, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Why do teams have “batting practice hats” and “batting practice jerseys”, not to mention all the “alternate” stuff?

    To sell more sh**, that’s why.

    What the Braves need to do is ask themselves one question, and it’s not “In all the noise and confusion, did he fire five shots…or six?” It’s, “Is the money we’ll make on this crappy hat worth all the hassle and bad publicity we’ll get?”

    I contend that the answer is, “No”, and that will be the real reason they’ll cancel this POS idea.

  11. wpjohnson - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    I like the cap. Where can I buy a couple?

    This silly political correctness is an abomination. The country has far too many whiners.

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