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There is still a racial divide in baseball

Apr 16, 2014, 11:32 AM EDT

jose reyes getty Getty Images

Here’s an old chestnut about baseball and race from the bad old days:

“This team has too many Latinos on it to win,” mused the old scout beside me. “Get too many of them together on a club and they take over. The club divides, has no sense of itself. They might not be terrible. I mean, them boys can play, but they ain’t gonna win no championship. They’re too emotional to go the distance. “No, no”—he shook his head—“I ain’t seen no team with this many Latinos in the lineup win.”

Oh, wait. That’s not from the bad old days. That’s from 2013 and it’s a Blue Jays scout talking about the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays.

That’s passed along by Dirk Hayhurst, who was covering the Jays last year. And he uses that anecdote to do what he does best: tell us about how baseball players, coaches, scouts and executives think and feel behind the scenes when they’re not Saying The Right Things to reporters. This time, about race.

A lot of you get sick of hearing about race in baseball. I assume a lot of that is because you feel like it’s an old topic without any currency in today’s game. As Hayhurst explains in his excellent article, you couldn’t be more wrong.

113 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. largebill - Apr 16, 2014 at 2:21 PM


    Any idea why Hayhurst chose not to name the scout? Believe he almost had an obligation to include that in the story. With him left unnamed it is sort of a smear of the entire Blue Jays scouting department. Also, Hayhurst should be called to account for why he failed to report this when it happened rather than a year later.

  2. jimmyt - Apr 16, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    The scout was probably a black guy who wants to see more Black players and less Latino although it seems to me that a scout of all people should only be concerned with the best players regardless of race or creed.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 16, 2014 at 3:22 PM

      The generic term for you is A-Hole.

      • kylewo - Apr 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

        Nah, it’s “bigot”.

      • mikhelb - Apr 16, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        Until we know who the scout is, we can not eliminate the possibility Jimmy exposed, maybe it is (remember that whole “black latinos are not black”? by Torii Hunter).

    • metroplexsouthsider - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      I agree with “mikhelb.” Until we know who the scout is, per the Torii Hunter quote, “jimmyt” may be halfway wet, but he’s not necessarily all wet.

  3. jziii - Apr 16, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    This sounds more like stupidity than racism. There are always going to be idiots in any industry.

  4. djandujar - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    I find too many white folks (judging by their use of “them”, etc) in the comments section here. Most seem to insist that racism goes both ways. The best comments I’ve read on the matter are from the folks who sensibly opine that there can’t be comparable situations between light and dark skin because light-skinned folks have never been at a disadvantage in society. I would have to agree with that.
    I also see a lot of folks chiming in about the “Native American”/”Indian” issue (we prefer the term First Nations people), yet we have heard so little from people who identify with being those things.
    And when it comes to Latinos, most people just seem to prefer to sweep the issue under the rug (you know, honkeys like to have their dishes washed by Latinos in restaurants but other than that most white people give little thought about it).
    And yet these white devils think they know all the answers. Same as it ever was.
    So, yes. There is a racial divide. At least among the fans reactions to such things.
    Thank you Craig, for actually offering some intelligent subjects about the game and its culture. I especially want to know more about the things like stadium-builders hustling citizens, players who are outspoken and thoughts on race in the game. You know why? Because not enough people look at the game that deeply. I find it true that most baseball writers are PR voices for the teams or leagues and many seem outright racist.
    I also recommend Dave Zirin’s blog, Edge of Sports, for some deeper analysis about jock culture.
    And yes, I do love baseball. And I probably know more about its history, politics and current players than many people who comment on this site.
    Much respect.

    • djandujar - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      When I say “here”, I mean this blog in general, not necessarily the people who commented before me on this post.

      • mikhelb - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:04 PM

        To top it all, i consider silly to still label people like you did, because by your definitions i can tell you: I know white (europe migrant mother), hispanic (born in México), kumeyaay persons (from Baja)… heck there are lots of russian descendants born in the kumeyaay region in Baja, Mexico (Baja has the biggest communities of russian and chinese immigrants in México).

    • historiophiliac - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      Where are you from? I don’t know anyone where I live who uses First Nations. I thought this was a Canadian thing. Just curious.

  5. braddavery - Apr 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    If I can find 5 decision makers in ML baseball who see past players’ cultures, does that mean there is no racial divide in baseball.

  6. dremmel69 - Apr 16, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    Flash back to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. The majority of MLB owners, scouts, managers, coaches, players and fans did NOT want to see a black player in the majors. SOME of those groups did want to see the color barrier torn down.

    Flash forward to 2014. The script is now flipped. The majority of these same groups of people could care less whether their team is made up of blacks, whites, latinos, native Americans or whatever. As long as they win games, pennants and championships. SOME of those groups do care and would probably welcome a return of the color barrier.

    It is proper to expose those individuals who continue to promote/enforce limitations in MLB based on race. But using terms like “racial divide” is an over-the-top assessment the situation.

    • mikhelb - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:08 PM

      Did you know that Jackie was not the first black player in the majors? there were others before him but MLB decided to ban the participation of black players.

      But for MLB it is more convenient to say there never was a black player before and they didn’t ban them, just merely never accepted them due to society instead of the players giving the ultimatum of not to play against teams with black players.

  7. pjcostello - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    Jut so I understand: Are we talking about white Latinos? Or black Latinos? You know, people of Latin descent come in all skin tones.

    You know why?
    Because they don’t represent a ‘race’, but an ethnicity.

    So maybe the problem is bigotry, but it’s certainly not racism.

  8. stehill51 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:32 AM

    oh yeah…… another NBC outlet

  9. stehill51 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:42 AM

    this is just terrible….. what next? White guys can’t dance? orientals can’t drive? What is the world coming to?

  10. bigmeechy74 - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    So one scout says something stupid and now we have a “racial divide?” Jeez could you be more dramatic? Also, is there anything more boring than talking about race?

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