America’s “greatest” pastime. A sport that has run the bases for over a century. Throughout that time it has been riddled with controversy. And still, it feels as though every day that passes, we learn more about the crap that happens behind closed doors in Major League Baseball.
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Wait. What I meant is the crap that happens “behind closed doors” yet out in the open. Major League Baseball is a historically racist and misogynistic institution full of garbage humans. I have, on more than one occasion, called it the old white man of sports. Why? Because historically, old white men tend to be stubborn, unchanging, bigoted dirtbags.
Disagree with me? There are tons of examples I could point to, but I’m going to speak to three.
Thom Brennaman was the butt of about 6 million rightful jokes at his expense last season. The former Cincinnati Reds commentator uttered a homophobic slur while he “didn’t know” he was being recorded. And yet, he was in the booth with his headset on. First off, you’re an asshole, Thom. Second, even if he didn’t think he was being recorded, he didn’t feel uncomfortable saying it. And that’s because people within the sport don’t care enough.
And then, once the outrage over the comment started to pour in, Brennaman gave the most half hearted apology as here’s a drive deep to left field by Castellanos. He struck out on that one. The dude can’t even give an apology without getting distracted “by his job”. If he actually meant it, he’d have done it all differently. If the network actually cared, they’d have made it happen differently. Baseball doesn’t care.
Mickey Callaway has been back in the news, for inappropriate behavior while working for Cleveland’s baseball team. According to sources at the Athletic, he is known as “Dick Pic Mick” to several people within the New York Mets organization. Hold on one damn second. Dick Pic Mick? That’s the name? And he still had a job?!
This vile man, because he is “good” at coaching, has been consistently shielded by the organizations for which he has worked despite his sexually inappropriate behavior. And that is wild and inappropriate in and of itself.
The fact that so many people within the Mets and Cleveland baseball organizations allowed him to continue under their employment is asinine. Major League Baseball also knew, and did nothing about it. Why? Because women apparently don’t matter to them.
And Terry Francona’s son, Nick, has been going in hard on his father for covering up DPM’s behavior in Cleveland. Instead of listening and understanding, people are tearing Nick to shreds. Why? Because he’s putting the livelihood of women ahead of “what’s best for the team”. Terry doesn’t exactly have a shining legacy. A man who has been in the news for inappropriate behavior covering for another man who is now in the news for inappropriate behavior isn’t news. It’s systemic. Baseball knows, and it doesn’t care.
Kevin Mather resigned from his position just a couple weeks ago. Why, you ask? Because he went on a 45 minute rant at a rotary club meeting talking about the toxic power he and his team held over current players and prospects. He mocked some players’ English speaking proficiency, called others boring, and talked about how the team purposely holds back prospects so they don’t need to pay them. Is this behavior we all pretty much expected to exist within the sport? Yeah, absolutely. But this guy being so open about it nearly threw us all off balance.
Don’t believe me? Here’s some video proof.
This sad excuse for a man is gloating about his power and how he’s deliberately oppressing people who work for him. And while he’s at it, he’s not even attempting to hide his blatant racism. Did he really think this would be okay? I’d love to say no, but I can’t even say yes. The fact of the matter is that there’s no punishment. He’s a member of the Old Boys club that allows this pervasive behavior to not only exist, but thrive.
I’ve written about the fact that I’m falling out of love with baseball. Yet, for the most part, that’s due to the product on the field. It doesn’t excite me like it did when I was a kid.
However, as the world finally seems to be pulling its head out of its own ass, baseball remains stubborn and unchanging. Everything MLB does to “advance” the game is simply lip service. There are no consequences for the behavior of the men above, and the likely absurdly high number of other men within the sport who act in the same or similar ways. It’s a “my way or the highway” mentality that has existed since before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier or the Black Sox Scandal of 1919.
It’s not unlike the NFL pretending they hold player safety to high regard. Or that they care at all about their black players.
The longer Major League Baseball stays racist, bigoted, and misogynistic, like it lives within an episode of Mad Men, the more likely it is that America’s pastime is going to be swept away into obscurity. And, frankly, it will deserve it.
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