Scorekeeping: Subtle Racism Year in Review pt. I

This is the first year of our seven-year study. Frankly, it wasn’t all-encompassing–I’m not omniscient. But it was the best attempt by myself and people who were willing to submit things they had heard to the Scorekeeping thread.

If you’re reading this, please submit any time you hear the words “hustle” or any kind of mention of effort projected onto a player. Correct formatting is

  1. The date (and preferably time) you heard it
  2. The person who said it
  3. What platform he/she used to say about it (TV channel, radio station, etc.)
  4. What was said
  5. Who he/she said it about

Post it here, or contact me through Twitter.

That being said, I think we did a good job.

*This is on how scoring was done, which you’ll read more about in pt. II. To see the results, scroll down to the next break.

It’s tough how to decide the scoring. What do you do when a person who flippantly called three players out for lack of hustle vs. a person who wrote a 600-word, in-depth article about one player not hustling? That was the situation with a few of them. So they’ve been divided into major incidents and minor incidents.

Our goal is to find out whether or not it’s true that hustle is used only against black players and only to describe white players who have no tangible assets. We had some interesting results.

There were some times where it was hard to define the lines.

For instance, there’s currently a facebook group in favor of hustling players and against talented “lazy” players. The description is this:

[…] And I’m sorry, “Manny being Manny” doesn’t cut it in my book. So I want this group to have enough members, that people start to talk about it. From New York to L.A., let their be pride again in baseball.
While John Stearns, Andy Fox, and Rex Hudler may not be the best players in the world, I’d rather have a beer with them than divas like Manny Ramirez, Rickey Henderson, or Barry Bonds. Three guys who had all the talent in the world but couldn’t care enough to run to first base.

Whether or not this is ironic, sarcastic, sardonic or even facetious doesn’t matter. Our job here isn’t to interpret messages, but to gather the information. (And anyway, isn’t any sort of joke relating to it only enhancing the message?) Regardless, this isn’t being counted because it’s not really big enough to garner the attention. Saying a facebook group with 300 members is as important as a Bob Klapisch article that gets 10,000 reads is a little different.

Similarly, we had another run-in with defining the rules when BJ Upton got chewed out by teammate for not hustling after a ball he misplayed, causing a player to get an extra base.

Again, this is irrelevant. We’re not here to interpret player performances, only the things that are said about them.

There were also searches from Google that pulled up different results. Lots of great results, too. Only problem is I only wanted to do stuff from the 2010 season. We’re looking for contemporary results. All results prior to the 2010 season were discarded.

So those were the caveats.


Our total count for major incidents is this:

Players of color: 6
White players: 1

There were four major incidents of “lack of hustle” in the news. Hanley Ramirez “dogging it” after he booted a ball; Matt Kemp and general “lack of consistent hustle” during a down year; BJ Upton “not hustling” after a ball he misplayed in the field, as mentioned above; and Francisco Cervelli was benched for not hustling around the bases properly.

Cervelli’s incident was swept under the rug pretty easily when he addressed the media after his benching, accepted his punishment and moved on. The other three incidents dragged on for days, if not weeks (and in Kemp’s instance, almost the whole season). Kemp and Cervelli were both benched at one point or another during the season.

The crazy thing was when BJ Upton was called out for his lack of hustle, a very, very similar play happened when Drew Stubbs did virtually the same thing and received little-to-no flack for it.

There was one major instance of “clubhouse cancer” stuff brought up this year, and it was Yunel Escobar and his situation with the Braves.

There were two instances of a non-white player breaking an “unwritten rule” in baseball: Alex Rodriguez stepping on the mound on his way back to first after running first to third on a foul ball; and Nyjer Morgan charged the mound after he was hit by a pitch in retaliation for stealing two bases when his team was up by 11 runs.

On the other hand, we’ve got Morgan calling out his manager for breaking an unwritten rule by calling him (Morgan) out a few days earlier. Even though I have a problem with including it, I’m going to anyway because we’re not using context.

So there you have it. Three major incidents of a player of color lacking hustle, one major incident of a white player lacking hustle, one incident of a player of color being a “clubhouse cancer” and two incidents of a player of color breaking an “unwritten rule.”

For smaller mentions, look for pt. II later this week.



Filed under MLB, MLB history

2 responses to “Scorekeeping: Subtle Racism Year in Review pt. I

  1. Pingback: Scorekeeping: Subtle Racism in Baseball, the 2011 thread. | Dingers

  2. bbw

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