Scorekeeping: Subtle Racism Year in Review pt. II

In non-major ones, we’ve got plenty to look at. Most of these are here.

–The Pirates play-by-play guy complimented Jamey Carroll on his hustle.

–Vin Scully called Clayton Kershaw a “gifted” athlete, which seems to imply his talent was handed down to him, rather than something he worked for–but then again, Kershaw is white, so that goes against the grain. Scully is awesome. We won’t count this for anything, though; just thought it was noteworthy.

–On May 5, 2010, Craig Calcaterra called out Brandon Phillips for lack of hustle on his blog.

–On May 6, 2010, an Arizona broadcaster called out Lance Berkman for half-hearted effort, but he noticeably stayed away from the word “hustle.”

–On May 7, 2010, Jerry Crasnick came out with a huge article on Robinson Cano that more than once hinted someone on the team felt he lacked hustle. Commenter “Mike” passed the story on and while it’s clear there’s some careful dodging by Crasnick on quoting whoever saying whatever, he offers an alternate reality to Cano just being lazy:

Cano has sleepy eyes, a ready smile and a relaxed demeanor that can be confused with a lack of passion at times. But his love for baseball is ever-present.

This is a big part of the hidden racism in using “hustle” and the lack of it: that a player of color who’s not great can be misperceived as not working hard enough. Even though Crasnick goes out of his way to provide context to the ebb and flow of Cano’s talents, the article mentions several times that Cano has been called out for lack of hustle.

–On May 31, 2010, Rick Horton called Reds 2B Brandon Phillips (!) out for his hustle when he was doubled-up on a caught fly ball that he didn’t think would be caught in the game against the Cardinals.

–Most of the larger incidents (like Hanley’s and Upton’s) happened in June, or close to there.

–Manager Fredi Gonzalez–and later Jeff Van Gundy of TNT’s basketball broadcasting team–referred to Derek Jeter as a player who hustles every day. Kinda tough since Jeter is biracial (yet another gray area, no pun intended), but he’d be considered black in the “separate but equal” era, so count that as one for players of color.

*These next few ones are here because the Escobar one was counted as a “clubhouse cancer” thing, not a “hustle” thing.

–Andy Martino of the New York Daily News called out Yunel Escobar on lack of hustle and doesn’t cite anyone saying it. Martino, though, raised some interesting talking points about calling out any player, esp. players of color, on issues of “hustle.”

–Phil Sheridan of called out Escobar for a lack of hustle.

–Bob Klapisch of called out Escobar for a lack of hustle.

–Bleed Cubbie Blue, a SB Nation blog, complimented Marlon Byrd on his hustle.

–Carrie Muskat of complimented Byrd for his hustle as well.


Times a players of color was called out for lack hustle: 6
Times a players of color was cited for having hustle: 3
Times a white players was called out for lack of hustle: 1
Times a white player was cited for having hustle: 1

So if we weight the major incidents to x5, which I think is strong enough without watering down the rest of the results, these are our results.

Times a player of color was called out for lack of hustle: 21
Times a player of color was cited for having hustle: 3
Times a white player was called out for lack of hustle: 6
Times a white player was cited for having hustle: 1
Times a white player may have committed an act of “lack of hustle” and wasn’t called out on it: 1

I think we can say this, we hear a player chided for lack of hustle more than we hear a player complimented for hustle in today’s game, and Fire Joe Morgan might have created a mild observer’s effect.

Times a player of color broke an unwritten rule: 10
Times a white player broke an unwritten rule: 1*
Times a player shooed another player away after he broke an unwritten rule: 1**

*If you count Morgan calling Riggleman out.

I really like this new category.

Times a player of color was called a clubhouse cancer: 5
Times a white player was called a clubhouse cancer: 0


That’s it for year 1. Hopefully we’ll have more samples, more people involved and more posts in the new year. If you have a minor incident from the 2010 year, please feel free to post it in the comments section here.

We’re moving onto next year after this, the 2011 post will be up shortly. Please post any tidbits you hear during the 2011 season in there.

EDIT — Some may think that the x5 is a little too generous for the major incidents, but remember how pervasive this discussion is. It takes place on message boards, among fans at ballparks, on TV stations, on radio stations, among local sports commentators, and so on. This is the stuff that everyone talks about. The discussion is ubiquitous and that’s what we’re really focusing on.



Filed under MLB, MLB history

6 responses to “Scorekeeping: Subtle Racism Year in Review pt. II

  1. regfairfield

    This is great, hope you can keep it up for next year.

    • thanks so much! And thanks for the link on TBLA. I think we’re gonna make it a more active search after this, stay tuned.

    • John Chris Holman – cute couple. So cofromtable with eachother. Made me feel like I know them. Nice work Nicole. I love the black and white in the hay and last shot. I think you really captured their love/friendship in those photos. Great work.November 13, 2010 9:05 am

  2. DodgersKings323

    Glad i’m not the only one to notice this. Here is something i came across in reading “Ball Four”
    “Carl Yastrzemski was recently fined $500 for loafing and I’ve been keeping an eye on him. Sure enough, he hit a ball to second base today and loafed all the way to first. I’m afraid Yastrzemski has a bit of a dog in him. Always did, and people around baseball knew it all the time. When things are going good Yaz will all out. When things aren’t going so well he’ll give a half-ass effort. But he’s got so much ability that the only thing you can do is put up with him.”
    I thought it was interesting because i have never heard anything bad about the “old school ballplayers” and even more so because he was white.

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

  4. Pingback: Bleacher Report Does It Again: Quasi-Racist Clubhouse Cancers Post | Dingers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s