Is the MVP award racist?

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Not the way its given out or anything. Just its name.  Blogger Tom Tango asks the question:

Well, the writers DO have an official name for the MVP, and if wikipedia is to be trusted, it is named Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award
For those not big on history, Landis was MLB’s first commissioner, a
former federal judge brought in to clean up the game after the Black
Sox scandal.  But, he was also a racist . . . It’s not that Landis was a racist like Ty Cobb.  He was a racist that
actually prevented the best players in the game from playing.  That
brings it to a whole new level.

I wasn’t sure if I could believe Wikipedia in this case actually, but some Googling does show that the MVP plaques do say “Kennesaw Mountain Landis Award” right on them, and they have since at least 1944.  And there’s no mistaking the fact that Landis was the prime mover between baseball remaining segregated until the 1947.

But should we care? Even I — a guy who takes every opportunity he can to advocate for the removal of Chief Wahoo from Indians’ uniforms and merchandise — am having a hard time caring about this. Did any of you even know that the award was named for Landis?  I didn’t. I think the reason we didn’t is that, unlike Cy Young, no one ever felt any gusto about popularizing the award’s official name in this case, probably for the specific reason that Landis was a sonofabitch.  Pointing out the name of the award and getting worked up over it is like pointing out a lone racist standing alongside the road. Even if we knew his sort existed, no one ever noticed him and no one gave a damn about him until someone took the time to tell us he was there.

Officially, sure, the BBWAA or Major League Baseball or whoever sanctions the pressing of the plaques should probably take his name off it, in the interests of eliminating superfluity if nothing else.  But I see little cause to get worked up over it.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.