Comment of the Day: Curt Flood Jr. talks about the Stan Musial restaurant story

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Yesterday I highlighted Murray Chass’ poorly-sourced hatchet job against Stan Musial. The leadoff in that hatchet job was Chass’ claim — based on a story Curt Flood allegedly told Marvin Miller who told Chass — was that Flood was refused service at Stan Musial’s restaurant some time in the 1960s because Flood was black. Chass’ wrapup to that was to assert that Musial is “someone who discriminated against blacks,” and is thus unworthy of our adulation. His headline: Stan Musial is “no man of honor.”

Last night, a commenter shed a little more light on that story. And I’m inclined to feature his comment because that man’s name is Curt Flood, Jr.  His comment:

Let me say at the outset that I have been in Musial’s company on several occasions. I once even sat next to him at a Cardinals Old Timers Game” in the dugout at the old Busch Stadium for about an an hour. He was warm, gracious and said things about my father that were beautiful. He also graciously signed everything that i could find that was not nailed down. Stan Musial is a good, decent and honorable man.

I have not read Mr. Chass’s blog, however, the incident DID in fact happen to my father and my mother. But according to my parents, Mr. Musial was not in the restaurant. His doorman that night called Mr. Musial by telephone, but by the time it could rectified, my parents were pretty much fed up with not being fed up.

Best,

Curt Flood, Jr.

Shabby treatment of a black man at that time in our history is, regrettably, not surprising. That Chass used a third-hand telling of that story to conclude that Stan Musial “discriminated against blacks” — and that he did so while failing to contact either Stan Musial or anyone who could tell Curt Flood’s side of it, such as Curt Flood, Jr., for example — is reprehensible.

Thank you, Curt Flood, Jr., for telling us more in a simple email than Murray Chass — an alleged journalist — did with his “reporting.”

Clay Buchholz apologized to the Phillies for getting injured

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MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.

According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.

It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.

Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.

Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.

Eric Thames leaves game with apparent injury

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Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

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Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.

The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.