B.J. Upton

Let’s help research subconscious racism in sports commentary

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We’re all aware of the subtle racism that creeps into sports broadcasts, writing and general fan chatter.  About how the white guy is a hard worker and the black guy is gifted. About how the Latino guy is lazy and the white dude is nursing a hidden injury.  About how you can tell the hustlers from the loafers by the color of their skin.  It’s all so common. Just ask B.J. Upton here. He gets that crap all the time.

But it’s also totally anecdotal.  We point it out when we see it, but just how pervasive is it really?  That’s the question that Seth from Dingersblog.com is trying to figure out, all scientific-like.

Seth has been tracking this stuff anecdotally for a long time, but now he and a grad student have come up with a way to quantify the instances of subconsciously-racist commentary, and to do it, they need to pay some people to watch a lot of sports and sports news. To that end, they’ve set up a Kickstarter account to grab some donations.  Click here if you’d like to help the project.

I’m very curious to see what this all amounts to.  Sometimes things are worse than we think. Sometimes we see something objectionable — like the subtle racism — and point it out to the point where it becomes overblown.  I’m not sure how this will all cut, but I’d like to find out.

A-Rod to host a reality show featuring broke ex-athletes

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees answers question in a press conference after the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on August 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Alex Rodriguez’s transition into retirement has featured a serious move into the business world. He has gone back to school, worked seriously on investments and has started his own corporation. Yes, he’s set for life after making more money than any baseball player in history, but even if his bank account wasn’t fat, you get the sense that he’d be OK given what we’ve seen of his work ethic and savvy in recent years.

He’s going to be getting another paycheck soon, though. For hosting a reality show featuring athletes who are not in as good a financial shape as A-Rod is:

Interesting. Hopefully, like so many other reality shows featuring the formerly rich and famous, this one is not exploitative. Not gonna hold my breath because that’s what that genre is all about, unfortunately, but here’s hoping A-Rod can help some folks with this.

Great Moments in Not Understanding The Rules

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Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a Hall of Fame voter. In the past he has voted for players who used PEDs, but he’s never been totally happy with it, seeing the whole PED mess as a dilemma for voters.

On the one hand he doesn’t like voting for users and doesn’t like harming those who were clean by shifting votes away from them, but on the other hand, he doesn’t want to pretend history didn’t happen and that baseball hasn’t been filled with cheaters forever. What to do?

This year he decided to abstain altogether. A fair and noble act if one is as conflicted as Livingston happens to be. Except . . . he didn’t actually abstain:

Major league baseball will confer bronzed immortality on a few players Wednesday when the results of the national baseball writers’ balloting for the Hall of Fame will be announced.

I had a 2017 ballot. I returned it signed, but blank, with an explanatory note.

A blank ballot, signed and submitted, is not an abstention. It’s counted as a vote for no one. Each “no” vote increases the denominator in the calculation of whether or not a candidate has received 75% of the vote and has gained induction. An abstention, however, would not. So, in effect, Livingston has voted against all of the players on the ballot, both PED-tainted and clean, even though it appears that that was not his intention.

This is the second time in three years a Cleveland writer has had . . . issues with his Hall of Fame ballot. In the 2014-15 voting period, Paul Hoynes simply lost his ballot. Now Livingston misunderstood how to abstain.

I worry quite often that Ohio is gonna mess up a major election. I guess I’m just worrying about the wrong election.