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.

Report: Marlins will retire Jose Fernandez’s No. 16

MIAMI , FL - SEPTEMBER 09:  Pitcher Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Marlin Park on September 9, 2016 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images
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The entire Marlins roster will wear the number 16 on the backs of their uniforms in remembrance of pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident on Sunday morning. After that? “No one will wear No. 16 for the Marlins again,” team owner Jeffrey Loria said on Monday evening, as Tyler Kepner of the New York Times reports.

Though Fernandez only pitched parts of four seasons for the Marlins, he already ranks fifth in career WAR in club history, according to Baseball Reference. He also owns the best career winning percentage as well as the second-lowest single-season ERA (2.19 in 2013) and the second-lowest single-season WHIP (0.979 in 2013). Fernandez was already one of the best pitchers in Marlins history and was on his way to becoming a perennial All-Star, if not a Hall of Famer.

Then add to that his outstanding personality and what he meant both to the Marlins organization and to the city of Miami. Loria has gotten a lot of criticism over the years, but he nailed it with this decision.

Report: Majestic workers stayed up all night making No. 16 jerseys for the Marlins

MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 05:  Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins looks on during 2016 Opening Day against the Detroit Tigers  at Marlins Park on April 5, 2016 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
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As Craig mentioned earlier, the Marlins will all wear No. 16 jerseys to honor pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died in a boating accident on Sunday morning. It’s a fitting tribute as the Marlins return to the playing field after Sunday’s game was cancelled.

We don’t often hear about the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on during these special circumstances. As Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports, workers at the Majestic manufacturing facility in Easton, PA — about two hours north of Philadelphia — stayed up all night Sunday night into Monday morning in order to make those custom No. 16 jerseys for the Marlins. They were shipped via air so they would arrive in time for the game tonight.

FanGraphs writer Eric Longenhagen notes how hard those Majestic employees work — often for low pay :

Kudos to Majestic for making a concerted effort to help the Marlins out in their time of need.