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.

Braves sign former football player Sanders Commings

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 15:  Cornerback Sanders Commings #26 of the Kansas City Chiefs on the sidelines during the pre-season NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 15, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.

Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.

Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.

The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.