Manny Machado AP

Comment of the Day: Nah, we don’t stereotype Latino players. Never.

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Every time some incident or controversy comes up regarding a Latino player we see some excellent examples of casual racism in the comments and the commentary at large.

Most of it is pretty unwitting, actually. Like, I honestly don’t think most of the people who say these things appreciate the inherently racist assumptions on which their comments rest. In their minds they’re just repeating baseball “wisdom” and cliches which are themselves based on racism. Indeed, we so infrequently examine the “wisdom” and cliches of which so much of baseball’s discourse is comprised that we are largely unaware of how greatly said discourse is polluted with all kinds of garbage. This applies to everything from faulty statistical assumptions, the belief that superstitious nonsense actually impacts games and, yes, it applies to the manner in which we characterize players based on their race or ethnicity.

Take this comment in the Manny Machado thread from earlier this afternoon:

Rember when Cole Hammels beamed Bryce Harper in his first at bat against Hammels?

Bryce Harper proceeded to steal 2nd base and steal home base. That is how you get back at a pitcher in MLB. That is why Bryce Harper is highly respected among his peers, even though fans are still angry at him for being cocky when he was in HIGHSCHOOL and JUNIOR COLLEGE.

If you think this is bad, imagine the media uproar if Puig did this.

Look at Harper and Trout and how they conduct themselves on the field compared to Machado and Puig. People have to understand that it takes time and experience to understand how the game is played in America and the tradition/courtesy that goes along with your all out effort.

Yes, Machado really needs to learn how we play in this country. You’d think he would have given that he was born and raised in Florida, but nevertheless.

Our commenter was then informed that Machado is, in fact, American. He followed up with this:

Sorry I thought he was from the Dominican, didn’t realize he came from a U.S. Highschool and could still be so stupid

The attitudes and assumptions underlying those comments are the product of decades of people — some racists, many more mere parrots — buying in to the notion that Latinos are untamed and unschooled and need to look to some respectable white players in order to learn how to play the game the right way. Just look how surprised this guy was to see that, my heavens, the stupid and misbehaving person was not from the Dominican Republic!

It’s almost as if it’s not enough to simply say that Machado acted poorly and stupidly and needed to be suspended. One must explain it based on his country of origin. Or his perceived country of origin given that Machado is from the United States of America. But hey, his name ends in a vowel and he’s got a Latin background, so he MUST be from another country.

But no, we don’t have a problem with race and the way in which we perceive and talk about Latin baseball players. It’s all in my imagination and all the product of my white liberal guilt. Or something.

Buddy Carlyle named the Braves new replay assistant

Buddy Carlyle
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The Braves have been terrible with respect to replay challenges this year. Almost improbably terrible. Fredi Gonzalez has challenged calls seven times and he’s been unsuccessful on all seven challenges. Given how these things work, it’s likely because he’s getting bad advice from the Braves employee designated to watch the replays and suggest when challenges should be made.

Now Gonzalez is going to have a new guy in that role. A familiar name too: Buddy Carlyle, who Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports, will join the Braves as a coaching assistant who will handle the replay review decisions.

Carlyle, of course, spent nine seasons as a major league pitcher and nearly 20 as a professional overall. Most recently with the Mets last season before calling it a career. He pitched for the Braves as well, from 2007-09.

Now he’ll provide a new and, hopefully, more discerning set of eyes for the Braves’ replay operation.

Garrett Richards needs Tommy John surgery, Andrew Heaney has UCL damage too

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Garrett Richards throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Bad, bad news for the Los Angeles Angels: their best starter needs Tommy John surgery and their most promising young starter has UCL damage as well.

Jeff Passan reports that Garrett Richards has a torn right ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to need Tommy John surgery. Richards was scratched from today’s start due to fatigue and dehydration, but Passan says they found the UCL tear while examining him yesterday. Richards is the Angels’ ace, having won 13 games in 2014 and 15 games a year ago. So far this year he a 2.34 ERA in six starts.

Heaney, meanwhile, has damage to his left ulnar collateral ligament, Passan reports. He was diagnosed with a flexor muscle strain after he was placed on the disabled list following his first start of the season, but this is obviously more serious. Unlike Richards, the plan at the moment is for Heaney to rehab rather than go under the knife. Sometimes that works. Often it doesn’t and Tommy John happens later. We’ll see.

These twin blows are huge and terrible for the Angels, who already had serious depth issues basically everywhere on the roster. The conventional wisdom before the year started was that, if everything broke right and everyone stayed healthy, they could possibly contend in an often volatile AL West, but that they didn’t have a big margin for error. This is a lot of error. The Angels are 13-15 and four games out in the division as it is. Without two starters on whom they were counting big, it’s hard to see how the rest of the Angels’ season isn’t going to be a total slog.

Willie Mays gets a cable car named after him

Major League Baseball hall of famer  Willie Mays, who spent the majority of his career as a center fielder with the New York and San Francisco Giants, smiles as President Barack Obama honors the 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants baseball team, Monday, July 29, 2013, during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. The team beat the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series, their second championship since the franchise moved to San Francisco from New York in 1958. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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This is not exactly stunning news, but it’s Willie Mays’ 85th birthday today and any excuse to talk about Willie Mays is a good one. Happy Birthday, Willie!

The pretext is a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about how The Greatest Baseball Player of All Time (my view anyway) is getting an iconic cable car named after him. An icon named after an icon, I guess. The cable car is, appropriately, number 24.

Next month I’m taking my kids on vacation to California and we’re spending a few days in San Francisco. It’ll be a shame when I tell them we have to cancel half of a day’s plans while I make them wait for one particular cable car to come by so they can take my picture with it, but that’s just what they have to deal with given that I’m their dad.

Carlos Gomez calls out a hit piece-writing columnist

Houston Astros' Carlos Gomez (30) reacts after hitting a double in the second inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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Yesterday I wrote about a column written by Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. It was about Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez, who has had a poor start to the year.

The column, as I noted, was a hatchet job, blaming Gomez for the Astros’ problems despite the fact that Gomez is by far from the biggest of the Astros’ problems. It was particularly bad in that it presented an unedited bit of broken English from Gomez which seemed calculated to cast Gomez in a bad light. Many journalists were critical of Smith in this regard, noting that he could’ve used a translator, could have paraphrased or could’ve done some mild correction via brackets, as is often done with quotes from non-native English speakers.

Last night Gomez took to Twitter to call out Smith himself:

It’s possible to write a column about how a player hasn’t lived up to expectations without being an insensitive jackass. It’s possible to do so even in the sharpest of ways. Smith didn’t do that, however, and didn’t make an effort to try, it seems. Gomez is right to take issue with it. And I suspect that Gomez’s teammates and organization take issue with it too. Which likely doesn’t bode well for Smith getting cooperation from others in the Astros family.