Manny Machado AP

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


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.

Playoff Reset: The AL Wild Card Game

Wild Card

Each day throughout the playoffs we’re going to be doing what we’ll call a reset. Not always a preview, not always a recap, but a generalized summary of where we stand at the moment and what we have to look forward tonight.

Today, of course, is Day One of the playoffs so we can really only look ahead, so let’s look ahead to what’s on tap in tonight’s one and only game.

The Game: Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees, American League Wild Card Game
The Time: 8:08 PM Eastern. Or thereabouts.
The Place: Yankee Stadium, New York
The Channel: ESPN
The Starters: Dallas Keuchel vs. Masahrio Tanaka

The Upshot:

  • Dallas Keuchel is the Astros’ ace and may very well win the Cy Young Award, but he’s (a) pitching on three-days’ rest; and (b) not in Minute Maid Park, where he is clearly superior compared to how he does on the road. At the same time, (a) the Yankees haven’t figured him out this year, going scoreless against him in 16 innings and striking out 21 times, including a poor performance against him in the Bronx a month or so ago; and (b) lefty sinkerballer types are basically the platonic ideal of a pitcher you want to throw against the Yankees to drive them crazy. While, historically, pitchers going on short rest in the playoffs fare poorly — in the past 20 years they are 18-37 — sinkerballers and extreme groundball pitchers fare much better than most. It ain’t a perfect setup for him, but you gotta like Keuchel here.
  • Meanwhile, Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka has made one career start vs. the Astros: this year, back on June 27. He got beat up, allowing six runs in five innings, receiving no decision. Those disclaimers about past performance not being indicative of future results you see in financial services commercials should apply to this and all other past matchup stats you see in the postseason, however. One random start here or there — or two in Keuchel’s case — doesn’t tell us a ton. This is baseball and tomorrow is always another day. At least if you don’t lose the Wild Card Game. More of a concern for Tanaka: rust. He has pitched only once since tweaking his hamstring against the Mets on September 18 and it wasn’t a good outing. At least he’s rested?
  • Both teams are dependent on the longball but both teams have struggled at times on offense down the stretch, with the Yankees’ bats being particular quiet in the season’s last month or so. Someone needs to wake up A-Rod. And Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Chase Headley and Brian McCann for that matter too. Of course, all of that firepower may not matter. The playoffs often see offenses go quiet and pitching come to the fore. Both teams have decent bullpens — the Yankees’ far, far more than decent — and given Tanaka’s rust and Keuchel’s short rest, this one is very likely to come down to multiple innings of hard-throwing relief. That favors the Yankees if they can keep it close.
  • Both teams are basically stumbling into the postseason, with the Yankees having lost six of their last seven games. They’re also under .500 since the end of July. The Astros swooned themselves in the second half, going 11-16 in September before rebounding in the season’s last week. Good thing momentum generally isn’t a thing in the playoffs — remember those 2000 Yankees losing 15 of 18 before the playoffs started and then won the World Series! — because neither team here has much of it.

This is the Astros’ first playoff game in a decade. While the Yankees haven’t been in the postseason since 2012, there is a lo tof playoff experience here, making this an interesting study in contrasts from a storyline perspective. At least if you’re into storylines. Personally I’m not. I’m more into baseball games and in this baseball game, I think Keuchel is a tough draw for the Yankees, even on short rest, and that for New York to advance they’re gonna have to be a team they haven’t been for weeks and maybe months: one that lays off junk down low and hits the ball hard.


Mike Scioscia will return as Angels manager in 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 21:  Manager Mike Scioscia #14 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the dugout during batting practice before a game against the Minnesota Twins at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 21, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images

It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.

Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.

Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of, Scioscia isn’t concerned.

“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”

Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.

After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.