I often note that the people who claim baseball is dying are off base. But that shouldn’t be confused with me thinking that baseball isn’t perfect and has no problems it needs to tackle. Today, Jenna and I talk about a couple:
Remember Aryn Leroux? He was the Mets fan who was arrested for tweeting threats toward executives, players and coaches of the New York Mets last October. Saying things like “there will be a bloodbath at Citi Field” and talking about skinning Sandy Alderson, Fred Wilpon and Terry Collins alive.
Yeah, he was sentenced yesterday: 90-day suspended sentence for disorderly conduct. If he keeps his nose clean for a year he’ll have the crime dropped off his record.
None of this would’ve happened if Wally Backman was in charge, I betcha.
There is a move afoot for newspapers and other news organizations to refer to the Washington Redskins as “Washington,” or to otherwise avoid using the name of the team which many people consider to be an epithet. Now at least one newspaper is extending that practice to racist imagery as well. The New York Daily News:
Yesterday, the News published this great editorial about the Washington team name. Today, we can also tell you that the paper will no longer use the Cleveland Indians’ logo, Chief Wahoo.
Another obvious and positive development, and one that won’t prevent us from continuing to call on the team and others in media to do the same. In reporting on this issue in the recent past, it became clear to me that Native American groups consider Chief Wahoo offensive, which is enough for the rest of us to deem it inappropriate.
We at HBT have refrained from using Wahoo in stories about the Indians for several years now (it’s still used, occasionally in stories about the logo itself). It seems like an easy decision, especially considering the team itself no longer considers Wahoo its primary logo. Just because the Indians still put it on hats, uniforms and merchandise doesn’t mean anyone else has to go along with it. If a team put a picture of a guy in blackface on its caps, no one would run it. Why Wahoo?
Here’s hoping that more news outlets make the same choice the Daily News does.
In other news, I put the number of comments before we see someone making a dumb argument about this somehow violating the Indians’ First Amendment rights at, oh, 8.
The Diamondbacks made official a little while ago what was reported last night: Kevin Towers is out as the team’s GM. But the team has offered Towers another job within the organization. I would assume it’s related to scouting or as an advisor of sorts to Tony La Russa. Towers is said to be considering the offer. According to Tony La Russa, whether he accepts it will depend on who is hired as the Dbacks’ new GM.
He’s said by far more people, however, to be a candidate for a job in San Diego, where he used to be the GM. The Padres recently hired A.J. Preller as their general manager, but it’s been speculated for some time that ownership would welcome Towers back in an advisory role. That two teams who have fired Kevin Towers as their GM nonetheless want him to be involved in the front office somehow probably speaks a lot to how much Towers is admired and respected in the game, even if his moves as GM didn’t work out too terribly well.
The Dbacks further said that they will begin the search for a new GM this week. Whether they make any other changes in baseball operations — including the retention, or not, of Kirk Gibson — will be determined after a new GM is in place.
Yet another wrinkle in the ongoing battle to renovate Wrigley Field. This time from the National Park Service. The Chicago Tribune reports that the Park Service, which is responsible for administering the historic-preservation tax credits which are helping to finance the renovation, is not enamored with the amount of advertising signage the Cubs are planning to put up around the ballpark:
In a memo to the Cubs obtained by the Tribune, the agency expressed concern about advertising overkill at Wrigley, which is known for its ivy-covered outfield walls, hand-turned scoreboard and intimate dimensions as opposed to typical corporate billboards at every other baseball stadium.
“It is important that the cumulative impact of new signage in the outfield does not, in itself, create such a defining feature that the historic character of the stadium is altered,” stated the memo, which was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
I’m not going to cry for the Cubs — they make money hand-over-fist and Wrigley Field has been a boon for them far more than it has been a burden — but they do have a unique problem in being able to do turn their ballpark into a cash machine like every other team can do.