Is the MVP award racist?

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Not the way its given out or anything. Just its name.  Blogger Tom Tango asks the question:

Well, the writers DO have an official name for the MVP, and if wikipedia is to be trusted, it is named Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award
For those not big on history, Landis was MLB’s first commissioner, a
former federal judge brought in to clean up the game after the Black
Sox scandal.  But, he was also a racist . . . It’s not that Landis was a racist like Ty Cobb.  He was a racist that
actually prevented the best players in the game from playing.  That
brings it to a whole new level.

I wasn’t sure if I could believe Wikipedia in this case actually, but some Googling does show that the MVP plaques do say “Kennesaw Mountain Landis Award” right on them, and they have since at least 1944.  And there’s no mistaking the fact that Landis was the prime mover between baseball remaining segregated until the 1947.

But should we care? Even I — a guy who takes every opportunity he can to advocate for the removal of Chief Wahoo from Indians’ uniforms and merchandise — am having a hard time caring about this. Did any of you even know that the award was named for Landis?  I didn’t. I think the reason we didn’t is that, unlike Cy Young, no one ever felt any gusto about popularizing the award’s official name in this case, probably for the specific reason that Landis was a sonofabitch.  Pointing out the name of the award and getting worked up over it is like pointing out a lone racist standing alongside the road. Even if we knew his sort existed, no one ever noticed him and no one gave a damn about him until someone took the time to tell us he was there.

Officially, sure, the BBWAA or Major League Baseball or whoever sanctions the pressing of the plaques should probably take his name off it, in the interests of eliminating superfluity if nothing else.  But I see little cause to get worked up over it.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.