U2 is messing with the baseball schedule

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Bono.jpgI’m sure Bono didn’t mean to bug ya, but he’s doing it all the same:

Don’t know whether or not Bono favors the designated hitter rule, but
based on U2’s summer concert tour, they’re definitely American
Leaguers.

The band is playing Angels Stadium
(June 6-7), the Oakland Coliseum (June 16) and Toronto’s Rogers Center
(July 3) before, finally, landing in NL Florida’s Landshark Stadium (or
whatever they’re calling it now, on July 9). And it wreaked havoc with the 2010 schedule.

The reason it’s wreaking havoc: U2 needs a park for 10 days to simply build and tear-down the stage setup for a single night’s concert. As a result, the Angels have a fourteen-game road trip in their future come June.

All of which would be fine if U2 was any good anymore, but ever since they decided that nostalgia was more important than being interesting [cough!] “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” [cough!] they’ve been adrift on a sea of awfulness. I mean, “Pop” was no great shakes, but at least they were trying something.

Where was I? Oh yeah, baseball. 

This is not unprecedented of course. As the linked article notes, the Astros went on the road for a month in 1992 when the Republican National Convention was held in the Astrodome. That was a 26-game road trip, during which the Astros went 12-14.

But the 1992 Astros weren’t exactly contenders like the Angels are. They finished the year 17 games out, and even if you’re generous to the point of ridiculousness, you can’t pin anything that happened to the baseball team on the convention apart from annoyance.

If the Angels finish a game or two out of the money this year, though, fans have my permission to burn copies of “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” in the streets.

That is, if they hadn’t done so already on general principle.

Brewers won’t punish Josh Hader for offensive tweets

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
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Some old tweets of Josh Hader‘s surfaced during the All-Star Game on Tuesday, containing offensive and hateful language. Major League Baseball responded by ordering Hader to attend sensitivity training and attend diversity initiatives.

The Brewers won’t punish Hader themselves, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. GM David Stearns says the club is taking its lead from MLB, which has already handed down its punishment to Hader. Additionally, the Brewers’ lack of punishment has to do with the tweets occurring when Hader was younger — 17 years old — and not involved with professional baseball.

Stearns also said of Hader’s tweets, “I don’t think they’re representative of who he is. I think they’re offensive. I think they’re ill-informed and ignorant but I don’t think they represent who he is as a person right now.” Stearns added, “I don’t know how he’s going to work through it. The truth is he has put himself in this situation. And he’s going to have to work very hard to get through it.”

Hader apologized on Wednesday, saying, “I was 17 years old, and as a child I was immature, and obviously I said some things that were inexcusable. That doesn’t reflect on who I am as a person today.” Hader said, “I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said. I’m ready for any consequences that happen for what happened seven years ago.”

Lorenzo Cain, a black outfielder and teammate of Hader’s, said, “I know Hader; he’s a great guy. I know he’s a great teammate. I’m fine. Everybody will be O.K. We’ll move on.” Cain further defended Hader, saying, “We’ve all said crazy stuff growing up, even when we were 17, 18 years old. If we could follow each other around with a recorder every day, I’m sure we all said some dumb stuff. We’re going to move on from this.”

First baseman Jesús Aguilar also came to Hader’s defense:

However, Aguilar also retweeted a tweet from Scott Wheeler of The Athletic which had screencaps of Royals 2B/OF Whit Merrifield and Angels outfielder Mike Trout using the word “gay” pejoratively in tweets. Merrifield also used the word “retard” pejoratively.

The “he was 17” defense rings hollow. At 17 years old, one is able to join the military, get a full driver’s license (in many states), apply for student loans, and get married (in some states). Additionally, one is not far off from being able to legally buy cigarettes and guns. Given all of these other responsibilities we give to teenagers, asking them not to use racial and homophobic slurs is not unreasonable. Punishing them when they do so is also not unreasonable.

A study from several years ago found that black boys are viewed as older and less innocent than white boys. A similar study from last year found that black girls are viewed as less innocent than white girls. Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Cameron Tillman, among many others, never got the benefit of the doubt that Hader and countless other white kids have gotten and continue to get in our society. When we start giving the same benefit of the doubt to members of marginalized groups, then we can break out the “but he was only 17” defense for Hader.

We also need to ask ourselves what our inaction regarding Hader’s words will say to members of those marginalized communities. Will it tell them that we value the comfort of those in power above everyone else? Will it tell members of marginalized groups that they are not welcome? In this case, it absolutely will. It communicates the message that, as long as you are white and can perform athletic feats, there’s no level of bigotry the league won’t tolerate. Furthermore, as the league and its 30 individual teams make more efforts towards inclusiveness with events like “Pride Night,” the inaction comes off as two-faced and hypocritical. This is why Major League Baseball — and the Brewers — should have done more to respond to Hader’s tweets.