Civil Rights Game set for May 15th in Atlanta

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Major League Baseball issued a press release a little while ago regarding this year’s edition of the Civil Rights Game.  The game itself will be May 15th.  All of the relevant details are here. Kudos to baseball for not merely putting a couple of teams in Negro Leagues throwbacks, playing the game and calling it a day.  Indeed, the Civil Rights Game is surrounded by more stuff than the All-Star Game usually is, albeit in a lower key way.  Among them:

  • A job fair aimed at minorities looking to land positions with MLB suppliers;
  • A tribute to Hank Aaron, involving a red carpet event and screening of the Aaron documentary “Hank Aaron:Chasing the Dream”;
  • A roundtable discussion about baseball and the civil rights movement, held at Ebenezer Baptist Church;
  • A youth game/clinic attended by players;
  • An awards banquet; and
  • The actual game in which the Braves will destroy the Philadelphia Phillies

Good for Major League Baseball for making this an actual substantive event when it would be so easy to merely pander to the idea of civil rights, as is so often the case in the business world.  Baseball’s history with civil rights is just as spotty as any other American institution’s, but it tends to really get this sort of thing right.

Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph: “We suck”

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As I mentioned in the recaps this morning, Baltimore lost its 107th game last night, tying its 1988 mark for the most losses in Orioles history. They will certainly break that record and will almost certainly blast by the all-time franchise loss record of 111, set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns. That team only played a 154-game schedule so the O’s likely won’t be the worst team in the franchise’s 118-season history by winning percentage, but it’ll be close enough.

Over at The Athletic Dan Connolly reports that one Oriole, catcher Caleb Joseph, is well aware of how bad the Orioles are and he is not mincing words about it:

“I’m not a loser. So, to be associated with that severity of losing is embarrassing. It’s shameful really . . . I don’t blame [fans] at all [for not attending games]. We suck.”

That last bit was in response to Matt Olson of the Athletics coming up to him before a recent game, noticing how many empty seats there were in Camden Yards and asking Joseph if it was always like that. Let that sink in: a player for the Oakland Athletics who, year after year, have some of the worst attendance in baseball, is shocked at how poorly Baltimore is drawing.

As for Joseph, he spends a lot of time talking about how the attitude is all wrong with the Orioles, how there does not seem to be any accountability and how things weren’t like that when he came up back when the Orioles were winning. Which, well, yeah.

Baseball players often attribute winning and losing to whatever attitude is prevailing around the clubhouse. Maybe that’s true on greatly underachieving teams or borderline teams that aren’t catching the breaks, but it seems far more likely that winning makes teams happy and instills camaraderie while losing makes teams sad and makes people look inward. Players tend to get the causation wrong about all of that because, I suspect, they don’t want to admit that they’re not as talented as the competition so it has to come down to some motivational or mental defect. Which, if that makes a player feel better, fine, but these O’s weren’t going to win many games even if they came in with smiles on their faces while singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” out of their rear ends every day. They just aren’t good.

Whatever you think of all of that, one thing is clear: the O’s need to clean house in a major, major way.