MLB hiring former pitcher turned secret service agent as new security chief

10 Comments

MLB will soon hire former secret service agent Bill Bordley as its new chief of security, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com.

Before joining the secret service Bordley was a left-handed pitcher who appeared in eight games for the Giants as a 22-year-old in 1980, throwing 31 innings with a 4.70 ERA despite a ghastly 11/21 K/BB ratio.

I stumbled across a Los Angeles Times article from 1988 that describes how Bordley went from starring at USC to dropping out of school and getting into a weird situation in the draft:

Bordley wanted to stay close to home, and the Cincinnati Reds had the first pick. The Angels had the third pick. So Bordley wrote letters to the teams with the top picks, and even met with representatives of the Reds. When he told them he wanted $200,000 and an immediate major league contract, Bordley says, the Reds–who were stripping their star-studded roster–blanched and said they weren’t interested anyway. The Angels were ready to accommodate him.

Come draft day, the Reds selected Bordley. And Bordley said no way. The two sides met. Bordley said he would go back to USC before signing with Cincinnati. He said their reply was a nasty “Have fun in school,” and they walked out. But as Bordley was prepared to enroll at USC again, baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn called and told him to await an announcement. A few days later Kuhn, mindful of Bordley’s special circumstances, voided the Reds’ selection, fined the Angels for tampering and told Bordley to list five teams he would be willing to play for. Those names were placed in a hat, and the winner was the San Francisco Giants.

Elbow problems derailed his pitching career, so he went back to school and later applied for the secret service. And now 30 years later he’s back in baseball.

Brewers won’t punish Josh Hader for offensive tweets

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
15 Comments

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.