Alfonso Soriano booed heavily in The Friendly Confines

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Here’s something a little uncommon for Wrigley Field. Or anywhere, really. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com’s CubsTalk describes the scene:

There were two runners on and two outs in the sixth inning when [Alfonso] Soriano hit a rocket line drive at Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who appeared to have secured it in his glove. Soriano stood at home plate with the bat in his hands before Middlebrooks dropped the ball and threw to first.

That set off a very loud chorus of boos from the 40,766 fans inside Wrigley Field – and an equally strong and opposite reaction from those inside the clubhouse.

“They don’t understand the game,” Soriano told reporters Saturday after the 4-3 loss to Boston. “It’s a line drive. There’s nothing you can do about it. If it’s groundball and I don’t run, they can do whatever they want. But a hard line drive, right off the glove? I don’t know what they want.”

Soriano signed an eight-year, $136 million deal with Chicago in 2006. He has a weak 110+ OPS ever since.

“Obviously, that contract comes into play sometimes with that kind of reaction,” contended first-year Cubs manager Dale Sveum. “But the fact of the matter is everybody in this clubhouse knows how hard Sori works and how hard he’s played this year. … That’s one of those things where 100 percent of every player in the history of baseball would do the same thing. You’re mad because you just crushed the ball and the guy should have caught (it) and you take your eye off it.” Sveum’s Northsiders are 22-43 this season.

The Yankees stopped playing Kate Smith’s version of “God Bless America”

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The Yankees have played “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch since 9/11. The version they play is the most famous version, recorded in 1939 by Kate Smith. As of today they will no longer be playing the Kate Smith version, however.

Why? The New York Daily News reports that it’s because “the Yankees were made aware of Smith’s history of potential racism.” Which is a rather interesting way of putting it, because there’s not much “potential” to this:

Smith was a famous singer before and during WWII who recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among other treats. She shot a video for that song that takes place in an orphanage for black children, and much of the imagery is startlingly racist. She also recorded, “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which included the lyrics, “Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

I’m guessing this information was available in some Kate Smith biography or is in the memory of some of her big fans who may still be alive, but it was news to the Yankees until recently and once they learned it they decided that going with a version of the song NOT sung by Kate Smith was better. Good call!

Oh, and this was not the first time that the Yankees had to make this kind of call. Ten years ago they fired Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, who used to sing the song at the ballpark during the postseason, after he made anti-Semitic remarks. Precedent, baby.

Anyway, I’m sure someone will complain about this, but I feel like there are better hills to die on than “the Yankees should continue to play the racist lady’s version of the show tune that, despite what we think of it now, was never meant as an actual patriotic anthem.”

If you feel like dying on that hill, be my guest. But please, show your work.