Carl Crawford hitless in first minor league rehab game

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Good news for the Red Sox, as WEEI’s Alex Speier brings word that Carl Crawford began a minor league rehab assignment today with the organization’s Gulf Coast League affiliate.

Crawford, who had offseason wrist surgery and was later diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, went 0-for-3 with two walks while serving as the designated hitter. He was retired on a couple ground outs and a fly out to center field.

Crawford figures to DH for a few more games before testing his elbow by playing the field. Assuming the high-priced outfielder spends the maximum 20 days on his rehab assignment, that will set him up to return when the Red Sox begin the second half of the season on July 13 against the Rays in St. Petersburg.

Of course, Crawford isn’t the only member of Boston’s outfield on the comeback trail. Jacoby Ellsbury has been taking batting practice and running the bases this week as he recovers from a right shoulder subluxation and could soon be ready for a rehab assignment of his own.

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.