Diamondbacks remove play-by-play man Daron Sutton from broadcasts for “personnel matter”

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Daron Sutton has been the Diamondbacks’ television play-by-play announcer since 2007, but last week he was removed from the team’s broadcasts without explanation.

Senior vice president of communications Josh Rawitch said only that “we’ve made a change in the broadcast-talent lineup” and “Daron will be taking some time off.”

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic finds the whole situation very odd, writing: “You can’t remove a play-by-play guy out of the broadcast booth during the middle of the season without explanation, from a team with great television ratings, at a time when the Diamondbacks are finally finding a groove, and expect muted compliance from the masses.”

And yet the Diamondbacks have done just that, with managing general partner Ken Kendrick declining to comment yesterday except to say it was “a personnel matter” and “I suspect the situation will become clear soon enough.”

Adding to the drama is that Sutton is scheduled to work the FOX national game Saturday, which is Diamondbacks versus Brewers.

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.