Comment of the Day: Nah, we don’t stereotype Latino players. Never.

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Every time some incident or controversy comes up regarding a Latino player we see some excellent examples of casual racism in the comments and the commentary at large.

Most of it is pretty unwitting, actually. Like, I honestly don’t think most of the people who say these things appreciate the inherently racist assumptions on which their comments rest. In their minds they’re just repeating baseball “wisdom” and cliches which are themselves based on racism. Indeed, we so infrequently examine the “wisdom” and cliches of which so much of baseball’s discourse is comprised that we are largely unaware of how greatly said discourse is polluted with all kinds of garbage. This applies to everything from faulty statistical assumptions, the belief that superstitious nonsense actually impacts games and, yes, it applies to the manner in which we characterize players based on their race or ethnicity.

Take this comment in the Manny Machado thread from earlier this afternoon:

Rember when Cole Hammels beamed Bryce Harper in his first at bat against Hammels?

Bryce Harper proceeded to steal 2nd base and steal home base. That is how you get back at a pitcher in MLB. That is why Bryce Harper is highly respected among his peers, even though fans are still angry at him for being cocky when he was in HIGHSCHOOL and JUNIOR COLLEGE.

If you think this is bad, imagine the media uproar if Puig did this.

Look at Harper and Trout and how they conduct themselves on the field compared to Machado and Puig. People have to understand that it takes time and experience to understand how the game is played in America and the tradition/courtesy that goes along with your all out effort.

Yes, Machado really needs to learn how we play in this country. You’d think he would have given that he was born and raised in Florida, but nevertheless.

Our commenter was then informed that Machado is, in fact, American. He followed up with this:

Sorry I thought he was from the Dominican, didn’t realize he came from a U.S. Highschool and could still be so stupid

The attitudes and assumptions underlying those comments are the product of decades of people — some racists, many more mere parrots — buying in to the notion that Latinos are untamed and unschooled and need to look to some respectable white players in order to learn how to play the game the right way. Just look how surprised this guy was to see that, my heavens, the stupid and misbehaving person was not from the Dominican Republic!

It’s almost as if it’s not enough to simply say that Machado acted poorly and stupidly and needed to be suspended. One must explain it based on his country of origin. Or his perceived country of origin given that Machado is from the United States of America. But hey, his name ends in a vowel and he’s got a Latin background, so he MUST be from another country.

But no, we don’t have a problem with race and the way in which we perceive and talk about Latin baseball players. It’s all in my imagination and all the product of my white liberal guilt. Or something.

Young Blue Jays say they aren’t intimidated by top seed Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays opened the pandemic-delayed season a little over two months ago, there was little to indicate the AL East rivals might meet again to begin the playoffs.

While the Rays launched the truncated 60-game schedule with expectations of making a strong bid for their first division title in a decade, the Blue Jays generally were viewed as an immensely talented young team still years away from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint, shrugging off a slow start to go a league-best 40-20 and claim the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs that begin Tuesday.

Lefty Blake Snell, who’ll start Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series against Toronto at Tropicana Field, also isn’t surprised that the eighth-seeded Blue Jays earned a spot, too.

The Rays won six of 10 games between the teams during the regular season, but were outscored 48-44 and outhomered 17-11.

And while Toronto (32-28) lacks the playoff experience Tampa Bay gained last season when the Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before falling to Houston in the divisional round, the Blue Jays are building with exciting young players such as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’ve got a lot of young guys who can ball over there,” Snell said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and see how we do.”

Rays defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said Tampa Bay, in the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the second time franchise history, will not take the Blue Jays lightly.

“We know we’re playing a real good team,” Kiermaier said. “It’s not going to be easy, regardless of what a team is seeded.”

The Blue Jays, who’ll start right-hander Matt Shoemaker, aren’t conceding anything.

Bichette said he and his teammates respect how good Tampa Bay is, but are not intimidated by facing the No. 1 seed.

“I would say that we didn’t care who we played. I would say that we didn’t mind playing Tampa, that’s for sure. We’re familiar with them. We’ve played them well,” Bichette said.

“I think we’re confident in our ability against them. Our talent matches up well,” Bichette added. “We think if we play well we’ve got a good chance.”

NO FANS

The stands at Tropicana Field will be empty, leaving players to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay routinely rank at or near the bottom of the majors in attendance, but usually pack the stands in the domed stadium during the postseason.

“It will be different,” Bichette said. “Normally when you think of your first postseason you think 40,000, you think about not being able to think it’s so loud, stuff like that.”

The Blue Jays open the playoffs near where they hold spring training in Dunedin, Florida. It’s been a winding road for Toronto, which played its home games in Buffalo, New York, at the site of its Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government barred the Blue Jays from hosting games at their own stadium because of coronavirus concerns.

CONFIDENT RAYS

Tampa Bay’s five-game loss to Houston in last year’s divisional round was a source of motivation during the regular season.

“It definitely lit a fire under everybody. It really showed us we belong. … We gave them a tough series,” second baseman Brandon Lowe said.

“We won the wild-card game. We belong in the postseason. I think that did a lot for us to understand that we should be in the postseason and we can go a lot farther. We know what to expect this time around. I think everyone in our clubhouse expects to be playing until the end of October,” he said.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has the Rays in the playoffs for the second time. His close friend and former Rays third base and bench coach Charlie Montoyo is in his second year as manager of the Blue Jays, who last made the playoffs in 2016.

“Pretty special,” Cash said of his relationship with Montoyo.

“I really learned a lot from him being around him. The way he carried himself. His hand print is throughout this organization,” Cash added. “A pretty big impact and a positive one. … When they clinched I talked to him, we face-timed at 1:30 in the morning. I’m so happy for him.”