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.