Colin Cowherd makes a lukewarm apology, ESPN releases a lukewarm statement about his comments

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This morning Colin Cowherd opened his show with what, for him anyway, probably passes for an apology in response to his comments about Dominican baseball players yesterday:

“I could’ve made the point without using one country, and there’s all sorts of smart people from the Dominican Republic. I could’ve said a third of baseball’s talent is being furnished from countries with economic hardships, therefore educational hurdles. For the record, I used the Dominican Republic because they’ve furnished baseball with so many great players . . . It wasn’t a shot at them. It was data. Five, seven years ago I talked about the same subject. Was I clunky? Perhaps. Did people not like my tone? I get it. Sometimes my tone stinks.”

He went on to cite reports and statistics about the country’s ranking in primary education. Then added:

“I get it. I do. And for that, I feel bad. I do. But I have four reports in front of me … where there are discussions of major deficiencies in the education sector at all levels . . . I’m not saying there’s not intelligent, educated people from the Dominican Republic. I cringe at the data too.”

Which misses the point, of course. He didn’t say that Dominican people lacked formal education yesterday. He said they did well at baseball as an argument that baseball is not complex — even Dominicans can do it! — which is to say that Dominican people can’t understand complex things. That’s not a statement on poverty or the state of the Dominican Republic education system. That’s a statement about capacity and intelligence, which is a totally different thing.

For its part, ESPN issued a brief statement about it all:

“Some of Colin’s comments yesterday referencing the Dominican Republic were inappropriate and do not reflect ESPN’s values of respect for all communities. Colin’s on-air response today addressed the importance of making sure his opinions are fact-based and responsible for all people.”

Which, again, is dumb. But I guess he’s an ESPN lame duck and the less they say about him the better in their mind.

I eagerly await Jose Bautista’s response.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.