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Must-Click Link: Jason Kipnis talks about . . . everything

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Vince Grzegorek of Cleveland Scene has a great, long interview with Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis that you should really, really read.

It’s not like most player interviews in that it obviously did not take place in the space of ten minutes in front of Kipnis’ locker, with a small handful of quotes woven into a larger story. The two were away from the park, speaking over a long period of time about a great many things. As a result, Kipnis comes off far, far more human and far more interesting here than players usually do. This is a no-cliche zone that gives us actual insight into the clubhouse dynamic and players’ feelings and attitudes.

He talks some about the World Series and how he, as a Chicago native, had a really hard time dealing with being back home in Chicago after losing to the Cubs. He talks about Progressive Field being so empty once last year that he could hear the radio play-by-play man give away his big leadoff to the pitcher while he was on first. He talks about how players in the clubhouse talk about politics. He talks about how Trevor Bauer is weird. He talks about how he was so drugged up with (perfectly legal) painkillers during the World Series that he couldn’t tell if a ball hit him in the ribs.

In one of my favorite bits he talks about clubhouse leadership and the dynamic between the young players and the older players. Kipnis is just 30, but on the Indians that makes him an elder statesman. The younger ones are making him question things:

“We come from different eras,” Kipnis says. “I had older guys telling me to carry their bags, and you didn’t say anything, you just did it. And this Millennial age, they’re so good that everyone is like, ‘Don’t tell them to carry your bags.’ It’s tough, they ask why all the time. You’ll say, ‘Don’t sit on that couch,’ and they’ll ask why. And you’re like, ‘I don’t know. I wasn’t allowed to.’ And they’re like, ‘That’s stupid,’ and they sit on the couch and you’re like, ‘Huh.’

It’s a great read for a slow baseball news day. Highest recommendation.

 

Brewers reliever Josh Hader in hot water over racist, homophobic tweets from 2011-12

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Brewers reliever Josh Hader didn’t have a good night. He gave up four hits and a three-run homer to put the National League in a big hole in the All-Star Game. That’s the kind of thing that has to stick with you.

Oh, and he was also revealed to be a SUPER BIG racist, misogynist and homophobe. That’s gonna stick with him too, and may land him in trouble with Major League Baseball.

Someone decided to dig through Hader’s Twitter history this evening and when they did they found some ugly, ugly stuff in there from back in 2011-12.* Hader was found to have used the n-word, liberally. He said “I hate gay people.” He said some super misogynistic stuff about wanting a woman who will cook and clean for him, among other pretty damn vile things. There were multiple references to cocaine. He said “I’ll murder your family” to one person and made some total non-sequitur tweet simply saying “KKK.” You name a social media etiquette line that one can cross and Hader not only crossed it, but he totally and gleefully trampled over. If you want to see that vile stuff you can see it over at The Big Lead, which screen-capped it. I presume Hader has deleted them by now.

The news of Hader’s old, unearthed tweets bubbled out as the All-Star Game was going on, and reporters met Hader in the locker room right afterward for comment. Hader owned up to them — there was no “I was hacked” excuses offered here — saying that the tweets were a sign of immaturity when he was 17 years-old. He said he plans to apologize to his teammates, saying they don’t reflect on him as a person now. His quote: “No excuses. I was dumb and stupid.” Which, well, yes, obviously.

That may not be the end of it, however:

These tweets are old, Hader may be a different person now and people can do a lot of growing up between 17 and 24. But Major League Baseball is not happy tonight, I can assure you, that an ugly social media incident blew up during its biggest showcase of the regular season.

Will Hader be disciplined? Hard to say, given that Hader wasn’t even drafted yet when those tweets were made and given that MLB’s social media policy was not even in place then. But it would not shock me at all if more comes of this than Hader merely apologizing to his teammates. Stay tuned.

*There are several putative Hader tweets floating around Twitter right now of a more recent vintage. Hader has locked his account, however, and they cannot be confirmed, and many people who were able to access his account before it was locked said those tweets were not there before, with the suggestion that they were Photoshopped. We are neither in the position to — nor do we have the inclination to — verify which of Hader’s tweets are legitimate and which are fabricated. We know, however, that there is more than ample, awful stuff that he has owned up to and we’ll leave it at that for now.