MLB

MLB pulls Chief Wahoo-Jackie Robinson caps

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Over the weekend it was discovered that, among the “42”-themed merchandise Major League Baseball and its marketing partners were selling for Jackie Robinson Day, was an Indians cap featuring the “42” patch on the side and everyone’s favorite lame duck logo, Chief Wahoo, on the front, in his smiling glory.

Yep, no better way than to commemorate the end of de jure baseball segregation than by putting out merch with racist iconography on it. Fantastic work, folks!

This morning Maury Brown of Forbes reports that the league has pulled the cap from the site, saying that “it was mistake and had somehow slipped through the cracks,” [Brown’s words]. Whether you believe that was truly a mistake or whether it was removed due to the backlash that popped up over the weekend is between you and your belief in Major League Baseball’s efficiency and prowess when it comes to forward-thinking decision making and public relations prowess.

Whatever it was, however, there was one way this could have been avoided, unequivocally: getting rid of Wahoo immediately, rather than keeping the logo on the team’s on-field gear for one additional year.

When the league and the club made the decision to discontinue Wahoo’s use, they admitted that it was unacceptable, saying it was “no longer appropriate for on-field use,” and that it clashed with Major League Baseball’s commitment “to building a culture of diversity and inclusion.” That’s as close as corporate-speak comes to saying “yeah, that thing is as racist as hell” and, as such, it was an admirably courageous stance, at least by the low standards applied to such matters for multi-billion dollar corporate actors.

Of course, that they then nonetheless allowed it to persist another year was an implicit admission that, even if it’s racist, they’d sure like to sell a lot more Wahoo merch” before he’s gone. Given that cynical position, MLB is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt here. They are not allowed to say they made a “mistake” when they are the ones who knowingly and willingly created the conditions where it was likely to happen.

Maybe before this year, when the league and club offered vague and coy comments about Wahoo and could thus offer some moderately plausible deniability about what his appearance means in any given context, they could’ve said “oopsie.” As it is, however, they own whatever bad looks they create because they willingly allow the logo they themselves believe to be offensive to grace their official merch.

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

Aaron Loup
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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.