Boston, baseball, and racism
July 29, 2017 9:24 AM   Subscribe

"From ignoramus radio talkers to bigoted fans and a checkered past, Boston baseball has a race problem" [DigBoston].
posted by trillian (28 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Callahan once mocked the notion of a Museum of Tolerance, after a player came to an agreement with the NFL to volunteer there as a condition for lifting his suspension after an offensive statement. The Museum of Tolerance is the Holocaust memorial center in LA. I stopped listening, with the exception of the Brady interviews on Monday during football season. The afternoon drive-time show has Michael Holley and Dale Arnold, and those guys are fundamentally decent and some of the smartest sports commentary you will find in any venue. Holley is black, and he and Arnold are unafraid to engage with callers on topics of race and discrimination, notably the Colin Kaepernick situation, with maturity, grace and resolve. But, yeah, the morning and midday shows are reeeeeeal problematic.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:07 AM on July 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


Boston baseball has a race problem

I always found it odd that the two most ostensibly liberal cities in the country -Boston and New York- were the last teams to have black players, Pumpsie Green and Elston Howard, respectively. (Although, Brooklyn is part of NYC and they were the pioneering team in this regard).

/Mets fan
posted by jonmc at 10:39 AM on July 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


I mean, Boston has a racism problem. It's like Portland, OR in that respect: the racism is and has always been there, but it's more liberal to progressive than other parts of the country in certain other ways, so often the racism issues get swept under the rug when (white, liberal) people talk about Boston. Is Boston baseball notably worse than Boston overall?
posted by eviemath at 10:44 AM on July 29, 2017 [19 favorites]


Is Boston baseball notably worse than Boston overall?

Yes
posted by overeducated_alligator at 10:51 AM on July 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


I know next to nothing about sports, but I remember hearing the Patriots called "the whitest team in football". Looks like it's not just football.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:03 AM on July 29, 2017


Ah, I see TFA addressed my question, and does indeed describe the racism in Boston baseball as a symptom of the racism in Boston overall.
posted by eviemath at 11:42 AM on July 29, 2017


At least the Celtics have black players on the roster these days. Back in the eighties they were famous/infamous as the whitest team in the NBA.
posted by octothorpe at 12:21 PM on July 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


jonmc, the Yankees didn't integrate quickly for a number of reasons.

Remember, the Yankees were so good in that era that they didn't feel the need to dip into the black talent. I think the Yankees brass also felt that they had a more upscale fan base that the Giants and Dodgers had and they didn't want to offend this base by attracting black fans.

Also, to be sure, there was significant and open racism from the Yankee owners at the time. They looked down on the National League for bringing in black players more quickly, and in public cited the integration of the NL as one of the reasons the Dodgers and Giants attendance slumped in the years before they left for CA.
posted by replayer at 1:08 PM on July 29, 2017


At least the Celtics have black players on the roster these days. Back in the eighties they were famous/infamous as the whitest team in the NBA.

Well, it's not like they were just any old white guys, it was hall-of-famers Larry Bird and Kevin McHale! Who formed a big three with African-American Robert Parish.

And the Celtics had the first all-black starting lineup in the NBA, in 1964. They had the first black head coach in any of the major sports.
posted by mpbx at 1:12 PM on July 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


Replayer, I dig what you're saying but it's still shameful that in a city full of black baseball fans, that they waited so long.
posted by jonmc at 1:28 PM on July 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


I felt that this was a pretty great "but still, fuck him" embedded in the Editor's note at the end: "ED. NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly noted that Kirk Minihane “was neither fined nor suspended” for calling FOX sportscaster Erin Andrews “a gutless bitch.” Minihane was suspended for a week with no pay. We regret the error. As was reported in the Boston Globe, the host also “punctuated a verbal apology [to Andrews] by suggesting that Andrews’s success is based on her looks rather than ability, saying if she ‘weighed 15 pounds more she would be a waitress.'”
posted by TwoStride at 1:42 PM on July 29, 2017 [8 favorites]


I think the Yankees brass also felt that they had a more upscale fan base that the Giants and Dodgers had and they didn't want to offend this base by attracting black fans.

Pandering to racists is still racism.
posted by lazuli at 1:47 PM on July 29, 2017 [12 favorites]


I'm glad someone is starting to pay attention to this because it's something I see all the time Boston sports. Also St. Louis, just follow the St. Louis Best Fans account if you need some examples. But there's always a ton of "oh, this is a liberal area where we shop at Whole Foods" because racism only happens in rural Alabama
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:07 PM on July 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


Boston had riots against school integration in 1974. It's really not just baseball.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:49 PM on July 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


Boston had riots against school integration in 1974. It's really not just baseball

That's 43 years ago. Come on--things have at least trended in the right direction since then.
posted by eggman at 6:20 PM on July 29, 2017


David Ortiz On Racism At Fenway Park, following the Adam Jones incident: "It's real."

Later, Rob Gronkowski and others ruined roast of David Ortiz with racist jokes
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:53 PM on July 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


God, I look at Rob Gronkowski and I just see walking CTE.
posted by TwoStride at 7:24 PM on July 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


I left Boston 12 years ago for many reasons. The racism was one of them. Hera, it was disgusting. I go home every year for Christmas and wonder what awful thing I will hear someone spew and my family will softly tsk and ignore it. Then of course, I'll call it out and "ruin Christmas again." Good times.

(Also, my family are huge Red Sox fans so...)
posted by greermahoney at 7:43 PM on July 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


As an intellectual, hyper-involved Sawx fan, it completely enrages me that the local sports culture has the putrescent undernote of Trumpist revanchism.

Do you not understand who Dave Roberts was? What he did for us? How Pedro Martinez, as dark as he is, had The Start where he silenced the Yankees' bats? DAVID ORTIZ.

MORE. Bill Russel put so many banners in the rafters, because Red let him be him.

MORE. Troy Brown is the thinking fan's football hero, a Superb Owl champion playing ironman football, receiving and defending at corner at a more than competent level.

Malcom. Butler.

There is a streak of lazy conservatism in New England, even here in my little seaside town. I have great-greats that fought for the Union and were put into the ground by Johnny Fucking Reb, but these fuckers... these fuckers have confederate battle-flag licenseplate holders on their coal-rolling third-hand pickups. It reads, I shit you not, "Heritage Not Hate."

Filthy liars. They do not know a slurve from a slider. They think a curveball moves left at speed. They think a knuckleball is a fastball with magic. They have never read Ted Williams' book. They are not baseball fans. They are tribal primitives, monkey-people hooting and brandishing sticks. I reject them. I am not alone.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:46 PM on July 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


Also, while I root for the Bruins - there are a lot of black and hispanic and asian people in Boston... aaaand NYC, Jersey, Michigan and Minnesota - also LA and Tennessee and Ohio and North Carolina and...

You'd never know it looking at the NHL.

Because. It costs money to teach your kid to skate. Community rinks generally don't happen where POC's live, for reasons and such. Instead of developing home-grown talent, let's pretend poor kids don't exist and import Europeans.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:22 PM on July 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


Not that the City of Boston proper doesn't have a ton of racial issues, but a lot of this shit can't really be blamed on the city. The games are attended largely by wealthy suburban boors, and not actual Bostonians. These asshats make our commutes miserable because they don't understand simple train etiquette, but they make it easy to spot them because they're drunk at 5pm and are decked out in jerseys and hats of the home team.

The racist programming? For the suburbanites. Who listens to the radio these days? People in cars. Who drives a car *in Boston*?

I mean, I get it, the racism is still happening in and around Boston. But it kinda sucks because people are saying, "Boston, you're racist!" and we're like, "augh, why are we responsible for what our racist uncle says? We barely even like talking to him at Thanksgiving!"

These are the same cult-of-American-exceptionalism people who were pushing to have the Olympics in Boston, even though *actual* Bostonians protested it as a TERRIBLE idea.
posted by explosion at 9:34 PM on July 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


The racist programming? For the suburbanites. Who listens to the radio these days? People in cars. Who drives a car *in Boston*?

Hi! I live in Tiverton, starting the Monday after this one, I have to drive into the office again, in Warwick. Figure an hour either way. Sometimes NPR gets tedious, and sometimes, as a sports fan, I want to hear professionals say nice things about my team. And all the time I want to hear Dale and Holley think about things deeply and argue about them with respect and candor with the callers.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:32 PM on July 29, 2017


My grandparents were huge Red Sox fans their whole lives and they were also totally racist. They thought the reason the Red Sox couldn't win a World Series for so long was because they integrated. They also believed Tiger Woods was ruining golf and wouldn't watch it if he was winning. When my grandmother died, my grandfather suddenly loved Tiger Woods and David Ortiz. So that was a thing mixed in with my whole love of the Red Sox and my late grandparents.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:48 PM on July 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Not that the City of Boston proper doesn't have a ton of racial issues, but a lot of this shit can't really be blamed on the city.

Sounds like "no true Bostonian." Other cities are surrounded by suburbs and exurbs full of blatant racists, but it's Boston that has the reputation for racism at the ballpark. It's not only in sports, either, as has been pointed out. Boston has a problem, and has not solved it yet.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:06 AM on July 30, 2017 [5 favorites]


Show of hands, how many people being all, "But it's not really Boston that's racist!" are POC?
posted by TwoStride at 5:35 AM on July 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


hand
posted by turkeybrain at 7:42 AM on July 31, 2017


... but you know what, I'm spoiled by living in dynamic multicultural community-like neighborhoods because I didn't have any money. There's lots of other city neighborhoods that I don't think as well of.
posted by turkeybrain at 7:44 AM on July 31, 2017


last comment - I knee jerk react too often, and then I walk back reactions like I'm a child on reddit. I don't categorically say 'but it's not really Boston' like I clearly did up there, and I'm just going to listen.
posted by turkeybrain at 7:58 AM on July 31, 2017


« Older ‘Nothing is too weird. We consider all requests’   |   "I counted all the poems." Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments