MLB’s White Man’s Burden: Domesticating the Soulless/Soulful Latino Ballplayer

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Headline of the video below: “Carlos Gomez Starts Fight With John Ryan Murphy”

Truth of the video below: Carlos Gomez hit a fly ball and made an out. Disappointed, despite his team being up 9-0, he mildly flipped his bat in frustration and, after the ball was caught, jogged back toward his dugout. If he was a white guy, or a Yankee, his display of disappointment in a game his team was clearly going to win would be celebrated as “intensity.” If you’re white (or a Yankee) and you flip your bat after a home run, no worries. Because he’s Dominican, it’s “hot-dogging,” “showboating,” or “disrespecting the game.” Yankee manager Joe Girardi yells at Gomez from the dugout. Gomez responds, “Shut up.” Yankee catcher John Ryan Murphy gets involved, the benches clear, and the headline becomes Gomez started a fight…despite no one actually fighting.

Did you see the Yankee pitcher? He was YAWNING before the beef started. Does that seem like an offended party to you? And check out the racial profiling from Bob Costas, who immediately notes Gomez “is a very volatile guy.” Doesn’t matter that Gomez did nothing “volatile” – he’s already at fault. I couldn’t embed the video from the Yankee broadcast, but you can hear it here. Yankee broadcaster Michael Kay, despite not being on the field and therefore not knowing what’s going on, tells the millions of viewers at home, authoritatively, that Gomez is telling Murphy to “shut up.” Ken Singleton then lets us all know how he, as a real man, wouldn’t stand for another player telling him to shut up. Never mind that Gomez is in fact responding to Joe Girardi, who started the altercation.

Later, Girardi said he just wanted Gomez to show some “professionalism.” A couple of days ago, the Yankees held a ceremony to honor white Andy Pettitte by retiring his number. Pettitte is an admitted drug cheat. But Pettitte says he only cheated because he cared so much about his teammates he wanted to help them win…and in the public narrative, his story is accepted. When Dominican Alex Rodriguez, whose father abandoned him as a child, admitted he became a drug cheat after signing the biggest contract in professional sports because he was anxious about disappointing people – an excuse at least as plausible as Pettitte’s, given A-Rod’s experience growing up – the public narrative refused to accept it. The white cheater is honored for his “professionalism.” The Dominican? Fuck you.

This isn’t the first time one of MLB’s great white heroes took it upon himself to fulfill his manifest destiny and educate the savage ignorant Latino on how to be “civilized”:

Baseball players have been flipping their bats to show-off since at least the 1970s. Check out Yankee hero Reggie Jackson:

Rickey Henderson did it in the 80s. By the 90s most of the sports was doing it. One of my favorite players ever, Mike Piazza, did it against the Yankees in 1999, after homering against a Panamanian, Ramiro Mendoza. How much ire was raised? Nada.

The act has spread around the globe – Koreans have made an art form out of flipping their bats.

But if you’re, say, a Cuban, and there are white guys around…watch out.

And remember – none of those players flipped their bat because they were frustrated with themselves. These were all players celebrating themselves, ostensibly at the expense of their opponents. The same double-standard applies to pitchers. Roger Clemens was notorious for throwing at hitters’ heads, nearly killing Piazza in 2000. Clemens was such an overly-aggressive nutjob he once threw a bat shard at Piazza – in the World Series! (this was chalked up to him being such a great competitor) When a white guy throws at heads, it’s called “good old-fashioned country hardball.” When Pedro Martinez, a rookie Dominican who everyone knew had problems with his control, threw inside at guys, he was a “headhunter”…to the point that when Pedro hit a batter while throwing a perfect game, the batter still felt justified charging the mound to attack him.

What a conundrum for baseball’s great white peacekeepers! How do they educate these Latin devils – soulful to a fault when it comes to having style and flavor; soulless when it comes to understanding how God and nature designed the game to be played? Keep on saving the day, bizarrely angry civilized American heroes!

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