Yecch, yuck, ugh, gag, pittooie!
Yeah, I knew it was probably coming, and I even should have been able to guess the team and the manager, but nonetheless, this is nauseating. I assume the craven response from Major League Baseball in the coming days and weeks will be even more nauseating. Great. Welcome back, baseball!
San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler led several coaches and team members as they did a Kaepernick during the National Anthem before their first exhibition game in the Bay Area Monday. And I had just finished my Smithsonian presentation that night explaining why baseball has been a vital unifying influence in communities and the nation throughout its nearly 200 year history. How ironic.
Rookie manager Kapler, coaches Antoan Richardson and Justin Viele joined players Mike Yastrzemski (Yes, Yaz’s grandson), Austin Slater, and Jaylin Davis in taking a knee, according to NBC Bay Area. Shortstop Brandon Crawford stood between Richardson and Davis, who are both black, and placed his hands on their shoulders in an apparent sign of support.
Although the Giants did not announce before the game against the Oakland A’s at Oakland Coliseum that some members would kneel, Kapler said he had informed the team of his plans. Then he blathered out his explanation, which while considerably more coherent than what Colin Kaepenick said after the first time he imposed his political views on his team, the game, and spectators were offensive nonetheless.
None of those cardboard cut-out people in the stands would go on the record later, but reportedly they were not pleased.
“I wanted to share what my plans were and I did that because I wanted them to know that I wasn’t pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality. I told them that I wanted to amplify their voices and I wanted to amplify the voice of the Black community and marginalized communities as well. I told them that I wanted to use my platform to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with the way we’ve handled racism in our country. I wanted to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with our clear systemic racism in our country. And I wanted them to know that they got to make their own decisions and we would respect and support those decisions. I wanted them to feel safe in speaking up, and so we had these kinds of discussions for the last several days and will continue to have them.”
Asked if he and other Giants would continue kneeling, Kapler said, “We’re going to have 60 chances during the regular season to make the same decision that we made today, to either stand or kneel or do something different.”
I can’t wait.
Rant to follow….
Gee, Gabe, why don’t you elaborate on that? How would you handle “police brutality”? Summary firing and prison sentences without trials? That seemed to be what Colin was suggesting. Have you ever been a cop? Know any?
Why should I care what you, a borderline major league player and, so far, a manager of limited experience and no special success, thinks about that subject, or any subject not related to baseball? What entitles you to inflict your half-baked, vaguely woke views on people who are not watching the game to learn them, but to see the game, quite possibly to get a brief respite from the non-stop political fighting?
Personally, I interpret “taking a knee” today as endorsing Black Lives Matter, and I interpret what Black Lives Matter says as an accusation that I’m a racist. I am not. Meanwhile, you don’t even know me. How dare you announce on a baseball field that I’m a racist?
It is not your job to “amplify the voices of the Black community and marginalized communities.” If you want to do that, fine: start a blog, go on speaking tours, take out ads. I don’t care what you do, as long as you do it on your own time. But just as I will complain mightily and walk out of Safeway if the store allow its clerks to proselytize about racism, the Electoral College, open borders or giving peace a chance from their positions of great expertise while I am trying to pay for beer, cupcakes and frozen tacos, I deeply resent getting the same treatment from someone making over a million dollars to play baseball.
How would YOU handle racism, Gabe? Being “dissatisfied” is bullshit: that’s essentially, “I don’t have a clue what to do, but do something!” Uh-uh, not buying it, asshole. If you presume to grandstand like this, I expect some substance, not vague and lazy virtue-signaling. In fact, I demand it. Kneeling accomplishes nothing. Nothing. It just divides the public and makes many of them, like me, angry. (The rest it makes smug and unbearable.)
You want to address “systemic racism”? Great: what do you think should happen? Baseball has a tiny number of black managers, as you know. Hey, I’ve got an idea! Why don’t you go to those “woke” owners of your team, and say that you’re doing a Reddit, and quitting your job so a black ex-player can take over as manager of the Giants? After all, meritocracy is racist—isn’t that what you’re kneeling for, distributing jobs and power based on color? It’s not as if any bat boy couldn’t do approximately as good a job managing your current team as you did with the Phillies the last two seasons. Give up your job to an African American ex-player. Put your money where your knee is, you grandstanding hypocrite.
Sorry, but I had to get that out. Now some more restrained observations:
- Kapler made it sound like he unilaterally made the decision to lead a kneeling stand and informed the team. It was not his decision to make. The team had an obligation to say, “Nope. When you are in uniform and on the field, you represent the San Francisco Giants, and we have an obligation to keep our product out of politics, especially now. You have our permission to advocate any political views you want within boundaries of civility, making it clear that you speak only for yourself. But if you, or anyone on your team, pulls a kneeling stunt, you’re fired, Gabe. Got that?”
- It was too much to expect baseball to stay out of the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, especially with the NFL and the NBA holding a groveling and pandering competition. That doesn’t excuse this. Now all the teams will have this point of tension and division. That is not good for the game, which means that it was irresponsible for Kapler to provide the precedent.
- I watched the Boston Red Sox last season fall apart soon after manager Alex Cora announced that he would not attend the White House event honoring his team for its 2018 World Championship—he was angry about the President’s conflict with Puerto Rico. That move instantly divided the team, which proceeded to under-perform all year. Nobody knows if Cora’s self-serving decision actually played a part in the failed season, but it didn’t help. A manager’s duty is to maximize conditions for success.
- When I said above that I should have predicted that it would be Kapler who brought the NFL-style protest where it was not wanted nor needed, I was referring to Kapler’s origins as the child of liberal activists, his reputation as an outspoken Democrat (in a clubhouse poll while Kapler was a reserve outfielder in Boston, of the 2 5 players on the Red Sox, 24 were Republicans and Kapler was the onlyDemocrat), and his activism in social issues: Kapler and his wife co-founded the Gabe Kapler Foundation, which focuses on domestic violence. He also has shown that he thinks he’s a lot smarter than he is.
- The Giants stunt was particularly divisive without a purpose, because nobody living was in the stands or will be when the season starts tomorrow, and baseball broadcasts typically skip the National Anthem now—it just gets in the way of ad revenue.
Baseball has no idea how to deal with this can of worms, and unfortunately its current Commissioner is has proven to be a yutz. Farhan Zaidi, the President of Baseball Operations for the San Francisco Giants, said the team was “proud of our players and staff for continuing to participate in the national conversation about racial injustice.”
Right: putting your knee on a field contributes so much to a “conversation.”
“We support those who knelt peacefully to protest racial injustice and those who stood to express love of country. We do not see these as mutually exclusive sentiments and believe the freedom to express both is what our country is about,” the statement went on.”As an organization, we reaffirm our denouncement of acts of discrimination and violence against members of the Black community and our pledge to work together with those who seek to end racial justice in America.”
Buzzwords and virtue-signaling, hoping and praying that it all will go away.
MLB responded to critics on Twitter by saying, deceitfully, “Supporting human rights is not political.”
Sure. Doing the lifting for Black Lives Matter while its supporters are topling stautues and trashing cities isn’t political.
To another fan complaining that kneeling during the anthem disrespected the military and the flag, the league said, “It has never been about the military or the flag. The players and coaches are using their platforms to peacefully protest.”
They don’t have “platforms.” A baseball game is not a platform for protest. Teams typically ban political signs and banners at games. How will they justify that if the players are engaged in politics on their “platform”?
Meanwhile,, Los Angeles Angels reliever Keynan Middleton also “took a knee” and raised his fist during the national anthem before an Angels game against the San Diego Padres in Petco Park.
So much for helping the country pull together.