Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

 

by mike in boston [@mikeinboston] [hatemailaccount at g/m/a/i/l dot com]

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The Beginning of the End of Racist Logos

 

Last week the editorial board of a Cleveland newspaper came out in support of officially ending the use of the Indians’ “Chief Wahoo” logo. 60% of respondents to their online poll disagreed. The piece explains that the team has been phasing that logo out over the last several years, so there seems to be some internal momentum already. The paper did not come out in favour of a name change (yet) but that would be the logical extension of this move. Some have suggested they should just change to their nickname — The Tribe — and adopt some kind of warrior inspired logo. That seem like a good way of preserving continuity between past and present and future.

If I were a Cleveland fan I would resent the implication that I root for a racist team. That is totally understandable. But I don’t understand people who try to argue that the logo is not racist because it has its roots in sports. If the same logo were part of a cartoon series, we would undoubtedly say it is racist towards First Nations people. Just sub in Jews or Blacks with exaggerated ethnic features and see if the point is more obvious. So, people in Cleveland need to accept that the logo is offensive without feeling personally attacked.

Here’s an interesting thought-experiment: suppose the Indians had the Redskins logo instead. That one shows a person with normal features in tribal head-gear. Then it seems much less racist. It is still culturally offensive, since it is appropriating another people’s traditions without any plausible basis for doing so, but that’s a lesser crime. I’m a little surprised The Indians didn’t try this approach to keeping the logo.

In any case, I applaud the Cleveland paper for taking this stance and I hope this discussion will further isolate Redskins owner Dan Snyder. To have a team called the Redskins in 2014 is unconscionable. It’s a stone’s throw away from calling a team the Darkies.

 

Jays Talk

 

The big news this week was that AA came out and suggested they were not thrilled with Happ as their 4th starter, after Happ had a few rough innings. This is after an off-season of saying they were happy with their rotation, and that Happ had changed his arm slot and would be much better in 2014, so they did not see a need to go spend on free agent improvements.

The lack of consistency by AA has been an ongoing theme over the last 14 months. In this case, he ended up making his manger look rather dumb, as Gibbons waxed about how silly it is to judge “secure” guys like Happ on their spring training performance. Gibbons also seems to have been taking logic lessons from Rob Ford as he trotted out this wonderfully self-contradictory sentence: “He had a bad outing, I’m not worried about J.A. He has been battling a little bit of a stiff back. He’s not going to use that as an excuse, we’re not going to use that as an excuse, but it can affect you a little bit.”

I hate spring training. Everyone is in the best shape of his life, everyone is pitching amazing side-sessions, everyone’s fastball looks like it has pop. This drags on forever, and the results don’t matter of course, because guys are just “trying things out.” It’s the best example of confirmation bias you can have: people see what they want to see and ignore anything that doesn’t fit their chosen narrative.

One other thing about spring training is that we get headlines about how people have matured in the off-season. See, for example, Brett Lawrie whose “mentality” has improved and we should expect a much different season from what we have seen from the fiery Captain Dude Bro in the past.  Unfortunately, the same week Lawrie tweeted of a picture he took of himself drinking some sports drink while behind the wheel, leading people to wonder how a person can safely drive with no hands on the wheel. We have pretty good evidence that Lawrie is roughly on a par with Yunel Escobar in the mental quotient department. If he can put a few 3+  WAR seasons like Yunel, then maybe we can deal with the intellectual deficiencies. Good luck to you Brett Lawrie.

Lastly, news broke yesterday that Ervin Santana would sign a one year deal. AA’s line has been that they don’t like the term associated with the fee agent pitchers. This more or less ends that line of justification for not spending. No one is arguing that Santana would make the Jays a World Series contender. What is true is that average teams need as much of a buffer as possible in order to outperform expectations. You need people who can come in and take pressure off everyone else to perform. This means that guys don’t have to handle more than they can, and you don’t need to rush young talent up just to fill a gap.

Santana would do that. He had a  3.24 ERA in 211 innings last year. That is way better than everyone on the Jays staff. If AA does not make this deal, then I think there is a serious possibility the team is planning on a fire sale. How else could you explain refusing to sign a guy to a 1 year deal who would instantly make your team better and protect your young assets? Rooting for this team has become depressing this off-season. This would be a step in the right direction.

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • Thank God the NHL trade deadline is over. We use the term “insider” derisively on this site because any talking head who works for either network is presented as an Insider. As such, each network lines up an army of Insiders, because apparently at trade deadline time GMs spill all their secrets to back up goalies and retired goons. It’s farcical. But here’s a question: if you had to fire every supposed insider except one person, who would that be?

 

  • There’s a game you can play with PTS. It goes like this: see how many seconds elapse between the time you finish Grange’s sentence and when he actually gets around to it. There’s usually a 5 second gap before he figures out how to end his tortuous phrasing. I think Bob is sick of it because he started finishing Grange’s sentences this week. On behalf of the audience, thanks Bob!

 

  • Twitter brings out the idiot in everyone. Bruce Arthur did not have a very good night responding to criticism:

 

 

that’s it for this weekend, thanks for reading and commenting.

mike in boston

 

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