Why, just last week I attended a reception where one man, knowing I'd written a book about the Mets, approached me and said, "I still love the team, and Livan Hernandez wouldn't hurt. But how about adding an American or two?"
I mean, really? How about adding an American or two? It's official: I can't say things in sports rarely surprise me anymore, because I find myself being surprised an awful lot these days. And this, in so many ways, takes the cake.
How about adding an American or two?
I won't both pointing out the 12,000 incorrect assumptions being made by the Mets fans Pearlman cites. What's the point? There is no logical rationale for this kind of belief, so to argue with it is kind of like arguing with someone about their favorite color. And, frankly, I think we're all a little naive to think that there aren't more baseball fans who feel this way about black and hispanic players, fans who hearken back to the days when the game's best players were predominantly mustachioed white dudes with mullets and "blue collar" values. They feel a disconnect with today's non-white superstars, who appear more aloof and self-centered and lazy and cornrowed. And David Eckstein isn't lazy, they say to themselves; people need to write about Eckstein more, not overrated guys like Hanley Ramirez, over whom national columnists can't stop fawning.
According to Pearlman, the non-tendering of Paul LoDuca, a PED-fueled and philandering clubhouse cancer has served as the proverbial "last straw" for a lot of these
Ever since Minaya got the Mets' GM job, there's been a lot made of his being hispanic. In a vacuum, there's nothing wrong with both acknowledging the novelty of seeing a non-white face in upper-level baseball administration, particularly since Minaya was (I believe) the first hispanic GM in the sport's history. When Carlos Delgado was a free agent a few years back, a lot was made of Minaya's effort to use his ethnicity — and, to a degree, the ethnic composition of the Mets' locker room — to draw Delgado to the team. If I remember correctly, Delgado bristled at Minaya's efforts and decided to sign with the Marlins, which resulted in a little bit of blowback for Minaya. But I never understood why people were upset by Minaya's gambit. Why wouldn't you try and use every available resource to land someone you desperately want? And who's really offended by the fact that Minaya might want to use the fact that he speaks spanish as a hopeful mark in the Mets' favor? Does some shine come off a contract that isn't negotiated exclusively in english?
But it's starting to make sense, now. Apparently, it's not racist if you're talking about hispanics, and it's not racist if you can couch it in positive terms ("We just want to see more Americans!") instead of negative ones ("Stop signing the brown people!").
I realize there's a danger implicit in drawing general conclusions from individual situations, but I can't help but think that Mets fans are the only ones who feel this way about the globalization of America's past time.