After patting itself on the back regarding the reach of its first racism piece (noting that “Cubs officials expressed disappointment with the Sun-Times story” – see how far reaching it was!), the Sun-Times went back to the racism well this morning, re-upping its contention that the Cubs fans at Wrigley Field are uniquely racist.
This time, they spoke to the Chicago Cubs’ two managers before Lou Piniella – Dusty Baker and Don Baylor.
Former Cubs manager Don Baylor, now a Colorado Rockies coach, talked before the game about the issue raised in Wednesday’s Sun-Times of Wrigley Field’s reputation for a vocal minority of fans who sometimes get racial in taunting players.
”I had to integrate to an all-white school in the seventh grade in the ’60s in Texas. I’ve gotten over that kind of stuff,” said Baylor, who managed the Cubs from 2000 to ’02. ”You just say, ‘It’s never going to go away.’ You have a black president; that’s nice. But it’s never going to go away.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.
Not necessarily directed at Cubs fans and Wrigley Field, specifically.
Baylor’s successor, Dusty Baker, didn’t want to revisit the racist hate mail and threats he said he received while managing the Cubs (2003-06) when asked about the Sun-Times story before his Cincinnati Reds’ game in Milwaukee. But he did say things are better for him in Cincinnati.
”Oh, yeah, Cincinnati has been great,” he told MLB.com. ”My family loves Cincinnati.”
Based on his experiences in Chicago, Baker added, he sees room for improvement.
”In the world, not just baseball,” he said. ”It’s better than it was, but we still have some work to do. You can tell it is better than it was just by all the people that voted for Barack [Obama].”
As I said before, I never heard about this stuff during the Baylor years (and Baylor, as you’ll recall, was not exactly popular). That is NOT my subtle way of saying it doesn’t happen, because usually, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Even if you don’t believe there is much legitimacy to the discussion, you have to admit it’s a worthwhile one to have. Now when you’re at the game, and you hear someone shouting something you just can’t get down with, you can feel empowered to say something.
And if you get beer thrown at you or punched, just remember it was a whole lot worse for Jackie Robinson.