Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursdays with Torii

Today's key tasks involve finishing off the magazine cover story and writing an article on the inaugural Lansing Lugnuts Hall of Fame class, inductees to be announced in a pregame on-field ceremony on Opening Day.

The Phillies doubled up the Blue Jays, 4-2, in spring action yesterday.  Not much production from the former Lugnuts, though Travis Snider did provide a single in three at-bats.  The bigger story was Philadelphia's Cody Ransom, who homered in two different cities on the same day.  Joel Youngblood, eat your heart out.

In other news, a full 50% of the Lugnuts' Marketing Department flew down to Dunedin yesterday to get head shots of the new coaching staff.  It was an idea first conceived by Double-A New Hampshire... and who are we to ignore opportunity knocking?

The Torii Hunter story is a potential minefield, but I'm going in anyway.  My guess is that Hunter heard from some folks who had heard that baseball is losing young African Americans and wondered how this could be -- after all, isn't Vladimir Guerrero black?  To which Hunter responded, Vlad's Dominican, not African American.

Fine.  Everyone's right.  The number of African American players is decreasing, the number of Latino players is going up, to an ignorant fan going entirely by skin tone it would seem that there's no difference, and a Latino player and an African American player have different cultural heritages and backgrounds.  End the sentence right there.  But, darn it, Torii, you can't go calling black Latin American players "impostors."  You can't.

Now then, it would seem to me that:
1.  The context has been lost from which Hunter's comments were taken, a superb conversation between people from all over the baseball landscape (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).
2.  Torii has apologized.

Let's move on.

There's something off to me about adding an ex-player into sports media who hated talking to reporters during his playing days.  Key quote:  "'The media part,' says Mr. Shaughnessy, 'was like he was getting a flu shot all the time.'"

An Ozzie Guillen spotlight always contains interesting moments, but Ozzie's going to need many more seasons, many more wins, and at least a couple more World Series rings to merit his Cooperstown dream.  Seems a little early in his career to write such a story.  Then again, certain media-friendly guys get spotlight stories every year.  Expect a slew of Rick Neuheisel and Lane Kiffin profiles come college football season, for instance.

Enjoy your Thursday!

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