MLB This Week: I’m Angry
By Patrick Gunn
I tried to write a piece this week about the Yankees offseason. I could have gone more into their pitching staff, or the pieces they need to help their lineup. I could have even written a piece about my feelings on Gary Sanchez.
However, the Yankees were not the biggest story in MLB this week. I’m just going to put this bluntly: MLB had a terrible week, and they have no one to blame but themselves.
It started late Monday night with the news broke by ESPN about Jared Porter harassing a foreign female reporter, sending over 60 inappropriate text messages along with sexually explicit photos. The Mets are not the only franchise to blame for this case, as he was allowed to move up the ranks of the Cubs and the Diamondbacks beforehand.
It is fair to question why the Mets didn’t ask any women when Porter worked with Raquel Ferreira – one of the only female Assistant General Managers in Baseball – of the Boston Red Sox for years. Also, Sandy Alderson made a pretty bad slip up saying the person’s home country when she clearly wanted to be left anonymous because she was afraid for her safety in her home country. Baseball has a clear culture issue, and the Porter case is a major part of that.
On Friday, Henry Aaron died at the age of 86, an icon in the game. To make matters worse, several prominent reporters misconstrued and, whether through ignorance or not, sanitized Aaron’s story dealing with racism.
The truth is that Aaron received death threats and slurs throughout his career and especially during his chase to break Babe Ruth’s home record. That unnecessary outcry of hatred affected the way Aaron viewed baseball and America in general and he never fought those comments completely in silence. Now, white baseball pundits (myself included) characterized Aaron’s story inappropriately.
And late last night, Ken Rosenthal wrote a piece about Trevor Bauer potentially signing with the Mets. The idea of doing a news piece about this topic is nothing major, but Rosenthal botched the story completely by including the names of people abused by Bauer on social media so that they would be left open to be further harassed by Bauer’s “fanbase” of bullies. What’s worse, Rosenthal updated the piece to include a statement from Bauer that included a half-baked non-apology for his actions without analysis. Oh, and the new version also removed a very important detail about Bauer’s harassment, namely that Bauer sent around 80 inflammatory tweets towards this person.
Look, Bauer is a talented pitcher but he goes out of his way to harass and belittle fans while also making flat out wrong and bigoted claims. He’s a genuinely terrible person on Twitter and Rosenthal gave him space for a puff piece. Rosenthal is a highly respected reporter, but he has to be more sensitive about covering a player like Bauer – especially after he makes a piece discussing how much the culture needs to change.
All of this comes without mentioning that at least one Hall of Fame voter reportedly asked to rescind their votes for Curt Schilling after the pitcher’s inaccurate and dangerous comments about the terrorist attack/insurrection on the Capitol Building – even though Schilling has been making awful and insidious comments long before January 6th.
MLB has always had issues with social activism, as highlighted this season throughout a summer of protests and conversations. I feel like baseball has the potential to help people and build a more inclusive group of fans and workers. With that said, this week showed us just how far we have to go for MLB to take that step. And it is beyond frustrating.