Racism’s Rainbow

ty_cobb.jpgTy Cobb could not play baseball today. Oh, maybe he had the skills and the guts to succeed but you wouldn’t find him in the majors. There’s one simple reason for this. Bigtime sports depend on marketing and it’s really hard to market a racist ^sshole. Just look at John Rocker. Say the wrong thing to the wrong person and soon enough you’re signing baseball cards at convention centers instead of trotting in from the bullpen.

Now, it hasn’t always been this way and the fact that a guy like Ty Cobb is in the Hall of Fame shows that sometimes those lesser angels of our nature don’t disqualify you from everything in life. But in the last few years, as baseball and other sports have become more dependent on the revenue generated by the family friendly aspects of the game, it has become rarer and rarer to see someone go off and really call it like they see it. That’s why I want to remind us all of some of the more glaring instances in a segment I like to call: Holy Sh!t! Did he really just say that?

Gary Sheffield:
sheffield.jpgI begin with my hometown Tigers and an homage to our recently departed designated hitter. Now, Sheff has been a fount of inspired insanity over the years and everyone knows about his comments regarding Latino players. He also famously said that Derek Jeter wasn’t “All the way black.” But the genius of Sheff can only truly be summed up in his response to a question about fathering two children before he was old enough to vote: “That was part of my plan. I didn’t want to be the typical athlete who’s single all his career.” Sheff shows that racism comes in a rainbow of colors.

John Rocker:
Rocker_Alicia.jpgQuite possibly the biggest homophobe and xenophobe to emerge from baseball since Ty Cobb, Rocker once remarked, “The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the
foreigners … You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not
hear anybody speaking English
Even his annual apologies provided nonstop fun. Only Rocker could manage to understate the severity of a situation by starting out “My comments concerning persons afflicted with AIDS as
well as various minority groups have left people wondering if I am a
racist.” However, he also manages to retain the power to confound his critics and proved it once again by taking up with the beautiful Alicia. You stay classy, John Rocker!

Norm MacDonald:
However, nothing quite tops this video of Norm Coleman hosting the Espy’s a decade ago. Do yourself a favor. Even if you can’t quite sit through the entire eight and a half minutes, fast forward to the 7:53 minute mark and prepare to be amazed by the absolute sadistic ruthlessness with which he builds up Charles Woodson and then cuts him off at the ankles. It ain’t pretty but it gets him a spot on RSBS:

Happy Saturday!




  1. raysrenegade

    I got to chat a few times with John Rocker. The guy is very spiritual, but he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
    He did have a few revelations after that article pushing New Yorkers and a few other groups of people off the elevated Subway platform.
    But, he did have a few cocktails while being interviewed, which is not an excuse, but he also thought most of that was “off the record” since they were drinking. Brainfart 101 mistake.
    Sheffy had so many problems when he hung out with Uncle Dwight in Tampa you thought they might be the next Bobsy-twins of baseball. Thank goodness he left his uncle’s side before he really got into trouble……..Oh, I forgot, they did get arrested together.

    Rays Renegade


  2. Lissi

    Oh lord. That was terrible. How did they let that happen?
    Gary Sheffield is a loser. My favorite part about him being released is all of the Indians fans who either said: 1) The Indians should pick him up (great plan guys… after he beats up our #2 starter and second baseman and catcher how well do you think he’ll fit in?) or 2) I wanted to see part #2 of “the fight” this year! Classy guys.

  3. rockymountainway

    The funny thing about the Rocker comment was I was in NYC at the time and nobody cared! Nobody cared because it was true and everyone knew it. That’s what makes NYC great is the diversity, but the other parts of the country took up arms and the guy got lambasted. I can’t tell you what he meant in saying it but the fact is you can walk down a lot of blocks all over great city and you’ll come across more diversity then you would in any other place in America.

  4. Elizabeth D.

    Ty Cobb was a maniac… but it’s not like he had the best childhood either. As I was writing my research paper, I speculated myself about the differences in the times, and how they would correlate today (as you said, they would not). Moses Fleetwood Walker, the first African-American in professional baseball, didn’t last too long in it… and it was so bad that he urged people to emigrate back to Africa. Good to see that we are at least making significant progress towards a more accepting society. It’s not perfect yet, but there has to be some badness to clearly define what is good.

  5. flairforthedramatic

    Sheff is just……. sorry, couldn’t think of any words to describe him that wouldn’t get censored.
    I loved his homers as a Yankee, but he was too big of a jerk to stay a Yankee. I’m surprised the Mets made the move to pick up someone with that big of a head and nothing filling it up, but so be it.
    That Norm MacDonald vid was something. My favorite part would have to be the look on Griffey’s face the entire time. He’s like wow, is he really saying this? Lol.
    – V [ htp://flairforthedramatic.mlblogs.com ]

  6. roundrock15

    Renegade, that might be true for that article, but Rocker continually said boneheaded, offensive thing after boneheaded, offensive thing.

    I would argue, though, that Rocker marketed himself. Baseball had absolutely no trouble selling tickets when Rocker was pitching. It was when his WHIP climbed from 1.158 to 1.726 and he started giving up better than a home run per inning that he got bounced.


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