Ortiz Slams Donald Trump

One of the many things that I love about David Ortiz is how he speaks his mind. The man doesn’t censor himself. He calls it the way he sees it. Who can forget Ortiz’s famous words “This is our f–king city!” that he proclaimed after the Boston City Bombings? And how can anyone dislike a guy who goes out of his way to help The Jimmy Fund? One thing Ortiz never did throughout his career though is speak out about politics. That was until this week when Ortiz expressed his views about the Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. There’s a lot to be said when someone like Ortiz slams Donald Trump, and sure enough, Red Sox fans will have plenty to say.

It’s not surprising to hear someone like David Ortiz criticize someone like Donald Trump.Ortiz Slams Donald Trump After all, Trump’s tough stance on foreigners in America isn’t something many hard-working immigrants appreciate. As one of those people who’s worked hard to contribute to America’s Pastime, it’s no wonder that Ortiz had choice words about Trump.

“When you speak like that about [immigrants], it’s a slap in the face,” Ortiz told USA Today. “I walk around sometimes, and I see Mexican people trying to earn a living in an honest way. And to hear [Trump] make those kinds of comments, it hits you. I think as Latin people we deserve better.”

I couldn’t agree more with Ortiz. On a larger level though, there’s an important point to be recognized. Latin players make up almost 30% of Major League Baseball players. Players like Pedro Martinez, Roberto Clemente, and Juan Marichal drew large crowds, played their hearts out, and were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Latin players have proven themselves time and time again. For what though? To hear someone like Donald Trump say that they all have to leave because ‘murica?

As Ortiz Slams Donald Trump, Other Athletes Speak Out

A stray bullet struck and killed NBA star Dwyane Wade’s cousin in Chicago a few weeks ago. Seizing the moment for his own political benefit, Trump tweeted how he’d quell violence as president. The problem is that he spelled Dwayne Wade’s name wrong in his original Tweet, further exemplifying his disregard for minorities. Other athletes like Pittsburg Steelers offensive tackle Ryan Harris recently spoke out against Trump too by condemning his anti-Muslim views. To put it lightly, athletes don’t like the GOP nominee.

It’s important when an athlete like David Ortiz slams Donald Trump, especially when that athlete isn’t too political. It shows how there are people in America willing to risk public backlash and admonishment to make a good point. In Ortiz’s case, it shows how strongly he feels to break his political silence and speak out. Most athletes stay silent, fearing they’ll lose endorsement deals or their jobs. While Ortiz doesn’t have to worry about that kind of thing anymore, I still give him props for speaking out against Donald Trump, saying what many Latin players in Major League Baseball probably want to say and can’t.

Big Papi isn’t afraid to speak his mind. And that’s one of the many things that I will miss about Ortiz when he retires from the best game in America.

Does Bigotry Plague Baseball?

I didn’t intend on thinking about the question “Does bigotry plague baseball?” this week. After all, it’s not an easy topic to discuss. But a question at a ballgame last weekend made me reflect. I was watching the Red Sox play the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway last Monday when a novice fan tapped me on the shoulder. “Can you tell me who the good players are?” Toronto was batting, and Jose Bautista was warming up in the on deckBigotry Plague Baseball circle. “He’s pretty good,” I said. “He’s the one who got a lot of flack for flipping his bat after hitting a home run last year.” The guy’s face lit up and pointed Bautista out to a friend while repeating what I said before turning back to me, “Who cares if he flipped his bat? He can’t get excited?”

What does a flipped bat have to do with bigotry? Purists of the game flipped (pun intended) after seeing Bautista’s enthusiastic gesture, which made many ask: Does bigotry plague baseball? After hearing what New York Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher Goose Gossage said on ESPN, some say yes: “He’s embarrassing to all the Latin players, whoever played before him.” Many wondered why Gossage had to mention Bautista’s Latin heritage at all. Why is that important? Bautista isn’t the first to flip his bat. So for many, it’s not so much the enthusiasm that players show when they hit a home run, as much as how the color of their skin can sometimes influence the way opposing players and fans react. This issue has plagued baseball since the days of segregation, particularly the Red Sox, who were the last team in Major League Baseball to integrate when Pumpsie Green joined the team in 1959.

Baseball has made enormous strides towards combating bigotry. Jackie Robinson Day has become an annual celebration where all baseball players wear the number 42 to commemorate the man who broke baseball’s color barrier. But comedian Chris Rock recently made comments that made me think further about the problems with bigotry that remain in baseball. Rock said being a black baseball fan makes him an endangered specie while criticizing the game’s unofficial codes, “When you score in baseball,” Rock said on an episode of HBO’s Real Sports, “the code says: ‘You better not look too happy about it.'” Since then, Chris Rock has said that because of its conservative attributes, baseball is still living in the past and isn’t keeping up with what makes other sports so exciting. So when Bautista flipped his bat, many of those who love the history and tradition of the game found themselves at a crossroads. Many didn’t know how to defend their love for baseball’s honor without looking like they were also defending its flawed past. How do you defend the game’s longstanding traditions without acknowledging that past?

No One Wants to See Bigotry Plague Baseball

Of course, no rational person wants to see baseball return to the days of segregation.  However, it is important for baseball to continue with the strides it has made since Jackie Robinson integrated the majors. So if bat flipping signifies that baseball is progressing, then its purists should keep in mind that it’s not a departure from the honor in baseball, as much as it is a departure from the bigotry that plagued baseball in the first place. Issues like Bautista’s bat flip don’t always have to be about race and ethnicity, but it’s an effort that all parties have to keep in mind if the game is going to continue making strides towards equality.