Racial discrimination at the youth baseball level may be a growing problem in America as Latinos begin to flood the game at the grassroots and major league levels and African-American sons of the black baseball generation begin to reintroduce the sport to their seeds.
With that influx of diversity comes a change of style and an introduction of skill sets not commonly found in todays less exciting, homer happy, metrics-driven philosophy which tends to ignore the talents that players of color bring to the game, such as speed and supreme athleticism, the art of small ball and swag.
Youth baseball player shows flair for the histrionic following monster home run.
Generally speaking, non-players of color have a slightly different approach to the game. Its cultural more than anything and only leads to a more spirited, diverse and beautiful game, but when the cultures clash and the adults who are leading the kids are bigoted instead of inclusive and fail in their duties to educate and lead by example, these differences come to light.
Its especially sad when the racial oppression that is occurring under the Trump administration seeps into Americas pastime.
A little league baseball team comprised of Latino players from West Lawn were the subject of racial slurs and verbal abuse by players and coaches of a Kennedy Park league travel team, according to parents, coaches, and players on Sunday.
Ray Salazar, a parent of one of the players on West Lawns Southwest Pride, posted this tweet after the game.
When the Beverly (a Southside Chicago ‘hood that’s VERY white) baseball team ran by my 12-yo-son’s team during warm ups, they teased them, “ndale, taco boys.” Well…these Southwest side taco boys showed ’em! Proud of these fellas.
According to Evan Moore of chicago.suntimes.com, Salazar, a CPS high school English teacher told him that the incident was a learning experience for his son and his teammates.
Via Moore: Im at the point now where Im balancing getting involved, and not getting involved and letting my son make sense out of situations. I heard it and it is a part of life and we have to move on, Salazar said.
During the game, one of the Kennedy Park Cobras U11 shouted an expletive as he was hit by a pitch while swinging. The West Lawn players laughed at the expletive. The Cobras coach started yelling at the Prides bench, believing that the team was laughing because one of his players was getting hurt.
Our kids were giggling because the player dropped the f-bomb. The coach from the Kennedy team went off, Salazar said. He started swearing and saying they couldnt laugh at a player getting hurt. It was completely inappropriate. It didnt have to go that far.
Before the game, Adrian, the younger Salazar said that the players from Kennedy Park shouted Taco Boys at the West Lawn team as their team was warming up in right field. They also alleged that in a second incident, one of the Cobras told his teammates during a pep talk that they were going to build a wall around home plate.
These comments were meant to be blatant insults against the players’ Latino heritage and it’s unfortunate that in 2018 we are still dealing with racial discrimination of this kind and it is being viciously spewed from a new generation of kids who will one day take over the most powerful positions in the world from their forefathers. It’s a cycle that is perpetuated by adults.
After the game, a shoving match between players and coaches from both teams took place, according to Pride coach Juan Delgadillo.
I think they werent used to the way we play baseball. Bunting, squeeze plays and stealing bases. It got under their skin, Delgadillo said.
Instead of commending The Pride for executing and teaching the complete game of baseball, the Kennedy Park coaches got agitated because they were being outcoached by a “Taco Boy.”
While this story may shock some people, it is all too familiar to my experiences as a youth travel coach with a team comprised of kids of color.
I want my son to play and become a better baseball player, but he also needs to know how this city works, Salazar told Moore. Today was a good example of an incident that can give him some insight to the city he lives in…Hes going to be a teenager soon and this was something I had to confront.
Orioles star Adam Jones receives a standing ovation just one day after being subjected to racial taunts at Boston’s Fenway Park. Jones says fans at Fenway hurled peanuts and repeatedly used a racial slur against him during their game Monday. Jeff Glor reports.
That’s a sad dose of reality right there. While most of my experiences are positive across the country, there was one time when we played a close tournament game in Pennsylvania and it ended on a controversial call and the opposing parents started telling us to go back to where you came from. Go back to the ghetto.
We cant let situations such as the one in Chicago become a common occurrence because the game of baseball needs unity from both teams in order for the game to be executed properly and for the kids to get the jewels that the game has to offer in life and athletics.