Stop if you’ve heard this before. Old white baseball broadcaster calls out non-white player using dog-whistle language that might be racist. The latest is Cleveland Guardians radio play-by-play announcer Tom Hamilton, who, during a series between the Guardians and Minnesota Twins this week called out Twins first baseman Miguel Sano for being fat and essentially called him lazy.
“Miguel Sano, he’s not hurt. He’s just fat,” Hamilton said bluntly on the broadcast. “That’s as brutally honest as we can be. He’s down in Fort Myers trying to get in shape, which is normally what you do in the offseason. They’re paying him a lot of money, and it’s really unprofessional how he showed up to camp. He’s getting paid, but he’s now getting paid to basically get in shape. … Some teams would say ‘we don’t wanna hurt his feelings.’ The heck with that!”
The Guardians radio Broadcast on Miguel Sanó pic.twitter.com/DGqZqOh9sj
— @MLBNerds #1 Fan (@DabollToHeaven) June 23, 2022
Hamilton works for the Guardians as their radio play-by-play voice. Does he have access or knowledge that the public is not privy to as it relates to the Twins’ injuries? How is he so sure how Sano arrived to camp and that he is in fact not injured? Is he reporting that information? If so, he might have said “according to sources” or “people I’ve talked to that are familiar with…”
But Hamilton didn’t qualify his statement. He just stated it as fact because he said so. Never mind the fact that it was reported that Sano underwent surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee. He actually tried to play through the pain in the end of April and early May but hurt it further and eventually knew he had to get surgery.
“He was definitely in favor of getting this done, and I think our medical staff agrees with him,” Twins’ manager Rocco Baldelli said.
The claim that Sano showed up to camp out of shape, has been refuted. He showed up to camp 25 pounds lighter than he finished the 2021 season.
“I put in a lot of effort and tried to be a man every day and control myself and be a better player, teammate and better person and better dad and everything,” said Sano, who was listed on the Twins’ web site last season as weighing 272 pounds. “Every day when I woke up, I said, ‘I need to be better than yesterday,’ and that’s what I did in the offseason.”
Hamilton used the same tropes that are often used by people who criticize athletes using racial undertones. He mentioned the amount of money Sano is making ($9.25 million this season) and said the way he showed up to camp was “unprofessional.”
The implication is that Sano is lazy and doesn’t work hard because of the money he makes. The lazy athlete narrative is connected to the lazy Black narrative that dates back to at least the Reconstruction era. It’s a form of “othering” and separating that is disgusting.
Again if Hamilton has sourcing and proper intel, then by all means he should report what he knows. But if he’s just talking and this is just speculation, this is dangerous and further perpetuates a nasty stereotype about non-white athletes.