Home > Uncategorized > Orlando Hudson has Trouble Connecting the Dots…

Orlando Hudson has Trouble Connecting the Dots…

Orlando Hudson cast a thinly veiled allusion to racism in baseball yesterday, by claiming that the reason Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield are without jobs this spring, is because… well, you figure it out:

You see guys like Jermaine Dye without a job. Guy with [27 home runs and 81 RBIs] and can’t get a job. Pretty much sums it up right there, no? You’ve got some guys who miss a year who can come back and get $5, $6 million, and a guy like Jermaine Dye can’t get a job. A guy like Gary Sheffield, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, can’t get a job. We both know what it is. You’ll get it right. You’ll figure it out. I’m not gonna say it because then I’ll be in [trouble].

This is the second time this year that a baseball player has elicited a post from me on the dangerous topic of race, but this one is far simpler than Torii Hunter’s diatribe.

Orlando, you’re a former Jay, which makes me predisposed to like you, but… come on. Really? Do I need to break this down for you? Gary Sheffield has a long, richly deserved reputation for being a curmudgeonly guy. This has nothing to do with the color of his skin and everything to do with the vagaries of his temper. And you know what? When he was one of the best hitters in baseball, that didn’t matter. Unfortunately, for him and his desires to play ball this summer, he’s no longer one of the best hitters in baseball. Instead he’s a 41 year old who has trouble catching up to fastballs and staying on the field. If he was a class act, who was fondly remembered by one of his previous franchises, he might have a contract anyhow, but he’s not.

By contrast, starting his career only a year after Gary, Ken Griffey Jr was beloved in baseball and especially beloved in Seattle. Like Sheffield, he was a Hall of Fame hitter. Also like Sheffield he’s a hollow shell of his former self. Of course, perhaps because of his nougaty center, he’s serving as a “mentor/DH” in Seattle this year. Yes, he’s old and well past his prime, but the Mariners are paying him two and a half million. He’s also black.

Then there’s Jermaine Dye. Dye is currently unemployed, but it isn’t as though he hasn’t been offered a deal. The Cubs were willing to pay him 3 million to play for them this year. Is that a pay cut? Uhmmm, well yes, but then Dye actually wasn’t a very good player last year, or the year before, or even the year before that. In 2006 Dye’s WAR was a respectable 3.2, in 2007 it was -0.6, in 2008 it rebounded all the way to 1.8, and last year it dropped back below the Mendoza line.

I know, I know, he hit 27 home runs and these fancy new statistics are so confusing… but, just trust me, anything below 0.0 could be achieved by my Grandma. So, yeah. Last year Dye made 11.5 million to play like an old lady, but despite that, the Cubs were willing to spend three million for him this year. He decided he wanted more, despite the fact that guys like his teammate, future Hall of Famer Jim Thome (1.6 WAR in 2009) took big paycuts. So, uhmmm… sure, it’s because Dye’s black that he’s sitting at home right now.

At some point it becomes dangerous and counter-productive to argue racial inequality is at work and in my humble (and white) opinion this would clearly be such a time. Yes, Orlando, there may well be racism in Major League Baseball, but it isn’t stopping Jermaine Dye from getting work, and it isn’t what’s keeping teams from calling Gary Sheffield. That would be decisions they made.

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  1. BBB
    April 14, 2010 at 12:39 am

    No comment on the post other than that I agree with your thesis. Just wanted to point out that the Jays are only 154 games or so away from the taking the division. Anyone think they can keep it up? Yeah, didn’t think so. ;-)

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