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Marc 06-05-2007 04:36 PM

Latin players easier to control than blacks?

The percentage of African-Americans playing Major League Baseball is at an all-time low and Gary Sheffield says he has a theory why that's the case.

In an interview with GQ magazine that's currently on newsstands, the typically outspoken Tigers designated hitter said Latin players have replaced African-Americans as baseball's most prevalent minority because they are easier to control.

"I called it years ago. What I called is that you're going to see more black faces, but there ain't no English going to be coming out. … [It's about] being able to tell [Latin players] what to do -- being able to control them," he told the magazine.

"Where I'm from, you can't control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that's a person that you're going to talk to with respect, you're going to talk to like a man.

"These are the things my race demands. So, if you're equally good as this Latin player, guess who's going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys."

A bunch of BS...

da12ken 06-05-2007 04:53 PM

I think there may be some truth to it, but the larger issue is money.

A signing a great black (American) player costs seven- or even eight-figures. By comparison Felix Hernandez signed the Mariners as a 16-year old for $700,000. Now only is he as talented as any pitcher (black or otherwise) but he comes a lot cheaper and the team retains his rights for more years.

And also going with the money issue, Latin players grow up impoverished and their baseball reflects that. Almost all the Latin players use milk cartons as makeshift baseball gloves (coincidentally it makes them great fielders). In America the infrastructure in youth baseball requires aluminum bats, gloves, bags, spikes, etc. I know playing Little League cost me several hundreds dollars. Impoverished blacks simply don't have an outlet for baseball that corresponds to their economic level: could you imagine people letting kids play with milk cartons on ESPN during the Little League World Series? Heck, all basketball requires is a ball and a hoop.

doublee 06-05-2007 06:34 PM

I mean if control were the issue then why is it that the NFL has a larger percentage of African Americans and that sport takes much more discipline and coachability than baseball does?

One major factor is that they can get these kids out of the islands when they are 16 so they tend to be major league ready by the time they are 20 or 21. Another is that African Americans aren't playing baseball at younger ages any more basketball and football tend to be the preferred sports. American kids are rarely ready for the bigs by then.

Bottom line is African American kids are playing football and basketball more than they are baseball these days. I think a lot of them probably see those sports as having a quicker path to the big paydays so they concentrate on those sports more than baseball.

catman 06-05-2007 08:07 PM

I think Buck O'Neil had a point on this. He said economics was the biggest hurdle that blacks had to cross in baseball. Baseball requires a lot of room to play. It requires a lot of equipment to play. You have to have several people to play -- someone has to pitch, hit and retrieve the ball. Football requires less room to play as you can run nearly every play on a short field -- about 30 yards long. Basketball doesn't require a lot of equipment, all you need is a hoop and a ball. A guy can develop a great touch by shooting at the basket all evening.
What is the answer here? I'm not sure, but to say that Latin players are easier to control is not it.
And, by the way, if Sheff knows a lot of people that can outplay the guys currently in the bigs, he should notify his team's scouts to go sign them right away.

Anthony 06-06-2007 08:44 AM

I'm assuming that Sheffield is talking about foreign-born players and not American-born Latinos like Oakland's Eric Chavez.

Meanwhile, African-Americans appear to be making a great leap forward in the world of mixed martial arts, with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson claiming the UFC light-heavyweight championship with a stunning victory over icon Chuck Liddell, and Rashad Evans (who I have met on multiple occasions and consider a personal friend) getting ready for the biggest fight of his career, against Tito Ortiz in Sacramento on July 7th at UFC 73 (which I plan on attending).

bama4256 06-06-2007 01:19 PM

I'm tired of players, managers and owners saying stupid stuff. Just shut up and play the game.

Marino13 06-26-2007 12:39 PM

Gary Sheffield loses his roster spot to a wheelchair-bound Latino

Just as he expected would happen, Gary Sheffield lost his roster spot today to a Latin player, as the Detroit Tigers cut him in favor of Manny Velasquez – a Dominican-born man confined to a wheelchair.

“Gary is a solid player and he has helped us on the field, but Manny is just more – what’s the word I’m searching for – controllable,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. “His Latin-ness means he’ll do almost anything I say and, even if he refuses, his wheelchair allows me to push him wherever I want him to go, even against his will. Call me a racist if you want to, but you don’t get that kind of control with an able-bodied black player.”

While Velasquez may appear black, Sheffield says it doesn’t really count because he doesn’t speak English.

“There ain’t no English coming out of his mouth,” said Sheffield. “Although there ain’t really no Spanish, neither, ‘cause he’s got one of those mechanized robot voice things that like one famous wheelchair scientist guy. So when you think about it, black people are now seen as lesser than Latin players and robots. It’s total crap.”

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