In 2017, I happened to have on a Cardinals-Pirates game, and had to do a double take on a comment from Pittsburgh color commentator Steve Blass about Javier Báez. Yes, the Cubs’ Javy Báez, a player not at all involved in a Pirates-Cardinals game.
Blass said, “Anybody but Javier Báez. He’s a difficult player for me to root for. I’ll put it that way.”
Pirates’ play-by-play man Greg Brown asked, “Is it because of his flashiness?”
Blass — while laughing — responded, “That’s a nice way to put it… his flashiness.”
Video proof of this pic.twitter.com/Q27J2EAyM9
— Matt Clapp (@TheBlogfines) August 19, 2017
Let’s fast-forward to Tuesday night (or, two years later), with the Braves playing the Pirates. 21-year-old Atlanta phenom Ronald Acuña Jr. was at the plate, and was hit by a pitch from Pirates’ left-hander Steven Brault. There was pretty much no chance of getting out of the way for Acuña on the pitch.
Well, Blass immediately brought up Acuña’s jewelry, and “back in the day” nonsense.
Pirates announcer Steve Blass really doesn't like a specific type of player.
hmmm, wonder what it could be? Here he is talking about Ronald Acuña's jewelry and calling him a prick because he looked at the pitcher after getting hit.
sounds about white pic.twitter.com/nyRwrP76vo
— Aldo Soto (@AldoSoto21) June 5, 2019
— Dayton from Nebraska (@BravesAmerica) June 5, 2019
Sure sounds like it to me pic.twitter.com/z6dQOr5DTk
— Levi Cressler (@LeviCressler) June 5, 2019
It’s hard to tell if the word “prick” was used there from Blass, but even if not, this is a bad look.
Acuña’s jewelry had nothing at all to do with being hit by that pitch from a physical/visual perspective, and his jewelry “and stuff” sure as heck shouldn’t be bothering a pitcher or team enough to *throw at him*. This is a gigantic, uncomfortable reach from a broadcaster. And it’s the kind of thing you pretty much never hear about a *white* ballplayer, many of whom also wear jewelry or accessories.
The “let the kids play” and “baseball is fun” movements will be hard to accelerate in MLB as long as the old men keep yelling at clouds and making uncomfortable comments like these.