Minasian: On diversity: baseball and its fans fall short

From SABR member Isabelle Minasian at The Hardball Times on May 5, 2017:

I was finishing up the edits on this article about baseball’s annual diversity scorecard when the Baltimore Orioles arrived at Fenway Park this week for a series against the Red Sox. If you’re reading The Hardball Times, chances are good that you’ve already heard what happened: racist jeers directed at Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, a bag of peanuts thrown in his direction, and the resulting angry controversy.

Racism in America is alive and well, but to hear about such an aggressive display of it at a baseball game was jarring, and made me question what I’d written for this piece. How could I advocate for diversity in the major leagues when this is what these diverse bodies are subjected to? How can MLB continue to sing the praises of its diversity initiatives when words and actions like these are allowed in its ballparks?

The fans responsible for the racist taunts and the attempted assault were escorted from the park, but that hardly seems like enough response. Banning them from the ballpark, as one fan was, seems like it will be hard to enforce. How do you make sure one fan doesn’t enter the building? After the game, Jones said he thought the perpetrators should be heavily fined upwards of “10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand. Something that really hurts somebody.” Buster Olney, in his blog for ESPN, wrote that MLB “could declare war on the kind of language that was directed at Jones” by including an intolerance of abusive language in the pregame announcements.

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/on-diversity-baseball-and-its-fans-fall-short/

Originally published: May 5, 2017. Last Updated: May 5, 2017.