View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Thursday, July 10, 2003

Dusty Baker

I haven't seen the videotape, but I'm told that he was sort of winking while he said this, and then, eventually, claimed he was quite serious, that his mother was a history teacher in Sacramento, and that this is what she taught. I think baseball managers sometimes take an impish joy in being opaque and stirring up trouble.

That said, let's take him at his word and assume he meant what he said. People are comparing this to Al Campanis, who made some boneheaded comment on Nightline about blacks not having buoyancy, and lacking the leadership skills to be managers. But the better comparison is to Jimmy the Greek. I know Jimmy was drunk, but what he said was that the slaveowners "bred their big black men to their big black women." As I recall, he wasn't making fun of anyone, and wasn't actually deriding anyone.

I don't take offense at what Baker said. I wear sunscreen, and Mary Schmich was talking to a mostly white crowd that day. What bothers me is that there are some topics I can't talk about, no matter how far backwards I bend over to avoid giving offense.

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