(via Yoenis Cespedes beats Bryce Harper to win Home Run Derby at Citi Field - NY Daily News)
I admit, outside of the Orioles, I don’t pay much attention to Major League Baseball (I am a homer in the sense that I really only follow my hometown team, and even then I don’t really focus until after the All Star Break) so I didn’t know anything about Yoenis Cespedes before the Home Run Derby.
I watched first for Chris Davis, second because I always watch the Derby and have such great memories of it growing up, and third for Bryce Harper.
Cespedes is the one who put on an awesome show, and I’ll say here what I said on Twitter at the time: I started pulling for him after Davis was out just to spite the people who became unreasonably irate by the interviews with Spanish-speaking players during the broadcast.
When ESPN’s Pedro Gomez interviewed Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman in Spanish, translating into English for the viewers, I thought it was awesome. I hated a lot about the broadcast: Chris Berman’s awful “Back, back, back, BACK!” when the ball was clearly in the middle of the outfied, discussions of how the other players’ reactions were the best part without showing much of said reactions, explanations of approximately how far each home run might have traveled if it hadn’t hit the upper deck…it was comically awful, but I thought the bilingual interviews were a great touch. I was impressed and irritated at myself for not having that kind of marketable skill.
And then Deadspin tweeted out a link to their collection of the intolerant tweets from people who were pissed off that Spanish was being spoken on their television screens.
(Solution: Mute it. It’s what many of us did to avoid the awful commentary, which was much more grating than the bits of Spanish here and there.)
The comments people made are, to me, representative of a larger problem in our society: the inability to accept, much less respect, different people and ideas and cultural identities.
What was being said during the Home Run Derby was superfluous, regardless of what language was spoken. The event is supposed to be entertainment, a showcase of the best power hitters of the year, and in that, it succeeded.
Cespedes hit homer after homer and made it look effortless. That’s the point, and it’s sad that people can’t appreciate his talent and his accomplishments simply because he’s not a native English speaker.
Who cares?? It wasn’t a Toastmasters meeting; he wasn’t there for his public speaking skills. He was there because he can hit home runs better than everybody who came out of the woodwork to post ignorant tweets, and that’s what he damn well did.
To those who say baseball is “America’s Pastime” so all players should speak English, I disagree. Baseball might be known as America’s Pastime, but many would argue that the NFL has overtaken it to become the nation’s most powerful sports and entertainment brand. Baseball is more popular in some other countries than it is here — and without exciting, talented international players, Major League Baseball would probably struggle even more.
Events like the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game do a great job of making fans (like me!) aware of some of the best players nation-wide, not just from one team or division. The Derby, especially, is so simple — a demonstration of raw power and strength. It doesn’t need to be anything more or less, but some of the commenters out there tonight certainly made it less.
disgusting baseball racists who cry over WHY AREN’T THERE MORE GREAT AMURRRICAN PLAYERS [ie: white people] THE GAME IS RUINED WE NEED MORE AMURRICAN PLAYERS [white players; american players like sergio romo are singled out with yay racial profiing; american players that are darker skinned still face fuckery; american players that don’t fit that perfect white mold will always arouse suspicion & condesension & disgust & totes racial slurring remember all those totes wonderful yu darvish tweets yeah fuck off everyone] & WHY DON’T THOSE [racial slurs] SPEAK ENGLISH LIKE THE REST OF US YOU COME TO AMERIKKKA YOU SPEAK AMERIKKKAN need to get the fuck out