Bill Center Goes Racial
For those of you who don’t know, Bill Center currently authors a column/blog over at Padres.com. Bill was a columnist for the UT for decades, covering a wide-variety of sports…most recently baseball.
At the risk of sounding like a dick, Bill’s skill has diminished over the years. (As someone who has combed through early 90s UT articles, I can vouch that Bill wrote some pretty interesting articles on topics I find genuinely uninteresting: sailing and boxing, for example.) Monday was a prime example, as Bill basically wrote the Padres are now playing well because we’re less white.
All Latin Americans Salsa Dance
Before I get to the crux of the bullshit, though, I want to point out Bill’s lazy attribution of salsa dancing to all Central and South Americans:
At the start of the 2013 season, there were five Latin American players on the Padres roster – Venezuelan infielder-outfielders Alexi Amarista and Jesus Guzman, Cuban first baseman Yonder Alonso, shortstop Everth Cabrera from Nicaragua and pitcher Edinson Volquez from the Dominican Republic.
Today, more than 40 percent of the Padres roster dances to a salsa beat.
Did you know that the term salsa actually originates from New York City? Yes, that’s right. Basically – and this is so American – the salsa is a hodge-podge of dance styles from all over Latin America mashed together into one “style”.
Most of the original styles still exist in the regions in which they originate and, chances are, if you were to go to these regions, you’d never actually “dance to a salsa beat”. Especially since salsa here in America often has instruments added just to help Westerners keep the beat; much of ethnic salsa is emptier, perhaps only having one or two instruments that we expect in a typical salsa song.
Sure, some people may say they’re performing the “Cuban Salsa” or the “Colombian Salsa” and so on, but the reality is they’re really performing the Casino or the Pachanga or whatever, and we’re far too lazy to learn the subtleties.
Either way, it’s a poor way to say “40% of the Padres are from Latin America” since we have no idea if any of these guys actually dance, let alone dance to that one typical Latin style.
The Padres Are Playing Well Because They’re Less White
That laziness aside, take a look at what he drops on us next:
The Padres are 10-6 since the All-Star break – the surge coming at a time when the club had parted with three key players through trades – Headley, Denorfia and right-handed closer Huston Street to the Angels.
Clearly, the Padres clubhouse is changing. And the Padres want to strengthen the Padres connections to Latin America and Mexico.
It’s entirely possible that Bill Center was just being absent-minded in how he grouped what he was writing, but it certainly doesn’t come off that way. Consider the ordering here:
- The Padres are playing well.
- The Padres got rid of three players before that happened.
- The Padres clubhouse now has more Latinos and Hispanics.
In other words: the Padres are winning because they replaced a few white players with a few Latinos and Hispanics. Got it, Bill. Thanks for the bullshit.
Look, I think charges of racism in modern America are vastly overblown. I think very few Republicans dislike Barack Obama because he’s part-black and I have a hard time ingesting any of the subtext shoved down my throat by college professors and “news” anchors when people in other first world countries are actually and blatantly berated for being a specific race.
I do think, however, that this is Bill clearly saying that the Padres are playing better because they have more Latinos and Hispanic. While he might mean it in the sense that there’s more camaraderie and that’s why they’re playing that way, it’s still bullshit since it a) doesn’t read that way and b) has no statistical basis anyway.