Immigrant Baseball—The Bubble Bursts

During the last two years, I`ve reviewed a substantial body
of evidence that proves that overstocking major league

baseball teams
with players of multiple cultures and
ethnicities

does not produce winning teams
. In fact, the immigrant
strategy generates

more headaches
than wins.

Given the hard facts, it`s possible that the brouhaha about
the

wonderfulness
of diversity in baseball may abate, if only
temporarily.

If you were to ask—off the record—the recently-fired managers
of the New York Mets and the Seattle Mariners,

Willie Randolph
and

John McLaren
, to say something good about their

diverse squads
, especially the contingent commonly referred
to as

“Caribbean players,”
they would be hard pressed to
respond positively.

In baseball terminology, “Caribbean players” include

Dominicans
, Cubans, and

Puerto Ricans
, even though they are

American citizens
; Mexicans, even though Mexico is not in
the Caribbean; and Venezuelans, even though

Venezuela
is on the South American continent. “Caribbean
players”
refers more to a style of baseball—sometimes good
but often bad—than a physical location.

Before I begin: note carefully that I do not suggest that
there are not and have not always been

outstanding
“Caribbean players”. There`s a ton of
them. Some are in the Hall of Fame and other active players are
on their way to Cooperstown.

From their twenty-five man active rosters,

the Mets
and

the Mariners
have fourteen and nine “Caribbean players”,
respectively. The Mariners also have

two Japanese
, a Canadian and an Australian.

Two of baseball`s most diverse teams—each with a heavy
representation of “Caribbean players”—are also two of
baseball`s

worst teams
. The Mariners have the major leagues lowest
winning percentage while the Mets struggle to reach .500.

Pre-season prognosticators picked the Mets and the Mariners
as strong World Series contenders.

Instead, both are chronic under-performers. They get more
attention for their bickering, sniping and general inability to
play head`s up baseball than for their skills which remain, even
as the All-Star Game approaches, only occasionally on display.

Normally, the fact that analysts miscalculated a team`s
ability would not be much of a story.

But at

VDARE.COM
, we pay attention—because the

MainStream Media
equated baseball diversity with success
without, as Steve Sailer

once said
in reference to the
significance of the Hispanic vote
, going "through the
formality"
of actually playing the games.

For example, the June 2007, Sports Illustrated lead
story, written by Gary Smith and titled "Mix Master: The
Unlikely Story of How Omar Minaya Created the

Melting-Pot Mets
was fantasy from start to finish.

The

cover
featured smiling photos of Cuban-born

Orlando Hernandez
, Mexican-born

Oliver Perez
, U.S.-born

John Maine
, Venezuelan-born

Endy Chavez
, Dominican-born

GM Omar Minaya
and New York`s first African-American manager
and now

ignominiously
fired

Willie Randolph
.

Smith`s article today is a comical read.

Even funnier is the July 31, 2005 New York Times Magazine
feature piece by Jonathan Mahler,

Building the Béisbol Brand
, which extolled the
virtues of “Latin-inflected style of play—fast, aggressive,
emotional…irresistible.”

With the dismal results of diversity-driven baseball now
obvious to even the most casual fan, we may be approaching that
glorious moment when sports writers and talk show hosts can be
openly critical without fear of losing their jobs.

This has not always been the case.

Infamously, in 2005

radio host Larry Krueger
of the San Francisco Giants`
flagship station KNBR, referred to some Giants as “brain-dead
Caribbean players hacking at slop every night
” and to the
team`s manager, Dominican-born

Felipe Alou
as having a brain that had turned into

Cream of Wheat.”

Krueger`s completely accurate evaluation of the players—the
marginal

Pedro Feliz
and two others no longer playing in the major
leagues,

Deivi Cruz
and

Edgardo Alfonzo
—and of the manager reflected the feelings of
his audience and of most Giants fans. But it nevertheless
resulted in his immediate suspension without pay.

(Krueger`s "hacking at slop" comment refers to the
phenomenon Steve Sailer described in his 2003 article 

Baseball`s Hidden Ethnic Bias: in Favor of Freeswinging Latins
—the fact that Latin players have statistical tendency
to try to hit pitches they really should let go by, because they
don`t want to get on base by walking.)

One week later, KNBR canned Krueger. Also fired were two
others, KNBR`s program director and the morning show`s producer.

Alou, a beloved figure in the

politically correct Bay Area
as a player—one of the

three Alou brothers
(Matty and Felipe being the other two)
of major league fame—and father of current star Moises—sealed
Krueger`s fate when he called him “the messenger of Satan
and said: “I`m going to make sure that it is known worldwide.
I have the means now to identify people like that. They`re going
to know in my country tonight.
[Even] the president of my
country."

Time vindicated Krueger. He sued KNBR for violating his

freedom of speech
rights,

settled out of court
and is now working for a Sacramento
station.

And shortly after Krueger`s on-the-air condemnation of lousy
Caribbean brand baseball, the Giants released Cruz. Alfonzo
kicked around for one more season with Los Angeles Angels and
the Toronto Blue Jays before getting his walking papers. Only
Feliz lingers with the Philadelphia Phillies.

In what must have been Krueger`s sweetest moment, the Giants
let Alou go after the 2006 season. Technically, Alou`s contract
expired. But Giants` management, although calling its decision
not to renew it “painful,”
had seen enough of Alou`s listless leadership and was
unofficially happy to be rid of him.

The Mets-Mariners multicultural madness and its failure, in
addition to shutting up diversity-adoring baseball mouthpieces
like ESPN`s

Peter Gammons
, may produce other good news for baseball
traditionalists.

For Omar Minaya, who put the Mets together, there`s no place
to hide now that Randolph is gone. And ominously for the uneasy
Minaya, the Mets

hired
former Cincinnati Reds` general manager Wayne Krivsky
to become the team`s assistant general manager. Adding Krivsky
to the front office can only mean one thing for Minaya—the boot!

Minaya`s departure would be welcome by most Mets fans, who
are still seething over the way he treated Randolph on the way
out.

  • The wave of Caribbean
    players coming to the major leagues may slow, thus opening


    more opportunities
    for
    Americans.

Time was, poor players from the islands could be acquired for
shoeshine money, thus providing owners will an incentive to sign
as many of them as possible while shunning the financially
savvier and less desperate American college kids.

For example, the Oakland A`s

signed
Miguel Tejada, the American League`s

2001
Most Valuable Player and currently playing with the
Houston Astros, for $2,000.

Today however agents, commonly referred to as buscantes,
comb the Caribbean in search of the next big star—and their
next big commission.

Last year, the 30 big league teams signed 511 Dominicans for
an average bonus of $65,821 – double the average paid only three
years ago and nearly 30 times more than what the Oakland
Athletics paid to sign Tejada fifteen years ago. [Dominican
Shift
, by Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, April
15, 2008]

  • With the attention shifting away from the
    Caribbean, the emphasis for finding baseball talent may
    return to its proper place—the United States.

Anyone who watched the thrilling 2008 college World Series
between the University of Georgia and Fresno State saw baseball
played as well as it can be. The major leagues may have more
skilled individual players. But when it comes to team baseball,
Georgia and Fresno State have no equals.

And how`s this for a refreshing concept?

Georgia, the CWS runner-up, has

players
only from Georgia, Alabama, Virginia and Nevada.

And the champion Fresno State

roster
is made up of an all-California contingent.

That`s baseball as it

should be
—the all-American sport played by all-American
kids.

Joe Guzzardi [e-mail
him] is the Editor of VDARE.COM Letters to the Editor.
In addition, he is an English teacher at the Lodi Adult School and has
been writing
a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive
to
VDARE.COM.