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Question of the day

Friday, Aug 28, 2009

* The latest Milton Bradley “controversy” was foreshadowed in a Sun-Times article back in April

Milton Bradley says he’s aware of Wrigley Field’s reputation for fans who not only boo their own players, but also have a history of getting racial.

He also says he’s ready for it.

‘’I can be like that guy that you watch all the time for whatever reason,'’ he said, referring to his track record of angry outbursts and run-ins. ‘’But I really think I’ve outgrown it, a lot of the stuff that I did when I was younger.'’

Apparently, he wasn’t.

Fast-forward to this week

An angry Milton Bradley lashed out at his treatment from Cubs fans Wednesday, suggesting he has been the victim of racial abuse at Wrigley Field.

But Bradley declined to give specifics, saying no one wanted to listen to him.

“America doesn’t believe in racism,” he said sarcastically before repeating the remark. […]

“All I’m saying is I just pray the game is nine innings, so I can be out there the least amount of time as possible and go home,” he said.

* So, are Cub fans racist? Or, to be more specific, are they more racist than other baseball fans? Former manager Dusty Baker had few kind words for them

[Baker] didn’t want to revisit the racist hate mail and threats he said he received while managing the Cubs (2003-06) when asked about the Sun-Times story before his Cincinnati Reds’ game in Milwaukee. But he did say things are better for him in Cincinnati.

”Oh, yeah, Cincinnati has been great,” he told ”My family loves Cincinnati.”

That same article more than hinted that former manager Don Baylor felt the same way. Baker’s wife and son, by the way, claimed they stopped going to the ball park because of the hostile atmosphere.

Kosuke Fukudome wasn’t happy about that stupid “Horry Cow” t-shirt that is such a big seller at Wrigley, but he did his best to keep a lid on his comments

“But if I make a big deal out of it, it’s not going to benefit me, so I’m not going to make a big deal of it.'’

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was more blunt about that goofy “Ozzie mows Wrigley Field” t-shirt…

“That’s kinda funny, but let’s be clear: the shirts are racist. They play on stereotypes - that Hispanics do yard work and other menial jobs - and they are targated only at members of that group. On the Pujols and Zambrano ones the man is wearing a sombrero, just so there’s no confusion. Hispanics wear big, funny hats and cut our grass… ha, ha, ha!”

* The allegation goes back a ways

On December 3rd 2003, the Chicago Cubs signed one of the top free agent relievers in the game — LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins was a failed closer who proved to be an ideal set-up man, posting ERAs of 2.13 and 1.86 in 2002 and 2003 for the Twins. He was also the first of a string of players to accuse Cub fans of racist tactics and behaviors. Hawkins told Bob Nightengale that he used to receive “boos, taunts, and racial mail and phone calls” when he was with the Cubs. The implication being fans hated him (obviously) because he’s black.

After the Hawkins experiment failed, the Cubs went out and spent a lot of money on another former Twin, Jacque Jones who replaced the extremely white Jeremy Burnitz in right field. By 2006, he too claimed Cub fans were racist — and cited that Hawkins had warned him — while, at the same time, we learned that another Twin, Torii Hunter, had specifically said he would never accept a trade to the Cubs because he didn’t want to play in front of racist fans.

* I have refused to set foot in Cub Park for many years, so I cannot speak from experience here. I’ve been to a whole lot of White Sox games, however, and have yet to hear a racist taunt.

* The Question: Do you think Cub fans are more racist than other baseball fans? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:12 pm:

    No. I’ve been to many ballparks. Cub fans are no more or less racist than the rest of them, including you Sox fans.

    But then, when you get paid $30 million to drive in 35 runs and bat .250, you should expect to be booed and cat called. The Cubs could have kept Matt Murton who would have put up better numbers than Bradley for far less money and a whole lot of less controversy and attitude.

  2. - anonymous - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:15 pm:

    There are most definitely racist Cubs fans. They are most definitely not a majority, and I have no idea how it compares to fans of other teams. But as a season-ticket holder I have absolutely perceived a racist edge to the (mis)treatment of Hawkins, Bradley, Baylor, Baker, Jones and also to an extent Antonio Alfonseca, Corey Patterson and Felix Pie. I have also felt a racist edge to Sox fans views of these players as well as their mocking of Guillen’s accent and in other ways. You can also see the flip side - on both sides of town, it’s no accident that the fan favorites, apart from the obvious stars, are the Podsedniks and Morandinis, to pick a couple “scrappy” “grinder” examples.

  3. - Cubs Fan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:17 pm:

    I would have to say that I am sure they have received racist remarks. Mind you though, that all of the player’s that were mentioned in this article, as well as the manager singled out as well have all been basically, failures for the organization. They have been ridden hard because of their extremely poor performances year in and year out. Does this in any way, shape or form condone any vial, racist, or degrading language? Not in the least. But I do find it funny none the less.

    And for the record, I just wish Jim Hendry would go away….far far away.

  4. - Easy - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:17 pm:

    This is absolutely the pinnacle of your years of cub bashing. What a ridiculous question. Cub fans don’t like high-priced underproducers, whether it is uncle miltie or latroy, dave smith or danny jackson.

    We honor those who play the game with integrity and hustle, like ernie and fergie.

    if you are saying sox fans would be more welcoming of miltie and his numbers, than i question their understanding of baseball.

  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:19 pm:

    ===What a ridiculous question.===

    Take a breath, doofus. I’m not the only one talking about this issue and asking that question. Plenty of others are as well.

  6. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:31 pm:

    No, Cub fans aren’t more racist as a group than anyone else. I’ve never heard a racial comment at either Wrigley or Comiskey. I’m not saying they don’t happen.

    I’ve gotten in the faces of drunks at both parks for cursing loudly in front of my wife and kids a number of times.

    I will say, though, the dirty secret of the Tribune Company tenure is that they have been more than willing to keep selling $6 beers to extremely intoxicated young people, many of them underage, especially in the bleachers. That didn’t happen under the Wrigleys.

    The Fukudome T-shirt was stupid, but I don’t think there was racist intent. The Ozzie T-shirt was racist and despicable.

    I can’t remember his name now, but a few years ago the White Sox had a Japanese closer. Whenever he entered the game, there would be the sound of a crashing gong, followed by the xylophone music that was played on the old Bonanza show whenever Hop Sing entered the room. Stupid, but I don’t think racist.

    Milton Bradley has never found happiness anywhere making millions working half a year playing baseball three hours a day. Milton, try carrying a lunch bucket to work for a while.

    Dusty said Cub fans were the best in the world when he was riding high there. He said the other stuff after he was fired. We’ll see what he says about Reds fans when he gets fired there at the end of this season.

  7. - The Doc - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:32 pm:

    No, at least not as a percentage of the fan base. A comparison to Sox fans is faulty on its face, as there are both more Cubs fans locally and nationally.

    Sure, inebriated Cubs fans most assuredly spew racist garbage on occasion, but it’s important to note that the remarks cited here are directed towards those who have both underperformed, and in many an instance also made some very questionable statements themselves (and I’m not in any manner justifying the use of racial slurs in any context).

    No mention of Derrek Lee here, who’s been a solid regular since 2004 with one season of particular excellence, but has clearly regressed in terms of production.

  8. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:35 pm:

    ===and I’m not in any manner justifying the use of racial slurs in any context===

    Actually, you kinda did.

    The question, people, is not about whether Bradley and some other black players/managers were poor performers.

    Keep that in mind, please.

  9. - Just sayin - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:37 pm:

    Only a Cubs hater would waste time on something this absurd. Take off the tin foil hat Rich.

  10. - Ahem...the REAL Anonymous - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:38 pm:


  11. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:43 pm:

    I’ll add that as citizens and human beings, we all have the responsibility to confront and object to racist morons everywhere. If it happens at the ballpark say something to those who are doing it. If it continues, report them to security and get them tossed.

  12. - L.S. - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:44 pm:

    I know many Cubs fans and none are bigots. That being said, in the couple times I’ve been to Wrigley I heard some pretty bad stuff in relation to Bradley, Fukedome and Soriano. I think a lot of it comes from that “Bro” culture of privliged upper-middle class white boys who pre-gamed at Barleycorns for three hours because they can leave the job dad got them whenever they want. They are loud and obnoxious, but they are a minority of the fans.

    And no fans, anywhere, will ever beat Philly for being unabashed racists.

  13. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:44 pm:

    When sport fans get emotional, they expell a lot of gas. When they get drunk on top of that, then the gas stinks even more.

    These are people who can start fist fights at Little League games. They are the ladies who roar profanities from folding chairs when the game goes badly.

    Men playing boy’s games brings out the boys in the men attending the games. The sick humor, the vulgar language, the parade of shirtless machismo bravado, is all a part of these events. Political correctness goes out the window when devoted fans feel an urge to express their disappointments.

    The reason we see this more often at Cubs games, could be perhaps due to the fact that they play the Game unencumbered by a need to win them. Hence, unhappy fans who bully, pee and taunt.

    Earnie Banks and Billy Williams are gods to Cubs fans. If Mr. Cub appeared during one of the Cubs major losing streaks, the racial barbs screamed at the players would be replaced by mindless cheering.

    Losing is ugly and the language used during those times can be uglier.

  14. - Beerman - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:46 pm:

    I’m sure there are some fans that make stupid remarks regardless of stadium location. The only reason why you don’t hear these remarks at Cell Field Rich is because you’re spending too much time in the Diamond suites and focusing on when the dessert cart is going to come by. :-)

  15. - soxfan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:58 pm:

    The Japanese closer you are referring to was Shingo Takatsu aka Mr. Zero.

  16. - dupage dan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:58 pm:

    Off topic - sorry - just learned that PQ just announced that he will be closing Howe Developmental Center in Tinley Park. Does this mean PQ now has a backbone?

  17. - Easy - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:04 pm:

    You are the one who asked the question–don’t pose it like “some people say…” and you are an admitted cub basher.

    so my point remains, would sox fans be more understanding of uncle miltie’s average and lack of double digit hr production?

  18. - Speaking at Will - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:04 pm:

    the answer is no.

    Philly is the worst. Atlanta right behind them.

  19. - cardinals fan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:07 pm:

    Rascist Cub fans, next your going to try and convince me there are corrupt politicians in Illinois!

  20. - shore - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:09 pm:

    rosenbloom nailed it in the trib. There are real people that face real racism on a daily basis. A guy who’s been paid 10 million to stink and complain like a 4 year old and can’t deal with the criticism for that is not one of them. I’ve sat in the bleachers at wrigley for 25 years and I’ve heard guys like kenny lofton and henry rodriguez that were good get love, and guys like jacque, burnitz and milton that stunk get hated on. There are always going to be idiots, but as someone who’s been to games in boston and philly where they are just as tough as well as the south there’s nothing in wrigley that you wont find anywhere else.

    The only difference is the complaining by underachieving athletes whose salaries get paid by guys making 45k working hard having to pay 12 pack prices for 8 ounces of warm awful tasting beer.

  21. - Denny Crane - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:09 pm:

    The question of “Are Cubs fans more racist than other baseball fans” is a dumb question even if other outlets are asking the question.

    Let’s look at the facts.

    (1) All the players that were mentioned above are players who had exceptional years before coming to the Cubs, and proceeded to play very bad baseball with the Cubs. That’s the reason for the taunts, not racism.

    (2) Are there racist Cubs fans? Probably. When a team has millions of fans, it’s a statistical certainty that some will be racists. This isn’t limited to the Cubs, however. The White Sox have a small percentage of racist fans, as does every single team in baseball.

    (3) Look at demographics. Cubs fans tend to be lakeshore liberals and north shore types. Hardly racist. I’d say that if you polled the attendance at Wrigley on a random day, the majority probably voted for President Obama.

    Rich stated: ==Take a breath, doofus. I’m not the only one talking about this issue and asking that question. Plenty of others are as well.==

    “Plenty of others” (who are morons) are asking the question about whether Obama was born in Kenya. Just because others are asking about it doesn’t mean it isn’t stupid.

    You’re doing something you rarely do, Rich. You’re letting your personal bias tilt a story.

  22. - Really??? - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:09 pm:

    Cmon Rich. I’ve been to hundreds of games at Wrigley over the last couple of decades and I don’t recall hearing racist language. I do recall underperforming players being verbally brutalized by impatient fans.

    The fact is, most ballplayers are either black or latino. Is it possible that some of the drunk fans get racist? Sure. But I think it’s more likely a bunch of whiny overpaid losers are looking for someone to blame for their own inadequacies.

    And yes, I place Dusty “how dare Steve Stone criticize my players” Baker right up there on that list. In the meantime, sorry Rich, you’re barking up the wrong tree on this one.

  23. - 47th Ward - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:10 pm:

    If Dusty Baker had just walked out to the mound to settle Prior down, he might still be managing the Cubs.

    On the other hand, if Don Zimmer could have found a way to get Will Clark out more, the Cubs might never have hired Baker.

    Win and we love you. Lose and you’re a bum. I think Cubs fans are color blind, or at least equal opportunity critics, in that regard.

    This is another ugly story in a season of bad news for my team. I wonder if the Ricketts are suffering buyer’s remorse yet, knowing that Bradley is owed $20 million for two more years of this.

  24. - Ivan DeJesus - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:11 pm:

    I don’t know about the fans, but the CUBS are totally racist!! They are completely against being involved in the central division “race”, the National League pennant “race” and the race for the World Series.

    (also I hear that Derrick Lee hates him some kittens)

  25. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:13 pm:

    ===so my point remains, would sox fans be more understanding of uncle miltie’s average and lack of double digit hr production?===

    The question isn’t about whether Sox fans would boo that underperforming player. I’m sure we would.

    The question is about racism, doofus.

  26. - The Doc - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:18 pm:

    ==Actually, you kinda did.==

    I don’t agree, but whatever. It certainly wasn’t my intent.

    And disregarding a player’s performance in the context of this discussion is not reasonable. All of the individuals you cite failed to meet expectations, and were consequently ripped by the fans. Omitting this item from consideration reinforces your bias against all things Cubs.

  27. - Been There - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:21 pm:

    One way to confront racist taunts is to actually see who is making them. Point them out to security and have their butts taken out.
    Not as easy as it sounds? Think again.
    One year when the Cubs were playing at Sox Park before the game started a Cubs fan attending with a few Sox fans was heckling AJ who was out in the bullpen in left field. The guy kept at it and AJ gave it back to him. Then AJ slyly gave him the finger. This guy mistakenly thought this gave him the right to swear back at AJ. Not so. AJ pointed him out to security and said the guy was swearing at him and the guy was gone. His 3 friends who were Sox fans had an extra seat between them.
    Try that a few times and the word in the bleachers will spread around that you could be gone with that behavior.

  28. - charles in charge - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:22 pm:

    No. I’ve been to plenty of games at Wrigley and never heard a racist taunt.

    However, racist taunts are not the real measure of racism, which still exists but has gone “underground.” That’s why it’s so shocking when people get caught blurting out slurs; people have more sense about saying that stuff in public, if only for their own self-preservation.

    I have noticed a pattern of such Cubs players as Bradley and Hawkins being criticized more venomously than others who play poorly, and I do believe that racism plays a role in that; I also have no doubt that the players notice this heightened level of criticism, which may lead them to the same conclusion even if no blatant slurs are hurled.

    However, while I don’t follow the Sox, Phillies, or Red Sox, I have a hard time believing that this dynamic does not exist among their fans as well.

    L.S. may be correct that bros drunk on privilege and Old Style (who are more numerous at Wrigley than at other parks) are giving Cub fans a bad name with heckling that crosses the line. But as a general proposition, I don’t buy it; this post has more to do with tweaking Cub fans than reporting a legit story; Rich, you doth protest too much.

  29. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:32 pm:

    Keep in mind, people, that we’re not just talking about in-the-stands behavior here.

    We’re also talking about the hate mail reports, and the t-shirt stuff as well.

  30. - Bruce - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:37 pm:

    I don’t live in Chicago. I’ve seen three or four games at Wrigley, the last about 10 years ago. I saw one game at “New Comiskey” as it was then called and it was a night game and every single person I saw at the game was white. It was stunning. I thought I was at a Republican fund-raiser.

  31. - BigDog - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:40 pm:

    I just feel bad for Kevin Gregg. He has no extraneous circumstances to try and use to obscure the fact that he plain sucks at baseball.

  32. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:43 pm:

    ===All of the individuals you cite failed to meet expectations, and were consequently ripped by the fans.===

    This has nothing to do with the question unless you are arguing that its ok to be racist if the player sucks.

  33. - Reformer - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:44 pm:

    I can’t say I’ve heard racist remarks at Wrigley, but I don’t sit in the bleachers. I do hear profanity out of drunken young white men. It’s remarkable how white the Wrigley fans are, considering how diverse Chicago is.

  34. - Flipside - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:44 pm:

    Will tomorrows question be ‘are white sox fans white trash for getting drunk and running onto the field to savagley attack a coach?’. There’s a reason a lot of Chicago won’t set foot in US cellular. B

  35. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:46 pm:

    Flipside, tomorrow is Saturday. No blogging.

    Also, that was one guy. And guess where he started his drinking day? Cub Park.

    If people won’t go to Comiskey because of one goofy guy, then I don’t want them there anyway.

  36. - Been There - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:52 pm:

    ===We’re also talking about the hate mail reports, and the t-shirt stuff as well.===
    Good point Rich. I was mainly thinking of at-the-game crowds.

    ===every single person I saw at the game was white.====
    Bruce, I go to a fair number of games a year (15-20) and I would agree that a huge majority of the fans are white. But I do think it has gotten better from 10 years ago. The Sox use to just market to the corporate types and took the average neighborhood fan for granted. The last 7-8 years they have targeted the neighborhoods where their real fan base is and I think it shows. While that brings out the nuts from Alsip (sorry I had to throw that in) it also has brought a lot more minorities to the games because their kids became fans. A World Series title obviously helped out also.

  37. - Responsa - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:54 pm:

    Over many years I’ve not personally ever heard a racial slur uttered by a drunk fan at either Sox Park or Wrigley (never been in the bleachers tho.) “You suck!!” seems to be quite common and color blind and appropriate at both parks these days, however.

    FWIW, Kenny Williams who I consider to be one of the over all classiest and smartest people in baseball has said publicly that he has been the recipient of racial slurs. (And they weren’t all from Frank Thomas.)

  38. - beth - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:06 pm:

    I agree with the statements repeatedly made by Rich here: there is NO justification for racist language or slurs against anyone. If someone is a bad player, call them a bad player, but referring to their race or ethnicity is completely reprehensible. I have been to several games on the Southside and only one on the Northside, and I would say at large my experience on the Southside was more enjoyable, not because the fans were not holding their players accountable, or having a good time, or having some drinks, but there was a less divisive atmosphere. The fan-base for the Sox is more diverse as well, which helps keep the jerks in check (in other words, there might be racist sox fans, but they aren’t screaming slurs from the stands). And it’s a legit topic… let’s not be afraid to have these discussions.

  39. - Jerry 101 - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:06 pm:

    I see the proof of cubs fans racist idiocy on a pretty regular basis.

    Those horrifically racist “horry cow” t-shirts and the fans wearing the karate kid style headbands.

    At minimum, they don’t even bother trying to hide the fact that they think that non-white people are funny looking, funny talking, less than human caricatures. And that’s for the players they like. The fans mock and degrade their own players, even when they’re still popular.

    If they player doesn’t meet expectations or plays for a rival, then it goes from mocking and degradation to outright hate.

  40. - The Doc - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:11 pm:

    ===All of the individuals you cite failed to meet expectations, and were consequently ripped by the fans.===

    ==This has nothing to do with the question unless you are arguing that its ok to be racist if the player sucks.==

    Sigh. STL, reread my post in its entirety, please, before you make questionable inferences.

  41. - Capitol View - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:15 pm:

    I agree with Been There — I’ve been at 5 games this season,and there are a few more African-Americans and a lot more Latinos than I saw five or ten years ago. But the crowd is still over 90% white.

    I hear occasional boos, but no racial comments.

    And I email Ozzie three or four times a year, usually commenting his starting pitchers. I kid him that Conseco is Minnie Minoso’s older brother, and that the Sox shouldn’t expect more than 65 pitches out of him even if he started just once a week. Ozzie gets a lot of racial crap in his emails, but he scans them all and he has responded to me, because I am always supportive and constructive as a 55 year Sox fan now living in Springfield.

  42. - grand old partisan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:22 pm:

    Let me just say this, right off the bat: as a Republican, I know how frustrating it is to be painted with broad-brush racism accusations. So, I’ll go ahead and (even as a Sox fan, mind you) give Cub fans the benefit of the doubt that they are not categorically “more racist” than any other teams’ fans. But I think it’s clear that Cub fans feel more comfortable expressing ignorant or insensitive sentiments in and around their stadium. Would Sox fans be the same if their park was nestled in an affluent white neighborhood? Who knows, maybe. But I will make this observation: I’ve been to cross-town games at both stadiums, and the number of obnoxious, taunting Cub fans I encountered at the Cell was about 100x greater than the number of obnoxious, taunting Sox fans I encountered at Wrigley. So maybe the problem is that Cub fans are just insufferable yuppies whose unjustifiably high self-regard leads them to think that whatever they say can’t really be inappropriate because they said it.

  43. - siriusly - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:24 pm:

    Based on the citations you posted here, the answer would be yes of course. But that’s not a fair measuring stick and I think its an impossible question to answer.

    I’ve only been to a total of 5 ball games in other cities and probably less than 20 at Comiskey so I can’t compare. However, I do remember hearing racist taunts of visiting team players at the old comiskey. I have never heard that kind of language at Wrigley Field.

    I don’t think Cubs fans have ever jumped on the field and beaten the crap out of an umpire and the Royals first base coach - BTW.

  44. - What planet is he from? - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:25 pm:

    Remember Lee Elia? “85% of the world works. The other 15% come out here and watch day baseball.” The rest of the quote would get me banned for life, so I won’t continue. But my point (and boy do I have one) is a question: One of the postulates is that the players getting dissed were high-priced flops. If so, are/were caucasion flops treated just as harshly? (I’m not enough of a Cubs fan to have any good examples.)

  45. - Gentlement, behold! - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:25 pm:

    ==Cubs fans tend to be lakeshore liberals and north shore types.==

    Maybe, but a significant amount of Cubs fans (or rather people who show up for Cubs games) tend to be Big Ten, ex-frat types, who still can’t understand why the “welfare queens/pimps and hos” themed exchange party that they threw in college was offensive. I wouldn’t put it past an inebreiated frat boy from yelling out racist taunts in the bleachers, which is of course a lot different than the contemplation it takes to prepare racist fan mail…

    It’s like the Big Ten threw up all over the north side. Yeck.

  46. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:27 pm:

    ===I don’t think Cubs fans have ever jumped on the field and beaten the crap out of an umpire and the Royals first base coach ===

    That guy was a Cub fan.

  47. - siriusly - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:28 pm:

    Agree with Jerry - the Horry Cow shirts are completely offensive. Fukudome shouldn’t have to say anything, the fans should know better and not buy that crap.

  48. - TJ - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:34 pm:

    ===If so, are/were caucasion flops treated just as harshly? (I’m not enough of a Cubs fan to have any good examples.) ===

    I’ll give a very recent example for you….. Gregg and Marmol are both ridiculed extensively and actively booed when they mess up in the relief/closer role (which is often). Gregg’s white, Marmol’s a Latino. I’ve been to games where both of them have blown it, and both times I haven’t heard racism against either side whatsoever, they’ve just been flat out called pieces of ****.

    Now, is that to say that there aren’t Cubs fans who would go to a racial slur against Marmol whereas they wouldn’t for Gregg? Of course not. However, those “fans” are very few and far between, and based off of my experience at Wrigley and Comiskey and a dozen other Major League, Minor League, Independent League, and college-level stadiums I’ve been to, they are no more frequent or less frequent really anywhere.

    Bad players are especially ridiculed at Wrigley, and Bradley and just about everyone else mentioned has been bad. Same’s true for white players, who have also been extensively booed. Same with Baker, who was hated for ruining pitchers and not managing the team very well in clutch situations, as is beginning to likewise happen slowly to Pinella and has happened to other managers like Riggleman.

    When you look at the most beloved Cubs though, that tends to cross race. Santo and Banks, Maddux and Fergie, Sandburg and Sosa (IN HIS PRIME!), race matters not. Black, white, Asian, Latino, whatever, if you produce/try, you’re loved at Wrigley. Last year, despite the “Horry Kow” shirts, Fukudome was praised left and right by fans when he was good. Now that he’s slumping, not so much.

    It’s Chicago, folks. If you can’t stand the heat, either play somewhere else or do good. Race has nothing to do with it.

  49. - siriusly - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:46 pm:

    FTR - most Cub fans still like sammy saucer.

  50. - ZC - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:49 pm:

    How the heck could you tell?

    We could speculate all we like, but nobody is going to know, unless we commission a cross-team public opinion poll. Or somebody could speak up, who has been to a lot of Cubs games (but such a person would probably be biased in the Cubs’ favor). But even then, the question is, are Cubs fans _more_ racist than other fans … so the same person would have to attend a lot of other teams’ games as well.

    We can speculate, but the only safe answer is nobody can be sure.

  51. - Ben S. - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:54 pm:

    When it comes to baseball, Red Sox fans are far away more racist than any other team.

    Then again, Boston is a much more racist city than Chicago.

  52. - Beowulf - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:56 pm:

    No. Unfortunately, you are always going to have that 2% factor that will be perceived as the stereotype for the other 98% of the Cub fans. I like to think that not all African-Americans are like Al Sharpton or Ludicrous. I like to think that the non-caucasions out there realize that not all Cub fans are morons like these few that Milton Bradley is referring to.

  53. - TJ - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:57 pm:

    However, I do want to make one point very clear….

    … those Ozzie/Pujols mows my yard shirt are absolutely intolerable beyond anything else. Coming from someone’s a Blackhawks fan, a huge supporter of Chief Illiniwek, and who thinks that the “Horry Kow” shirts are actually more cute than anything else, those shirts are completely inexcusable. The Blackhawks and the Chief are tradition and “Horry Kow” is a mildly distasteful throwback to a beloved broadcaster, but the lawnmowing shirts have no redeeming quality whatsover. Whenever I’m at Wrigley, I always shiver when I see those, and when I see someone wear them, there are anger pangs I feel that are only really surpassed when I see a moron in a pickup driving a car with a Confederate flag in the back.

    Trust me when I say that that shirt does not stand for most Cubs fans.

  54. - ZC - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:00 pm:

    Addendum: there’s one other good source of info for this, which would be, the players themselves. They play in all the parks, or at least in one league, they talk amongst themselves. The players would be a decent source of info here.

    You could do an anonymous, random survey of baseball players, like the Tribune did about five years back, and ask them which team has the most racist fans. Unfortunately that question wasn’t asked in the 2004 survey; the Tribune asked things like, “What do you think is the best baseball stadium?” Which Wrigley Field won.

  55. - T - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:05 pm:

    A few things, and I guess this is just addressing the atmosphere during the game. Wrigley Field is within walking distance of many, many, many bars. Alcohol can be a bit of a “truth serum” when used in excess. Mix thinly-veiled racist thoughts already in the heads of many of these mostly suburban, white, frat guy, meathead “bro” Cubs fans with plentiful amounts of beer, and you have your expected result.
    I haven’t been to a Sox game in a while, Rich, but I would imagine that while alcohol consumption is a part of the experience on the south side, the pre-game drinking isn’t as much of a tradition there as it is at Clark and Addison. Maybe that’s just an assumed generalization, but it would make sense to me.

  56. - Responsa - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:10 pm:

    Ozzie’s answer to the “Ozzie mows Wrigley Field” T shirts he saw being hawked outside the June cross-town Wrigley games was to buy one and wear it at his post game press conference. It made quite a statement—and was so typically Ozzie.

  57. - The Court Jester - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:34 pm:

    I have sat in the bleachers many times and never heard a racial slur… Same goes for White Sox park… Milton Bradley is whiny bum.. hopefully hes one of the many the Cubs put on waivers this week

  58. - getmeoutofhere - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 4:02 pm:

    No…the neanderthals at the cell are just as bad.

  59. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 4:22 pm:

    Take Me Out To The Ball Game

    Take me out to the ball game
    Hear the shouts of the crowd
    Embarrassed by the nuts shouting racial cracks
    I don’t care if I ever go back
    It’s hate anyone
    who is different
    If we lose, they’re to blame.
    If they’re brown, yellow or black then
    We’ll shout
    an ugly racist name!

  60. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 4:23 pm:

    That’s probably your best ever, VM.

  61. - Just wondering - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 4:30 pm:

    To some extent, if we’re being totally honest, isn’t everyone just a little racist deep down inside? As much as we try not to be, even the hint of fear of those different than we are is racism. And, to your question, I suspect Cub fans are no more racist than the rest of baseball fans.

  62. - Responsa - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 4:41 pm:

    VM’s obviously playing his hand to become the next Illinois Poet Laureate–but which governor will be the one to appoint him?

  63. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 5:04 pm:


    I have been in love with my Sox this year, and I had an awesome day attending a night game last month. Sat in the Patio, ate and drank, walked all around the Cell taking in the sights, and watching our team beat the Yanks in the bottom of the ninth. I saw Quinn with Buerle, and hung around the restricted area under the Cell and caught some autographs from the guys as they went by. We even got Derek Jeter’s.

    So it stinks when folks you think you share some commonality with, go all racist. It has always been an embarrassment with me. My schools were far away from the Midwest, so coming home and hearing some racial insults from supposedly college-educated “smart” people in the Loop stinks. I don’t get it. I really don’t understand.

    My folks threatened to wash my mouth out if they ever heard anything racist. These words were on the dirty words list growing up.

    It just sucks that this is a problem. It just shouldn’t be.

  64. - Concerned Voter - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 5:22 pm:

    Declaring myself a White Sox fan. Unfortunately, I was at a game at Comiskey II a few years ago, the hated Indians were in town. About 15-18 rows behind first base. There was a lot of good natured stuff going back and forth for most of the game between Sox and Cleveland fans.

    Late in the game, Cleveland jumped out big time. A female, short dreadlocked, African-American, Cleveland fan stood up and cheered. The she turned around and gave it too the Sox fans who had been going back and forth all afternoon, nothing bad, just fun. She was in the 4th row. From somewhere behind us, all of a sudden we heard,” Sit down and shut the F— up Whoopi!”. I turned to my wife and the kids that were with us and said, “Let’s get our stuff together and start heading out.”

    I just feel, as others have said, that there is going to be a certain percentage of racist fans, no matter where you go. Look at Soccer in Europe, they have some awful problems with racist fans there. It’s not just a U.S. problem, that doesn’t make it any better.

    I think part of the hoopla from outside of the Chicago area is people who don’t know what has transpired in the past with Baker, Jones, Hawkins, etc, just can’t believe that the loveable, cuddly Cubs fans would ever do anything like that.

  65. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 5:23 pm:

    The answer is yes. and anyone who thinks differently is racist.

    (It’s the Rod Blagojevich school of winning arguments)

  66. - Just wondering - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 5:44 pm:

    Now that’s probably your best yet VM! Well said.

  67. - Reformed - Saturday, Aug 29, 09 @ 10:36 pm:

    It may not be racism, but rather just plain stupidity. I’ll admit I am a Cardinal fan, but not a Cub hater. I’ve attended games at both stadiums and the atmosphere a Wrigley is that of a place to drink beer while a baseball game is going on instead of a place to watch a game and maybe have a beer while I am there.

  68. - TheLoweDown - Sunday, Aug 30, 09 @ 1:07 am:

    I’m going to nail this one: Billy Williams aid he never heard slurs.

    “I didn’t hear any derogatory remarks,” Williams said. “When you weren’t swinging a bat real good — and I didn’t do that too often — you’d hear people who would say things that you wouldn’t appreciate. I was big enough at that time to let it slide over. The derogatory remarks, I didn’t hear.”

    Hawkins, Baylor, Baker, Jones…all were failures on the field. I’ve attended hundreds of Cubs games and I have never heard a racial slur at Wrigley. I’m biracial. Does that mean it doesn’t happen? No. Are there inappropriate t-shirts? Yes. Are they sold by the Cubs? No. They are sold by independent hawking vendors on the freaking corners outside.

    As Steve Rosenbloom, a white man, accurately pointed out in the Rosenblog on, every fake cry of racism by someone takes credit and credence away from someone who actually faces racism.

  69. - Abu Jibril - Tuesday, Sep 1, 09 @ 7:46 pm:

    I find this discussion distressing only because it somehow pulls the discussion of race outside of the larger issues of baseball and even society, as if, as a discreet unit, it may be examined independently. We must also respect the interplay between race and society.

    For example:

    === Really??? - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:09 pm:

    The fact is, most ballplayers are either black or latin===

    I’m not sure what games you are watching (maybe old tapes of Negro Leagues), but as of the 2008 season, 8.2% of MLB rosters were of African-Americans. Now, the 1970s were a high-water mark for Black involvement on the field, with seasons floating between one-quarter and one-third Black players suited up. But MLB is making up for it with over one-quarter of front offices made up of Blacks (considering the on-field involvement of Blacks in previous decades, moving from on-the-field, to behind the bench, to in the suites, makes sense).

    “But,” you say, “this has nothing to do with Rich’s original question.”

    Only so far as it is embedded with such loaded pejoratives and pre-conceived notions that must first be stripped away to address the elemental question: why is race still so problematically wedded to the National Pastime?

    Probably for the same reason that it is so wedded to the rest of American life–old habits are comfortable.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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