Earlier this week, Foul and Fair solicited the opinions of all y’all who love baseball—and don’t identify as white guys. This wasn’t throwing shade at white guys. Hell no. I mean, some of our best friends are white guys. Instead, this was Foul and Fair’s attempt to center the voices of women and people of color who love baseball in a league which has not yet learned this art.
Bad news: We didn’t finish sorting through your responses yet. Bradford’s week got a little insane. In a good way. Like really good. (You can follow him on Twitter to keep up.) So this week, we’re keeping it short. We will have so much good stuff for you next week though. Just you wait.
Good news: many of y’all responded to our solicitations. And we’d love more too. If you or someone you know fits this category, you can still respond and/or send this form to him/her. (Click here. Password: 2016.) Also, we’re putting together a Twitter list of fans of America’s pastime who look like America. If you’d like to be on it, and fit the criteria, tweet at us!
This week has been nothing if not an interesting one. I’m currently on a train hailing from the city where Kyle Schwarber just found out he won’t be playing any more games for the Cubs this year to a city, who, despite having the best fans in baseball, has yet to win this year. (Yes, I’m talking about St. Louis.) Also relevant: I saw my own team, with my own eyes, and befriended the enemy (okay maybe it’s unfair to suggest Brewers fans are as bad as Dodgers fans) to the point where he bought me buffalo chicken fries. A friend just texted inviting me to watch the White Sox play the Indians with her next month. Oh, oh, oh, and I’m going to an event on Tuesday that Cubs’ brass Theo Epstein and Terry Francona are headlining. I love this time of year.
Stick to Sports
Yeah, so this happened. And introspection means, shut up for a second. Will do.
Delay of Game
Make baseball fun again. When is a home run, not just a home run? When it becomes a cultural touchstone. That’s what happened to the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista who hit a big fly in a winner-take-all game in the playoffs and then flipped that bat. “Baseball still has the power to create the sorts of moments that turn rebellious kids into lifelong fans,” Jay Caspian Kang writes, invoking the shot in an essay lamenting the unbearable whiteness of baseball. “His bat flip communicated not just joy, but dominance,” writes Michael Brendan Dougherty, in an essay on the roots of baseball’s cultural wars. “The bat was tossed with a kind of authority, as if Bautista was announcing his sovereignty over a playoff game and stadium that had gone mad with anxiety and emotion.” It’s all types of spectacular so watch it again.
To hell with good intentions. “The NCAA's intent is color-blind, the impact of amateurism is anything but.” Now that you’ve lost a bunch of money on your bracket and watched the single-best championship in March Madness history, time to read The New Jim Crow, NCAA style. (Thanks Vice!) “In the revenue sports of Division I football and men's basketball, where most of the fan interest and television dollars are, the athletes are disproportionately black.
The result? Black athletes paying the freight for white ones, even though the former group is more likely to need the money than the latter. ‘The idea that you rob the poor to pay the rich is what's happening,’ says [one anti-trust lawyer]. ‘The [college] lacrosse team gets no revenue. Well, who plays lacrosse?’”
If necessary, use words. If you’ve been chirping about Steph’s verbal response (or lackof?) to North Carolina’s “bathroom bill”, F&F friend Marcus Thompson wants you to examine the man’s character. “We live in a time where beliefs matter more than behavior, groupthink trumps context,” writes the Bay Area News Group’s columnist. “So Curry’s public lifestyle—though it’s worthy of admiration by diverse walks of life—takes a backseat to his quotes. Society doesn’t need sound bites from stars as much as it needs sound behavior.”
Before ‘Nova, Iverson. “Is it possible to celebrate a player for what he did without celebrating what he meant?” That’s what the Atlantic’’s Vann R. Newkirk II wants all us casual NBA fans to wrestle following Allen Iverson’s election to the sport’s hall of fame. “Iverson, with his durags, tattoos, baggy clothes, jewelry, braids, and crossovers, embodied it in a form that couldn’t be denied. It was impossible to pay attention to Iverson and ignore the deep history of poverty and inequality that animated his every step. His flashy superhero alter ego of ‘AI’ was glitzy gold over sandpaper, a facade of panache and pride laid over a foundation of pain. Iverson was the avatar of the tough gristle of black America that the NBA machine couldn’t digest.” (BTW: First F&F ever hit on some of this.)
I personally think my (Chinese-Hawaiian) dad saw a bit of himself in Michelle Kwan: “It had never occurred to me that Asian-American heroes might exist,” writes Korean-American adoptee Nicole Chung about Olympic gold medalist figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi for The New York Times this week. “...Maybe I hadn’t yet figured out how to be both Asian and American, but Yamaguchi, America’s Olympic sweetheart, seemed to have found her place.” This list of four hijabi athletes—and one ballerina—comes not a moment too soon.
Synchronized Souls: Even when the Summer Olympics roll around this August, it’s unlikely you’ll stay up past the Bob Costas broadcast for late night fencing and equestrian highlights. Odds are also against synchronized swimming, a sport which has only recently expanded beyond women. Here is the mesmerizing story of male synchronized swimmer Bill May and here is his coach: "If you're trying to look alike, why bother? Why bring men into a sport and not change it? “ Read this essay because your heart has not yet ached for this little-covered sport, and you will want it to. “Bill's camp had been optimistic, but the others' optimism waned while Bill's still glowed with the painfully American idea that life could be fair, that you could work hard and want something and that just the working and the wanting could win over hearts, knock down barriers and cause change in even the most ossified institutions.”
If you liked this...
already forgot Troy Tulowitzski (who?) because you hit whacked six home runs in your FIRST FOUR GAMES EVER, we can’t wait for you to break Barry Bonds’ record by the All-Star break. But that’s still months away. So. In the meantime. You know the drill.