You might have seen this elsewhere Sunday, but I wanted to bring it to your attention even if you already have, because there’s a point to be made.
Atlanta Braves broadcasters Chip Caray and Joe Simpson went on a rant [VIDEO] that lasted a minute and a half during the Braves/Dodgers game Saturday... about what the Dodgers were wearing for batting practice.
I mean... first of all, it’s batting-practice attire. Who cares what a team wears when it’s not during a game?
The shirt they're getting on Utley for wearing during batting practice is a "strike out cancer" shirt. Proceeds from buying those shirts goes to researching pediatric cancer. https://t.co/mGYppAxLGN https://t.co/GomxGlJ7bk— Daniel Brim (@DanielBrim) July 29, 2018
So Chip and Joe are going off on a team for raising money for a good cause. Beyond that:
Seeing a run on @kikehndez #KCancer tees tonight, thanks to his Dad, Chase Utley, wearing a tee during BP. If the Braves announcers didn’t like this...they are going to hate September 2nd. #KCancerDay pic.twitter.com/y5Z8QX6n80— 108 Stitches (@108Stitches) July 29, 2018
Chase Utley is one of the most respected players in the game today. I’m pretty sure his wearing of a “K CANCER” T-shirt didn’t rate a rant from the opposing broadcasters. And the Dodgers weren’t happy to be called “unprofessional”:
"...because I’ll put our professionalism -- the way we play the game, the way we prepare every day -- up against anybody. I have to hear the audio but that kind of sets me off a little bit."#Dodgers— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) July 29, 2018
Chip Caray, you are likely familiar with from his time as a Cubs broadcaster. He is 53 years old. Chip didn’t seem to think he did anything wrong:
I’m not the guy taking BP in Capri-mimicking pants, no socks, and no ‘’uniform.’’ My partner merely pointed it out. Only mlb teamhesxseen be so non-‘’uniform.’’ Why not wear MLB-issued BP jerseys with names on road so paying customers know who’s who? Lighten up. https://t.co/s40vjMFbVP— Chip Caray (@kapaya1234) July 29, 2018
You’ll note that the tweet Caray is responding to cites Vin Scully as someone who wouldn’t have said a word about similar BP wear.
Joe Simpson, who played nine years in the big leagues from 1975-83 and who has been a Braves broadcaster for 25 years, is 66 years old.
My own age falls in the middle of that range and I’m here to tell you that these two men were being patently ridiculous. Almost no one cares about BP attire (and BP is becoming optional for a lot of teams, including the Cubs, on many days), and if they somehow do care, they might see a “K CANCER” T-shirt and wonder what it’s about and maybe want to get one, which is exactly what happened after Chip and Joe’s tirade:
This whole thing has been fun, but let’s focus on what’s important. The @dodgers fans have helped @kikehndez raise over $3,000 in only 12 hours for @SJChildrens. We think that is very professional. #KCancer— 108 Stitches (@108Stitches) July 29, 2018
Absolutely right it’s professional, and for a great cause. “K Cancer” was begun by the foundation started by former Cubs reliever Jason Motte. If you want more information or want to get one of those T-shirts and help out this cause, click here. An update from Motte on how much was raised:
Love seeing this. People helping people! RT @108Stitches: Quick total shows right around $7,500 raised for multiple charities in 24 hours. Give yourselves a round of applause baseball fans...and be sure to put your name on your back at work tomorrow. #KCancer #WhoIsThatInTheCage— Jason Motte (@JMotte30) July 30, 2018
Rob Manfred, if you’re paying any attention to this, this is exactly why young people are getting turned off to baseball. This sums up precisely what Caray and Simpson did on the air Saturday:
The Braves are fighting for first place. The Dodgers made the World Series last year.— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) July 29, 2018
And these guys spent minutes of a meaningful game complaining about a t-shirt worn in batting practice.
If you want to engage young people in your sport, Rob Manfred, lighten up and let them have fun with it. Things like this. Or allowing them to share video on social media, something the NBA is great at. It has nothing to do with shifts or pace of play or any of those “tweaks” that might be made to the game itself.
Manfred, of course, has no real say in disciplining Caray and Simpson; they work for the Braves, not Major League Baseball.
But at some point, someone who has some common sense (and I’m beginning to wonder if anyone in the commissioner’s office has any) ought to put some of it in the people who are representing the game via media. Lighten up, Chip. Lighten up, Joe. Let people have fun with the game.
That’s how you engage younger people. Rants like this turn them off. Here’s the last word, as Simpson appears to have had second thoughts:
A Braves official said Joe Simpson expressed remorse as he spoke to Chase Utley regarding comments made during last night’s broadcast about the Dodgers’ BP attire.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) July 29, 2018
While the Braves do not support Simpson’s comments, the club believes the matter is over.
That’s good, but what I’m hoping for is no more of these at all.