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July 28, 2008

‘Mexicutioner’ tag offensive

For most people, the sweetest sound is their proper name. Nicknames tend to be intimate and descriptive. With athletic teams and in classrooms, nicknames have positives and negatives depending on the situation.

The Royals’ Joakim Soria is hot. In pro baseball, with Latinos making it in the major leagues, many come with different and difficult-to-pronounce Spanish names. Some media folks, instead of making efforts to correctly use a player’s name, screw it up or use a cute nickname.

While the “ Mexicutioner” T-Shirt has the blessings of Mr. Soria, I have always seen him wearing a Royals baseball cap, never a sombrero. The Mexicutioner poster pictured in The Star (7/22, Sports) reeks of racism and conjures up stereotypical images of the Mexican movie bandit.

Vin Scully didn’t pin a nickname on Sandy Koufax. Maybe the Royals can get a psychological lift and win if proper names are used.

Ascension Hernandez
Shawnee

Comments

solomon

My darling Kate,

Did we dance at your cousins wedding when he married his stepmother?

avian-Americans? great line.....

Kate

Sol, it seems to me that you might be mistaken about what’s being played and who is offended. On another thread, you hummed the questionable song, “dada-da-da-dada-da” which I immediately recognized as “The Chicken Dance.” Now batters might have reason to be upset with that song selection, after all, what batter wants the pitcher to think he’s chicken, but the demographic most likely to be offended by the playing of this song is not, as you stated, Asian-Americans, . . . it’s . . . Avian-Americans.

solomon

Sammy,

I can't comment beyond what I've said, as our friend Marctnts pointed out players pick their own music, which I can't dispute with facts. I do know what a hollywood asian fanfare sounds like, and I don't believe an Asian person would choose it to go up to the plate.

It would be interesting to go to a game and chart the songs, like I do pitches and at bats. Since we know many young whites like rap, do any of them select it as their theme. Also is every song played when a Hispanic goes to the plate a Hispanic tune, as some of them would probably have a favorite song that was rap or rock if they've been in the US for years.

Sammy

solomon - I would need a specific example, including the name of the batter and the music in order to research. Otherwise, I could chalk it up to two other possible explanations. First, songs from specific types of music sound the same to an untrained ear. For example, I'm not a country fan and all country music sounds the same to me. So, it's possible that an untrained ear heard a song and mistook for another song.

Another explanation - the batter, for whatever reason, actually did select the music. Maybe he was a fan of the music or the movies.

Is racism, or at least stereotypism, a possible explanation. Sure, but given that other batters select their own music, I would doubt that Asian players are treated differently.

solomon

Good morning Sammy,

Perhaps you are correct, but you offer no explanation for the stereotypical Asian music, which is hollywood, not asian.

Obviously some hispanics find the one offensive or else we'd have no letter from Ascension. My question about the Incinerator was posed because many only find offense by what they consider offensive, which in your case would be the Nazi, not the mexican.

Sammy

C'mon.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page3/story?page=atbatsongs/index

Perhaps players of certain demographic groups simply enjoy listening to the same types of music as other people that happen to be in their demographic groups.

Mexicutioner vs. Nazi. Please explain how that's even in the same ballpark (pun intended).

solomon

Marctnts,

Considering that they play old Charlie Chan sounding fanfares I doubt seriously that it is being selected by Asian players, but I don't have any inside information as you do. I do notice also that the Hispanic music is also stereotypical, not some players favorite song.

BTW, this observation came to me from a Little League coach a 2 or 3 years ago after taking his team to the K. His team, which I co-sponsor, had twin Asian American boys who were teased when an Asian player came up to bat. Now we all know kids tease other kids, but what are they learning "differences" through?

Marctnts

Solomon,

I don't know, but I would guess the asian players themselves. I'm sure they're encouraged to "play up" their persona, which may include their race, but my info is straight from a friend who works in the organization.

solomon

Good morning Marctnts,

If that is true about the players picking their own music who picks the one for the Asian players?

Marctnts

"Maybe the Royals can get a psychological lift and win if proper names are used."

So, we're losing because of someone's nickname? Wow, I thought it was because of sub-par performance of the players and a lack of experience brought on by Glass' unwillingness to spend more on payroll.

Bottom line, if the player doesn't have a problem with his nickname (which, BTW, probably increases his visablity and popularity), then why should we?

Solomon, I know the Royals allow the players to select their own intro music. This may not be the case with other teams, but at least with the Royals, if a white guy has country and a black guy has rap, it's because that's what they selected.

solomon

Subtle racism in America? Are you kidding?

Ever notice the music they play when the batter comes to the plate? Whites get rock or country, blacks get rap, Hispanics get Salsa and the Asians get the old movie "Asian" type fanfare. Who thought that one up.

Maybe if a German named fellow had the nickname "the Incinerator" and was depicted on a T-shirt with a Nazi helmet someone would complain.

 
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