After Alex Rios got caught on video cursing out an autograph hound outside a charity event, Rios had no choice but to issue a public apology, saying "It was something I should never have done. It was a bad reaction from my side." All is well, right? Not in Blue Jay land. From Richard Griffin's latest mail bag at The Star:
Q: Hi Richard,
Can you please tell me what is happening with Alex Rios? First he is struggling then he embarrasses the fans and club by having an exchange with a fan. He has too much talent and I think brains to be caught up with the fans that help pay his salary. I can understand the frustrations but answer them back on the field with your play.
Bahama Tonn, Bahamas
A: I agree with you. That was an embarrassment that would not have happened with a mentor like Carlos Delgado still on the team for the young players, especially the Latin kids. Earlier in the day of the incident, Rios had struck out five times and was still stinging from the crowd reaction and the personal failure. But when you attend a charity event, you have to expect autograph seekers and interaction with fans, some of whom enjoy disrespecting players in ways that would not normally happen in normal social situations. But the Jays did not do enough.
Bahama Tonn (if there really is a Bahama Tonn) set up Griffin with a softball of a question but Richard fouled if off his foot, which is probably jammed right in his mouth right now. Implying that Alex Rios needs guidance from Carlos Delgado simply because of their shared Puerto Rican heritage is simply wrong and borders on racism. I've never had the opportunity to interview either Delgado or Rios so I can't be sure what either of their demeanor indicates, but I was taught in elementary school that any person from any race or any religion or any creed can be a total asshole. Not just the Latinos!
Rios can be criticized for his poor performance or his inability to drive in the runner from third with one out, but for Blue Jays fans and columnists to single Rios out for an outlying incident that just happened to be caught on tape is questionable. After all, Alex Rios didn't lose his temper because he was Puerto Rican and Alex Rios doesn't need to be sat down by a veteran Puerto Rican player to calm his nerves.
Alex Rios lashed out because he is an elite athlete who had a terrible day, just like the time I got caught on video berating a Starbucks barista for not properly foaming my soy milk on the day I lost the big-time Stevens account at the office. I obviously needed more guidance from an old Italian stereotype.