Seriously, When Is a White Guy Going to Dog It In the Field?

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Open up the brown-guys-don't-hustle file, Mabel: we've got ourselves another case of a minority player being accused of dogging it. In this case, Rays teammates Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton tussled in the dugout when Longoria allegedly gave Upton the business for not running full speed in the outfield:

B.J. Upton had to be restrained by teammates in the dugout after having a heated exchange with 3B Evan Longoria.

That came after Upton didn't run hard to chase down a ball hit into the gap that became a triple for Rusty Ryal in the top of the fifth. Gerardo Parra followed with a two-run homer.

It appeared Longoria initiated the confrontation by saying something and Upton reacted angrily, yelling and pointing his finger, and had to be restrained by Willy Aybar.

You can see the video here (as long as MLBAM hasn't pulled it) and yes, it's true: B.J. Upton is obviously not going full speed to pick up the baseball. Also true: Evan Longoria has a duck's ass haircut. But seriously, can we get some solid evidence of a white player being accused of not hustling so I can stop playing the race card? Would it kill Chase Utley to dog it down the first base line on an easy grounder just so Jimmy Rollins get up in his face in the dugout? Let's switch it up a bit so I don't feel guilty and write about this every time it happens!

Rays manager Joe Maddon took Longoria's side, saying that Upton "didn't run as hard as he could have" and that Longoria's action was "a great example of a player taking action for the good of the team." Thing is, this was not the first time Maddon has taken umbrage with Upton's "lack of hustle". From August 2008, when Maddon benched Upton for not running out a groundout:

"When it comes down to individual effort, it takes absolutely zero talent - zero, zero talent to try hard or play hard every day," Maddon said. "I'm OK with physical mistakes. We talked about the mental mistakes, I want them to cut down and we have cut down on them a lot. I'm accepting of all that. The part I'm not accepting of is the part you can control, which is your effort."

Two years later and Joe Maddon is still trying to get his players to hustle their buns. But really, who can take a guy seriously when he shows up for work in a hoodie?


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8 Comments

Jim Edmonds used to dog it down to first base all the time. Broadcasters never mentioned it (the beat writers still love him). I only noticed it because when I was a poor college student, I could only afford to go to a few precious games. Seeing someone who is supposedly a clubhouse leader jog down to first base really changed my view of him

He was just conserving energy for his completely unnecessary outfield dives.

The dives were necessary because he like to play six feet behind second base.

I'd like to formally invite you to one of my softball games if you're interested in seeing a white guy or two not hustling.

Well, the Patriots have no problem taking a guy who shows up for work in a hoodie seriously. But, then again, football players tend to get hit in the head a lot, so...

(I tried posting this comment before, but it got eaten...)

I have an old Athlon preview guide - probably 2001, but it could've been any of those. In it, they give a sidebar to each team with about 5 or 6 little notes or observations. In this particular guide, one of the Dodgers' notes is something like: "Eric Karros is sometimes accused of not running hard to first base on some plays. When asked about it, he said 'Why should I?'"

Again, that's a paraphrase, but that's certainly the gist of the note: Eric Karros, when confronted by a reporter about not running hard, admitted that it wasn't a big deal to him. If you didn't dislike him before, it's kind of hard not to now...

This doesn't exactly go to your point, Rob, about Upton and the media and all that. I thought it was worth sharing, though...

The only white player I've ever seen/heard my fellow Cards fans bitch about because of his supposed lack of hustle was JD Drew. Of course, when you're on the DL every few weeks because of a hangnail, it can be hard to go full out...

At long last, someone finally stands up for the non-hustling ballplayer. Pretty slick, fellas. Are "brown" (to use your terminology) players supposed to be exempt from this sort of criticism? No one will deny the lazy racial stereotyping in baseball--or in all sports, for that matter--but what you've been doing with this amounts to little more than a we're-so-enlightened feelgood pat on your own backs.

As for lack of hustle, I can think of a particular baseball blog which likes to use occasional research and statistics to better describe and explain how baseball works. Wouldn't it be fab to, say, do a Lexis search on terms indicating a lack of hustle and come up with some better evidence of racial bias connected with hustle (or lack thereof)? But that would be kinda like work, and it wouldn't feel as good as imputing racial bias to others based on a very small sample size.

Now me, I'm a lazybones, but a quick look at Google has turned up David Wright, Ryan Church, Shane Victorino, and Francisco Cervelli as possible non-hustlers on occasion, not to mention my favorite hit: "Al Hrabosky criticizes Brendan Ryan's Mustache for Lack of Hustle". Even more shockingly, Dusty Baker seems to have been unhappy with Brandon Phillips' lack of hustle. Good Heavens, black-on-black lack of hustle violence! Where will it all end?

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