True Grit

Many of us love to root for the underdog because we see ourselves in these athletes or characters. That’s why movies such as Hoosiers, Rudy and Rocky were all successful and pull at our heart strings. These movies have something else in common as well…their leading characters were all white.

Racism will always exist in this world and will show up in many forms. Sports have always played a significant role in helping bridge the gaps that divide us in this country. We’ve made amazing strides, but other countries aren’t so progressive.

From May AP article:

“America had to go through the civil rights movement, and we went through a national crash-course in race relations and racial sensitivity — to the point in public culture that we’re painfully correct,” Duke University anthropologist Orin Starn. “It’s really different in Europe. Europe has not gone through the same kind of process of public debate and painful reckoning with questions of race and difference.”

In this country, racism in sports is still prevalent, but it is revealed through bias more than anything. Fans tend to cheer for athletes that look, talk and believe like they do. For years in Texas, if a ballplayer was a white Texas native with a popular Christian walk up song, it was a recipe for Rangers fan love fest. Didn’t matter if the player had talent, the fans typically cocked their head and squinted in such a way to find something about the player that made him great. We play up these mediocre players because they appear to get by solely on grit and determination. They appear to not be cocky and simply play for the love of the game (at least that is what we tell ourselves).

“He hustles to first on a ground out!”

“That guy is always making diving catches!”

“When he smiles, something deep inside of me warms and I instantly feel better about my lot in life.”

So the last example might be more of a thought from fans than spoken word, but you get the point. Is this conscious or subconscious thinking? I would like to believe it is more of the latter than the former, but both exist. We all have our bias we bring to the game of baseball. For the sake of having good baseball discussion, your ability to recognize your own bias is paramount.

What are your biases?     

Eddie Middlebrook is the co-host of “Chin Music” and VP of Media for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at or on Twitter @emiddlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook is Senior Writer for @ballparkbanter9 and @shutdowninning. Formerly with @wfaasports and @FoxSportsSW. @IBWAA member. Eddie can be found on Twitter @emiddlebrook.

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