San Diego Padres pitcher Bud Norris makes a cameo in this rather odd USA Today story about how racial tensions may or may not be a driving force behind bench-clearing brawls. Let’s just get right to Bud’s take:
When the told the large majority of the benches-clearing incidents involved players of different backgrounds, Norris nodded knowingly.
“I think it’s a culture shock,’’ Norris said. “This is America’s game. This is America’s pastime, and over the last 10-15 years we’ve seen a very big world influence in this game, which we as a union and as players appreciate. We’re opening this game to everyone that can play. However, if you’re going to come into our country and make our American dollars, you need to respect a game that has been here for over a hundred years, and I think sometimes that can be misconstrued. There are some players that have antics, that have done things over the years that we don’t necessarily agree with.
“I understand you want to say it’s a cultural thing or an upbringing thing. But by the time you get to the big leagues, you better have a pretty good understanding of what this league is and how long it’s been around.’’
Nobody who is anything other than a colossal dickhead has ever uttered the phrase “earn our American dollars.” Past that, though, Norris is just flat-out wrong. Not only has baseball been played in Latin America and Japan for just about as long as it’s been played in the United States, but players from all cultures have been intermingling at the top level for well over a century now. The folkways and traditions and even the unwritten rules that make the major leagues something more than a collection of trademarks and broadcast agreements have been influenced and inflected by ballplayers from all over the world not only for much longer than Bud Norris has been alive, but for much longer than his team has even existed, and it is completely disingenuous to claim them as uniquely American. Your “American dollars” don’t mean shit, Bud.