Goat Riders vs. Cuban Baseball Shout Boxing
Yesterday, we published a very brief blurb about the Cubs signing Cuban pitcher Juan Yasser Serrano. Turns out that, much as there's a blog for the wide varieties of stinky cheese out there, there also exist websites dedicated to following the Cuban past-time. This article, which was meant as nothing more than a brief update on a news story with only a hint of commentary (because, frankly, there's not much to comment on) was picked up by some kind of crazy "cbox" It's sort of like our ShoutBox, but they talk about Cuban baseball.
There, some douchebag named Jeff Hainey had this to say about the blurb in general and Cub fans in particular:
"...wow that's the worst article I've read in a long time...he couldn't even get the headline right."
"U.S. is not very aware cosmopolitan, wise. They think Ven/Dom/Cubans are all basically the same. They don't want to learn much more. Especially a midwesterner. The east coast will get you writing that is more intense and they will know more about every team and more about foriegn (sic) countries. Chicago people
have tunnel vision. They don't know who plays for anyone else...it comes from their announcers, their newspapers, their sports talk shows...they have to have a baseball expert on to get sensible news from their own teams."
Jeff Hainey then elaborated as follows:
"Generally speaking, it's night and day between Cubs fans and WSox fans.
The WSox fan is much more knowledgeable...but the general fan bases of both teams are lead down the homerism alley by all media outlets. It's Chicago or
nothing...expanding to it's America or nothing...and that is more true of the Cub fan due to the demographics."
I appreciate how he reversed his own opinion immediately. From "they only care about Chicago" to "...er, and America in general, but definitely not Cuba or anything in the Caribbean."
To put icing on the cake, a Goat Reader went there, called Hainey a moron, noted that this blog is humor-oriented, and pointed out the "cursive Cubs/Cuba logo" connection, and saw his posts promptly deleted. The cause of deletion probably had something to do with this line: "did your sense of humor fall off of your makeshift raft somewhere in the gulf of Mexico?" Snap.
Of course, Hainey's main point of contention was that he didn't get the joke and that we posted a picture of the wrong Cuban with the story. Sorry, folks. I took a trip recently and left my portable media guide of Cuban baseball stars in a bathroom at the Niagara Falls/Buffalo border. I therefore had to rely on a Google image search and that picture was the first one I found when I typed in "Juan Yasser Serrano." I guess that makes me ignorant.
I suppose he might also not have liked how I noted that it was the first Cubs signing of a Cuban player in "recent history" aka "the past few years," while speculating that Cuban prospects fail perhaps as often as prospects from any part of the Caribbean. (Actually, I didn't speculated, I pondered. I asked out loud, "I wonder how many actually succeed?") I also noted that Yasser Serrano (I'm sure Hainey is relieved that I made no Yasser Arafat jokes, nor Pedro Serrano references, because that'd just be ignorant) was "reportedly" 21 years of age.
Since those comments reek of tunnel vision, I thought I'd expand on them a bit here.
Of the 135 Cuban defectors between 1991 and 2007, only 24 made it to the majors. Of those 24, the most successful have been guys like Rey Ordonez, Livan Hernandez, Jose Contreras*, and Livan's brother Orlando Hernandez*. None of these guys are even remotely Hall of Fame bound, although they've all experienced successful years in the majors.
(*Orlando Hernandez, when he first defected, was believed to have been born in 1969. He was later revealed to have been born in 1965 -- or earlier! Contreras, meanwhile, has also faced birth certificate scrutiny I only mention it because I speculated that Yasser Serrano might be older than his listed age. But I'm sure that Hainey thinks I'm just being narrow-minded.)
He was right about one thing, though. I mentioned that Yasser Serrano's fastball had been clocked in the low 90's. The truth is, it ranged from the high 80's to the low 90's, which means his heater isn't consistently hot, if you catch my drift.
Anyway, to wrap this up, I would like to pass one final message onto Mr. Hainey:
I am not from the Midwest. I grew up on the east coast, but have been a resident of Canada for nearly six years. In other words ... I live in a country where I can travel to Cuba whenever I want for as long as I want. Maybe you do too, maybe not, but you accused me of being narrow-minded and a homer for the Cubs. Sir, if I was a homer for the Cubs, then I would have been blowing bubbles all over Jim Hendry's ass for signing this sure-to-be godsend of a Cuban defector. I would have heralded it as a steal, a true marvel of a move that would benefit the Cubs now and for years to come. I would be defending Yasser Serrano against all slights, all criticisms, all insults. After all, if I was a homer, the Cubs could do no wrong and every Chicago prospect would be the best in baseball.
I would not be downplaying the signing. I would not be writing articles about how most Cuban ballplayers fail to accomplish much in the majors (or if I did, I would be trumpeting Serrano as an exception!). And I certainly would not be taking an immediate defensive stance against even the mildest of criticisms levied at a Cuban baseball player by some hack blogger... which is exactly what you did. You are a Cuba mark, sir. Plain as day.
P.S. I don't read the rags and I don't listen to sports radio. Your comments about me, Cub fans like me, and baseball in general is an epic, indescribable WRONG. Sir, go directly to FAIL. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.