On Saturday night, we as a society reached new heights of dumbness in the category of Old White Men Complaining About the State of Baseball Today. Braves broadcasters Chip Caray (grandson of Harry Caray) and Joe Simpson took a few minutes during the Braves-Dodgers game to complain about how the Dodgers were dressed during batting practice.
Simpson and Caray didn’t just talk about it in an offhanded way. They had their production team pull footage of the Dodgers during BP to illustrate their point that the Dodgers wearing t-shirts and and no socks during batting practice was disrespectful to the game. Their reasons? They looked sloppy, and the Dodgers fans who came to the stadium to see BP would have no idea who the players were since they weren’t wearing a uniform. Joe Simpsons voice was dripping with disdain as he said that the Dodgers organization should be embarrassed, and he couldn’t believe that Major League Baseball allows teams to wear this kind of attire when the gates are open. Heaven forbid anyone see them being loose and normal for even a second! *clutches pearls*
The amount of senseless, needless concern trolling in that 88-second clip is, honestly, quite impressive. And to top it off, Simpson said that after watching Chase Utley take BP in a t-shirt and no socks, he felt it was an embarrassment, and implied that he no longer respected Utley. Yup, Joe Simpson thinks Chase Utley is unprofessional. But not just Utley, he clearly thinks all the Dodgers are unprofessional for deigning to wear something comfortable while they’re practicing. Not even a game. PRACTICE. And Simpson went out of his way to do it, spending nearly two minutes bashing the opposing team for failing to live up to his standards and pretty much saying that this kind of behavior is what’s wrong with baseball.
It’s pretty clear that guys like Simpson are what’s wrong with baseball. Not just because he chose to focus on something completely meaningless to put himself above today’s game and make himself seem like a concerned parent trying to reign in the unruly teenager that is baseball in 2018, but because he refuses to understand baseball in 2018. Baseball tends to strip the individuality and personality from players, but that’s what fans yearn to see. They want to see their favorite players and favorite teams being a little different, showing some spark and life, forcing baseball to accommodate how they want to act and play and not the other way around.
Baseball has a youth problem. MLB desperately wants to gain young fans, but allowing regional sports networks to continue to hire old white men broadcasters who seem to hate today’s game is only pushing them away. When guys like Joe Simpson have nothing good to say about the game and decide to criticize players for being comfortable during PRACTICE, it’s not helping anyone.
Well, maybe that’s not true. The Dodgers reacted exactly the way they should have: they made fun of Simpson. Enrique Hernandez, on the fast track to becoming one of baseball’s great personalities (if he hasn’t already), suggested that the Dodgers wear bikini underwear during BP, with every player’s name printed on the butt.
Justin Turner thought that perhaps dude overalls were the right choice. And the shirt Chase Utley was wearing? It was a KCancer shirt, for Jason Motte’s foundation to strike out cancer, and a bunch of them have been sold since Simpson opened his pie hole.
Allen Iverson said it best: we’re not talking about a game, we’re talking about practice. Apparently Joe Simpson doesn’t know the difference.