July 23, 2011
One night after remarking that the Detroit Tigers Latino-heavy lineup was going to "have to get some rice and beans for the postgame spread," team analyst Rod Allen attempted to clarify his comment during Friday's broadcast.
The Detroit Free-Press printed this transcript on its website Saturday morning:
Allen: "I wanted to finish a story that I started last night. ... I was talking to Ramon Santiago(notes) before the game yesterday — I saw him and (Miguel Cabrera(notes)) in the lobby at the hotel -- and he told me he and Cabby were going to a Latin restaurant called 'Conga' (Conga Latin Bistro), and he said that's something they like to do when they go on the road, they like to go to some restaurant -- if it's New York, it might be Victor's, for anybody that's been there -- and it's not uncommon for the clubhouse attendants to sometimes provide Latin cuisine for some of the Latin players. I couldn't get there last night with the story, but I kind of wanted to touch it here tonight that the Latin players, when they go on the road, they like to go eat Latin food."
Play-by-play announcer Mario Impemba: "Still waiting on my invite to Conga."
Allen: "Well, we might have to go."
Allen: "Just to finish what I was starting to say there about Santiago and him telling me the restaurant that he and Cabrera went to yesterday ...
"We've talked on Tigers baseball on a number of occasions about Vladimir Guerrero(notes) bringing the Latin players food, or (Placido) Polanco bringing food, or Big Papi (David Ortiz(notes)) bringing food to the clubhouse for the Latin players, so I just wanted to touch a little bit about the comments I made last night that it was truly something I have witnessed in certain clubhouses."
As with most things in life, context is everything. Had Allen immediately followed his remark on Thursday with the stories of bonding and friendship between Latino players that he related on Friday, it would not have stood out and caused the extended conversation on the Internet and radio airwaves that it did the following day.
Even better, such a story would have added depth and detail to the broadcast.
But by letting that line hang without further explanation, Allen's remark came off as a bad and insensitive joke that would have been delivered by someone sitting on their couch at home. As a professional broadcaster, he should have known better.