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Tigers TV guy: Latinos need ‘rice and beans’ for postgame meal

Detroit Tigers broadcaster Rod Allen made an unfunny and inappropriate attempt at a joke about Latinos during FOX Sports Detroit's telecast Thursday night.

Allen, a color analyst since 2003, said the postgame meal in the Tigers clubhouse at Target Field should include rice and beans, because most of the team's lineup against the Twins had Latino heritage.

You see, the Latinos just love them some rice and beans, as the stereotype goes.

Would Allen, who is African-American, make a joke about a Tigers lineup that was mostly black requiring something stereotypical to eat? Would he stoop to make a watermelon joke? Maybe he would. Maybe he has. But that wouldn't make it right, or funny.

Check out an audio clip of Allen's conversation in the sixth inning with Tigers play-by-play man Mario Impemba, who notes that Twins right-hander Carl Pavano(notes) just reached 100 pitches. Allen responds by complimenting Tigers' hitters for making their opponent work hard.

And then, with Alex Avila(notes) batting, Allen gets ignorant:

Tigers TV guy: Latinos need ‘rice and beans’ for postgame meal

Allen: "Lot of quality at-bats tonight by Tigers batters."

(Avila fouls off a pitch.)

Allen: "Tigers pretty much got a all-Latin squad out there tonight."

Impemba: "Ordoñez, Cabrera, Martinez, Peralta, Guillen, Avila, Betemit. Jackson and Boesch don't qualify."

Allen: "They're gonna have to get some rice and beans for the postgame spread tonight."

Impemba: "[Nervous-sounding laugh]. Yes, they are. ... Two and two!"

Tigers TV guy: Latinos need ‘rice and beans’ for postgame mealIt's true that, with Wilson Betemit(notes) making his Tigers debut, seven of the nine players in manager Jim Leyland's lineup had Spanish last names — such as Jhonny Peralta(notes) on the right.

It might have been tricky for him, but Allen could have referenced how the Detroit clubhouse — which includes respected stars such as Victor Martinez(notes), Miguel Cabrera(notes) and Jose Valverde(notes) — is a place where Latino players can feel comfortable. That's not always the case in the major leagues. Such a discussion could be valuable.

Short of that, if only Allen had tried to be funny, maybe something stereotypical he said theoretically could be defended. But Latinos eating only rice and beans? It wasn't funny the first billion times someone said it, so why keep it going? Allen comes off like he's mocking them, even though — giving him the benefit of the doubt — he probably didn't mean to.

But by the limited reaction on Twitter — which varied from dopey to ashamed — Allen might have a history of saying stuff like this.

As Kyle Madson noted on the KSSU Blog,  FOX fired Steve Lyons in 2006 for implying in a "joke" that native Spanish speakers might be more apt than others to steal his wallet.

What Allen said this time wasn't on that level. But hopefully his bosses heard him, will talk to him and tell him to cut it out.

UPDATE: Allen clarified his comments on Friday night.

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