Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington is very unhappy about a quote from an anonymous scout that Sports Illustrated published in its Pirates team preview.
The preview was published on March 19, and contained a quote about Pirates first baseman Josh Bell. The scout was asked who he thinks is the most overrated player on the Pirates squad. Here’s the quote Sports Illustrated published:
Josh Bell can’t play. He’s not a good defender. He’s a big lump. He has bad agility, bad footwork. He can’t run. Supposedly he’s a big power threat, but he hit 12 home runs at first base. This is not a kid! This is his third year in the big leagues! I don’t think he’s got the ability to get better.
It’s not hard to see why Huntington would be upset by that quote, because it’s not just unnecessarily mean, but also unfair. Bell’s a big guy, and big guys don’t typically run fast, but he’s not a lump. He finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2017, and with a career triple slash of .260/.348/.436, he’s been a middling but solid hitter. Not every player is going to be a superstar, and it’s not clear what kind of expectations this scout had. Since the quote is anonymous, there’s no way to ask for clarification.
Huntington went on Pittsburgh radio station 93.7 The Fan to talk about the quote, an he didn’t mince words.
Neal Huntington on anonymous scout ripping Josh Bell in @SInow: "These anonymous scouts are hacks. A lot of their criticisms are directed at minorities...we're happy these guys don't work for our organization."
— Andrew Fillipponi (@ThePoniExpress) March 28, 2019
When Huntington said “a lot of their criticisms are directed at minorities,” he could have also been talking about another anonymous scout quote from a different MLB preview. Sports Illustrated published their Philadelphia Phillies preview on Wednesday, and that contained a quote about centerfielder Odubel Herrera with some seriously questionable racist language.
The rival scout quote on Odubel Herrera in the SI preview has my blood boiling pic.twitter.com/ZZFUbLENgd
— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) March 27, 2019
Calling any player, or human being for that matter, a “f——— dog” is completely unacceptable, but it takes on a much worse (and much more racist) meaning when that player is a minority. Somehow that anonymous scout quote was cleared for publication, but it didn’t last long. Several hours after it went live, the quote was edited and a message was added to the beginning of the preview explaining why. Here’s the updated anonymous scout quote.
Herrera. I'm an old-school guy who likes guys who run balls out and run off and on the field and are focused on playing the game the right way. From what I understand, it was a controversial signing internally. What they've gotten out of it is a [player] who's hurt them more than helped them.
At least the obviously racist language was removed — though it never should have been published in the first place.
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