July 30, 2018

Atlanta Broadcasters Joe Simpson And Chip Caray Express Disgust At Dodgers' Batting Practice Attire

Atlanta broadcasters Joe Simpson and Chip Caray went on a now-well-circulated rant on Saturday, criticizing the Dodgers for what they were wearing during batting practice.

Simpson began shaking his fist at passing clouds in the fifth inning:
Simpson: You know that I grew up in the Dodger organization and certainly was taught how to play professional baseball and do things the right way. I want you to look at some things that were going on today in batting practice here, with the Dodgers. What do you see? T-shirts. You see Chase Utley with no socks and pants up over his knees. T-shirt. This was prevalent with their whole team. And I think about fans that come to SunTrust Park who are Dodgers fans and want to see their players. They had no idea who any of them were. Nobody had any kind of uniform or batting practice shirt on with their name on their jersey. They looked very unprofessional. And I think I can say this because I know what the Dodger organization was all about --

Caray: There's the bunt [by Atlanta pitcher Max Fried]. It is perfect.

Simpson: But if I were a Dodgers fan, I'd be embarrassed. And I don't know how Major League Baseball allows such attire when the gates are open and fans are watching. Chase Utley, I've had nothing but respect for him, his whole career, I think he's a great player and I thought he always played the game the right way. That was an embarrassment what he had on today during batting practice.

Caray: You think of all the merchandising that Major League Baseball does with their practice uniforms and the batting practice jerseys. I'm with you. Why not -- Look, it's called a uniform for a reason.
Dodger Thoughts:
That Simpson's comments were accompanied by a lengthy tape from batting practice only underscores what an orchestrated hit job this was. It's absolutely extraordinary for one team's announcers take a shot at an entire organization over this. ...

[S]omehow Simpson thinks that his take on what's appropriate for the Dodger franchise is more qualified than literally everyone working for the team today ... The sheer arrogance of it all is astounding. ...

Then there's the heartbreaking concern that Dodger fans who want to see their players "had no idea who any of them were." Think about that for a moment. Dodger fans committed enough to make the effort to see their team take batting practice play on a July afternoon in Atlanta wouldn't recognize Utley or Justin Turner or new hero Max Muncy. Guess what, Joe: Dodger fans of that caliber will recognize those guys in silhouette.

This entire kerfuffle, of course, is an even bigger hoot given the ongoing conversation about baseball marketing. Heaven forfend that a couple of hours before first pitch, any ballplayer shows off some individuality. ...

The only saving grace from tonight was that at least the ballplayers shown on the video were white. Because if Simpson had laid out this diatribe using Yasiel Puig as the object of his derision, my head would have truly exploded.
But Caray was not done!

@DodgersLowDown tweeted to Caray:
Completely classless tonight by you and Joe Simpson. Our boys have worn similar clothing when doing BP in LA even when Vin Scully was announcing and he never whined about our guys disrespecting the game the way you two did tonight.
Caray replied, in a tweet that no longer exists:
I'm not the guy taking BP in Capri-mimicking pants, no socks, and no "uniform." My partner merely pointed it out. Only mlb teamhesxseen be so non-"uniform." Why not wear MLB-issued BP jerseys with names on road so paying customers know who's who? Lighten up.
Really? Caray thinks the fan should lighten up? Holy shit!

Dodgers Digest posted tweets from fans and players:
Current players, former players ... local media, national media ... baseball was united through their sheer ridiculousness. [M]ost [Atlanta] fans I've seen are basically saying they hope this blows up so they can get a new announcing team.
[C]rusty old fuddy-duddies Joe Simpson and Chip Caray threw the saddest little mid-game tantrum Saturday night ... Plenty to gripe about [in Atlanta's performance that night], but no — Simpson and Caray were distracted with disgust over what several Dodgers players chose to wear....to batting practice. So were the Dodgers players nude? Wearing codpieces? Were they taking batting practice while draped in the fresh hides of their enemies? No, it turns out they were taking batting practice in t-shirts. Regular old t-shirts.
Utley's shirt - which bothered Simpson so much he mentioned it twice in five seconds - was a Dodgers' K Cancer t-shirt. It was designed by former Atlanta reliever (!) Jason Motte's foundation; a portion of the proceeds go to benefit cancer research.

The Sporting News:
Simpson isn't shy about taking digs at opponents and opponents' cities ... Still, his old-man, "Back in my day" tsk-tsking about the Dodgers not being in full uniform for batting practice Saturday in Atlanta was bad even for him.
It's also a bit of a stretch for Simpson to claim he "grew up" in the Dodgers organization. He was drafted by the Dodgers in 1973 and had a grand total of 67 plate appearances in four years (1975-78), during which he hit .188/.224/.203.

It's worth noting that batting practice takes place two or three hours before game time and has no direct bearing on the day's result.