October 9, 2019

Atlanta Team's Compromise [sic]: 'No Tomahawk Chop When Native American Player Is Pitching'; Cardinals Disapprove, Score Unprecedented 10 Runs In First Inning, Win NLDS

As St. Louis and Atlanta played in the National League Division Series last week, Cardinals rookie pitcher Ryan Helsley talked about his family (his mother is full-blooded Cherokee) and the racist "tomahawk chop" performed by fans at Atlanta's baseball stadium with foam tomahawks that the team hands out before the game.
It's a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general. Just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren't intellectual. They are a lot more than that. It's not me being offended by the whole mascot thing. It's not. It's about the misconception of us, the Native Americans, and it devalues us and how we're perceived in that way, or used as mascots. The Redskins and stuff like that. That's the disappointing part. That stuff like this still goes on. It's just disrespectful.
Yahoo Sports reported that Helsley, 25 years old, "was born and raised in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, speaks the Cherokee language and can trace his lineage back to ancestors forced to march along the Trail of Tears."

Last Sunday, Deadspin published Chris Thompson's article "Braves Give The Lie To Rob Manfred's Insistence That The "Tomahawk Chop" Is Being Discouraged". MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said back in February that the team had "taken steps to take out" the chant. The team issued a bullshit statement, claiming that it has "worked to honor and respect the Native American community through the years" and that the organization "has sought to embrace all people and highlight the many cultures in Braves Country".

The team also vowed to continue "to evaluate how we activate elements of our brand" - a phrase which should deeply offend all speakers of the English language. How can we regard the team's response as anything other than pure bullshit when it claims to "honor and respect" Native Americans and then uses the term "Braves Country" in the very next sentence, and continues using #ChopOn as its social media hashtag?

Patrick Redford (also of Deadspin) writes, in "Braves Announce Plan To Only Use The Tomahawk Chop When A Native American Isn't Pitching" (a headline that sounds like it's from The Onion, but it's not (it's also 100% accurate)):
The respectful and correct way to handle this would have been to ban the tomahawks and cease using the music and graphics package that accompanies the chop for the rest of the playoffs. However, that's not that what the [Atlanta baseball team is] doing. They're admitting the chop is offensive, yet are only taking initial steps to "reduce" it.

Sarah Valenzuela of the New York Daily News weighed in:
The only thing notable about the [team's] gesture, faint as it is, is that the organization decided to make any gesture at all rather than stick its fingers in its ears. In baseball, sadly, this counts as progress. ...

The Tomahawk Chop has notoriously been racist and the Braves have been aware of the way the Native American community, as well as other Indigenous communities who've shown support, has perceived the chant the last three decades they've used it. ...

Similar to how ballparks discourage and will toss fans for racist language or behavior or even for being too foul-mouthed to players, they should treat the Tomahawk Chop the same way. ...
The men and women who run Atlanta's baseball team handled this situation in the absolute worst way possible. Their solution was far worse than sticking their fingers in their ears, ignoring Helsley and carrying on business as usual. Instead, the team released a statement indicating that fans will not be encouraged to "chop" if Helsley comes into the game.
Out of respect for the concerns expressed by Mr. Helsley, we will take several efforts to reduce the Tomahawk Chop [in NLDS Game 5 today] ... [T]steps include not distributing foam tomahawks to each seat and not playing the accompanying music or using Chop-related graphics when Mr. Helsley is in the game. ... We look forward to a continued dialogue with those in the Native American community after the postseason concludes.
Helsley's teammates made damn sure Atlanta's postseason would conclude a few hours after sundown today.

The Cardinals sent 14 men to the plate in the top of the first inning on Wednesday evening, scoring 10 runs in the highest-scoring first inning in major league postseason history. (The old record was seven, set by Milwaukee in Game 2 of the 1958 World Series against the Yankees).

The early explosion also tied the record for the most runs in any postseason inning in history, matching the 1929 Athletics (7th inning, 1929 World Series Game 4), 1968 Tigers (3rd inning, World Series Game 6) and 2002 Angels (7th inning, ALCS Game 5).
Mike Foltynewicz pitching for the Cardinals.
Dexter Fowler (bfffbbb) walked.
Kolten Wong out on a sacrifice bunt, pitcher-to-first, Fowler to second.
Paul Goldschmidt (c) singled to shortstop, Fowler to third.
Marcell Ozuna (cf) singled to right, Fowler scored, Goldschmidt to second (1-0).
Mound visit.
Yadier Molina (f) reaching on error by first baseman, Goldschmidt to third, Ozuna to second.
Matt Carpenter (bbcbfb) walked, Goldschmidt scored, Ozuna to third, Molina to second (2-0).
Mound visit.
Tommy Edman (c) doubled to right, Ozuna scored, Molina scored, Carpenter to third (4-0).
Paul DeJong intentionally walked.
Pitching change: Max Fried relieved Foltynewicz.
Jack Flaherty (bbcbb) walked, Carpenter scored, Edman to third, DeJong to second (5-0).
Fowler (b) doubled to left, Edman scored, DeJong scored, Flaherty to third (7-0).
Mound visit.
Wong doubled to center, Flaherty scored, Fowler scored (9-0).
Goldschmidt (bc) lined out to right, Wong to third.
Ozuna (cbff) struck out swinging, reached first on wild pitch, Wong scored (10-0).
Molina (bcsb) grounded out, third-to-first.
10 runs, 5 hits, 4 walks, 1 error, 1 wild pitch, 2 left on base; 14 batters, 44 pitches.
The Cardinals added a run in the second and two more in the third, winning the game 13-1, winning the series 3-2, and moving on to the NLCS against either the Dodgers or the Nationals.

Ryan Helsley did not pitch, but I assume he enjoyed himself immensely in the bullpen.

1 comment:

GK said...

Not just tomahawk chops, Braves are moving from the heart of Atlanta to the suburbs of Cobb county, the conservative base. Still called Atlanta Braves. Nice article on how the racial divide plays into Braves' thinking.sorry cannot find a shorter link.
Two Playoff Teams, Two New Stadiums and One Great Divide