By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN Classic Blackbox: Black Man For Sale Alfonso Soriano & Yankee $$ Machine
Originally Published:February 16, 2004 BLACK MAN FOR SALE ALFONSO SORIANO & YANKEE $$ MACHINE PICK OUT THE BLACK BALL PLAYER ABOVE
Don’t get all Flustered and out of joint with today’s Headline. It’s there to get your attention as it should. The person completely Lost in all the media Buzz about Alex Rodriguez being bought by the Yankees ( that’s right bought pure & simple ) and the new ‘team’ ( sic) of Jeter & Arod – the person Lost is the only one is the story with shinning Black skin Alfonso Soriano.
Yes Jeter & Rodriguez are players of Color. Jeter half African American, half white, and Arod Dominican. Still you put the two of them together on tv in commercials as we are now sure to see, and with the right lighting viewers will think they are looking at two All American young men from Kansas. Just the impression Desired.
Soriano on the other hand you can call the Blackest Yankee if you like. So are we saying Steinbrenner is letting him go because of skin color.
Absolutely not. Just that he is being thrown overboard by the Yankees and he is the Blackest Yankee. There is a clear distinction between the two, and as much a deeper Message.
Here is the Point.
The Yankees could have also bought Arod in a heart beat in return for Derek Jeter. The Yankees would never have done that. Jeter has been marketed as the Image of the Yankees, Soriano has not. But you say Jeter is the better ball player and more important to the future of the Yankees. We say WRONG.
Soriano more than Jeter has been the heart & soul of the Yankees on the field in the game these last three years but you’d never know it for the Yankee PR machine. Nor by Soriano’s paycheck. Even before the Rodriguez deal Soriano was in line for a Box over the scandalously low pay he has received from the Yankees even with his new just one year deal. Yes just one year. Not a contract to insure he would stay a Yankee.
Soriano has literally carried the Yankees for long stretches over the last three years yet the Steinbrenner Money Machine has been paying him less than $1million a year. They may well pay their head groundskeeper more. In a new one year deal he was scheduled to make $5.4million after taking the Yankees to arbitration and gaining the largest arbitration salary increase in MLB history.
Soriano appeared on the Yankee scene when New York was desperate for a new second baseman after 2000. Even though Soriano was a shortstop prior in the minor leagues he did fine at second base, much more with his bat, and spectacular base stealing. By comparison Jeter will be 30 in a few months while Soriano just turned 26. Jeter has a lifetime all important Slugging % of .462 to Soriano’s .502. In 8 full time seasons Jeter has 128 home runs. In just 3 full time seasons Soriano has 98 home runs. Jeter has averaged 77 RBIs a season over his career, Soriano 90 RBIs.
Soriano then just 23 when he began playing full time, now 26 was and is the complete package. He became the team’s anchor as lead off batter even though with his power and his production he deserved to bat third or fourth.
In that slot, and much more likely to have runners on base ahead of him rather than coming up first, then hitting after the 7th, 6th, and 9th place batters, his batting average and home run production could have zoomed even Higher.
Finally after howls of complaints the Yankees abruptly placed him hitting 3rd for a short period in 2003 and when he did not adopt spectacularly to the sudden change in mid season ( rather than intelligently at the start of the season and after spring training in that role ) he was sent back to lead off.
Here is the even Bigger Point. There is no better Talent on the New York Yankees nor more exciting a player than Alfonso Soriano. He has had some slumps, who hasn’t, and he needs to work at striking out less, just like lots of other outstanding batters, but he is the Complete Package. With adequate attention, treated with the respect he has earned but does not receive from Steinbrenner, Soriano has ( now it appeared had ) the potential over the next decade to become one of the 3 or 4 greatest Yankees ever.
Except that ALL the other Yankees who are at the Pinnacle as the greatest Yankees ever are white. So again are we saying Steinbrenner is a letting him go because of skin color. No we are saying he is letting him go while he would not trade others like Jeter or Giambi even to get Arod but he will Soriano. And Soriano is the Blackest Yankee, and arguably the most Talented.
Ladies & gentlemen, girls & boys, sports fans it is the same story over and over and over again.
Rather than not even knowing it exists in cases like this, and even though you will never read it anywhere else, give the obvious some Thought.
Our position again and again is to raise the issue of 21st century style Racism. Not over racism of the past. Not an unwillingness to associate with Black Americans. Something more insidious and less visible. Opportunity denied.
Sure you can’t fault Steinbrenner for destroying professional baseball by eliminating the entire foundation of sports which is legitimate competition, unless you want to. This is different. We contend that certain players are not expendable on the Yankees even to get the great Alex Rodriguez as we have named above.
In fact the best team that money can buy could have constructed any number of packages the Rangers would have found attractive to dump Rodriguez, his salary and his disinterest in playing for Texas. In fact many teams would have decided Alfonso Soriano is not up for trade under any circumstances. His long term potential maybe as great or greater than Arod.
In fact the easy trade would have been Rodriguez for Jeter which the Rangers would even more quickly have accepted. Each team trading their starting shortstop for another starting shortstop who each preferred to have. Instead what do we have.
The best player in baseball today Arod is now forced to play a position he has never played in his life third base.
That is worth repeating. Instead what do we have the best player in baseball today Arod is now forced to play a position he has never played in his life third base. And the Yankees will have to scramble to find somebody anyone worthwhile to play second base and be another stand out in the Yankee line up. They will not be any kind of a substitute for Alfonso Soriano !
This deal is definitely not good for Baseball. And raises other troubling questions as to why Boston was prevented from making a comparable deal, the deal of a lifetime, for some ridiculous technicality not worth discussing, but a Yankee trade sails through unopposed.
And yes it’s not good for the Yankees if they were a real baseball team that had a long term strategy, and cared less about buying World Championships no matter what the cost to them or Baseball.
But inevitably the saddest part of this depressing story is the one player who is the part of it who is being largely ignored and discounted Alfonso Soriano.
If there was anything to the vaulted and ever more phony Yankee Tradition, Soriano should be a Yankee now and forever, rising to Greatness in the Bronx. Not available for trade under any circumstances. A player who should have been offered a long term contract equal to or better than Jeter’s, but wasn’t.
And very soon Alfonso Soriano will no longer be the Blackest Yankee.
COMPARE BOBBLE HEAD DOLLS SORIANO RODRIGUEZ JETER