Former pitcher and veteran Major League Baseball broadcast announcer, Jim Kaat is facing criticism after making a comment about slavery in reference to one player during Friday’s American League Division Series game between the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros.
When White Sox infielder Yoán Moncada– a Cuban native– was up at the plate, one of Kaat’s broadcast colleagues, former MLB manager Buck Showalter, shared an anecdote about Moncada’s history in the baseball association.
The former manager remembered spotting Moncada’s potential early on when he was scouting Moncada during his tenure as chief of the Baltimore Orioles.
Moncada did not end up with the Orioles, instead signing with the Boston Red Sox, and later being traded to Chicago.
“Can we have one of those?” Showalter joked, according to CNN.
— Dan Ewen Ⓥ (@VaguelyFunnyDan) October 8, 2021
Kaat however, added, “Get a 40-acre field full of ‘em.”
Initially, there was no reaction inside the booth to Kaat’s comment. Later on, though, Kaat was forced to apologize for the off-color remark.
“I want to add a little break here. In fact, I need to read this right now, because earlier in the game when Yoán Moncada was at the plate in an attempt to compliment the great player that he is, I used a poor choice of words that resulted in an insensitive, hurtful remark. And I’m sorry for that,” the 82-year-old expressed his regret.
The MLB cut to commercial following Kaat’s apology.
This is the apology.
Who is hurt by what Jim Kaat said??? pic.twitter.com/5NMUQHWiLt
— mikedee718 (@MikeDonaghy7) October 8, 2021
Some think that the distasteful comment references a civil war era policy that gave freed slaves in the US “40 acres and a mule.”
Kaat was allowed to stay on the air for the remainder of the game. It is unclear whether or not the MLB will impose further punishment or make an example of Kaat.
Moncada’s stats are impressive. He has played six seasons in the league and finished the season hitting .263 with 14 home runs and 61 RBIs.
Kaat pitched in the major league from 1959 to 1983 and was a three-time All-Star and World Series champion. He began his broadcasting career in 1986.
A few people who work in the sports industry rushed to defend Kaat’s character on Twitter.
“I’ve known Jim Kaat for 20 years. We both worked at YES, I’ve stayed at his house for weeks at a time, he’s been to my restaurant, I know his family… HE IS FAR FROM A RACIST. He is the kindest, loveliest, sweetest man. I call him Gramps, that’s how close we are. THE FUCKING END,” Jenn Royle, a former MLB host wrote.
I’ve known Jim Kaat for 20 years. We both worked at YES, I’ve stayed at his house for weeks at a time, he’s been to my restaurant, I know his family… HE IS FAR FROM A RACIST. He is the kindest, loveliest, sweetest man. I call him Gramps, that’s how close we are. THE FUCKING END.
— Jen Royle (@Jen_Royle) October 9, 2021
I want to say this, with zero agenda. Buck Showalter and Jim Kaat have done nothing but treat me with kindness and respect my entire career. They are two of my favorite people to talk baseball with, and I have never felt discriminated or treated as less than. Just for the record.
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) October 8, 2021
Don’t bring misguided invective about Jim Kaat to me. Ain’t hearing it. I’ve been treated extremely well, and with great respect by countless people in baseball. Nobody tops Jim Kaat. I will say this from here to eternity: I know practitioners of racism. He ain’t one of them.
— Claire Smith ⚾️ (@MzCSmith) October 8, 2021
Others called for Kaat to retire in the fallout:
People trying to minimize a slavery ref by pointing out Jim Kaat was complimenting Yoan Moncada are the dumbest of the dumb. The most unthinking, moldy, idiotic, pieces of rhino dung scraped from the bottom of the dregs of society’s shoe. Kaat knows what “40 acres” means.
— Jeff August (@jeffaugust8) October 8, 2021
so Jim Kaat might not be returning for any more broadcasts this postseason https://t.co/BmYLrjr1DZ
— Nathan Bernhardt (@jonbernhardt) October 8, 2021
— Kevin Frisone (@Kevin_Frisone) October 9, 2021
Maybe, just maybe, Jim Kaat is a little too old to be calling baseball games. Yikes. pic.twitter.com/kylbMjuS9p
— Colin Stoner (@colinstoner) October 9, 2021
Kaat isn’t the only MLB broadcaster facing blowback this season for making insensitive comments. Diamondbacks analyst Bob Brenly made a comment about Mets pitcher, Marcus Stroman’s du-rag and was forced to apologize. Tigers color analyst Jack Morris was also suspended for mocking the Asian accent of Angels player Shohei Ohtani.
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