Ian Kinsler and Team USA Deserve Apology
Well, it happened! Jim Leyland, Ian Kinsler and the rest of Team USA won the World Baseball Classic. Despite seemingly everyone with a microphone or a press pass giving them no chance of doing so, it was fun to watch. What I have not seen is an apology to Team USA from those claiming the roster did not have the right individuals.
No apology to the Team USA outfielders from those who made statements that Mike Trout needs to be on the team. Not even an apology to Trout for being called unpatriotic for not accepting the invitation to play.
You would certainly think people would apologize to the Team USA pitchers since none of them were named Kershaw, Bumgarner, or Scherzer like so many analysts claimed the team needed. But no apology has come that I have seen.
Strangely, very few statements of congratulations have come the team’s way. Instead, it was members of the victorious Team USA that were told to apologize for their remarks during and after the Classic.
The Pre-Game Quote:
“I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays,” Kinsler said. “That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.” Kinsler quote from a March 22 Witz article
This quote attributed to Ian Kinsler has put him in the crosshairs of media personnel who claim Kinsler owes an apology. Personally I do not want Ian Kinsler to apologize because this statement should offend nobody. We would have to ask Ian Kinsler, but I think he’s simply hoping that young people can learn to enjoy playing the game. Play the game for fun without the shouting, jumping around, drums and horns.
In http://fansided.com/2017/03/22/ian-kinsler-wbc-comments-puerto-rico/, Jonathan Sadlock claims Ian Kinsler doesn’t understand the purpose of the World Baseball Classic.
Ian Kinsler understands the purpose of the World Baseball Classic just fine. The purpose as stated by Commissioner Rob Manfred is “to grow the game internationally.” Manfred does not state the purpose is to grow the international game in the United States. So why do people want an apology from Kinsler?
A Quote From Sadlock:
“More than anything else, the WBC should be a time to celebrate the fact that millions of people around the world love the game of baseball, regardless of how they choose to play it”
Couldn’t agree more Mr. Sadlock, and I’m guessing Mr. Kinsler agrees also. So why does Sadlock state Ian Kinsler has a problem understanding the meaning of the WBC? It’s Sadlock who doesn’t understand his own statement, “regardless of how they choose to play it,” justifies Kinsler’s comment.
The American Baseball Style:
Sadlock cannot understand an Ian Kinsler. A guy who, like the Latino players, plays the game of baseball the way he was taught at an early age. In his youth, Kinsler was coached by his father, a prison warden in Tucson, Arizona. From what I’ve read, Ian was benched before an important game because he “rolled his eyes” during his father’s pregame meeting..
That is one way of learning. The bench is sometimes the only friend for a coach and when used appropriately the benching can pay off in the future. Ian Kinsler learned from his father, high school coaches, college coaches and professional coaches. Those teachings probably included how you carry yourself on the field.
The “unwritten rules” that some individuals claim are holding back the game of baseball are actually written rules in some affiliations of American Baseball. In college baseball (depending on your affiliation), players are not supposed to leave the dugout while the ball is in play and are to “stay back” when a teammate hits a home run.
In American Legion baseball you all state the Sportsmanship Code before tournament games. In Little League you learn early not to leave the confines of the dugout which are specifically designed to keep balls out and players within.
Many American affiliations have written rules prohibiting the noisemakers that are popular at some international events. You cannot pound on the dugout ceiling with your bat to add to the noise, and music is not allowed during live action. No, you cannot drum on the bottom of an empty ball bucket. At some tournaments walk-up songs are not allowed so as not to provide a perceived advantage to a host team.
This is the way American players learn the game of baseball. I’m not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with early ball players were thought of as little more than thugs and brawlers. Their reputation so bad that fathers did not allow their daughters to be seen with the ball players. But the game evolved and rules were put in place along with standards and dress codes making the game more appealing.
Ian Kinsler = Ball Player:
Ian Kinsler is the Classic American Baseball Player. Overcoming an asthma situation that put him on a “breather” in his youth and fighting through stress fractures in his feet Kinsler refused to let “things” get in his way.
After earning a $22 million contract in 2008, Ian Kinsler was asked if the contract would change him:
“I’m going to play the same regardless of whether I’m making five dollars or $1 trillion. It really doesn’t make a difference to me. I’m going to go out there and play hard, and money doesn’t bring respect. The way you play the game brings respect. When I finish playing the game, it’s not how much money I made that is going to be my legacy. It’s how I played the game, and what I did on the field.”
This is who Ian Kinsler is on the baseball field. Mr. Sadlock should be ashamed for stating the second baseman for Team USA “comes off as an Ugly American who struggles to identify with other cultures.” Really?
Ian Kinsler is of Jewish-Catholic decent and grew up around Tucson, Arizona. He went through college baseball, minor league baseball, and has put in a dozen seasons of major league clubhouse life. I think he has a pretty decent understanding of other cultures.
As for being an “old guard” baseball player with no emotion, here is something for you. In 2004 Ian Kinsler won the Midwest League Exciting Player Award. And when it comes to how people view him off the field, he won the 2008 Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award.
Even the fans at Shea Stadium have seen Ian Kinsler have moments of fun on the field. He and some teammates were escorted off the field while entertaining fans during a rain delay. The Shea Stadium fans gave the players an ovation and booed the security.
Bulletin Board Fodder:
Ian Kinsler does not need my defense. He needs no defense at all. His “way we play the game” comment was made before the championship game of the WBC. It was twisted into something various people supposedly found offensive. Bulletin board material to fuel the fire of the Puerto Rican team for that championship game.
I first read the statement in a Billy Witz article dated March 22nd. The second to last paragraph of a WBC Championship Game story pointing out the differences between the two teams and their styles of play. I found nothing offensive in the comment but I am not programmed to find things offensive.
However I am capable of seeing differences in the way people are treated. Flash forward to after Team USA wins the Championship and the comments Adam Jones made to what I believe was a set-up question.
The Post-Game Comment:
Almost everything I wrote about Ian Kinsler could be written about most of the Team USA members. Jones, who has a little more flair to his game, was asked, “Was there something said before this game going into the championship?” Jones was hesitant then answered, not knowing there was additional information not given to Team USA. Now Yadier Molina wants an apology from Andrew Jones. Puerto Rican players feel the Team USA players lack understanding of what the game means to them.
On March 23rd Witz wrote an article after the championship game:
Francisco Lindor made a point that Cleveland did not hold a parade for him and the other Cleveland Indians when they lost the 2016 World Series. Adding that Puerto Rico was giving their team a parade after the WBC.
Kike Hernandez of the Dodgers said if you want to get upset about the shirts, flight, and parade that’s fine. He’s going back to say “Thank you” and/or to allow the people of Puerto Rico to say “Thank you.”
Carlos Correa claims that Yadier Molina and Angel Pagan would say the WBC feels better than the World Series. “If you ask one of the American guys they’ll say no—not even close.” Hold on there a second.
I take you back to the Witz article from the 22nd and a Pat Neshek (pitcher for Team USA) quote: “I’ve played in a lot of playoff games and I think this is better. Of course, it’s March, which is crazy. You’re trying to get ready for the season.”
Well, there goes the Correa theory.
“Just being asked to play on this team is a huge compliment,” Kinsler told the Detroit Free Press. “To be able to wear this jersey and be part of something like this, it’s a lot of fun and it’s a great experience and it was a very easy decision.” from an AJ Perez article
I’m not sure why American players seem to be targeted for apologies but I do believe this. The entire Puerto Rico-Team USA quote situation was blown way out of proportion and I believe set up by certain media personnel.
Baseball is a team sport based on individual performance and if you play long enough you know to take things personally. Your own competitive spirit is based on taking things personally. You either blame somebody else or you take failure personally and do something about it next time.
Molina, Kinsler, Jones, Correa and everybody that participated in the WBC are competitive individuals who use everything they can to find an advantage. You learn to do that when the talent levels are so close. What kind of motivation does the Puerto Rican team use when going up against Team USA?
I’m guessing they don’t sit in a circle and say, “OK these guys are really nice and maybe Team USA will give us a couple extra outs and let us score.” No Way! I’d be saying, “We need to kick their anatomy for controlling our island for all these years and look at the poverty our people are in. We need to stick it to them!”
By the way for those that wrote Puerto Rico against the Americans; Puerto Ricans are American citizens. They don’t get to vote for U.S Presidential elections but they can be drafted into the military if we go to war. That was made possible 100 years ago just in time for World War I. I’d take that personally too.
Hmm? Eighteenth century, British, American colonies. Maybe we have become what our Founding Fathers fought against. Important vote coming up in June; statehood or independence. Read about it here: http://baseballsauna.com/most-popular-posts/june-vote-puerto-rico-statehood/
By Scott Hortness March 28, 2017
Ian Kinsler photos by Keith Allison https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/