Wednesday, March 03, 2004

The Marge Issue

I wasn't even going to mention this but here's one more angle on Marge.

1. Why do the Cubs have such a long losing record? Is it a cutesy answer like the "Curse of the Billy Goat?" No, it's because their old owner was an abject racist who refused to hire black players long after Jackie Robinson. (And this practice wasn't just in Chicago.)

2. Why doesn't Washington D.C. have a major league baseball team? When Mike Royko asked, he was given a one-word answer: "Niggers."

Owners of small-franchises with no historic links to their city of operator shied away from D.C. for a variety of reasons but one was pure racism (this makes no sense considering the success of the Braves in a city with one of the highest percentage of black residents in the nation but this argument isn't based on reason). Royko wrote extensively about candid racist remarks by owners but nothing much ever came of it.

Marge was a hard-core alcoholic and seemed to have no ability to self-edit her answers to the press. Does this make her a good person? No. Does this mean people should like her? No. Does this make her better than other owners? I think it does. With Marge what you saw is what you got.

Marge said some of the stupidest things I've ever heard and her business practices were not ideal but she still was a far cry from the worst in the majors (some may argue but this depends on various surveys and their definitions of minorities and other factors). At any rate, she consisently beat the hell out of Mike Brown.

Until Bud Selig (or another small-franchise) uproots to D.C., to think of Marge as the worst racist in baseball is absurd. I do not expect the people she hurt and offended to cry crocodile tears. Just remember that she was probably on the more enlightened side of the spectrum among pro owners. And that should make you think.

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