Category Archives: sports

Emil Guillermo on Armando Galarraga’s “Perfect” game: In face of the facts, why insist on Jim Joyce’s imperfection? Bring on “Truth in Baseball”

In real life, fighting for justice is hard. You don’t get to be the Brown as in Board of Education on a lark. Or Plessy. Or Wong Kim Ark.

That’s why too often we give up the fight. Life’s too short. 

What’s baseball’s excuse?

Baseball is a game. Just a game.  Umpire Jim Joyce’s admission is one thing. But the video is the truth. The Tigers’ Armando Galarraga beat the runner to the bag.  In view of the facts, why do the purists insist on “tradition” and the “way things always have been done”?  The human way, the wrong way.

Slavery was hard for some folks to give up too. But we got over that.  Innocents have died before DNA was used.

There is life, death, and then there’s baseball.

Bud Selig, go with the truth. Change the call. This isn’t like a steroids policy call. This is just what it is, an easily corrected error.

At least asterisk it as a blown call.  But it will designate the turning point when truth really mattered in baseball.

Demonizing Tiger: Woods’ villification has racial overtones

People talk about Nike using Earl Woods’ voice out of context in an ad prior to the Masters. But is anyone grousing about the full-page family values ads now appearing in the major dailies featuring Phil Mickelson and his cancer-suffering  wife Amy? 

Talk about exploitation. Even better that Mickelson is white, the better to offset and polarize the whole situation in a way America can understand. i.e., Mickelson good, Tiger bad.

Bad Tiger! This is your punishment from the culture at large for being a selfish, amoral, pleasure seeking human being.

If you had been a bank, you could have received a bailout. But now it’s everyone’s turn to dis and dish.

This is one bandwagon I’m not hopping on.

Now they’re even commenting on how Tiger swears on the golf course (no secret).  Suddently golf and sport has gotten all puritanical and proper.  Does anyone get on baseball players for spitting? Howabout how basketball players handle their mouthguards, then high five each other. How unsanitary. Oh, and about that vigorous ass patting…

All of that is nothing compared to jumping on Tiger, the devil himself.

I hope Tiger recovers soon.

Consider the sexual proclivities of other public figures and how they’ve bounced back. After Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton is a revered world crisis solver. After biting women in secret hotel trysts, Marv Albert is back doing the NBA playoffs. (“YES!!”). After dumping his longtime wife in favor of a scandalous affair with a younger woman, newly divorced golf anchor Jim Nantz was there at the Masters with the call. 

Even David Letterman gets a light lashing after his intern trysts. Always good to have an extortionist come in and trump your bad hand. 

So comebacks do happen. But is there extra joy in dumping Tiger because Woods happens to be of mixed race?

He is at once the greatest black and Asian American golfer to ever play. He may be the greatest golfer period.  When he was good he was treated like royalty. But his indiscretions find him being treated with a whole let less compassion. He’s not a pariah yet. His golf game is too good. But the culture seems to be turning against him more so now that Mickelson can be the public face for the new Victorian era of golf.

Never mind Mickelson’s gambling habits. That’s an allowable vice, I guess.

But just ask yourself if Tiger would  be treated differently if he were white? 


The Media and Michael Jackson: Welcome to the Jackson School of Law, Public Health and Race

I had to stop watching. The orgy over Michael Jackson was deserved to a point, and then with 24-hour cable channels pumping out to a “Thriller” beat, it just got embarrassing with the media practically pandering to the mass audience the story is attracting.

Leave it to the Wall Street Journal to put things in perspective. Wednesday’s front page featured above the fold horizontal photos of Uighurs and Hans!  (The Uighars? Did they sing a cover of “I Want You Back”? )  Where was Jackson in the new hip Journal? MJ was in a small box, a photo of his coffin and a caption  on the left under the masthead.

A triumph of journalistic restraint!

The story now unfolds like any other emotion-filled  mega-story before it , i.e., the O.J. trial. that’s when the news became our de facto public school of law.  O.J  was our criminal law class.   MJ is our our  family law and probate class.

As we learn of the details of Jackson’s life,  you’ll be asking yourself if you have a will or an estate plan. You can count on that. You wouldn’t want to end up in the mess the courts are about to untangle.

So the news will become part law school, part business school case study , and potentially a seminar in the Jackson  school of public health; that is,  if we ever during the course of the next few months discover what killed Jackson, what tormented  him, and what he was running away to or from.

We have lots to look forward to!

Notice I have avoided taking the contrary approach like  one blogger on Alternet which called Jackson an icon of mediocrity who wasn’t a good dancer, singer, musician. Like what’s the fuss?  That’s an elitist approach, to which I’ll confess to using it in the past.  But save that tack for denigrating mass love shown for Donny Osmond. Or at the passing of one of the Monkees.

Jackson was far too complex and gifted.  And troubled.

His most complicated role that’s worth examining may well be the psychological toll race had on his psyche.

Jackson wanted to transcend race as if he were music and the dance, the universal forms that made him the King of Pop.

He couldn’t do that as a person, no matter how he tried. Jackson didn’t survive his fight against race and identity, no matter how he tried to transform himself.

But his music triumphed and that shall live forever.

Manny Pacquiao: The Philippines’ Barack Obama?

Not since Lapu Lapu killed the colonizer Magellan (April 27, 1521) has there ever been a fighter like Manny Pacquiao.

Pound-for-pound, at 5’6″, 145 pounds, Pacquiao’s the best boxer in the world.  And he’s 100 percent pure Filipino.

All the traits are there.

He’s so religious he sounds like my mother. (“Believe in God, always pray,” he said at the news conference).  At the same time, the guy fights like a harried cock in spurs ready to bloody you to kingdom come.

And on top of it all, there’s that disarming Filipino charm.  The champ exudes charm.

It’s a formula that makes promoter Bob Arum’s jaw drop.

“He’s got a tremendous personality,” Arum told me after the baseball/boxing press conference (See it on this blog’s  first video entry). “He’s very promotable, and he’s become the best fighter in the world. That’s a dynamite combination.”

Arum should know. He had a piece of Oscar de la Hoya, the one time “Golden Boy” whom  Pacquiao turned into salsa and bean dip last December. Now Arum moves forward with Manny without missing a beat, like he’s  punching a speed bag filled with cash.

When I saw Pacquiao totally dominate De la Hoya, I wondered if Manny would ever reach the kind of media prominence that Oscar did with all his endorsements.

After all, at first glance he didn’t appear to have the same Hollywood-style of Oscar, the smooth-talking LA barrio glamour boy.

I mean, he looked like the kind of Filipino immigrant who you walk by everyday on Muni.

But Arum feels Manny’s potential is far greater than Oscar’s.

“We believe Manny has a bigger appeal worldwide than De la Hoya ever had,” Arum said. “Manny is making an impression on the world that Oscar never did. Oscar’s appeal was more regional and national. Big, but not what’s happening with Manny.”

Arum sees Pacquiao’s popularity set to rise like global warming. On May 2nd Manny moves up in class against the Junior Welterweight Champ Ricky Hatton of the UK. Billed as “The Battle of East and West,” the potential payoff to Pacquiao for the Las Vegas fight? A cool $20 million.

It’s just the beginning for a guy with Pacquiao’s irresistible “Everyman” appeal.

Indeed, the cross-promotion with the Giants was a way to test the broader market along with his ethnic base.

How did “Everyman” mesh with “Every Filipino”? Continue reading Manny Pacquiao: The Philippines’ Barack Obama?

Be like Jackie: The Politics of Pigment

Just as you remember to pay your taxes today, do remember to pay homage to No.42. Jackie Robinson.

He’s one of the reasons most of us don’t have to pay the tax for being a person of color in this country.

Robinson, of course, broke the color line in baseball.  Breaking the color line in anything is no small feat, whether 62 years ago or today.

Most of us do it in some way in our lives, some more, some less remarkably than others. Look around you. In your office.

Are you the only Asian, Black or Latino in the room? Continue reading Be like Jackie: The Politics of Pigment

Opening day a struggle, but Giants’ Lincecum still pride of Filipino American ball fans

Tim Lincecum, or as some Filipino Americans call him, “The Preak,” had a tough go yesterday.

During the first inning when runners reached second and third base, I told a friend of mine, “Oh that’s his white half screwing up.”

Hey, the guy’s half-Filipino, we’ll take credit for the good stuff.

Sure enough, Lincecum got the next batter to swing at a pitch, and struck out the side.  “The Filipino part is still working today, ” I said.  But not well enough. After three innings, the Preak was out of the game.  The Giants still won and that’s what counts.

This year the Giants seem like the most Filipino friendly team in the major leagues.  With Sayang Lincecum  getting his Cy Young tonight ( how’s that for you Tagalog punsters), and with the Manny Pacquiao event on Filipino Heritage night on April 21st, the Giants seem to have discovered what ethnic marketers have known for some time:  Ethnic pride and diversity develops customer loyalty and profits.

I know Gary Radnich (the KNBR talk host and a former colleague of mine from my KRON days)  has expressed how puzzled he is about a boxer being feted at a baseball game. But Pacquiao is the great Filipino-American symbol. A fighter, a champion.  Being in a market with one of the largest Filipino American populations in the country, this  is just a great  p.r. opportunity for everyone. Of course  Pacquiao is  pimping his upcoming  fight, but the Filipino community remains one of the less heralded communities in America. This shines a little much needed light on them.

The Giants great success with a losing team  has always been the fact that they’ve always  approached the business as being more than just baseball.   It’s about the park, and the people who come to it 9 innings at a time, to live their   life vicariously through the achievements of their team. Recognizing the ethnic demographics in the greater community is a great formula that can make  baseball fans for life.

When I’m at a game now,  I see so many Filipino families:  a  mom, dad, two to three kids in tow, all with their gloves. And their garlic fries.

And boy, do they love “The Preak,” who is half-Filipino.

The good half.