Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Welcome To New York, Danny Graves

Danny Graves was once a premier member of the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff. This year he did not get off to a good start as his earned run average ballooned to over 7.00 when he had a less than flattering outing against the cross state rival Cleveland Indians. The Reds management didn't release Graves at that time though, they waited until an ugly race baiting incident occurred during a ballgame. Danny's father is a caucasian American and his mother is Vietnamese. A fan yelled an offensive racial ephitet at Danny which management thought he should have ignored. That particular day Danny would have no part of it so he gave the rude bigot some choice words of his own. The Reds management however, felt that even though Graves did not initiate this incident, he should have exercised better self control. So, as a result Danny Graves was released by the Cincinnati Reds. It seems to me that his big crime was that he offended a racist who initially verbally attacked him. Fortunately for Danny, The New York Mets picked up his contract. As a Met fan I am very pleased with this move and I believe Danny has the potential to make the Met starting rotation. Danny has a friend on the Mets, former Red teammate Mike Cameron, who knows first hand about the racism of some Cincinnati Red fans.
When he played for the Reds he was frequently referred to as "the N word"
This seems strange since Cincinnati's marquee player is Ken Griffey Jr., an
African American. But Cincinnati has a history of racial incidents I really should not be surprised. Several African-Americans have been brutalized, even
murdered while in white police custody. Former owner Marge Schott is infamous for her blatantly racist remarks. This is the owner that would not provide emergency transportation for Eric Davis, when Reds star was deathly ill and in need of medical attention. This is not to say that The New York Mets did not have their problems with racism. I will never forget the way that Cleon Jones, a player with a 340 season batting average was unceremoniously dumped by the Mets allegedly because of an extra-marital interracial affair. This was in the M. Donald Grant era when John Milner was the only black face you would see in the starting lineup and Felix Millan was the only Hispanic. Today's Met leadership is much more enlightened with Omar Minaya as general manager and Willie Randolph as field manager. Mr. Fred Wilpon is the type of owner who wants to win and it doesn't matter the race of the individual as long as he or she can do the job. New York, under the Giuliani administration was the prime example of racial profiling when Amadou Diallo
was shot at 41 times by members of a special unit that bragged "We Own The Night"
For Graves though, it will be a new atmosphere and a new start. I wish him well.

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