Richard Griffin in the Star has an interview with everyone's favorite baseball analyst Joe Morgan on our man Cito. I really don't want to go all 'Fire Joe Morgan' on it or anything because it is about racism in baseball and I'm the wrong one to talk about that. I'm so white that I'm barely opaque. Has Cito been the victim of racism in his lifetime. I'm sure he has. Is it racism that he didn't get another manager job after leaving Toronto the first time? I don't know. That's a bit of a leap.
Let's look at it.
Griffin: Do you think he underestimates his place in history.
JOE MORGAN: Cito was only reacting to the way that he's been treated. He's been treated like it's an underachievement and there's nothing there. I've never seen a manager win two world championships in a row and everybody gets the credit but him.
Joe has obviously not been in Canada the last couple of years. How many times has Pat Gillick's name even come up over the last two years? Cito has been given, deservedly, tones of credit for winning 2 World Series.
To consider the actual question about whether Cito underestimates the importance of him being the first African-American (side note, I'm so glad to be Canadian. African-Canadian doesn't scan right, so we don't use it)? I don't know, what do you want the guy to do? Wear a badge saying 'Hey did you know I'm the first African-American to manage a World Series winning team.' Did Jackie Robinson run around telling people he was the first black in baseball? Just because he doesn't talk about it all the time doesn't mean he is anything less than proud.
Griffin: He was interviewed a couple of time and then he was a finalist with Ozzie Guillen in Chicago with the White Sox then after that he took the attitude that he was like 'What do I want to interview for. I've got two World Series rings. I've got four division championships', so he was waiting for a team to come to him, which the Jays eventually did (in 2008). Hal McRae ended up doing the same thing refusing interviews.
Morgan: It just doesn't add up for a guy that's won two World Series, got fired and he didn't get a chance to win another one. I mean Sparky (Anderson), who was a great manager. He won two world championships in Cincinnati and then he went right somewhere else. Tony LaRussa got fired and he went somewhere else. A lot of guys who've been fired went somewhere else. He hasn't been treated fairly by the system or baseball itself, so it's just the way it is.
This is one I don't buy. Because the guy got interviewed a couple of times and didn't get the job, it means the teams interviewing weren't serious about hiring him. How many guys get interviewed 10 or more times before getting a job? Then saying 'I'm not going to interview anymore' says to me, that you don't want a job. I can sort of understand Cito thinking that he won 2 WS, he should be above interviews. But I can also see that after the 2 WS his teams finished 3rd, 5th, 4th and 5th. If you were hiring, wouldn't you want to talk to the guy to see which guy you would be getting. I mean, if Joe thinks Cito deserves all the credit for the winning years doesn't he get some of the blame for the bad years?
I mean, Joe, if I am a racist for not giving Cito 100% of the credit for the good years, what are you for giving him 0% of the blame for the bad?
RG: There's an awful lot of openings this year. Are you....
JM: No, no.
RG: No, not you. Are you looking at it and saying that if there's not a proportionate number of minorities...
JM: Well, there's never been.
Hey Joe, I'm not a fan of the guy either but let him finish the question before you suggest he's a fool for asking. I know you want to jump in quick to fain modesty but, trust me, none of us figure you for a manager job. And since that wasn't the question he was asking you look foolish.
Will it mean racism if none of the open manager jobs go to minorities? Well, no but then it doesn't really help the argument against it.
I don't know, like I said, I'm the wrong guy to talk about racism because I've never been in that spot where it has been directed at me. Is there racism in baseball. I'm sure there is. Is it racism that Cito was asked to interview for manager jobs after having won 2 WS? I don't think so.
It is possible that if I had been through everything Cito and Joe have, I'd see things differently.
Anyway read the interview. it is one of those rare occasions I feel sorry for Griffin. Morgan seems to have taken a stance that he has to educate him on racism while Griffin seemed like he was sympathetic to the idea right from the start.