Wednesday, February 06, 2008

How Racism Landed Santana

I make an argument for "Raceball" as a strategy for attracting free agents, creating team chemistry, and changing your team's "culture."

How fitting that on the day after Super Tuesday Mets fans will finally get to meet the man who will likely be their president for the next seven years, Johan Santana. Finally Mets fans get to see their new star in the flesh. They get to hear the new voice in the clubhouse. And they get to taste the dulce de leche icing on the latin cake GM Omar Minaya has cooked up in Queens.

Of course if we had a crumb for every article explaining how this moment came to fruition we'd be able to cure famine across the universe. But really all you need to know is this: Johan Santana wanted to be a Met. After all, this was a man with a no trade clause to control his destiny. He didn't have to go anywhere he didn't want to go, and he could wait a year to sign wherever his heart desired.

But his heart desired to play in the Latin Disneyworld in Flushing. And why not? There's money, opportunity to win, and a lot more players speaking his language. On Minnesota last year there was one Spanish speaking regular, Luis Castillo (who incidentally was traded to the Mets, much to Santana's discontent), and a couple players total. On the Mets there are five regulars, including Luis Castillo, and more than half the roster can roll their "r's" with ease.

In March of '05 NY Magazine profiled Minaya's building of a "Latin Dream Team" and positioned him as a contrarian to the popular Moneyball, a book with the tagline: "The art of winning an unfair game." Three years later the Johan Santana signing may be the final crowning chapter for the would-be manual on Raceball: The art of using racism to create a winning culture...

How Racism Landed Santana
[AOL Fanhouse]


  1. You actually couldn't be more right with this one.

  2. Stop it, homie. Santana had no "interest" in being a Met; he had two preferences at first - Yankee and Red Sox. I'm not even sure about the Sox, either... I can't believe any minority would ever really want to play in Boston. Even Venezuela knows what's up....

    So he added the Mets to the table. Still, had he become a free agent, he probably would have picked the Yankees over the Mets (provided they offered the money).

    Me, personally... I grew up a Yankee fan. I like the Latino all-star (plus Mr. Wright) team that Minaya is building in Queens, but the deal is this: He's been doing what he can with the short end of the deck. Every premier free agent he's gone after - Beltran, Pedro and now Santana essentially - all preferred the Yankees and/or Sox to the Mets. He had to reach out to them, and use his Hispanic roots, to get them to give Shea (Citifield, excuse me) a chance.

    That having been said... you should check out those "Latino Nights" they have at Shea with increasing regularity. They are almost decent, and not nearly as offensive as I thought they would be.

  3. You would have to be a Yankee fan to say this. Santana never went on record with his preference, but I like speculative sources on him preferring the Mets. I don't think there's anything like that referring the Yankees.

    The Mets had a former teammate and friend. And Boston -- this will prob be the subject of a future piece -- seems to have broken into a post-racist era (Pedro, Mann, Ortiz, KG, Moss, etc).

    Santana is on record as saying Pedro his idol, and considering they're the champs and Pedro used to play there with no problem I think he'd go with Boston over the Yankees.

    But you disagree with me here, but conclude saying, "He had to reach out to them, and use his Hispanic roots, to get them to give Shea (Citifield, excuse me) a chance." Which is mostly my point...


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