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#pounditWednesday, January 19, 2022

Bud Norris wants foreign players to respect American culture of baseball

Bud Norris Orioles

San Diego Padres pitcher Bud Norris found himself in headlines Wednesday for making some opinionated comments about the culture of American baseball and how foreign players fit in.

The comments were made to USA Today as part of an article by Jorge L. Ortiz, who posits that many of the fights/bench-clearing brawls in baseball are the result of a culture clash between white players and Hispanic players. For instance, his article indicates clashes are the result of Latin American players not following the “unwritten rules” of the game, leading to tension with American/white players.

Norris agrees.

“I think it’s a culture shock,’’ Norris said via USA Today. “This is America’s game. This is America’s pastime, and over the last 10-15 years we’ve seen a very big world influence in this game, which we as a union and as players appreciate. We’re opening this game to everyone that can play. However, if you’re going to come into our country and make our American dollars, you need to respect a game that has been here for over a hundred years, and I think sometimes that can be misconstrued. There are some players that have antics, that have done things over the years that we don’t necessarily agree with.

“I understand you want to say it’s a cultural thing or an upbringing thing. But by the time you get to the big leagues, you better have a pretty good understanding of what this league is and how long it’s been around.’’

First off, it’s not set in stone that the culture clash is the reason for the fights. Madison Bumgarner was cited as an example of someone who got in fights because of his incident with Alex Guerrero. But that ignores that Bumgarner is just a passionate player who also has had incidents with an umpire and a fellow American pitcher. Some players just are more combative than others and like being involved in incidents.

Then you have guys like Carlos Gomez, who just rubs tons of opposing players in the wrong way because of his passion and the way he breaks the unwritten rules. He was quoted heavily in the article.

The argument brought up by Norris is a microcosm of societal problems at large. Should foreign people or immigrants assimilate to the American way? Do they need to learn English? Or can they continue speaking their native language and enjoying their cultures? I think a lot of efforts should be made by guests or foreigners to adapt and fit in to their new home while still maintaining what they feel is important about their roots. And I believe that in a baseball-specific case.

I grew up in the American culture of baseball where not showing up opponents and respecting the game were major tenets. Not everyone followed those principles because society is full of different people, which means, yes, we had fights between American players — not just between Americans and Latin American ones — so I don’t completely agree that the fights in baseball are due to a culture clash. Many people are rubbed in the wrong way by anyone who stands out from the crowd by doing things differently. Recall that Norris mocked eccentric reliever Brian Wilson in the past. It’s clear that he doesn’t like any non-conformists.

Bottom line to me: if you don’t like the way a guy celebrated a home run against you, respond by getting him out the next time, not by yelling at him or hitting him. Doesn’t that make a lot more sense about the best way to get even than by getting into fights?

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