My latest at PJ Media:
Not content with adding a section of race-baiting, victimhood propaganda, and Communist agitprop to its website last year, Major League Baseball this year moved the All-Star Game out of Atlanta for the crime of asking for ID’s to vote. And so it comes as no real surprise that Baseball Reference, the principal online repository for nearly 150 years of baseball statistics, has now begun rewriting its own history to remove player nicknames that don’t suit woke sensibilities. What’s next? Adjusting each year’s World Series winners based on the political preferences of each team’s players? In this age of absurdity, anything is possible.
Baseball Reference has the lifetime year-by-year statistics for every man who has ever played Major League Baseball, including, up until recently, Chief Bender, Chief Meyers, Dummy Hoy, and Nig Cuppy. You won’t find those players in their database anymore, however; you won’t find them at all unless you know their given names, as now they’re listed as Charles Bender, Jack Meyers, Billy Hoy, and George Cuppy.
That’s progress, right? Why should these men continue to be referred to by these demeaning nicknames, right? Well, the main reason is because that is really how they were known when they played, and that matters. History is not what we wish it to be; it is what it was. It might be nice and woke to claim that the South was shamed out of slavery by critical race theory education in public schools, and so no Civil War was necessary, but that’s not what happened, and to change the record of history to suit modern sensibilities is a hallmark of totalitarian regimes.
Controlling the past means revising it. In 1984, Winston Smith’s job is to change the content of old newspapers so that history always reflects and confirms the current situation: “For example, it appeared from The Times of the seventeenth of March that Big Brother, in his speech of the previous day, had predicted that the South Indian front would remain quiet but that a Eurasian offensive would shortly be launched in North Africa. As it happened, the Eurasian Higher Command had launched its offensive in South India and left North Africa alone. It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother’s speech, in such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actually happened.”
In baseball, what actually happened is that a hundred years ago and more, some players were known by nicknames that many people would find offensive today. And this was not simply a matter of minority players having to endure the unkindness of their peers and the fans, as the Baseball Reference wonks might have us believe. The totalitarian revision of Baseball Reference is not yet perfected, and so still bear uncomfortable traces of the sensibilities of earlier ages. As of this writing, the statistics of Dummy Hoy, who was called that because he could not hear or speak, still link to the Society for American Baseball Research’s biography of the man, which notes that Hoy “referred to himself as ‘Dummy’ and politely corrected those who, for whatever reason, called him ‘William.’”
There is more. Read the rest here.