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Effects of the shift

Other Baseball Today, 02:35 PM
This was a discussion about the effects of defensive shifts in baseball, split from today's game thread. Feel free to join in below!...
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GAME THREAD: Twins @ Angels, 4/16/21, 9:38 PM CDT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:03 PM
It’s always thrilling when your team snatches victory from the jaws of victory, as the Twins did yesterday afternoon at Target Field agai...
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A rant

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:08 PM
I've been on about this for two years now, but Baldelli really needs to get over the idea that his best players need a game off every wee...
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Morneau

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:57 AM
I thought he was was really good last year. Maybe I'm on an opening day high (Not high) but he is so good.Who would have thought he would...
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How My Hometown Became the Site of an Embarrassing Moment in Twins History

I've discovered many great events and stories in my journey looking more closely at the 1965 Minnesota Twins, the type that makes you envious of those who actually got to watch that team with their own eyes. At the same time, there have been some other stories throughout Twins history that make you cringe.
One event in particular makes you embarrassed to any way be associated with the person or organization that they represented. Until recently, I had always simply viewed the event as one of a couple links back to my hometown of Waseca, MN from the Twins. In the events of the last couple weeks, there is a different sort of embarrassment that accompanies reliving a statement made by Twins then owner, Calvin Griffith.

The day was September 28, 1978 and Griffith was asked to speak at a Waseca Lions Club meeting. In the middle of a question and answer portion of the evening, Griffith was reported to make comments about race that would later be detailed by Minneapolis Tribune staffer Nick Coleman.

Coleman wrote that after asking if there were "any blacks in the room" Griffith went on to say:

“I’ll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when I found out you only had 15,000 blacks. Black people don’t go to ball games, but they’ll fill up a rassling ring and put up such a chant it’ll scare you to death. It’s unbelievable. We came here because you’ve got good, hardworking, white people here.”

Griffith would also go on to specifically speak about Rod Carew’s contract and call him a “fool” for signing the contract that he did. As you can imagine, when Carew found out about Griffith’s comments he was not pleased. I have to assume saying “not pleased” is putting it very kindly.

It was then and there Carew vowed to never sign another contract with Griffith and the Twins. We will never know if Carew would stick to his word, because he never had the chance to prove it. He was traded to the California Angels prior to 1979, the last season of the aforementioned contract.

This looks to be one of the many examples of the sort of comments and actions that has led to where we see our country now. I know that all of us come to Twins Daily from a variety of backgrounds, and I don’t want to try and convince you to think or feel a certain way about what has happened surrounding George Floyd’s death.

What I believe -- after not just what happened in Minneapolis, but hearing the stories of so many black men and women including some that I do have some connection to -- the root to what caused Griffith to make these racist comments does still exist in some form. I point that out that not to say any specific person is a racist, but we should all continue to look around us to see if we can see through the eyes of those crying for help.

There is hope. I see hope even amongst the Carew-Griffith relationship. Based on Carew’s feelings toward Griffith on his way out of the Twins organization it seems impossible that Carew would make Griffith one of his first phone calls after being voted into the Hall of Fame, but that is exactly what happened.

Carew even welcomed a statue in Griffith’s remembrance to be placed outside of the gate created in Carew’s honor, Gate 29, at Target Field. I haven’t seen an account of how Carew got from Griffith the bigot to Griffith the man he called and thanked (maybe there is a telling in Carew’s new book?), but I wonder if there is more we could all learn from their journey.

Learning is sometimes a difficult journey. Empathy can be just as hard. I don’t know exactly what “getting it right” will look like, but I see hope in the Carew-Griffith relationship. Hopefully Minnesota can lead the way there.

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5 Comments

i remember it well - it was terrible.we were so mad and to think we would lose Carew and keep Griffith.

 

    • Squirrel and BeatTheRich like this

Cal was never going to sign Rod Carew to a new contract.

 

People are not monolithic.Not everything they do can be judges by racial factors alone, and even those racial factors are never black and white (no pun intended).Griffith was way ahead of his time in finding Hispanic and Cuban players, and for its time the Twins/Senators played black players at least as much as any team in the league.  

 

What Griffith said was inappropriate.But it was something that someone born more than a century ago said more than 4 decades ago.It has no bearing on what is happening today.

"What Griffith said was inappropriate.But it was something that someone born more than a century ago said more than 4 decades ago.It has no bearing on what is happening today."

 

I wholeheartedly disagree that the mindset and mentality of Calvin Griffith 4 decades ago has no bearing on what is going on today.That mindset and mentality among white America is still alive and well (and I say that being a white male.)That same line of thinking has been passed on to the next generation for decades/centuries, and still exists today and is deeply rooted in the curent problems our soceity is facing.It's time to put out the torch once and for all, instead of allowing it to be passed on.

    • wagwan, nicksaviking, woolywoolhouse and 1 other like this
This incident is common knowledge. Of course what he said is wrong. The timing of this article seems odd.
    • jjswol likes this
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Twins_Fan_For_Life
Jun 14 2020 09:48 AM
The fact that Carew put Griffith's comments behind him says a lot about Rodney's character. Carew was always one of my favorite players, even after he was traded.
    • Squirrel, jjswol, woolywoolhouse and 3 others like this