Baseball in Japan Not a Hit for Atlanta columnist

Even with all the talk of new media and the Internet, there’s still some dinosaur-like thinking out there in the journalism world. A good example is a sports column by Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who laments about Major League Baseball playing games in Tokyo, “you know the guys who gave us Pearl Harbor.”

Bisher doesn’t seem to like the fact that Daisuke Matsuzaka, “who didn’t grow up in Wampole,” was the starting pitcher for the Red Sox, and he makes several more xenophobic references throughout a column that does make some valid criticisms of the influence of big money on baseball.

My former colleague Kerwin Berk blows some holes in Bisher’s logic in this column posted on the Asian American Journalists Association website. The AAJA also sent a letter to the Journal-Constitution’s editors criticizing Furman’s column.

Some great points made by Berk:

“Using Mr. Bisher’s logic, Atlanta should never have been awarded the 1996 Olympic Games because of Georgia’s history of slavery and segregation.”

“I can only assume Mr. Bisher was outraged when Dirk Nowitzki, a German, won the NBA’s MVP award for the 2006-2007. If my memory serves me correctly, we fought Germany in World War II. I’m sure Mr. Bisher didn’t forget to mention Auschwitz when writing about Nowitzki.”

It’s hard to say if Bisher is racist but I would say his column was written from the point of view of someone who has a narrow, antiquated view of what it means to be American.

This post can also be found at Hyphen magazine’s blog.