Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Nancy Reagan says Just Say No

There was also exclusion of some older Latino ballplayers, for more ‘name’ players who baseball fans might know more about: “The ballot over-represents the most recent period. I’m fine if it’s 50 percent, but it’s two-thirds from the past 20 years, presenting the image that Latinos just got here.” In actuality, Latinos have been in the major leagues since 1902, though at that point only light-skinned Latinos were eligible due to segregation. Major League Baseball molded the nominees so that people could recognize most of the names, and feel a connection to them. The creation of this connection is tying in the pride of one’s ethnic heritage in with marketing. Much of Latino-oriented marketing centers on pride development, such as ads showing the care of a Latino mother for her family.

This ‘pride’ played a role in other selections, as shown by the inclusion of Rafael Palmeiro, but the exclusion of Jose Canseco, both great recent Cuban players and both steroid users. Before being suspended for taking steroids, Palmeiro was painted in the media as a role model for children and a model Latino ballplayer, someone who was underrated and understated. Then came his vehement denial of steroid usage before Congress, and the eventual steroid test results. Canseco admitted to steroid use to promote his book, and has had brushes with the law in the past. He has appeared on reality shows, has been known for his gaffs in the outfield, and has been painted as a buffoon who just happened to hit four hundred and sixty-two home runs. While both broke the rules of baseball and the laws of the United States, the previous image of Palmeiro as a ‘golden boy’ led to decision to include him among the nominees but exclude Canseco.

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