I tried to write a headline that I thought would be the most click-baity offensive to oft-obonxious, blowhard, sheltered, close-minded Phils SABR blogger, Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley. I think that’ll do. Now, onto the story:
Baer, in an open letter to Justin De Fratus, decided to compare the Phillies pitcher to a neo-Natzi over his thoughts on the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag (De Fratus thought it better to use #AllLivesMatter). Behold a sampling of this dreck:
I don’t believe you are a bad person, Justin, but you do share this particular opinion with many bad people. Are you familiar with the Stormfront forums? Using the description from Wikipedia, Stormfront is “a white supremacist, neo-Nazi internet forum that was the internet’s first major racial hate site.” There (I won’t link to the site so as not to reward them with clickthroughs, but you’re welcome to do your own research), you’ll find many responses to the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag that echo your sentiment — that all lives matter, that white people suffer just as black people do. If this isn’t a call to reexamine your opinion, I don’t know what is.
That’s the equivalent of telling a fat kid that serial killers, too, eat McDonald’s, and that if little Dahmer doesn’t stop, he’s going to grow up and count murderous spree as one of his hobbies. Consider your position, tubby!
Baer then ticked off a bunch of stats – some of which illustrate the racial divide in our country, while others just toss aside innumerable variables (kinda ironic for a SABR blogger, no?) – in basically calling De Fratus a racist.
De Fratus fired back, and in a big way, on Facebook. Look at this eloquent, well-reasoned smackdown:
My Open Letter To Bill Baer
Dear Bill Baer,
I would like to first say that I hope this letter finds you, the readers of your blog, and the people of the #BlackLivesMatter community well. This letter is simply an attempt to explain myself further and defend my case and address any assumptions that you have made about myself, my upbringing, and my character. I hope to do so humbly and with reason and veneration.
First, I would like to dispel any attempts to lump me in with any and all ‘Neo Nazi’ groups as you have done: intentionally or unintentionally. My use of #AllLivesMatter literally means ALL LIVES MATTER. I don’t consider myself a racist and I definitely was not raised as such. If you or anyone else feels differently, I invite you to look deeper in to it and find someone that I have treated poorly in anyway due solely to the color of their skin: black, brown, yellow, red, orange, purple, white and so on. I think you get the point. I think it’s safe to say we can throw that argument out the window. If not, then you are no better than the prejudice you are so openly against. Let’s expand. To assume I share the same ideals with a group fueled by hatred because they happen to use the phrase ‘All Lives Matter” as well is no less a prejudice than to assume one African American to be a bad person because another African American is. Our case is less likely, yes but the root of the former issue mirrors the latter. It’s an assumption based off of a preconceived notion. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be fighting against? And finally, ask yourself this question. Would you have written your letter had I been a black man tweeting #AllLivesMatter?
Now, let us examine why I feel #AllLivesMatter is an appropriate response and should be the only response to #BlackLivesMatter. I didn’t take the time to research the facts that you mentioned. One, because I don’t hesitate in anyway to accept their validity and two, because I fail to see the relevance of those facts. I see the facts and #BlackLivesMatter as nothing more than a recognition of a problem in our society. Is it good that it’s being addressed? Most definitely! Productive? Not even close. Where is the solution? #BlackLivesMatter creates a separation in society. Though I believe it was initially a well intentioned campaign, I believe it has brought upon an even bigger divide. It’s an invitation for hatred and stupidity from people on or on either side of the fence. The goal of the campaign has not and will not be fruitful. The fact that I am even taking the time to write this letter in response to yours is proof of it’s failure. Again, I see no solution. However, I do see a solution in #AllLivesMatter. #AllLivesMatter, in my eyes, invites equality. It beckons something greater than just a racial divide. It calls upon love and understanding for all. I think #AllLivesMatter attacks the root of all of our society’s problems. African American suffering in our society is a branch on the tree of ugliness in our world. #BlackLivesMatter is like trimming a branch while I see #AllLivesMatter as uprooting the whole tree. If you trim a tree, it will grow again; however, remove it’s root and the whole tree dies.
Finally, I agree with you when you say we need more positive influences in sports now days. I try with every fiber of my being to be that kind of influence. You’re right, I have quite a big platform through baseball and social media to have a voice and encourage people to do the right thing. Believe me, Bill. I’m POSITIVE I am succeeding in spreading a positive message. I sincerely hope that you will take the time to talk to me personally next time before you decide to hide behind your computer screen and criticize me, my upbringing and my character based on 140 characters. I do not apologize for anything I have said. I have a platform and I WILL use it for the agenda of love. Nothing else.
P.S. Take some time to research the demographics of Oxnard, Ca., El Rio Little League, and Rio Mesa High School while I was growing up. I don’t think our stories are the same. Perhaps a prejudice on your part based on the color of MY skin?
BAER DOWN! BAER DOWN! I can only assume he’ll respond with an equation that only his 12 loyal readers will even attempt to understand.