Over the weekend a clip of LA Times journalist Bill Plaschke made the rounds on social media due to his disdain for two players who no longer play for the Dodgers.
— Vincent Samperio (@VinceSamperio) March 29, 2019
Anyone familiar with the Dodgers the last few seasons has been aware of the displeasure Bill Plaschke has for Yasiel. The particular examples could fill up an entire newspaper full of column inches, but here are just a few.
- Plaschke wrote an entire article insinuating that Yasiel Puig’s very presence could bring violence to the Dodgers organization. This was because Yasiel Puig had been help captive by a smuggler operation. He even went as far as irresponsibly implying that Yasiel Puig was responsible for a man’s murder.
- Constantly berating Yasiel Puig for base-running mistakes, throwing errors, or any lapse in judgment. Other players were left without criticism. He once blamed Yasiel Puig for reacting to Madison Bumgarner plunking him. Pretty wild stretch to blame the player who got hit, for reacting angrily.
- My favorite one is this one. After getting a water bath during a clubhouse celebration, Bill Plaschke went on to say he was afraid for his health, even his life. He brought up dubious urban legends of people dying hours after being doused with cold water. He was terrified of contracting pneumonia (which you can’t get by getting wet.) None of this is hyperbole, in fact the audio is on this video linked here. The graphics that go along with the video are worth watching as well.
There are more examples of this, but for the sake of brevity I didn’t enumerate them.
Between Molly Knight’s The Best Team Money Can Buy that was released in 2015, and the stories that are invariably thrown around about the clubhouse, Yasiel Puig has been mentioned more than once as an issue in the clubhouse. Zack Greinke didn’t like Yasiel, and supposedly neither did Clayton Kershaw. There have been at least a few players who didn’t get along with Yasiel, it seems. So much of this is hearsay and rumor–but you do have to lend it some weight when you hear Yasiel Puig’s comments, and the occasional issues he had with Dave Roberts. For anyone looking to defend Bill Plaschke, that’s probably where their arguments are going to come from. As for Matt Kemp being tied into it in Bill Plaschke’s video there, I’m not sure what you can point to other than some rather insidious intentions…
What This Writer Thinks
Let’s grant a premise for the sake of argument. Let’s say Yasiel Puig was an absolute clubhouse cancer, and mysteriously, so was Matt Kemp, even though there are no written examples of this. Even if all that was true — this video of Bill Plaschke still dunking on Puig and Kemp is blatantly unprofessional. They’re no longer Dodgers. There was absolutely no reason for him to preface his statement by calling out Matt and Yasiel. Celebrating their departure with such glee is what people on twitter with no photo and a bunch of numbers in their user name, do. Celebrating Yasiel Puig’s departure after he’s departed the Dodgers is absolutely unprofessional, and not what anyone should expect to see from a professional journalist for a high profile newspaper. Bill Plaschke’s behavior towards Yasiel Puig has been way more unprofessional than anything he has accused Yasiel Puig of doing. Bill Plaschke should certainly be ashamed of himself.
A few years ago, Bill Plaschke took a lot of criticism for his criticism of Olympic All-Around champion, Gabby Douglas. The article lede, “Gabby Douglas Slouches Into Controversy” along with what he wrote in the piece, was widely criticized and labeled to be coded racism. I don’t know what Bill Plaschke’s intentions were. I know that the worst kind prejudice isn’t usually demonstrative and obvious–it’s subtle. It’s subtle but equally insidious. Bill Plaschke using words in that video to describe A.J. Pollock and Joe Kelly as “calmer, more business-like” after celebrating that Puig and Kemp have left is at very best problematic. At worst, it’s downright toxic. At worst, it’s racism that’s been veiled.
People can (and will definitely) disagree with my opinion on Bill Plaschke. What I implore people to really look at is Plaschke’s track record with these issues. More so, his lack of professionalism in talking about two players who no longer play for a team he covers. Those two points I think are hard to see in a different context, and we should show at least some amount of concern with regards to the man’s impartiality. Who will draw Mr. Plaschke’s ire next?
[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/cody-bellinger-bombs-chronicling-dodgers-home-run-68/2019/04/02″ type=”big”] Cody Bellinger’s 68th Career Home Run[/button]