As news of Major League Baseball’s first legitimate proposal to start the 2020 season began to trickle in there were reactions from various players. The players were almost universally against the proposal put forth by Rob Manfred and friends, or at least they had many questions about the details of the proposal. Two of the loudest players to voice concerns over the proposal were Sean Doolittle and Blake Snell. How their two reactions were treated says a lot about fans and reporters alike.
Doolittle took to Twitter to address the proposal. Through a series of tweets he outlined the many issues he had with the general proposal, the new questions the proposal raised, and what he felt were the best practices that MLB needed to put in place before their proposal could even be considered. Fans and media remained decidedly quiet following Doolittle’s Twitter retort. Sure, the usual meatheads took the time to tell the World Series champion that he was an idiot trying to stop them from getting their baseball back. Those people always exist, they are the norm in everyday sports life.
A little later Snell formulated his response, or I should say he responded off the cuff as has become his style. The Tampa Bay Rays ace was in the middle of a Twitch session when he launched into his issues with MLB’s proposal. He too was met with many of the same meathead responses from upset fans. However, Snell also became the focal point for an early media push on behalf of the owners. Various writers took to their computers to decry the Rays starter as selfish and only looking out for himself.
While I can’t agree with the idea that Snell was wrong in his complaints, this article isn’t concerned with agreement or disagreement with what Snell had to say. The issue at hand is the difference between how Snell and Dooliottle’s concerns were treated. Both raised valid points and both did so in an honest and open fashion. Doolittle used a written medium and was more verbose in getting his point across. Snell said much the same as his compatriot, except he used a live video medium and got to the point more quickly and with more outward disgust.
If both plays complained in a similar fashion, why then was there a major difference in the reaction to the two of them? Why were Doolittle’s complaints taken as acts of good faith and logged as such while Snell’s were viewed as contemptuous and childish? We all know the answer to that, only some of us aren’t willing to be honest with ourselves about social strata. Fair or not the difference in reaction boils down to the social classes that Doolittle and Snell are believed to occupy.
Doolittle is the sage wordsmith while Snell is the angry gamer. I’m not about to claim to understand gamer culture, I don’t. Nor am I going to dismiss that there have been plenty of legitimate fears expressed about the angrier side of gamer culture. However, in this case, both Doolittle and Snell were angry. They were also dismissive of MLB’s proposal, belittled those who brought the idea forth and called for others to join in their fight against what they viewed as a rotten proposal. That Snell did this while playing video games and swearing doesn’t make his points any less valid than those of Doolittle.
The reporters and fans who decided that it was okay to dismiss Snell’s concerns while vilifying him for his social status, as compared to Doolittle, are the rotten ones in this scenario. Labor concerns are labor concerns, regardless of whether they are well written or voiced in anger while playing video games with friends. Fans and reporters would do well to remember that the next time they decide that classism is a good technique to use to discredit someone like Snell.