Joe Simpson is making a habit of tasting his own foot.
The Atlanta Braves announcer made headlines in late July after ripping the Los Angeles Dodgers for their “unprofessional” batting practice attire — it was an all-time get-off-my-lawn take. But while that take was mostly just annoying, Simpson’s comments Tuesday afternoon were downright stupid and borderline offensive.
During Game 1 of the Braves’ day-night doubleheader with the Washington Nationals, Simpson questioned the age of 19-year-old Nats phenom Juan Soto, who hails from the Dominican Republic.
(You can click here to listen to Simpson’s remarks.)
“He is … if he’s 19, he has certainly got his man growth,” Simpson said on Fox SportsSouth. “He is big and strong.”
As you might expect, the comments didn’t sit well with the Nationals, especially general manager Mike Rizzo, who confronted Simpson about his remarks after the game.
“I had a definite reaction,” Rizzo said, via The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. “I handled it face to face, privately with him. I believe he understood my stance on his comments.”
Simpson, a former Major League Baseball outfielder, apologized during Game 2.
“If you were with us in Game 1, you might have heard me make a comment off the top of my head about if he’s 19,” Simpson said on the broadcast. “Well, he is. He’s bonafide 19. And he is a full-grown man. He is strong. And he is one heck of a player. You might as well just write his name in on the Rookie of the Year award right now.”
Thanks for clearing that up, Joe. We’re sure those opinions came to you organically.
Rizzo addressed the situation Wednesday morning during an appearance on Washington, D.C. radio station 106.7 The Fan.
Listen: Simpson hardly is the first person to question the age of a Latin American player. But the fact is that age fraud really hasn’t been an issue in Latin American nations for a long time, which means Simpson’s comments, as Rizzo said, were lazy and uninformed.
Or, put another way: they were stupid.
As for Soto, the likely National League Rookie of the Year award winner is hitting .315 with 14 home runs and 39 RBIs through his first 68 games in the big leagues. And he is, without a doubt, 19 years old.
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