Last year, the Cubs had their fair share of issues with a vendor t-shirt that had a smiling Asian Cub caricature that said "Horry Kow." Fukudome saw the shirts and was offended by them; the Cubs prohibited the sale of the shirts around the ballpark; vendors rebelled and sold them anyway. It was a black mark for Cubs fans, the notion that some fans would be so silly and insensitive, or the competing notion (perhaps more disturbing) that other Cubs fans would let them get away with it.
We thought that was a baseball t-shirt low. Boy, were we wrong. Never underestimate the ability of Cardinals fans to top the Cubs in racist garments. Joe Sports Fan attended the Cubs-Cardinals series at Busch Stadium this weekend, and came away with a photo (see above right) of what might be the most ign'ant baseball-related t-shirt of all time. Truly, it is a sight to behold.
Of course, Cubs fans as a group can't really complain. They (we) didn't do much to stem the tide of racist nonsense -- even those bonzai headbands feel borderline -- at Wrigley last year, and that was Chicago's own player. This is opposition. Of course it doesn't make it any better. Racism is still racism here, and there's no excusing any of it. But both t-shirts feature ugly stereotypes that we're sure neither player -- or ethnicity at large -- would appreciate, so it's hard to get too indignant, especially if you turned a blind eye last July.
One more caveat: Joe Sports Fan is reporting that "Cubs Suck" t-shirts were being monitored closely by Busch Stadium security. Likewise, our own Maggie Hendricks informs me that these shirts have been on sale outside and around Busch Stadium for years. (Update: For commenters confused about the language, we didn't meant to imply that the stadium actually sells them, just that you can buy them from independent vendors outside the stadium.) Here's hoping someone in St. Louis starts policing racism as strictly as they police innocuous taunts. Not to be all angry sportswriter type here, but this is shameful stuff, all the way around, and it needs to stop. Now.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.