MLB Network broadcaster Jim Kaat issued an apology for the "poor choice of words" he used toward Chicago White Sox third baseman Yoán Moncada on Friday. In the first inning of Chicago's ALDS game against the Houston Astros, Kaat said he wanted a "40-acre field full of" Moncadas while the Cuban was at the plate.
The comment Kaat later described as "sensitive" and "hurtful" came after fellow broadcaster Buck Showalter espoused Moncada's star potential, joking "Can we have one of those?"
We have a problem. On the @MLBNetwork telecast of the White Sox/Astros Game 2, Jim Kaat, who has never said anything like this on air (or to my knowledge, off) in his life, just wished for a “40 acre field full of” Yoan Moncadas. Video: @VaguelyFunnyDan pic.twitter.com/dYOFp8pJ65— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) October 8, 2021
"I want to add a little break here," Kaat, 82, said in the fifth inning. "In fact, I need to read this right now, because earlier in the game when Yoán Moncada was at the plate in an attempt to compliment the great player, I used a poor choice of words that resulted in a sensitive, hurtful remark. And I'm sorry."
Kaat's apology prompted silence from his booth mates, Bob Costas and Showalter, until an ad played on the screen. Upon the ad's completion, the three white men -- all aged 65 or older -- continued with their analysis of the game. The incident drew heavy criticism on Twitter during the game.
A bit shocked Jim Kaat is still on the broadcast.— Matt Williams (@MattWi77iams) October 8, 2021
The MLB production crew made a pros & cons list and then decided to just roll forward.
Interesting PR decision.
Kaat's "40-acre field" comment is a reference to an 1865 Civil War order issued by Union general William Tecumseh Sherman that awarded every newly-freed family a plot of land no larger than 40 acres along with a mule.
Racially insensitive comments aren't new to the MLB this year. Arizona Diamondbacks analyst Bob Brenly and Detroit Tigers analyst Jack Morris went through a voluntary leave of absence and a 23-day suspension, respectively, for a couple of their own. Brenly joked about Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman's "do-rag" headwear, and Morris -- who also underwent bias training -- mocked English-speaking Asians' accents while speaking about Los Angeles Angels star and Japan native Shohei Ohtani.