Friday, December 29, 2017

The Sano allegations

Some weeks ago somebody -- I don'r remember specifically who -- observed that when the #Metoo movement hit sports it was going to get ugly.

This made intuitive sense. Big-time pro sports is a male-dominated field with a well-documented history of contempt for the women who venture into its periphery and an atmosphere of male promiscuity. Also involved: a tradition of protecting the "talent."

Well, #Metoo hit the Twins Thursday when a Twin Cities photographer, Betsy Bissen, tweeted out a her account of an unpleasant 2015 encounter with Miguel Sano, who she says attempted to drag her into a restroom and repeatedly tried to kiss her. The tribal trolls reacted as one might expect, and Bissen has now protected her Twitter account, so I can't link to the statement.

Sano, in a statement that was probably crafted by his agent, denied Bissen's story. If I have to choose between the two, I'll believe Bissen, partly because some of her friends in Twins Twitter say she told them of the incident at the time, and partly because of jock culture. It's certainly not inconceivable.

This poses an intriguing challenge to the Twins front office. It's easy enough for a team to dump a marginal player who does something stupid/inappropriate/criminal. Sano is a rare talent, and there are plenty of other teams that would love to take him onto their roster. (Note how eager the Yankees and Cubs have been to have Aroldis Chapman around.)

I have for some time sensed a toxic Red Sox-like vibe around the Sano-Twins relationship. The front office talks up not only his talent but his dedication, and the metro columnists undercut the latter, proportedly on the basis of what they're being told by the field staff. There are a lot of fans convinced that Sano is lazy because Pat Reusse and Jim Souhan told them so.

As I understand it, the question of suspension for Sano isn't up to the Twins but to the commissioner's office. But the question of whether to keep Sano around, that is up to the Twins. There had been chatter of a Sano-for-a-pitcher trade (specifically Chris Archer); this won't tamp down that kind of talk.

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