Wall Street Journal reporter Stu Woo was in the Mets locker room on Monday having a conversation with Daisuke Matsuzaka’s interpreter Jeff Cutler when pitching coach Dan Warthen approached Cutler to apologize for calling him a “Chinaman” the day before.
Warthen explained that he didn’t mean to insinuate Cutler was Chinese, but thought the joke was funny. Cutler apparently agreed, and that was that. However, it just so happens that said apology was made in front of a reporter, presumably without Warthen realizing as much. So what had initially been a private exchange became a story because the 61-year-old Warthen doesn’t know what a press credential looks like. I know, those lanyards are awfully tricky.
Here’s the aforementioned reporter, Woo:
I didn’t say anything, but I was startled. As a 27-year-old Chinese American who grew up in San Francisco, I couldn’t remember the last time I heard the term “Chinaman,” a derogatory word originally given by white Americans to Chinese immigrants in the 19th century.
Longtime Mets PR rep Jay Horwitz was scheduled to meet with Woo and Warthen this morning to discuss the matter, but that plan changed at some point and Warthen was not made available to comment.
By choosing not to comment, the Mets are just turning their inevitable forced comment into a bigger production.
UPDATE: The Mets had a change of heart and miraculously decided to issue a statement. Well, two statements:
Here’s Warthen: “I apologize for the thoughtless remarks that I made yesterday in the clubhouse. They were a poor attempt at humor but were wrong and inappropriate in any setting. I am very sorry.”
And here’s Sandy Alderson: “On behalf of the entire organization, I apologize for the insensitive remarks made by of one of our staff members. The remarks were offensive and inappropriate and the organization is very sorry.”
Everyone is very sorry. Carry on.