Pirates announcer Steve Blass criticized for comments about Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr.
Broadcaster Steve Blass came under fire Wednesday for on-air comments he made during Tuesday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves.
In the fourth inning, Pirates pitcher Steven Brault hit Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. in the elbow with a 2-2 pitch. Blass made note of Acuna’s animated style of play and necklaces he wears while on the field.
“A young player, just doing all that stuff, and all the jewelry, and all the stuff, back in the day, I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but …” Blass said.
Broadcast partner Greg Brown asked Blass if he was suggesting Brault hit Acuna on purpose.
“I’m not suggesting that,” Blass said. “That’s why I qualified it back in the day.”
When the broadcast showed a replay of Acuna briefly glaring at Brault after being hit by the pitch, Blass bristled.
“Give it a rest. You think he’s trying to throw at you? Give me a break,” Blass said.
Several websites criticized Blass’ comments as anti-fun and went as far as accusing him of racism. Acuna is from Venezuela.
Awful Announcing referred to his comments as “dog-whistling.”
“Steve Blass doesn’t like a certain type of player. You can call them ‘flashy’ I guess, but there might be something else going on with the Pittsburgh Pirates announcer,” Ryan Phillips wrote in The Big Lead.
Blass, 77, is in his final season as a Pirates broadcaster. He was not expected to comment on the matter, on or off the air.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .