Nats GM confronts Braves announcer over crack about Juan Soto’s age
Atlanta Braves announcer Joe Simpson has found himself in the news once again for the wrong reasons. This time, Simpson is getting blasted over comments in which he seemingly questioned the age of Washington Nationals phenom Juan Soto.
And among those calling out Simpson? None other than Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo.
During the Nationals’ 8-3 victory over the Braves — a game in which Soto was 2-for-2 with three walks an RBI and a run scored — Simpson subtly implied that Soto is not 19. Soto is a native of the Dominican Republic and Simpson’s implication was that the outfielder is lying about his age.
“If he’s 19, he has certainly got his man growth,” Simpson said, via Big League Stew. “He is big and strong.”
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan called out Simpson’s arguably inappropriate insinuation, pointing out age fraud involving Latin American players is a thing of the past.
Age fraud hasn’t been a thing in Latin America in nearly a decade. But then again Joe Simpson is stuck in the past, so it’s not a surprise that he proffers this sort of garbage. Ignore it.
Juan Soto is 19. Period. Full stop. And he’s doing things the game never has seen before. https://t.co/V5iWMkkleF
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 8, 2018
Simpson’s comments got back to Rizzo as well, who admitted to confronting the Braves announcer about them.
“I had a definite reaction,” Rizzo said, via The Athletic (subscription required). “I handled it face to face, privately with him. I believe he understood my stance on his comments.”
Perhaps Simpson’s wisecrack would not have garnered so much attention had it not been only two weeks ago that he called out Los Angeles Dodgers players, specifically Chase Utley, for wearing shorts and t-shirts during batting practice.
Suffice to say, it hasn’t been a good run of late for Simpson when it comes to off-the-cuff commentary.