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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

December 16, 2010

Written by C.N.

Posts from Years Past: December

In case you’re the nostalgic type, here are some posts in this blog from December of years past:

November 15, 2010

Written by C.N.

Posts from Years Past: November

In case you’re the nostalgic type, here are some posts in this blog from November of years past:

  • 2009: The U.S. and China: A Love-Hate Relationship
    President Obama’s trip to Asia highlights some of the contradictory, love-hate sentiments that many Americans and its institutions seem to have with Asians/Asian Americans.
  • 2008: Don Wakamatsu: First Asian American Big League Manager
    Discussing the significance of Don Wakamatsu as the first Asian American head coach and manager of a major sports team.
  • 2007: Big Plans for Little Saigons
    Debate around plans for the two largest Little Saigon communities in the U.S. highlight struggles to maintain ethnic solidarity among Vietnamese Americans.
  • 2006: New Internment Pictures Depict Harsher Life
    Recently-published photos reopen a sad and painful episode for Asian Americans and American society in general.
  • 2005: China Attracting U.S. Scholars
    China’s big push to recruit U.S. academics to help build up their universities to eventually rival the best from around the world.
  • 2004: Inter-Asian Sentiments
    Examples from popular culture in both Japan and South Korea illustrate the contradictory nature of inter-ethnic relations between Asians of different ethnic groups.

November 19, 2008

Written by C.N.

Don Wakamatsu: First Asian American Big League Manager

The Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball (MLB) are expected to name Don Wakamatsu to be their new manager. If so, that would make him the first Asian American manager/coach of not just MLB, but of any major professional American sport (to include the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League):

Wakamatsu becomes Seattle’s fifth manager since Lou Piniella left following the 2002 season. He replaces Jim Riggleman, who took over in June when John McLaren was fired after a 25-47 start to a season in which the Mariners were expected to contend for the playoffs. . . .

The native of Hood River, Ore., who grew up in Hayward, Calif., says he knows only a little Japanese — always a consideration in Seattle, with All-Star Ichiro Suzuki as the franchise cornerstone — though it has improved recently while with the A’s and Rangers.

Wakamatsu was the minor league catching coordinator for the Angels from 2001-02, after playing in the minors as a catcher from 1985-96. He played 18 games in the majors with the White Sox in 1991.

He managed Arizona’s rookie league team in 1997, then at Class-A High Desert, Double-A El Paso and Double-A Erie from 1998-2000.

Although I consider myself a baseball fan, I have to admit that I had never heard of Wakamatsu until now. From his picture above, he also looks to be multiracial/Hapa and without knowing much about him, I do not know how strongly he identifies as Asian American.

Nonetheless, this is still a huge day for the Asian American community, and for American society in general. As I’ve said numerous times in this blog, there is no denying that American society is becoming increasingly diverse — demographically, politically, and culturally.

We’re seeing more examples of this social trend everyday, from Barack Obama being elected as our next President, to Orange County’s (CA) first Asian American mayor, to Don Wakamatsu becoming the first Asian American manager/coach of a major professional sports team.

Congratulations to Mr. Wakamatsu and I wish him the best success.


Update: Thanks to comments from readers below, and as shown in the following ESPN news clip from the Seattle Mariners’ news conference earlier today, I am happy to learn that Don Wakamatsu indeed does strongly identify as Asian American and wants to serve as a trailblazer and pioneer for all of us: