83-year-old Jim Kaat was one hell of a pitcher over his remarkable 25-year career, and stood out as a broadcaster as soon as his MLB tenure ended, starring in the Yankees‘ both with MSG Network during the team’s dynasty years of the late ’90s.
As mentioned one paragraph earlier, though, Kaat is now … 83 years old. And at the end of every lengthy career, fastballs are lost and times change. Much the same way he attempted to get batters out late in his career with funky stuff and guile, Kaat now seems to be trying to win over fans in the booth with goofball enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, when Kaat goes off the cuff these days, he goes way off the cuff.
It’s impossible not to cringe while remembering Kaat’s 2021 playoff off-hand comment that hinted at America’s history of slavery (and who hasn’t tripped into that territory during White Sox-Astros?!). Now, the right-hander has added another unfortunate mark to his recent resumé, which he also intended as a compliment aimed at the Yankees’ Nestor Cortes.
Cortes is having an All-Star season, lowering his ERA tremendously by agitating opposing batters with different windups, speeds, and leg kicks.
If you grew up in the 1940s, you might even call him a “molester,” adhering to an alternate definition meaning to “pester or harass someone persistently”. You might not want to do so on the air, though, where 99.9% of your listeners will take a different meaning from your comments.
Jim Kaat calls Yankees ace Nestor Cortes “Nestor the Molester” as a compliment
No one is “canceling” Kaat, who will sail into Cooperstown with an unfiltered 25-minute platform ahead of him to tell his life’s story. It just might be … time for him to run his remarks through someone else’s filter, that’s all.
This was meant as a compliment, as the context clearly proves. It just clangs around the eardrums for a while before any of that is digested.
Kaat is an unquestioned legend of both the game and the booth, and has been thusly honored many times over. The most difficult thing about a career of such length is finding a natural endpoint, though, a direction Kaat has yet to be nudged in, though his appearances on MLB Network remain reserved for special occasions.
Cortes won’t let this remark agitate him. If he’s proven anything in 2021-22, it’s that the Yankees lefty possesses the remarkable ability to persevere/keep on keepin’ on. In fact, he forgave Kaat in a heartfelt tweet posted Friday evening.
Can’t say it any better than that.
Perhaps he shouldn’t be in attendance in Cooperstown this summer, though, in case his mustache jogs Kaat’s memory.