Jim Kaat has made bad national headlines for the second time in less than a year.
The Hall of Famer and ex-Yankees television analyst, for some unfathomable reason, called Yankees southpaw Nestor Cortes “Nestor the Molester” during a Twins-Tigers game on Thursday. Kaat was praising Cortes and, uh, got carried away with his riff?
Kaat, 83, has not apologized publicly yet. But Twins vice president of communications and content Dustin Morse told The Associated Press that “obviously, we take these matters seriously and like in all cases will handle this internally and privately,” adding that Kaat “meant no ill will.”
Morse said Kaat planned to reach out to Cortes. And Cortes took the high road when informed after his start in the first game of the Yankees’ doubleheader sweep of the Angels.
“I’m sure, you know, he didn’t really mean it, and people make mistakes,” Cortes told the AP. “It didn’t offend me at all.”
It’s not Kaat’s first foot-in-mouth moment. He had to apologize for a comment about White Sox infielder Yoan Moncada while calling the 2021 American League Division Series for MLB Network last October. Kaat was also praising Moncada when things got off the tracks.
“Get a 40-acre field full of ’em,” Kaat said, drawing fire for what some felt was a racially-charged comment given freed slaves were guaranteed 40 acres of land after the Civil War — a promise the U.S. government rescinded.
Kaat then apologized during the game: “Earlier in the game when Yoan Moncada was at the plate, in an attempt to compliment the great player that he is, I used a poor choice of words that resulted in an insensitive and hurtful remark. And I’m sorry for that,” he said.
Kaat has had a long and distinguished career. But he’s clearly become a liability in the booth.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]