Red Sox release statement about multiple incidents of racism at Fenway Park

Wingack

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Good statement. But hopefully this leads to larger actions.

Ultimately though, this is less about the Red Sox and more about the reputation of Boston as a city.
 

Bozo Texino

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I'm very glad the organization is recognizing the problem. So many Bostonians want to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to this stuff.
 

Tony C

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I'm very glad the organization is recognizing the problem. So many Bostonians want to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to this stuff.
Yep. The issue is real and is unflattering. But must be addressed.
 

LogansDad

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7 is both way too many and also far less than I would have expected.

Good statement from the organization. Hope they can keep backing it up.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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How do you even stop or enforce something like this? The only thing they can really do is rely on other fans to report these incidents to security. You can’t send 35,000 fans to sensitivity training before the game.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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How do you even stop or enforce something like this? The only thing they can really do is rely on other fans to report these incidents to security. You can’t send 35,000 fans to sensitivity training before the game.
Reports from fans, and acting on those reports, really is all they can do. And obviously they've been doing this. Making this statement is a good way to put the racist shitbags who haven't been caught yet on notice that they won't get away with their garbage in Fenway.

The only unfortunate thing is that they didn't make a statement like this a couple years ago after the Adam Jones incident, if only to stick it to the doubting assholes like Kirk Minihane, Gerry Callahan and Bert Breer.
 

nattysez

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Bert Breer.
I mentioned this in another thread, but Breer has decided that a column he wrote ON MONDAY where he admitted that he was ignorant about how bad things could be for POC in Boston means that he's totally in the clear for questioning Jones now.
 

mauidano

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Good for the Sox. Unsurprisingly, some of the responses I saw to that tweet were just as terrible as you might expect.
The same idiots who lost their minds over NASCAR banning Confederate flags. Fuck them all.
 

cornwalls@6

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Bill write English good. Kudos for the Sox to hit this head on. It’s ludicrous for anyone to be defensive , or worried about the city’s reputation. This was the right thing to do. The team, and the city will be fine. Maybe even better for it in the long run.
 

canderson

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Good statement. They should establish a text protocol for fans to report racist behavior. This is a fan* issue more than an organizational issue.

*Well a human issue.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Good statement. They should establish a text protocol for fans to report racist behavior. This is a fan* issue more than an organizational issue.

*Well a human issue.
Yes, but don’t see how they can enforce lifetime bans like some were suggesting with zero evidence beyond he said/she said. What would prevent anyone from reporting someone falsely? I mean good for the Red Sox to make a statement, but enforcing anything unfortunately seems near impossible. Would be nice if people could just refrain from being pieces of shit.
 

uncannymanny

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Because it’s their ballpark and they can? It’s on the back of every ticket.
 

BaseballJones

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I don't know that every claim that "X happened because of racism" is true, but holy crap we've all heard people, probably within the last couple of weeks, use racist language. And I see no reason why these players would lie about something like that. Good for the Sox to issue this statement and try to do something about it. To the people who don't like this being called out and addressed....too bad.
 

Hank Scorpio

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For those calling for the Red Sox to take larger actions, what would those larger actions be? Aside from banning a fan next time this happens, what else should they do?

And are lifetime bans even a deterrent for non-season ticket holders? Do they actually stick? If Joey from Revere gets lifetime banned for dropping an N-bomb and shows up to a game a month later, does anyone notice?

Regarding Boston, and it's racist reputation - I've heard this many times before. Is Boston really any worse than say, New York? Chicago? Dallas? Atlanta? And where is the racism coming from? Is it a problem that extends beyond Mikey and Donnie from Revere? (Mikey and Donnie being those two guys in wife-beaters talking about "fahkin' crazy broads and queeeehz, don't like it, fahk you".)

(And yes, I have a fair amount of contempt for Revere.)
 

HriniakPosterChild

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And are lifetime bans even a deterrent for non-season ticket holders? Do they actually stick? If Joey from Revere gets lifetime banned for dropping an N-bomb and shows up to a game a month later, does anyone notice?
Facial recognition software is good enough now to apply to lift lines at Whistler (and, I assume, every other resort that Vail owns) for season pass holders.

So, I think the answer is probably, yes, someone could notice. Do any MLB teams use software for this yet? That I don’t know.
 

m0ckduck

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Regarding Boston, and it's racist reputation - I've heard this many times before. Is Boston really any worse than say, New York? Chicago? Dallas? Atlanta?
Yeah, Boston is worse. Chicago has its own complicated history owing to the Daley legacy (?) and a history of housing segregation, but Boston is still the most racist city on this list

For starters, it’s probably the most segregated major city in America. Then add in a general steak of Mass-holery, and some long memories of the school busing stuff from the 70s. Historically, I think the Boston experience Is one where each incoming minority group got worked over so hard by the group that had arrived before them, that an instinctual rule developed: “never give anyone a break.” As a result, there’s a level of factionalism present In Boston beyond what you observe in other large cities. Aside from any discussion of race, Boston in the 70s-80s-90s was the only city I've lived in where people would give you wrong directions on purpose.
 
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uncannymanny

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Facial recognition software is good enough now to apply to lift lines at Whistler (and, I assume, every other resort that Vail owns) for season pass holders.

So, I think the answer is probably, yes, someone could notice. Do any MLB teams use software for this yet? That I don’t know.
Decent article from after the Jones incident: https://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/adam-jones-stadium-bans-fenway-park-cameras-security-050817

I think MA has a ban on FR though: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S1385
 

candylandriots

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For those calling for the Red Sox to take larger actions, what would those larger actions be? Aside from banning a fan next time this happens, what else should they do?

And are lifetime bans even a deterrent for non-season ticket holders? Do they actually stick? If Joey from Revere gets lifetime banned for dropping an N-bomb and shows up to a game a month later, does anyone notice?

Regarding Boston, and it's racist reputation - I've heard this many times before. Is Boston really any worse than say, New York? Chicago? Dallas? Atlanta? And where is the racism coming from? Is it a problem that extends beyond Mikey and Donnie from Revere? (Mikey and Donnie being those two guys in wife-beaters talking about "fahkin' crazy broads and queeeehz, don't like it, fahk you".)

(And yes, I have a fair amount of contempt for Revere.)
There are lifetime bans for racism in European soccer, that as @HriniakPosterChild notes, seem to also be enforced by facial recognition software. It's clearly possible and almost certainly within the Red Sox's rights to do so.

Here's one such story. The club used lip reading to confirm what the fan said and issued the ban.
 

CantKeepmedown

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The amount of idiots in the comments talking about how they've been season ticket holders for X amount of years and it's never happened to them is staggering. I know this is the same thing that Breer said, and that the Gerry Callahan's of the world talk about. But holy shit! This has a lot to do with why we are where we are.
 

jose melendez

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Yeah, Boston is worse. Chicago has its own complicated history owing to the Daley legacy (?) and a history of housing segregation, but Boston is still the most racist city on this list

For starters, it’s probably the most segregated major city in America. Then add in a general steak of Mass-holery, and some long memories of the school busing stuff from the 70s. Historically, I think the Boston experience Is one where each incoming minority group got worked over so hard by the group that had arrived before them, that an instinctual rule developed: “never give anyone a break.” As a result, there’s a level of factionalism present In Boston beyond what you observe in other large cities. Aside from any discussion of race, Boston in the 70s-80s-90s was the only city I've lived in where people would give you wrong directions on purpose.
Boston may be more racist, but it is absolutely not as segregated as Chicago.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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The people who cry "they're accusing all of us of being racist!" when the release talks about seven incidents specifically are really telling on themselves.

How people can't empathize with these players is beyond me. Imagine playing the sport you love, being awesome at it, and making millions of dollars to do it, and some fan at Fenway - a stranger! - calls you a "n*****" anyway? That would be enraging, but it would also just make you feel so small. Like nothing you could ever do would matter.

My heart goes out to them.
 

PseuFighter

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Very impressed the Red Sox said anything, and even more impressed with the message. It's true they're known nationally (in my opinion, anyway) as one of the most racist teams in sports, with Boston being a marked as a very racist city, especially before Henry bought the team. In the past, I would have expected either nothing or something completely tone deaf to try to appease everyone. Times are hopefully changing.

Not to go off topic, but have definitely heard a good amount of racist remarks at Gillette including my favorite during the KC game last year when the dude next to me said there's no way the Patriots would ever play a black quarterback. Sigh.

Have folks read Shut Out by Howard Bryant? Seems like the right time to finally give it a look.
 
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Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
For those calling for the Red Sox to take larger actions, what would those larger actions be? Aside from banning a fan next time this happens, what else should they do?
Granted that this would be purely symbolic, how about a Black Lives Matter Day at Fenway? Obviously that doesn't take the place of more substantial uses of their economic and social clout to address structural racism, but it would at least be a very visible solidarity gesture and a step toward overcoming the perception that calling out white supremacy is a fringe thing.

Regarding Boston, and it's racist reputation - I've heard this many times before. Is Boston really any worse than say, New York? Chicago? Dallas? Atlanta? And where is the racism coming from? Is it a problem that extends beyond Mikey and Donnie from Revere? (Mikey and Donnie being those two guys in wife-beaters talking about "fahkin' crazy broads and queeeehz, don't like it, fahk you".)
To the first question--who knows, and does it really matter? If you could find hypothetical metrics showing that Boston is not really the most racist city in the country, but only the 4th or 5th or 10th or 20th most racist city in the country, so what? We still have a problem, and it's still the same problem.

To the second question, I'd point out that Mikey and Donnie were probably not the folks who called the cops on Henry Louis Gates. Nor did they invent redlining or its subtler contemporary manifestations, nor are they in charge of a city educational system--particularly the exam schools--that is still largely structured and run to keep white middle-class families happy.

If all there was to racism was a small minority of ignorant yahoos spewing hateful thoughts, there would not be people in the streets of our cities right now.
 

chrisfont9

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How do you even stop or enforce something like this? The only thing they can really do is rely on other fans to report these incidents to security. You can’t send 35,000 fans to sensitivity training before the game.
This is a signal to all the fans that the team takes it seriously. They in turn will be more likely to turn in anyone who violates it. It puts violators on notice that they can crawl back in their little holes from now on and STFU or stay away from Fenway. I think it helps. Saying nothing about it certainly wasn't the answer.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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For those calling for the Red Sox to take larger actions, what would those larger actions be? Aside from banning a fan next time this happens, what else should they do?
The Red Sox Foundation does a ton with inner city and disadvantaged youth. From their contributions to the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program to working with local health organizations to the Red Sox Scholars program, there is a whole lot already being done. Perhaps too quietly? The Home Base program they support gets a whole lot more publicity than these other programs, they need to talk more about these other efforts so folks know they have been doing these as well.

I think they should increase/improve GREATLY the "Dunkin' Dugout" program, that gives tickets to charitable groups to bring kids and disadvantaged people to games. Problems with this are that it's seats in the very last row of Bleacher 40 or 41. Would love to see them give charitable groups and city groups some really GOOD seats, like the new box they put near Canvas Alley a couple years ago.
 

Leather

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It would help, also, if they had more shrines (for lack of a better word) to non-white Red Sox sprinkled around the stadium. There's a statue of Ted putting the hat on the kid, a statue of Yaz, a statue of the all-white "Teammates." And those guys, as great as they were, never won a damned thing.

Meanwhile you have Ortiz, who should have had a statue erected on the day he retired, and also Pedro and even Jim Rice as guys maybe wondering "Pesky's got a statue but I don't?"
 

PseuFighter

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This is a signal to all the fans that the team takes it seriously. They in turn will be more likely to turn in anyone who violates it. It puts violators on notice that they can crawl back in their little holes from now on and STFU or stay away from Fenway. I think it helps. Saying nothing about it certainly wasn't the answer.
Will add that some of the worst and best have come out in this. When the team put BLACK LIVES MATTER on the scoreboard last week, I know someone that got a note from someone that goes to lots of games pulling the "this is disgusting! i'll never go to a game again!" crap. worst attitude, but best in good riddance. Very similar to the crap I saw when the team started a pride night and raised a pride flag.

No issues here if these people opt out of going to Fenway again.
 

Ralphwiggum

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In terms of Boston being more or less racist than other cities, as others have noted it doesn't really matter and to a certain extent the reputation of Boston being a horribly racist place is the only thing that really matters. Regardless, one of the aspects of what makes Boston unique in this regard is that there are so few black professionals in Boston (the Daily Show clip mentioned the incredibly disparity in net worth between black families in Boston and white families). It's a real problem and there are things being done to try to address this, but a lot of younger, educated black professionals up and leave the city early in their careers once they get a taste for how few faces they see in professional settings that look like them (my brother-in-law is moving from Boston to LA for exactly this reason). A natural consequence of this is that there are fewer black faces at sporting events, because there are so few black people in Boston with enough disposable income to go to the games. I go to a lot of Sox games and Pats games and at a typical game there are close to zero non-white faces in the crowd. If some chucklehead racist wants to yell the n-word at a player on the field, he sure as shit is going to feel less comfortable doing it if the crowd around him isn't lily white, which is why it is so important for white people to call this shit out and not ignore it.

And the Sox need to be more transparent about what they are doing when these incidents get reported. Who even knew there were 7 reported incidents at Fenway? We wouldn't even know about the Adam Jones one if he didn't mention it. It's uncomfortable but these incidents should be aired publicly and the persons involved (if they can be identified) named.
 

Montana Fan

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Meanwhile you have Ortiz, who should have had a statue erected on the day he retired, and also Pedro and even Jim Rice as guys maybe wondering "Pesky's got a statue but I don't?"
An Ortiz and Pedro statue would be pretty damn sweet. At first I was thinking of one of them together but they each stood alone as arguably the greatest pitcher and money hitter to ever play for the Sox. Individual statues probably fit better.

Also, only 7 reported incidents actually speaks pretty well for the fanbase of a team that draws a couple million fans per year.

And them that are reading the comment section on any article on the interwebs, get back to work.
 

chrisfont9

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In terms of Boston being more or less racist than other cities, as others have noted it doesn't really matter and to a certain extent the reputation of Boston being a horribly racist place is the only thing that really matters. Regardless, one of the aspects of what makes Boston unique in this regard is that there are so few black professionals in Boston (the Daily Show clip mentioned the incredibly disparity in net worth between black families in Boston and white families). It's a real problem and there are things being done to try to address this, but a lot of younger, educated black professionals up and leave the city early in their careers once they get a taste for how few faces they see in professional settings that look like them (my brother-in-law is moving from Boston to LA for exactly this reason). A natural consequence of this is that there are fewer black faces at sporting events, because there are so few black people in Boston with enough disposable income to go to the games. I go to a lot of Sox games and Pats games and at a typical game there are close to zero non-white faces in the crowd. If some chucklehead racist wants to yell the n-word at a player on the field, he sure as shit is going to feel less comfortable doing it if the crowd around him isn't lily white, which is why it is so important for white people to call this shit out and not ignore it.

And the Sox need to be more transparent about what they are doing when these incidents get reported. Who even knew there were 7 reported incidents at Fenway? We wouldn't even know about the Adam Jones one if he didn't mention it. It's uncomfortable but these incidents should be aired publicly and the persons involved (if they can be identified) named.
Are Celtics crowds any different? I've generally assumed that the cultural history of the Celtics -- the first all-black starting lineup -- was in part a reaction to the cultural history of the Red Sox -- super racist team and therefore fans. If you were a Cs fan in the 60s, surely you were buying into the opposite vision for a sports team from the Sox? But I'd bet the lower level of a Cs game is all corporate $ now, which in turn is probably very, very white. [I moved away in the 90s.]

The thing that bugs me about "Boston is so racist!" is when it comes from people who aren't from there, who hold it up as a way of congratulating themselves for being less racist. That's a way to avoid the problem, which is of course everywhere. Fuck that.
 

bigq

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Also, only 7 reported incidents actually speaks pretty well for the fanbase of a team that draws a couple million fans per year.
“Those are just the ones we know about” was the follow up that made me think that number may be low relative to what is actually going on. I am hopeful that the Red Sox statement helps to raise awareness and encourages fans to report racist remarks from other fans. I only go to one or two games at Fenway per year. A fair number of fans spend much of the game pounding beers and acting like idiots. I don’t recall specific incidents where racist comments were made by fans and I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not sure I would have reported it previously but I will now.
 

Kliq

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In terms of Boston being more or less racist than other cities, as others have noted it doesn't really matter and to a certain extent the reputation of Boston being a horribly racist place is the only thing that really matters. Regardless, one of the aspects of what makes Boston unique in this regard is that there are so few black professionals in Boston (the Daily Show clip mentioned the incredibly disparity in net worth between black families in Boston and white families). It's a real problem and there are things being done to try to address this, but a lot of younger, educated black professionals up and leave the city early in their careers once they get a taste for how few faces they see in professional settings that look like them (my brother-in-law is moving from Boston to LA for exactly this reason). A natural consequence of this is that there are fewer black faces at sporting events, because there are so few black people in Boston with enough disposable income to go to the games. I go to a lot of Sox games and Pats games and at a typical game there are close to zero non-white faces in the crowd. If some chucklehead racist wants to yell the n-word at a player on the field, he sure as shit is going to feel less comfortable doing it if the crowd around him isn't lily white, which is why it is so important for white people to call this shit out and not ignore it.

And the Sox need to be more transparent about what they are doing when these incidents get reported. Who even knew there were 7 reported incidents at Fenway? We wouldn't even know about the Adam Jones one if he didn't mention it. It's uncomfortable but these incidents should be aired publicly and the persons involved (if they can be identified) named.
I don't have an enormous amount of data on me to back this up, but a part of this is because Boston did not experience the Great Migration the way other major cities, such as Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, etc. Outside of a few neighborhoods, like Roxbury and West Medford, there were not an enormous amount of black residents in Great Boston until relatively recently. When I graduated from Waltham High School in 2012, the school had a decent amount of black students, but nearly every single one of them was either an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, usually from Haiti or Africa.

Since there are less black families in Greater Boston that have long roots in the area or in the USA, there is naturally going to be fewer things like black owned businesses and black professionals, which I think hurts the feeling of inclusiveness in the city. It would also explain why you don't see many black faces at Red Sox or Patriots games; immigrants or first generation Americans are less likely to be big local sports fans, they have their own sports and fandoms that might not be the same as a fourth-generation Red Sox fan.
 

drbretto

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7 is both way too many and also far less than I would have expected.

Good statement from the organization. Hope they can keep backing it up.
Judging from Hunter's comments, it's pretty much those 7 that get reported and the other 93 get ignored. That's not good.
 

chrisfont9

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I don't have an enormous amount of data on me to back this up, but a part of this is because Boston did not experience the Great Migration the way other major cities, such as Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, etc. Outside of a few neighborhoods, like Roxbury and West Medford, there were not an enormous amount of black residents in Great Boston until relatively recently. When I graduated from Waltham High School in 2012, the school had a decent amount of black students, but nearly every single one of them was either an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, usually from Haiti or Africa.

Since there are less black families in Greater Boston that have long roots in the area or in the USA, there is naturally going to be fewer things like black owned businesses and black professionals, which I think hurts the feeling of inclusiveness in the city. It would also explain why you don't see many black faces at Red Sox or Patriots games; immigrants or first generation Americans are less likely to be big local sports fans, they have their own sports and fandoms that might not be the same as a fourth-generation Red Sox fan.
Interesting. At least per Wikipedia, Boston was a "second-tier industrial city" during the Great Migration, which made it a less inviting economic opportunity to migrants than these other northeastern cities. At the risk of making a very lightly-baked generalization, maybe Boston's economic heyday peaked earlier and declined earlier as well so that by the time the Great Migration started it was already fading? I'm sure this is the subject of a few dozen books I wish I read.
 

mikeot

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Interesting. At least per Wikipedia, Boston was a "second-tier industrial city" during the Great Migration, which made it a less inviting economic opportunity to migrants than these other northeastern cities. At the risk of making a very lightly-baked generalization, maybe Boston's economic heyday peaked earlier and declined earlier as well so that by the time the Great Migration started it was already fading? I'm sure this is the subject of a few dozen books I wish I read.

Would definitely like to see suggestions on what to read re this.
 

cornwalls@6

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I'm not sure how much further the team can go in terms of enforcement, than they already have. At the end of the day, 2-3 million people a year are passing through the gates. You can't possibly prevent everyone of them from saying something ugly, stupid, and offensive. Trying to minimize the incidents with a good reporting system, and as much accountability as you can enforce, is probably the best they can ever do on that front. Beyond that, we're in the hearts and minds part of the battle. Statements like yesterdays are critically important, and need to keep coming. Maybe they could shift more of the focus of their charitable activities towards social justice causes. They should also be completely transparent going forward with regular updates on reported incidents, and what actions were taken in regards to those incidents. And yeah, as noted upthread, let's get some statues and see some streets named after Rice, Pedro, Ortiz, Pumpsie, etc.