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America's favorite past-time is once again getting thrown into the political hardball debate over immigration.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy has criticized a nationally syndicated radio host for what he says is a "racist" comment about San Francisco reliever Ramon Ramírez.
Radio host Tony Bruno referred to Ramírez as an "illegal alien." He also called Bochy a "coward" in a Twitter post following Friday night's benches-clearing brawl between the Phillies and Giants. The mayhem came after Ramírez plunked Shane Victorino in the back in the sixth inning of the Phillies' 9-2 victory.
Ramírez is from the Dominican Republic. He has declined to discuss the brawl but said Sunday he is in the U.S. legally and wouldn't be able to work in the major leagues otherwise.
Bruno's show is broadcast on local station KNBR 1050 AM. He later deleted his tweet and apologized on his Facebook page.
"My stupid and insensitive twitter post was up less than 1 minute before I realized it was caustic, it was removed immediately and I typed a quick apology on twitter and here," Bruno posted on his Facebook page in a letter entitled "My side of what really happened on Friday night, August 5th."
Bruno explains that his post was more about the concept of baseball's "unwritten rules."
"What I posted was reaction to something that goes beyond Giants-Phillies rivalry baseball. Managers who order a pitcher to throw at someone to "send a message" for whatever the infraction, is an act of cowardice," he wrote in the letter.
This isn't the first time this year that immigration debate has been interjected into Major League Baseball. Carlos Santana received an award at a baseball game in Atlanta – and then used the stage to scold Georgia and Arizona for their harsh immigration laws.
Online opinions vary on Bruno's heated comments.
"Since when did "illegal alien" become a obscene swear word? It is Not offensive to say or to hear but IS an insult to anyone who has a right to be in the U.S....You don't [owe] anyone an apology except Mr. Ramirez," Matthew Beggs posted on Bruno's Facebook.
Julian Tijerina said he is a Mexican-American and will still remain a fan of his show.
"He made a mistake...we all do....I have been listening to Tony's shows for years and have never felt that Tony did not have love for all people....I am Mexican American and some of Tony's regular callers are."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.