Think about the worst gaffe you've ever made. Have you got it in your head? Okay, now imagine it's inadvertently low-key racist. And then, that it happened on national television.
Have you died of secondhand embarrassment yet? Then you may be approaching the same level of horror that a Jeopardy! contestant is likely feeling after mixing up Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson on a recent episode.
The contestant in question, Xiaoke Ying, a sophomore at the University of Southern California, was competing in the third semifinal round of Jeopardy!'s annual College Tournament. She buzzed in to answer a $1000 question in the "Unique College Courses" category about a course at Arizona State about baseball that covers "this player who broke the color barrier in 1947."
And, well, YIKES.
AND ON HIS DAY NO LESS https://t.co/CBsYnDqfcO— Starting 9 (@Starting 9) 1586992166.0
Xiaoke buzzed in and answered confidently, "Who is Babe Ruth?"
Ying was immediately rebuffed by Alex Trebek with a single, simple word that sums it all up.
The proper question, as Xiaoke's competitor, Yale sophomore Nathaniel Miller, quickly clarified, was "Who is Jackie Robinson?"
To top it off, the episode aired on April 15, known as Jackie Robinson Day to commemorate the day its namesake, perhaps the most legendary Black baseball player of all time, made his major league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
Not to kick a lady when she's down, but even a congenitally sports-impaired person like this writer found himself yelling "Oh COME ON!" at the TV. That's not even a sports trivia question, it's a basic American history question and a milestone in the history of racial progress in this country. It's a pretty wild swing-and-a-miss. Bless Xiaoke's heart!
Of course, "Sports Twitter" had a field day with Ying's gaffe.
@Starting9 BABE RUTH?!?— Christian (@Christian) 1586992204.0
@Starting9 Alex Trebek: https://t.co/uH4gES36Lm— Chad (@Chad) 1586995103.0
@Starting9 Babe Ruth is like the default answer for anyone uneducated about baseball— Polo Malone (@Polo Malone) 1586992585.0
@Starting9 This is why no one believes scientists.— David Fitterer (@David Fitterer) 1586992715.0
@Starting9 https://t.co/sM3tSZ989v— Brad Bauman (@Brad Bauman) 1586993381.0
@Starting9 This is bad. This isnâ��t just about sports this is American history— Vince Vega (@Vince Vega) 1586997226.0
@Starting9 https://t.co/uvrpF6CGP7— Nicky Fat Stacks (@Nicky Fat Stacks) 1586993132.0
@Starting9 @Jeopardy has got to be canceled forever. THE ONLY THING ONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BASEBALL IS WHO JACKIE ROâ�¦ https://t.co/1goMeafec5— Christian Stampler (@Christian Stampler) 1586993998.0
Amazingly, this is the most offensive thing I've seen today. https://t.co/iW48XnFnt9— Chris Castellani (@Chris Castellani) 1586992252.0
Although there were a few people who should take a breath, maybe.
@Starting9 Why do nerds know nothing abt sports? Itâ��s really uncanny how you can know so little abt something mostâ�¦ https://t.co/MQXe5xSnot— FAN POLICE! (@FAN POLICE!) 1586992437.0
Okay, calm down dude. Sports is not "common knowledge" for most people, only for sports NERDS. This is the kind of thing that makes you want to switch sides and be team Xiaoke, as one gent seems to have done.
@MarcoGoldstein1 @Starting9 Probably the same reason I donâ��t know anything about quantum mechanics. I just donâ��t care.— Capo (@Capo) 1586992797.0
Anyway, Ying got the last laugh in the end: despite her disastrous answer she won the game and will advance to the final round in the College Tournament.