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Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15 -- The reason no one can wear #42 in baseball

Look, I know it is documented, my distaste for baseball...
there is no denying, however, that it is the second most commercially viable sport in the United States right now, NFL Labor problems notwithstanding...

But!
I would greatly and unfairly be underplaying the necessity of the contribution of Jackie Robinson – and what it did to pave the way for April 8th’s topic – if I let my disdain for the sport he happened to play at the time to keep me from speaking on it.

That said, the influence spilled over to other professional sports in the US as well. I mean, if the most popular at the time sport is taking on black players, then it is only natural that the others fall in line.
I will not go into the outcome in terms of established majorities in said sports to date.

People often ask me what my favorite baseball team is, and while my answer is usually something in the neighborhood of “fuck baseball,” if I had to choose one, it would probably be the Dodgers for the very act of the chance they took. This is a choice made easier by how easy it is to dislike every else who knows nothing about baseball or sports in general's favorite team the Yankees and because the Dodgers happen to wear my favorite color as well.

On today’s date in 1997, the number 42 was retired by EVERY team in the Majors, only to be worn on April 15th every season by EVERY player on every team. It is a confusing way to pay homage to the man when one does try to watch a game, but still quite huge considering that it was the first time that any sport retired any one player’s number across the entire league.
I am glad that LeBron James failed in his bid to try and have the NBA do the same for Cheese Eyes.

Whether or not we particularly care for beisbol, it is worth recognizing the plight of Jackie Robinson and what he endured (think of the stuff I said that Hank Aaron went through, and do it MANY years earlier when such behaviors were actually allowed) in the name of current-generation black players being able to do what they do.
… wait…

  • tattoos everywhere
  • multiple children out of wedlock
  • arrest records
  • violence
  • generally inarticulate

Never mind, Jackie Robinson would roll over in his grave to look at what black sports folk have done with his legacy. Perhaps we should work harder at PRESERVING it instead of continuing to live in spite of it?

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