I’ll get this out of the way because too many people will overreact and not read my whole piece.
Jackie Robinson seems like a nice guy, a genuinely good person, a solid, above-average player and I’m glad he got his opportunity to play in Major League Baseball. Baseball is the better for it.
Having said that, baseball would also be better to drop its bizarre obsession with Jackie Robinson; an obsession that gets worse each year.
This weekend “Jackie” has been the center of the MLB world (and for much of the preceding week as well). It’s the 70th anniversary of superhero Jackie Robinson “crossing the color barrier” and evicting the Klan or somebody or bad thoughts from baseball. Witnessing at the voluminous hagiography, this is now considered the single most important event in baseball history.
I was trying to watch the Atlanta-San Diego game on Fox Sports’ FS1 Saturday night but after a couple of innings the announcers turned away from covering the game to discuss Robinson and his “legacy.”
It’s slightly comedic for the announcer to ask various people how “Jackie personally affected them”? Asking people who weren’t even alive then and have no experience with actual racial discrimination rather than the whiff of an essence of a shadow of a reflection of an imputation of racism that exists in our world of “microggressions” is pure virtue signaling.
For those keeping score “micro” in the numerical sense means one-millionth. Pray, tell, libtards, how much of an aggression is one-millionth of an aggression?
But back to the game.
White media folks and an ex-baseball player (black) gushed about how they couldn’t be people today if Robinson hadn’t surmounted the “color barrier.” You see the same behavior at certain religious meetings, where people confess that they couldn’t get out of bed or function daily without help from their “Lord, Jesus Christ” or Mohammed.
I have yet to hear of any miracle cures attributed to him but give it another couple of years…
Eventually reliably white liberal Ken Rosenthal was brought in to officiate a discussion about how the number of black players was shockingly low and falling — from 9-10% a decade ago to 7-8% today.
How can this be when “Jackie” did so much?????!!!!! Don’t people appreciate what “Jackie” did for them?????!!!!! They are insulting “Jackie”!!!!!
Of course the liberal asserted that this was not the result of “choices” made by young black athletes, choosing to play other sports like basketball and football. No, there had to be a darker explanation. Something that could be used as a club to batter someone, something. There was a force unnamed yet existing and pulling strings causing this precipitous fall.
You see, “urban” kids were poor so therefore they turned away from baseball. That these very same kids somehow manage to play football or basketball and walk around with $100+ Air Jordan shoes, expensive clothes and smartphones didn’t come up. “Poverty” was the all-purpose answer and we should be ever-so-concerned and put a stop to it.
That actually poor kids in the Caribbean or Latin America somehow manage to get pretty good at baseball without special MLB-funded programs and U.S. taxpayer-supported facilities programs wasn’t explored. No, all agreed, the obvious solution was to spend more money on “urban” facilities and efforts to recruit young black players. That’s what Jackie would have wanted (though I doubt he had access to such facilities or efforts).
Interestingly, the discussion touched on Title IX’s effect upon college baseball. Title IX is the nefarious government regulation used by the Dept. of Education to drive down men’s sports programs at the college level while increasing the number women given sports-based scholarships. Even if they can’t find enough women, schools have to remove men to equalize the numbers. Many schools have shut down men’s teams in tennis, wrestling, track and field, etc., to placate their DOE bureaucratic masters. Some smaller college and less-successful college baseball teams have folded over the decades of Title IX’s existence. My undergrad alma mater SMU folded its team in the early 1980s in this manner.
Rosenthal insisted that somehow Title IX had only affected young “urban” players, preventing them from getting into college baseball programs, though it somehow had not affected others in, say, rural or suburban areas. Nor was it brought up that many players, especially very good ones, go straight from high school into the minor leagues, bypassing the college baseball chokepoint. They also managed to avoid the point that college baseball overall is seemingly more popular than ever before and awash in money.
The obvious solution would be to banish Title IX back to the Mordor from whence it came but none of those in the discussion dared go there. They knew Twitterstorm that would come forth and might find themselves sent to reeducation camps or even fired.
After entering the third inning of this sidebar I turned away and went elsewhere.
Jackie made numerous guest appearances in the several other games I caught over the weekend — some of which included mentioning other politically correct efforts for young girls, the “Trailblazer” program. Apparently there are not enough girls playing baseball or softball or something. At that point they might introduce some young girl or a female sideline reporter who’d assure us of the goodness of said program.
As part of the Robinson idolatry, every team in Major League Baseball has been forced to “retire” Jackie Robinson’s number 42 — even if Robinson didn’t play for them (he played for the Dodgers at the MLB level) or they weren’t in existence at the time. Compounding this, every player on every team in every game played on Saturday had to wear the number, 42. It was a bit confusing.
None of this is done for, say, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Nap Lajoie, Honus Wagner, Cy Young, Ted Williams, famed and far more accomplished players.
This reflects the liberal obsession with putting “racism” or skin color above all else. Such a side issue drives baseball rather than the playing of baseball itself.
That’s not right for baseball. It turns the sport into yet another political football. Liberals will politicize everything.
As some have wisely said, the way to put racism behind us is to no longer practice it; even if it is thought to be well-meant.
People living today are not part of the segregation era. Beyond serving as a warning of weakness and a history lesson, contemporaries should not burdened with carrying the guilt and sinful burdens of the past. People of today must be judge by what they do, today and in their lives not what others departed did in the past.
Jackie Robinson’s greatest accomplishment will be realized when he fades and is mostly remembered for his on the field performance: the winner of the first Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, being the 1949 National League MVP, having a stellar .311 career batting average, being at that time maybe the best base stealer since Ty Cobb (maybe better), a top-flight and underrated fielder and being one of the leading overall players in the late 1940s and early 1950s. That would be true equality.
That’s a fine and deserving place in history.