Saturday, April 14, 2007

Jackie Robinson Day

In a rare piece of non-Cincinnati Reds content, tomorrow, in recognition of the 60th anniversary of Robinson becoming the first black man to play major league baseball, Selig is allowing certain players to wear his number 42. Arguably the most important athlete ever to play any professional sport, the sentiment invoked by Robinson is one of the few places where it is unquestionably deserved. The idea of wearing his retired number was first proposed to the commissioner by Griffey Jr., as a means of paying homage to a player of such great import. In the days that followed, Griffey was joined by other players and even entire teams, who wished to share in the tribute. The number involved now exceeds 150 players and coaches. Some players, most notably Twins centerfielder Torii Hunter and Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia, have spoken out that by allowing so many players to wear Jackie's number, Major League Baseball has sucked any potential meaning out of the celebration. Said Hunter, "It should be special wearing Jackie's number, not just because it looks cool." The author couldn't disagree more with Hunter. By looking at just a few of the outstanding players who have signed on to take part in the celebration, the author hopes to demonstrate that the motives are not those of personal gain or undeserved publicity, but the pay tribute to a true legend in the game.

1. Ken Griffey Jr., Cincinnati Reds- a true professional, represents all which remains good and pure in the game of baseball

2. Kenny Lofton, Texas Rangers- a 17 year pro, seemingly ageless, endeared to the fans of every team who has been lucky enough to have him on the roster

3. Reggie Sanders, Kansas City Royals- see Lofton, with power.

4. Corey Patterson, Baltimore Orioles - uh, stole quite a few bases last year

5. Coco Crisp, Boston Red Sox - well, let's see, I guess he's not really a marquee name but the author remembers him making at least one fine catch last year

6. Jason Ellison, Seattle Mariners - wait a minute, who?

7. Alex Cintron, Chicago White Sox - what?

8. Jose Lopez/Miguel Bautista, Seattle Mariners - come on, both of these guys?

9. Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants - okay, you can't tell me that if Jackie was still alive he wouldn't be in the left field bleachers booing him with everyone else.

10. Jim Thome, Chicago White Sox - Selig, this has to be a joke, right?

11. The Entire Houston Astros Team - now this is getting ridiculous, have you even looked at their active roster? It's like the Princeton basketball team and a guy from Panama.

Okay Torii, the author concedes. Maybe white guys, no names and known assholes wearing Jackie's number is not the highest form of respect. As an alternative, the author would like to propose some sort of musical tribute. The author will utilize his connections and see if Biz Markie is available, maybe Paul Anka could produce. Hey, Barry Bonds could play the bass. And then if it's good enough, maybe the Gap would even use it in one of their ads for hooded sweatshirts, you know, because they keep it real.

No comments: