Monday, August 6, 2007

Great Moments in Degredation

The trip to PNC park described in the previous post came on a night when the Pirates were sorta paying tribute to the Homestead Grays. I say "sorta" because, unlike similar promotions at other parks, neither the Pirates nor the Reds donned Negro League throwbacks that evening, and beyond a couple of brief notes on the scoreboard and a promotional t-shirt giveaway, there really wasn't much to it. Still, most of it was done well, though there was one critical exception.

That exception came when the roving interviewer shown on the right of this picture:

took it upon himself to humiliate the 100 year-old man on the left. That 100 year-old man is one Elijah "Lucky" Miller, who from 1926 through 1945 served as a bat boy and equipment hauler/gopher for the Grays. He was the man who lugged Josh Gibson's lumber and made sure Cool Papa Bell's spikes were sharp. When he wasn't at the ballpark, he was spending a lifetime working for U.S. Steel and, one hopes, never taking shit from punk honkies in yellow golf shirts.

How was he humiliated? Rather than just talk to Miller or allow him to tell his story, the interviewer treated him like some kiss-cam couple or some frat boy pulled from the stands and forced him to answer idiotic trivia questions -- which had nothing to do with the Grays -- and play some glorified Plinko game for a chance to win seats to an upcoming Pirate's series. When Miller's centenarian mind was unable to quickly identify the last Red to win a batting title, the interviewer simply gave him the answer and a Plinko chip in a patronizing fashion. When Miller's Plinko chip didn't land in the grand prize slot, he was given the tickets anyway, again, in the most patronizing way possible.

Why the Pirates felt it necessary to make a man like Miller play jumbotron games in order to get a couple of game tickets on a night when his former club was being celebrated is beyond me. The entire display was like watching an animal act unfold, and it made me want to beat the living hell out of the interviewer and whoever the hell it was who approved his degrading shtick.

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