Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WWJT?*

*What Would Jackie Think? I can think of no one more qualified to answer that question than a presumably wealthy, white university chair:

I think Jackie Robinson would be pleased that at least part of his dream of increasing the numbers of African-Americans in baseball, on and off the field, has been achieved. When he passed away in 1972, African-Americans were growing in numbers on the field, but front offices and league offices were run almost exclusively by white men. Jackie no doubt would have figured that growth on the players' side would continue, although he likely would have had a less clear picture for the prospects in management. So he'd be surprised that now, more than three decades later, the trends in African-American presence in MLB have taken the opposite direction. In 1972, Robinson could not have foreseen how the emergence of Latino, and to a lesser degree, Asian ballplayers has changed the game. But since Robinson was all about inclusion, I believe he would welcome that development.
It goes on and on like this, with nearly every sentence kicked off by a presumptuous statement about how Robinson would feel about the state of racial diversity in the game. I'm not sure who deputized Lapchick to be Jackie's Spokesman on the Earthly Plane, but I will say this: each statement is less convincing when interpreted as the communication of a dead man's feelings than they are interpreted as a transparent attempt to cast the author's own work in an approving, Robinsonian Glow.

5 comments:

dubbschism said...

Barry Bonds is a jerk, which is why black kids would rather play basketball and football. You know, because those sports have much better role models, like Carmelo Anthony, Ron Artest, Pacman Jones, and Ricky Williams.

Jason said...

Yes, focusing only on African Americans IS short-sited. It misses the point completely: acceptance of non-whites is the issue.

Caucasions in baseball, as a percentage, have dropped, ceding to the Latino influence.

And ya know what, the game remains as popular as ever, despite the PEDs, Clemens, Bonds, Wade Boggs' hair, Kruk's head, Harold Reynolds' hugging, Papi's shaving techniques, the disappearance of the good Barry Zito, Harden's DL visits and other sorts of things. None of which have any relation to race, color or creed.

Again, it's only a crisis because white America is forcing themselves to think it is. I don't think African Americans are wringing their hands over this. If they choose not to play baseball, that's OK, really it is. They are choosing, at their own free will, to pursue other interests. Again, all of this is OK.

I'll hop off the soapbox now. Thanks Shyster for doing the legwork on this.

Craig Calcaterra said...

I decided that the article was rambling, so I cut out the part Dubb is referring to (i.e. a paragraph which notes that Lapchick cites, among other things, Barry Bonds being a jerk and Al Campanis once saying something controversial as reasons why there aren't as many Blacks in the game).

I also cut out the bit about ALL non-whites in the game that Jason referrs to because I've made the point elsewhere (and actually, Jason makes it better than I did).

Sorry to pull the rug out like that.

Ken Dynamo said...

you doubt lapchick's authority on the subject? well, dude, did you know that he recently listened to the latest top selling rap album? yeah, what, exactly.

Peter said...

The sad irony is that these people who insist on dividing baseball players by race are the ones threatening Jackie Robinson's legacy.