As some of you old heads may remember, I did this piece last year on the gimmickizing of Jackie Robinson day. So since the MLB again wants to continue with a redundant tradition why not continue my own redundant tradition of writing this article with a little added commentary....this is Trizz vs. JR Day 2k9, enjoy
By no means do I mean to disrespect or go against Jackie and everything he has done over his life but I feel that the MLB is gimmickizing the whole thing. Yes I made up a word, if Roger Clemens can do it why can't I. So April 15th is not only the day lazy ass tax filers are screwed but its also Jackie Robinson Day. A day symbolizing when Jackie broke through to the majors and paved the way for many African American players--yes even Barry Bonds and other races alike. Last year in honor of the 60th anniversary, Ken Griffey Jr. requested he wore the number 42 in honor of Jackie and what was then a humble act by a class act player became a gimmick as everybody, primarily minority players wanted to copy Griff and wear 42.
So now this year, why not do it again for not a 75th or 100th...but a 61st anniversary because 62 is such a huge milestone. Now its presumed all black players must honor the man by wearing 42, what started as just a noble act has become a fad and as a fan I hate to see that happen. What's more aggravating (besides the whole David Ortiz wearing the jersey a week late, rain delay or not I just thought it was pretty tacky) is the teams without black players attempt to fit in by making all players wear it. While I agree its better than signing a token black guy it seems forced. But the sad part is if they don't go on with the fad they look disrespectful like a guy who insists on keeping his hat on during the national anthem.
So then suddenly, out comes polls of black players in the league and for one day people wonder why blacks have turned away from the sport. Why people rather be like LeBron James instead of Ryan Howard. Why Jimmy Rollins is the only black player for Team USA at the WBC and Jason Kiddis the closest thing to having a white person on the Redeem Team. Then they look at minority managers and are graded on their unofficial Rooney Rules. This year black baseball players is up to 10% a 14 year high compared to the record low 7% in 2008(I guess David Price is 2% himself) and they recieved an A for minority hirings for now theres 5 black managers...Jackie would be proud, I guess.
Torii Hunter said it best, they are killing the meaning of it. Only people I want to see wear 42 tomorrow is Griff if he wants to, the Dodgers and Mariano Rivera(who should've took the high road and changed his number in 97 but hey). I don't want something as significant as #42 become as pointless as K/9 statistic or as annoying as the pink hats (both are other issues for other posts). Next thing you know they will be selling #42 jerseys in preparation for JR day, further gimmickizing this day.
There are other ways to honor Jackie, a pre game ceremony, show a quick segment during the 7th inning stretch, had Griff not asked to wear the number, the MLB wouldn't have done just that so why act differently. The only thing worse than ignorance is fakeness(another made up word someone call Webster I'm on a roll here.)