Running the Race
"Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well."
—-Barack Obama, March 18, 2008
It was bound to happen eventually and we all knew it. I’m surprised it took this long; in the wake of ongoing verbal fencing and loud whispers to the press, yesterday, race became the focal point of our nation’s political future. And I can’t help but ask myself, "Really? Are we not past this yet?"
It seems that I, like most people, tend to get wrapped up in my own little cozy world where I subliminally tune out important issues like third-world hunger, genocide, massive racial divides. While I do not actively wish to diminish the magnitude of such matters, I know that we, as human beings, have the propensity to ignore them all together as long as we feel distanced from them. But how distanced are we really?
It wasn’t all that long ago when Al Campanis told Ted Koppel, and every other American watching Nightline, that blacks "may not have some of the necessities to be, let’s say, a field manager, or, perhaps, a general manager" in Major League Baseball (1987). It wasn’t all that long ago when Frank Robinson became the first black manager in the American League (1975). And it wasn’t all that long ago when Frank Robinson became the first black manager in the National League (1980).
Of course, when one thinks about the history of the world, or the history of this nation, or even the history of Major League Baseball, April 15, 1947 wasn’t all that long ago either—a mere blip on the screen of modernity. And just think of all the great ballplayers, games, pennant races we missed seeing, knowing, reading about before that day.
Historically, baseball has been a leader in equality. Presently, baseball is lagging behind. We have overcome mountains of obstacles, but there is always more to be done.
Baseball is a game, but it is more than a game. For me and my brethren, it is a passion, a way of life, a worldview. And one would be hard pressed to find any distance between passion and the passioned.
And I know I am not alone. Thank you, Jackie. Thank you, Barack. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another and let our game reflect that spirit as well.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right,