FanDuel - WFBC

April 10, 2007

Jackie Robinson Day.:

posted by Ufez Jones to baseball at 01:16 AM - 39 comments

Sorry if this is a bit too incestuous, but I've been waiting to find a very good blog post on the event, and it just happened to occur on MeFi. Given the fact that SpoFi and MeFi have a bit of disconnect (on both ends) these day, I figured it'd be okay to post here. Plus it's a *damn* good post. Flame or delete away if you find it necessary.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:18 AM on April 10

Its always nice to see MLB stay in touch with their history. The Jackie Robinson Day also will tie-in nicely with the Civil Rights game that Cleveland and St. Louis played in Memphis near the end of spring training. The diversity of baseball players and the long history of the game are definately two of the things that I love about baseball that you don't see in every other sport.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 05:37 AM on April 10

It's a shame because on ESPN, the stats showed that after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, the percentage was like 18% of blacks that played the game of baseball and now in 2007, that percentage is down to like 8%. It seems that more money is spent to entice black athletes to play football or basketball than baseball. I don't understand why the lack of interest in baseball where there is a lot of money to be made as in the other sports and the chances of getting injured are still there but not as high as in football where that is not only a contact sport but more of a collision sport. I love and respect what Jackie Robinson did to break down the racial barrier but it just seems in this time that we're going backwards and that's a problem.

posted by BornIcon at 07:27 AM on April 10

It seems that more money is spent to entice black athletes to play football or basketball than baseball. Are there some recruitment commercials for the other sports? How exactly is the money being spent to "entice" black athletes in the other sports?

posted by grum@work at 09:01 AM on April 10

It is pretty cool that it was Griffey's idea to wear number 42 to honor Robinson. Good for Selig for seeing this as an opportunity to get other clubs to follow suit.

posted by bperk at 09:11 AM on April 10

The Court Martial of Jackie Robinson was a great article. I have never heard that story. So many links!

posted by bperk at 09:36 AM on April 10

BI, it's not the money. As discussed in this thread posted by JustGary, it basically boils down to what is popular in the urban neighborhoods right now, and baseball ain't it.

posted by Bishop at 09:45 AM on April 10

Has anyone found a roundup of all players/managers who will be wearing 42 in one article/web page? A number of the links are to articles about specific players, managers or teams, but there's not a complete list that I could find in one place.

posted by holden at 09:46 AM on April 10

Didja see Jackie Robinson hit that ball he hit it a solid mile Now satchel paige is mellow so is campanella newcombe and doby too I love this song also I love Jackie and what he did for African Americans and Baseball

posted by luther70 at 10:11 AM on April 10

How exactly is the money being spent to "entice" black athletes in the other sports? Easy. When you have endorsements, like for instance Nike, that are more than willing to dish out $100 million dollars for a basketball player, there you have a very vivid picture of what someone playing b-ball can get out of joining the NBA with a lot of hype. Also, in baseball, a player would have to go thru the minor leagues and actually have to accomplish something on the field of play before any type of lucrative contact is drawn up and they get promoted to 'The Show.' BI, it's not the money Sure it is Bishop. Why play baseball when playing basketball can get you a million dollar contract before the age of 21? It is about the money, not with every athlete, but more or less it is. I can understand people saying that it's not but this is just my opinion. I'm not saying that MLB doesn't offer great contracts but compared to the NBA, baseball players actually work their asses off in order to obtain one of those contacts. Has anyone found a roundup of all players/managers who will be wearing 42 in one article/web page? The entire Dodgers team will be wearing #42.

posted by BornIcon at 10:12 AM on April 10

Also, when SI can chronicle a highschooler who drives a tricked out Hummer around the neighborhood with teammates enjoying Playstation in the backseat it might entice a kid to think about basketball instead of ending up playing utility outfielder for the Bowie Baysox (all apologies to Baysox fans). Back to Robinson. Unfortunately in my school district, Jackie Robinson was relied upon too heavily to convey the struggles of the civil rights movement as a whole. I believe the idea was to use a relatively feel good story to help grade school students feel less shock about their country's history. Not to detract from Robinsonís personal struggles dealing with rampant prejudice and definitely not to detract from his achievements, but my worry is that curriculum exists that may still orient itself in such a manner.

posted by gradys_kitchen at 10:35 AM on April 10

Sure it is Bishop. Why play baseball when playing basketball can get you a million dollar contract before the age of 21? It is about the money, not with every athlete, but more or less it is. I can understand people saying that it's not but this is just my opinion. I'm not saying that MLB doesn't offer great contracts but compared to the NBA, baseball players actually work their asses off in order to obtain one of those contacts. This is where your argument takes a wrong turn. WAYYYYYYY more kids are signed for minor league deals out of high school than for ANY other professional sport. They often get signing bonuses of over $200k. If you get cut, you get to keep the money. If you get hurt, you keep the money. Also, there are only 10-12 players on a basketball roster with 30 teams. That means that there are ony 360 roster spots in the NBA. While in baseball you have like 20-25 players per team with 30 teams (not to mention the minor leagues). In baseball, you have a 100% better chance of making money playing your sport than in basketball. Growing up, I loved baseball with a passion... Until I started playing basketball. It was so much more exciting. I didn't have to wait for my turn to bat. I didn't have to wear those damn tight pants and stand out in the sun all day. Baseball uniforms are kind of tight, and not in a good way. It's obviously an economic issue. Baseball is expensive (cleats, glove, bat, uniform etc...). All you need for basketball is some sneaks and a ball. Perhaps some of the African American stars of the MLB should start a line of baseball gear that is affordable for inner city youth like Marbury did with his shoes.

posted by yay-yo at 10:36 AM on April 10

Has anyone found a roundup of all players/managers who will be wearing 42 in one article/web page? uniwatch ran a list yesterday. i don't think the final list is complete yet though. also, here is paul's original post on the subject, including some trivia about the guys that were wearing #42 when it was retired.

posted by goddam at 10:57 AM on April 10

goddam - you seem like a good person to ask: Has there been any talk about the duplicity of the Yankees retiring Mariano Rivera's 42 when he retires alongside Robinson's 42?

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:23 AM on April 10

When you have endorsements, like for instance Nike, that are more than willing to dish out $100 million dollars for a basketball player, there you have a very vivid picture of what someone playing b-ball can get out of joining the NBA with a lot of hype. That's enticement to buy a shoe, not play a sport. And, as yay-yo points out, there are more big-money contracts given out to high school baseball players in one graduating year than have been given out to high school basketball players in the history of the NBA. (note: that's an approximation. Since the players chosen in the first round of baseball usually get "big-money", that's anywhere between 30 and 40 players (depending on sandwich picks). I don't think anywhere near 40 players have made the jump from high school to NBA yet.) Baseball is expensive (cleats, glove, bat, uniform etc...). That doesn't stop the kids in Latin America from playing the sport and catching the eye of the big league scout. The entire Dodgers team will be wearing #42. That's going to make the game-day program a little useless...

posted by grum@work at 11:30 AM on April 10

The word CLASS ACT ,HEART and PASSION are the first words that come to mind when you mention the name JACKIE ROBINSON.. I consider myself very lucky because I got to not only see him play but to know him somewhat over the years. He is a legend at UCLA not only for his baseball but remember he was an All-American football player as well. There wasn't a sport that he couldn't play well. But what he represented to all americans was his ability to play the game of baseball to his greatest ability. 150% all the time any time any where. I first was introduced to Jackie my freshman year at UCLA and he was just getting out of baseball, but he had the time to stop and talk to a young freshman asking I am sure the same questions that had been put to him for years but he just sat down and we talked for over an hour and I missed my US History class but it was entirely worth it. Lucky me! I got to see him so many times either at UCLA or other events including Dodger games that it seemed like everytime I turned around he was coming down the street. Let us just say that JACKIE ROBINSON showed all of us how to play the game of baseball from the beginning until the end. Myself I put him in the class of John Wooden because he presented to all of us someone that all could look up. JACKIE ROBINSON DAY was a long time coming and maybe baseball should have gotten off its' butt a long time ago to give him what he had coming and due many many years ago. Number 42 will be remembered not only by UCLA people but all the individuals that ever played against him but were lucky enough to see him. This should be a national baseball holiday for all members of baseball from Little League thru the Major Leagues.

posted by ucla512 at 11:50 AM on April 10

That's enticement to buy a shoe, not play a sport. Com'on now grum, you and I both know that kids want the sneakers that basketball players endorse because maybe they can play like them while wearing them. Like the old Jordan commercial, "It's gotta be the shoes", there's a reason for that. This is where your argument takes a wrong turn.....They often get signing bonuses of over $200k No wrong turn, I have a TOM TOM~ The percentile speaks for themselves and the decline of black baseball players has to do with the fact that bigger contracts are being offered right away to high school/college aged kids in the NBA. I know about the signing bonuses that minor leaguers recieve but again, the NBA offers more from jump street. Honestly, if Lebron played baseball, would he recieve that very same Nike contract ? I don't think so. There are a few young, black athletes that deserve the recognition and do not. Take a look at the stats Ryan Howard from the Phillies put up last year and tell me why this kid doesn't have as much endorsements as LeBron? He's young, black, a rising star and the future of MLB but you wouldn't know it from the lack of promotion, exposure and endorsements. What a shame!

posted by BornIcon at 12:00 PM on April 10

The percentile speaks for themselves and the decline of black baseball players has to do with the fact that bigger contracts are being offered right away to high school/college aged kids in the NBA. There is no decline in football, and they don't have big contracts out of high school. There is a lot less money to be made in football than there is in MLB. You don't see black kids choosing baseball over football. That is because it is cool for kids to play football.

posted by bperk at 12:13 PM on April 10

Has there been any talk about the duplicity of the Yankees retiring Mariano Rivera's 42 when he retires alongside Robinson's 42? Ufez, I don't mean to preempt a response from goddam, but I don't think the Yankees will have a problem retiring 42 for Mariano and still recognizing Jackie with it. As it is they have two 8's in Monument Park, for Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey. I would imagine they would honor Jackie in his own display, away from the Yankees numbers where Rivera's number would be displayed. Here is an article on Ryan Howard's endorsement potential.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 12:14 PM on April 10

There is no decline in football Never said it was but it is in baseball. Here is an article on Ryan Howard's endorsement potential Gee, Subway~I wonder if the contract to endorse that was $100 million? I wonder........

posted by BornIcon at 12:38 PM on April 10

ufez, what crafty said. it's pretty much a lock that Mo will have his number retired. as of now the Yankees don't have anything at the Stadium in regards to Robinson, but he is acknowledged on their website. they may wait until after Mo retires before they do anything in monument park. The entire Dodgers team will be wearing #42. the cardinals and pirates will also all be wearing #42.

posted by goddam at 12:40 PM on April 10

BI, you have it exactly backwards: Nike spends money on basketball shoe contracts because kids are playing basketball. Nike has 0 interest in making a sport popular; they're perfectly content to make money in popular sports.

posted by yerfatma at 01:25 PM on April 10

So what do baseball players wear? Church shoes?

posted by BornIcon at 01:58 PM on April 10

BI, a lot of kids in South and Central Americas don't even wear shoes playing baseball. Nike could give a rats ass about any of the sports unless they are making $MONEY from them. If Nike had any brains, no heart and common sense, they would give away lots of shoes(seconds) to the Americas kids teams so that they too can have "Nikes" to play in and do some unbelieveable ads doing it. Think of the headlines in the morning papers everywhere Nike gives back to the kids who can't afford the price of a pair of baseball shoes. If it cost them 20mil in inventory it would be worth 5 times or more that in goodwill. But again we have to remember the motto of Nike "bottomline does it make us any money'.......Do they charge any of the players for using their shoes, doubt it, but I am willing to bet anything that they right off what they give to the players 100%.

posted by ucla512 at 02:21 PM on April 10

So what do baseball players wear? Church shoes? I believe they wear cleats, which last I checked you can't (or wouldn't) wear in about 90% of the places you might wear sneakers (like school, for instance). Nike's gonna sell more sneakers than cleats regardless of where they spend their endorsement money. You could say Nike promotes basketball over the other sports because basketball players wear the shoes that Nike has an easier time selling, so I guess your argument would be that baseball is killing its marketability by its choice of footwear.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 02:47 PM on April 10

So what do baseball players wear? Church shoes? kinda. i mean, they only wear cleats on the field, right? it's fairly specialized piece of equipment. do you think that every person that buys basketball shoes actually plays basketball? there's a hell of a lot more money to be made off the sales of basketball shoes than baseball, football or soccer cleats. hence the endorsement deals are going to be much higher. on edit: dammit crafty, that's twice today.

posted by goddam at 02:54 PM on April 10

Sorry.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 03:03 PM on April 10

So what do baseball players wear? Church shoes? You know those barber shops where there's a mirror in front of you and in back? Check for dents next time you find one.

posted by yerfatma at 03:35 PM on April 10

FWIW, Nike has given endorsement deals to athletes who are in sports where Nike has no product at all.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:58 PM on April 10

Like which? Between Nike and Bauer, I'm having trouble thinking of a sport Nike doesn't have product for.

posted by yerfatma at 04:16 PM on April 10

Naked Yahtzee.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 04:18 PM on April 10

Alpine skiing. Picabo Street had a Nike deal, and so did Bode Miller.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:49 PM on April 10

Thanks Sousepaw and goddam. That's kind of what I figured, I just didn't know if it had been addressed yet (and I'd totally forgotton about the two retired #8's).

posted by Ufez Jones at 06:27 PM on April 10

FWIW, lbb, Nike does have skiing gloves/parkas/etc, under their ACG line.

posted by tieguy at 06:48 PM on April 10

Thanks Ufez. Outside of the New York market, that distinction is usually reserved for Trevor Hoffman or Dennis Eckersley. Rivera is very, very good; but he's not as good as you people think he is. *faints*

posted by justgary at 07:11 AM on April 12

FWIW, lbb, Nike does have skiing gloves/parkas/etc, under their ACG line. Yeah, but neither Picabo nor Bode endorsed them. Picabo got her endorsement just as a well-known athlete, and Nike did create a signature sneaker called IIRC the Air Peek (a trail-running shoe, basically). I don't know what swoosh gear Bode would have sported, but he wasn't wearing any ACG gloves or jacket. His gear was made by Spyder, Briko and Atomic. As for me, I'd never even heard of that line, and certainly never seen it in a ski shop.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:56 AM on April 12

Nike Bode Miller beer-drinking gloves?

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:41 PM on April 12

In case you need more reading after Ufez's very thorough link, "After Jackie: Pride, Prejudice, and Baseball's Forgotten Heroes - An Oral History" is a new book that discusses the post-integration struggles of the black athlete through interviews with baseball players and other athletes and public figures. Excerpts are available from Time Magazine and ESPN.com. The author is Cal Fussman, who is a contributing editor to ESPN the Magazine and Esquire, according to the Amazon description.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 05:11 PM on April 13

looks like the monument park plaque came sooner than i thought it would. tonight the yankees unveiled a memorial for Robinson before the game.

posted by goddam at 11:14 PM on April 17

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