Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jackie Robinson Day in Milwaukee

All photos of Jackie Robinson Day at Miller Park available on Flickr.

It seems hard to believe that in the 8th season of the blog, yesterday was finally my first major league game attended on Jackie Robinson Day - I saw the Cardinals defeat the Brewers 6-1 at Miller Park.  This is a day celebrated annually by Major League Baseball commemorating the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier.  To mark this historic event, all players on every team wear Robinson's #42, which was retired unilaterally across MLB in 1997.  

While I felt honored to be a part of this day in history, it didn't really have the same excitement and sanctity in person as it does watching on television.  That's not to say I would prefer to watch baseball on TV than in person, don't be ridiculous.  But all the times I've watched Jackie Robinson Day in the past are full of great facts about the man and stories of the struggle of African-American players.  That's the part I love about days like this, or the Civil Rights Game, or Milwaukee Negro Leagues Day - learning about the history of the game.  I was at the game an hour before first pitch, and the Brewers did not have any sort of ceremony, presentation, or even a brief mention by the PA guy of Jackie.  I at least expected some sort of video pertaining to one of the greatest black athletes of all time, not to mention a Milwaukee legend - Hank Aaron.  If they didn't show the JR Day logo on the scoreboard between innings I might not have even known the day was anything different.  I hope that this is not indicative throughout the league, because I was pretty underwhelmed.  Even a team you would expect to have a pretty cool ceremony - the Dodgers - was not granted a home game on that day in the infinite wisdom of MLB scheduling.  Instead, a Florida State League exhibition game was played at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, home of the Dodgers Spring Training complex for 60 years, beginning in Robinson's 2nd season with the club.  Between two non-Dodger affiliates, I might add.

I applaud MLB's celebration of this day, but I wish in execution, individual teams would make more of an effort to honor their great African-American players.  I guess I can't speak for every team, but I was disappointed with the Brewers for glazing over the significance of this day in baseball history.

Brewers 11-4 (4 @ Pirates, 3 v. Padres)
Reds 6-9 (3 @ Cubs, 4 @ Pirates)
Twins 6-7 (3 @ Royals, 3 @ Rays)

Erik - 2 (+2 worked)

Peter - 3

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