42. Great number, great movie. A great player, Jackie Robinson, wore that number with the Dodgers and it is now retired by all teams in baseball. No other Major League player will wear that number on the back of their jersey.
Jackie Robinson’s number was retired across the league because he was the first black man to play in Major League Baseball. There were Negro Leagues and there were black athletes before him, but not in MLB. This is because MLB chose to stay segregated, a reflection of this country’s society at the time. When in the south, Robinson could not join his teammates at certain hotels or restaurants because they were still segregated as well.
Think about this. These hotels and restaurants did not allow Jackie Robinson in because of the color of his skin. What if Major League Baseball stepped in, though, and demanded a venue that would welcome its teams and players, no matter their skin color? What if Major League Baseball was at the forefront of social equality?
MLB has a chance to include everyone, but chooses not to. As pointed out by Dodger Yard’s Tavi, the language used in MLB’s rulebook can be seen as misogynistic and prejudice. It is not inviting to minorities.
“In 2006, they [Major League Baseball] put in a piddly little excuse of an addendum at the end of the rules saying that when they use ‘he’ ‘him’ and ‘his’, they actually also mean ‘she’ ‘her’ and ‘hers’ when the person is female.”
This is pathetic. Tavi rewrote the rules to include women and other minorities. Why hasn’t MLB done this? Is it not a priority to make others feel included? Does that have a correlation with the decreasing number of blacks in MLB? Or does it correlate to the fact there is no “WMLB”?
I believe there should be women’s baseball and softball leagues. I believe there are women with talent on a baseball field, and they should be showcased because they can be entertaining to watch. Isn’t that what MLB wants? Consumers? Not all baseball fans are men and not all baseball fans are white. We all want to feel included.
Sure, there are plenty of foreign-born ballplayers that make rosters and ballclubs diverse. So why then, is the percentage of blacks in MLB lower than the percentage of blacks in America?
You can blame it on basketball or football for taking all the spotlight. Or you can blame MLB for not catering to the minorities in America. I watch “Live At bats” by Momentum on YouTube and its made me a fan of Nick Heath, a black player in the Kansas City Royals organization. I find the way he plays baseball entertaining and believe other people do as well, regardless of race. However, there is no doubt in my mind that if showcased more, Heath would turn more young black kids into fans of baseball.
That is tough to do. Baseball has no clock and can be seen as a slow, boring sport. Baseball has lost popularity and I wonder if MLB even cares. They are going to get their money regardless of who watches. We’ll see if they ever actively go against the USA’s history of discrimination and provide a league home to all genders and races.