Edited by: Tommy Parrill (@DearTommy)
I would like to start things off by offering up our thoughts and prayers from ‘Our Sports Report’ to the victims and those affected by today’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon. Whoever was behind this horrible tragedy is a sick and worthless piece of garbage that doesn’t deserve the air that we breathe. I could go on and on, but this day is supposed to special for all of the right reasons. For the last five years, April 15th has been known as Jackie Robinson Day. On this day 66 years ago, Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodger’s as he was the first African American to ever play in the major leagues, but you all know that. If you are in anyway a sports fan or at least an American, you know about Jackie Robinson. So instead of writing the 15,000th biography of Mr. Robinson, I just want to take this time to say thank you.
This last weekend, I had a chance to see the movie, 42. Being a baseball fan, of course I was going to see it, and I sure am glad that I did. As expected, the movie covered Jackie’s path from the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, to Brooklyn’s AAA-Affiliate in Montreal, and finally representing that Dodger blue in 1947. The reason that I bring the movie up is that it did a tremendous job of showing how strong Jackie was, and I am not talking about his physical strength. What Jackie Robinson contained was the strength to be the first black man in baseball, which was supposed to be a white mans game. The criticism and scrutiny that he received was unbearable. There was one racial slur after another every time he stepped out on the field, and even off of it. Hell, most of his teammates wanted nothing to do with him. It was a constant struggle, and as many times as Jackie should’ve broke down and beat the piss out of an opposing player, he didn’t. Robinson turned the other cheek and just played his game, which we all know he was damn good at. It takes a special kind of person to deal with adversity and scrutiny, and that person was Jackie Robinson.
Without Jackie doing what he did in the way he did it, who knows where the game would be today. We may have never seen the likes of Reggie Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr., Curtis Granderson or Brandon Phillips. Edwin Jackson would’ve never thrown a no-hitter and Derek Jeter wouldn’t be challenging Pete Rose for his all-time hits record. Furthermore, if Jackie didn’t break the barrier, would Latin American’s or even Asian’s be in the big leagues? We would’ve never heard of Yu Darvish or Daisuke Matsuzaka, and reigning Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera, may have never been in the picture. We all know that eventually talent was going to over power and we would see all races in the game, but because of Branch Rickey taking a gamble and going for it, Jackie Robinson has paved the way for players of all kinds to live their dream.
So as you sit down and watch baseball tonight, remember what it represents. Everybody on that field for one day is wearing the #42 to honor a man that changed the game for the better and had the guts not to fight back. Thank you Jackie, you are an example of what we should all strive to be.