Via phillysportsdaily.comby Dan Loney on May 14, 2011 – s
There have certainly been several cases in which Major League Baseball has missed the boat. Just see their decisions many years ago to avoid the issue of steroids like the plague. But this weekend is not one of those black holes. Nope, this time they hit a home run.
In Atlanta this weekend, MLB will play what is now their annual Civil Rights game, in part to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King and what he did to push forward the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s. King, born in Atlanta, was the centerpiece of the movement which will now celebrate his work in his hometown with a weekend of ceremonies.
Yes, the Civil Rights game has been played in Memphis and Cincinnati. But it is something a bit different for the game to come to the cradle of the civil rights movement.
MLB will honor actor Morgan Freeman, musician Carlos Santana and baseball greats Ernie Banks and Atlanta’s own Hank Aaron.
But this is more about the game of baseball, including the one on Sunday afternoon, which will be broadcast nationally at 2:00 p.m.on TBS. Because any discussion of where baseball and Civil Rights crossed paths begins, of course, with Jackie Robinson. The man that broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947 gave one of the biggest assists to what Dr. King was able to accomplish two decades later. Robinson was a staunch supporter of King, to the point of marching with King, writing about him in the New York Post and raising money for his work.
Many people believe that the day that Robinson stepped onto the Ebbetts Field turf in April of 1947 truly began the movement to level the playing field, as it were, for African Americans.
So one can only imagine what will be going through the minds of players like Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Jason Heyward. Sure, they have had the chance to wear No. 42 on their backs when baseball commemorates Robinson’s first game, but it will no doubt bring on some stronger emotions to be playing a game to remember the Civil Rights movement in the town that Dr. King lived.
And add in the fact that the teams will don the uniforms of the Negro League teams of the era, the Philadelphia Stars and the Atlanta Black Crackers, and it become a watershed day in the careers of these players.
So, congratulations to Major League Baseball for getting this one right. It should be a memorable weekend. read more