MLB’s hollow tribute to Jackie Robinson

One of the advantages of reactivating my Facebook account is that I get to see lots of ads. A while back I must have “liked” the official Lids Facebook account. I now get to see ads from Lids in my Facebook feed.

That’s not a problem. I like to wear overpriced hats associated with professional sports franchises. By Lids peppering my Facebook feed with ads, I now have a better idea on what I should be spending money on. In other words, being a good consumer.

There was an ad I saw yesterday that made me look twice. It was for hats honoring Jackie Robinson, the first black player to play in Major League Baseball. Not the first black player good enough to play in Major League Baseball. Jackie Robinson was the first black player the racist pricks who controlled Major League Baseball allowed to play.

Major League Baseball has now turned the legacy of Jackie Robinson into a way of making money. These hats at Lids are just one example. The thing that surprised me about the ad is that they couldn’t even bother to get his name right. It’s Jackie Robinson, not Jackie Robins.

It annoys me that every team in Major League Baseball gets to honor Jackie Robinson when only the Dodgers signed him and put him on the team. When I see a Yankees hat with 42 on the side, I think it’s honoring famed closing pitcher Mariano Rivera. He played 19 years of the Yankees and he wore the number 42 like Jackie Robinson. He started wearing it before Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson’s number league-wide. Players who already wore the number 42 could continue to wear it.

Why were they allowed to do that? If you want to mass retire a number you should be willing to enforce it immediately. We’re all for honoring someone or something, unless it’s inconvenient. Having to change the number on your uniform would just be too inconvenient.

Every year I saw Mariano Rivera play with the number 42, the more I associated that number with him, not Jackie Robinson. Like every other Yankees player, his name wasn’t on the back of his jersey. All he had was a large 42 on the back. Even now when I see the numbers of retired players at Camden Yards, the blue 42 makes me think of Mariano Rivera, not Jackie Robinson.

Retired numbers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

It looks it me that the Orioles are honoring Mariano Rivera. This is the same team that has a statue of Babe Ruth in front of the stadium. Babe Ruth, the greatest Yankees player of all time.

 

Author: Rick Rottman

This is my personal blog. It's where I write about things when I feel like it.

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