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.

MLB's hollow tribute to Jackie Robinson - Bent Corner

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.

MLB's hollow tribute to Jackie Robinson - Bent Corner
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.

 

Sports Card Radio: Raffles, razzes, and girls that look like boys

If you’ve ever listened to Sports Card Radio, a podcast about sports cards, you probably know that host Colin Tedards is not a fan of raffles. It’s where someone takes an unopened, factory sealed box of sports cards and charges people for the privilege of getting all the cards from a specific team. The team you get is random and is assigned by the person conducting the raffle.

For example, a box of baseball cards contains 30 teams. A person holding a raffle will sell 30 slots to baseball card collectors, mostly over the Internet in chat rooms. Each slot sold represents a team. Once all the slots are filled, the person holding the raffle will randomly assign each slot a team. One slot is assigned the New York Yankees, and another is assigned the Colorado Rockies, and so on and so on. The packs in the box are then opened, usually over a webcam, and people get the cards belonging to players from their assigned team or slot.

People like Colin believe the activity is a raffle because not all teams are of equal value. Participants pay money without knowing what team they will be randomly assigned.

The practice goes by different names because state and federal law strictly regulate raffles. PayPal, the payment gateway most used by people holding group breaks, specifically prohibits raffles. Because of this, they are often called razzes, razzies, or group breaks.

On the latest episode of Sports Card Radio, Colin interviewed Josh Cade, a very popular and seemingly successful group breaker. The interview was probably the most uncomfortable 34 minutes of audio I’ve ever listened to, including the time I was tricked into listening to a Jimmy Buffett CD.

The conversation was extremely hostile and antagonistic. It was also very confusing.

For instance, when Colin asked Josh to describe the process, Josh said the following:

“What you do is, is put everyone’s name in a randomizer, okay, so everybody has a chance at the same thing for the same value per spot. So basically all you’re doing is mixing up the names, half the people will get into a break, the other half will get the same value in cards. So, it’s really an equal opportunity for everybody, just some getting this part of it, some getting cards.” (0:55)

This doesn’t make sense to me. Doesn’t everyone get the break that pays to get the break?

What was even more confusing was when Colin told Josh that what he was doing seemed a lot like a raffle. This was Josh’s response:

“What seems like something, so, if you see a girl walking down the street that looks like a guy, you say, “oh, that seems to be a boy, but it’s really not a boy, okay, so I don’t know if that’s a good example or not, but something that seems like may not really be what it is. So that may not really be a boy, even though you may think it is. But if you talk to ’em and then oh you are a boy, then you know for a fact. So what seems like something and what really is something are two different things, do you agree? Because a while ago, you said something about a raffle, then you said, “Well a raffle seems like, it seems like…”, well, does it seem like or is it? That’s what I’m asking you.” (6:22)

I believe Josh was trying to say that just because something seems like something, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something. I’m not sure why he chose to provide an analogy involving a transgender person, but in his defense, he probably doesn’t know why he did that either.

Colin then asked Josh why he does these raffles:

“Because some people can’t afford to necessarily buy stock outright, so, they can either take a chance on getting into breaks or they take a chance on getting their other side of it, and getting cards. So they win, their money is at work. That’s why.” (12:21)

It’s hard to believe that something can involve money, chance, and winning, and not be a raffle. Those seem like to me all the major ingredients to a raffle.

When Colin asked about Josh’s business partners and investors, he said the following:

“You’re not dealing with retards, in this, I’m telling you, I know your last name is retarded, but the fact is, we’re smart business people. As much as it hates and pains to you to understand that, we are smart businessmen. We know how to cover our tracks. We know how to do things legally.” (14:02)

How to cover their tracks? I don’t think I’ve ever heard a reputable or legitimate business describe themselves this way.  Typically the phrase is used to describe the concealment of wrongdoing.

When Colin asked Josh to clarify what his definition of a raz is:

“So a raz is a fictitious name that we gave to (inaudible). It’s like a game. So basically the game we play is a gambling game. It’s a game where some people can get into a break, some people get cards. You just don’t know what you’re getting. But you’re getting equal value of money worth of product. So, I guess that’s the definition of a raz. What else are you looking for?” (22:04)

A raz is a gambling game where people don’t know what they’re getting, but it’s not a raffle. Got it.

Mariano Rivera is passionate about Dustin Pedroia's 'red-hot passion'

Former New York Yankees ninth-inning pitcher Mariano Rivera shared in a new book that he thinks Boston Red Sox Dustin Pedroia is the superior second baseman over former Yankees teammate Robinson Cano. In The Closer, Rivera says that he doesn’t think Cano “burns to be the best” or that he doesn’t see that “red-hot passion in him that you see in most elite players.”

What does that even mean? He might as well say that Cano doesn’t have the eye of the tiger or the thrill of the fight.

Rivera also supposedly wrote, “Nobody plays harder, gives more, wants to win more. He comes at you hard for 27 outs. It’s a special thing to see,” and “If I have to win one game, I’d have a hard time taking anybody over Dustin Pedroia as my second baseman.”

Nobody plays harder? From 2007 to 2013, Cano averaged 160 games a season. For the same period, Pedroia averaged 141 games a season. It seems that the first prerequisite for playing harder is actually to play.

I think it’s ridiculous that Rivera would publicly criticize a former teammate, and then claim he would rather have a player from the Yankees’ most hated rival than said teammate. It doesn’t even matter that it’s stupid and statistically speaking, not true, claiming that Pedroia is a better player than Cano, is a jerkish thing to do.

Rivera is probably just trying to stir up interest in his stupid book by insulting a former teammate. I doubt he would’ve said negative things about Cano if he hadn’t signed with the Seattle Mariners in the offseason. He went after Cano because he’s an easy target, at least for Yankees fans, the only people I could see reading this book.

Yankees fans that can read that is.