Friday, April 13, 2007

Jackie Robinson Day

I am a huge Jackie Robinson fan. And I'm a big supporter of Ken Griffey Jr's idea (ok, I don't think it was really Ken's idea, but he's getting credit for it -- for whatever reason, that I can't verify, I feel like I read an idea very similar to this a few year's back on some blog or website).

But I think what's going to happen on Sunday is a little out of control. For the most part, I agree wtih what Torii Hunter had to say (and being that he's a Twin, that's rare for me).

Yes, all of the Dodgers should be wearing 42 on Sunday. Whether it's Juan Pierre, Jeff Kent, Wilson Betemit, or anyone else, it makes absolute sense for every Dodger to wear 42 in Robinson's honor. Regardless of race (but not to diminish anything that Robinson did for African Americans), Jackie Robinson did more than most people can comprehend for the game of baseball. His impact for blacks was both obvious and tremendous. But he effectively opened the door for foreigners (regardless of skin color) as well. Jackie Robinson changed the game, and a lot more in America, as a Dodger. All Dodger players should honor that each and every April 15th.

And I think at least one player on each other team should wear 42 on April 15th too. Whether it's a black player or not is not the issue for me though. The player(s) on each team who wear 42 need to "get it".

For one, I think each player who wears 42 for the day (Mariano Rivera can get a pass if he doesn't want to do this) should have to take and pass a test about Jackie Robinson. Each player who wears the number should be able to demonstrate that they know why they are wearing it. If you can't pass the test, you should study up and maybe you will be granted the honor next year.

Second, everyone who passes the test should either be evaluated by a committee and/or nominated by their team. If you have character issues, are an off the field problem, or shouldn't be associated with Jackie Robinson for any other reason, this is how baseball can ensure they don't. Players who wear 42 should be worthy of the honor. I would put Mr. Robinson's wife on the committee and a handful of others in and associated with baseball who "get it" (maybe Tony Gwynn, Ken Griffey Jr, Frank Robinson, and Kenny Williams -- just to name four people).

Also, having entire teams wear 42 (other than the Dodgers) just seems goofy to me. I don't get it. If that's part of a larger plan and each of the players can pass the Jackie Robinson history test, fine. But I doubt that's the case.

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