Saturday, April 14, 2007

What Jackie gave us

Here it is a rainy Saturday night in East Tennessee. But thanks to the marvel of modern technology, I'm hanging out in Los Angeles, at Chavez Ravine in Dodger Stadium, watching the sun set.

Well, actually I'm sitting on my couch, but Directv and the great Vin Scully place me right in the middle of the action. The Dodgers are playing the Padres tonight, so that means a look at pitching phenom Jake Peavy. I take a break from a re-run of "Magnum" to watch.

Former Brave Marcus Giles flies out to start the game. His brother Brian fares a bit better. He hits the first pitch he sees out of the park to put San Diego ahead 1-0.

Vin is wondering why Mike Cameron is bunting on the first pitch. I could listen to Vin read names out of the phone book. He's without question the last of the greats.

Don't really care much for the Dodgers. But I love Vin, so I listen in most nights when he's on the dish. The Braves and Marlins were rained out tonight anyway, hence the earlier "Magnum" re-run.

Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first game with the Dodgers. Major League Baseball screens a cool tribute to him before tonight's game. They have a full-blown Jackie Robinson Day planned for Sunday.

Now Vin's going through the Dodgers lineup. Gotta run. Peavy's getting ready to pitch.

There's no grand lesson in all this tonight. Other than this: Funny to think that more than half a century ago, baseball was light-years ahead of the rest of the country when it came to civil rights.

And were it not for No. 42, we would have never seen Willie's over-the-shoulder catch. Or Hammerin' Hank's homer. Or the Wizard's flips and flops at short.

Too bad Paige, Cool Papa and Buck O'Neill never made it to the bigs.

The fault wasn't theirs.

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