Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rebel Without a Pause

Last week, I posted my reaction to Baseball Daily Digest's pre-season awards selections. I noted, because I'm clearly a bigot, that it's a good thing that several of the players listed where African-American. A commenter (possibly Steven Colbert) took umbrage with my gauche racial profiling. My belief that a resurgence in participation by a suddenly under-represented section of the American public was a good thing offended this commenter. Thankfully Major League Baseball sent out a press release yesterday (yeah, I'm big timing) celebrating the 20th anniversary of the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Innercities) program by adding a junior RBI divison. Current RBI alumnis in the big leagues: Carl Crawford, Coco Crisp, James Loney, CC Sabathia, Justin Upton, and Yovani Gallardo.

Call me a klansman, but all those guys have one thing in common beyond their preternatural baseball ability. A quote from Crisp:
Without RBI I wouldn’t be in the big leagues,” said Crisp. “There are so many other things that people can get into during their free time. I guess I found a lot of other places to play, but RBI helped me on the baseball field and as well in the classroom and I like to give back.
Baseball is like any another sport or North American enterprise: it takes money to make money. I read a SI piece on Dontrelle Willis years ago that interviewed his Mom. She was asked by another mother who D-Train's pitching coach was; she replied "Coach Smith" or whoever was the team's coach. The other mother scoffed, as Dontrelle was the only pitcher on the team without a personal pitching instructor. That, as they say, is a major barrier for entry to subsequent levels of competition. When more people have access to equipment and coaching, the greater the chances of more talent making it to the highest level. So good for you RBI program, and good for everyone taking time to reflect on Jackie Robinson's journey to the big leagues and it's significance.

Quick Whoring

As the Score's resident west coast baseball nut insomniac shift worker, I'm liveblogging tonight's Dodgers Giants tilt from delightful Dodgers Stadium. Vin Scully and I will help you drift off to sleep, so stop by!

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