Some people think the 'B' stands for Boston. Well of course they do. With the Boston Red Sox being darlings of the fans for the past several seasons, of course any hat with that letter is taken for the 'B' in Boston.
However, that's not what the letter on my hat stands for.
This past weekend my beautiful wife and I went to the theater, as we often do, to see the newly released film '42' which is based on Jackie Robinson's autobiography. We really enjoy going to the movies, especially when there's a movie that has anything to do with baseball. I was so excited about seeing this movie from the very first time I heard about it. I have to say, I was not let down. While I thought a few of the scenes were a little over the top, I still think it may be one of my favorite movies in quite a while.
Jackie's impact on the game of baseball (and Civil Rights in general) cannot be overstated. When Branch Rickey decided that Jackie should be the one to break the color barrier in the game of baseball, it was because he knew Jackie "had the guts not to fight back". One of the scenes that was exceptionally painful to watch was when the Dodgers were playing the Phillies. While Robinson was batting, Phillies Manager Ben Chapman hurled racial epithets of the worst kind for the duration of the at-bat. I told Katie that "I would've had to kill some white folks" because I just don't have the spirit to ignore that kind of abuse.
And ignore it. And ignore it. And ignore it. But that's just what Jackie did, all season. He had to prove his worth with his play on the field --and did he ever!
Another scene that I thought was incredible occurred in the tunnel that leads from the dugout to the clubhouse under the stadium. I'm not a proper movie critic, nor am I an acclaimed writer (despite what my mother says) and I don't feel I could correctly depict the scene so I won't. I will say, however, that it was a very emotional scene for Jackie --and myself, my wife, the rest of the audience in the theater, and you if you'll go see it.
The last scene I'm going to mention is my favorite from the movie. I feel like this scene made the movie for me. It also brought me to tears. Fortunately YouTube had it, so I'm able to share it with you...
I find it amazing, the impact Jackie Robinson had on the game of baseball. His athletic ability was a huge help for the Dodgers immediately. They reached the World Series in his rookie season only to lose to the New York Yankees. He also managed to win the Rookie of the Year award, which I imagine is a huge feat given that the award was handed down by white men with a varying degree of racism running through their veins. In 1955 the Dodgers, with Robinson playing second base, finally beat the Yankees for his only World Series victory. Jackie played only a few more seasons, but the consequences of the things he endured live on without him.
April 15 of every year, Major League Baseball takes the day to remember Jackie Robinson. Many players have a very real connection to him in one way or another. In 2009, Ian Kinsler (my favorite second baseman) hit for the cycle and went six for six at the plate. It was a very Robinson-esque performance --and on Jackie Robinson Day, no less. Kinsler remembers his favorite player daily by wearing his socks high, like Jackie did (the only way baseball players should wear their socks, in my opinion). Robinson Cano, second baseman of the Yankees, was named after Jackie. Growing up, Cano was taught the game of baseball by his father and his favorite player was also number 42. Because that number is now retired, Cano wears number 24 to honor him.
The 'B' on my hat stands for perseverance. It stands for courage. It stands for broken barriers.
And, it stands for Brooklyn.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. -2 Timothy 1:7