Celebrating Black History Month?

Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn Dodgers, 1954.jpg

If a team does something for Black History Month but doesn’t tell us, did it really happen? At the beginning of the month, Major League Baseball issued a press release detailing all of their efforts and activities for the months. A separate press release listed teams’ activities. I assumed that meant that teams would be prominently featuring Black History Month info on their websites. I assumed wrong. Other than the Baltimore Orioles and the Cincinnati Reds, who both created a special page on “Celebrating Black History Month,” and a few teams that posted videos of current and past players, not much seems to have happened.

If you want to bring attention to something in today’s world of social media, you can Tweet about it, put it on Instagram, or post something on your Facebook page or website. Most teams do all four, to cover all bases (pun intended). So, if you are taking something seriously, you should probably feature it prominently on your website.  

Most teams have a link on the right-hand side that says, “Join Us in Celebrating Black History Month.” But that’s just a link (which I refuse to provide) that sends us to MLBshop.com – where you can purchase MLB stuff from “Minority-owned partners.” Ok, that’s a start. But it also seems a little self-serving to me, since you know MLB gets a cut from those sales. Besides, it seems to be a rotating link – sometimes it says Black History Month, sometimes it’s just a link to MLBshop.com.

Most teams are, understandably, focusing on Spring Training on their websites right now. A few have really annoying pop-ups urging us to buy tickets – but maybe a less annoying pop-up for Black History Month would have signified their commitment instead. Afterall, they made a big show of saying they were going to celebrate it this year. A few teams, however, did give space on their home pages to Black History Month and diversity matters, though only two teams bothered to create special pages for 2021 Black History Month.

Below is the list of what is prominently displayed on teams’ home pages regarding Black History Month (if I had to hunt for it, it didn’t count) (not that I really found anything hunting, though). I was generous and also included diversity-type links:

That’s the main website pages for twelve teams – not even half. Some teams also have information and activities under the “Community” section of their websites – but much of this is just general information on what they are doing in the community related to diversity (if they post anything at all). We can do better next year, MLB, can’t we?

Just because Black History Month is coming to an end, doesn’t mean we have to stop celebrating. Sadly, MLB appears to have barely begun.

~ baseballrebecca

Best of the Week: 2/14/2021 – 2/20/2021

The best of the week? Spring Training, of course!

~ baseballrebecca

Baseball in Paris

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The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The first baseball game in France was played on March 8, 1889, in Paris. A team dubbed the All Americas beat the Chicago White Stockings, 6-3. Four thousand spectators gathered to watch the American game, which took place around the time of the 1889 Exposition Universelle (Universal Exposition), a festival to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The game was played at the Parc Aérostatique, within view of the not-yet-complete Eiffel TowerAttending the game was none other than Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement.

The game was part of Albert Spalding’s 1888-89 World Baseball Tour. The tour was a “goodwill tour” designed to introduce the world to baseball and, of course, help advertise Spalding’s sporting goods empire to the rest of the world. The traveling baseball players included the Chicago White Stockings and a team of players from other teams called the All America team.

The tour began in the United States, with the two teams playing exhibition games throughout the Midwest on their way to California. From there they journeyed to Australia, stopping in Honolulu along the way. The first game outside of the United States was in San Aukland, Australia, on December 10, 1888. Chicago beat All America 22-13 in front of a crowd of 4,500. In 1889, after leaving Australia the two teams played games in Ceylon, Egypt, and Italy. France was their next stop.

After a few days in Paris, the tour continued through England, Scotland, and Ireland. Then the two teams headed back to the United States. Upon their return home, the players were welcomed with celebrations and banquets.  On their way home to Chicago, they played games in Brooklyn, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Chicago.

Stay tuned for more info on baseball in Paris!

~ baseballrebecca

Best of the Week: 2/7/2021 – 2/13/2021

Cal Ripken, Jr. appeared as a disembodied head on a Zoom call last week, but Cal assured us his head was still attached:

Happy birthday, Philippe Lecourieux!

Flag of France.svg

Happy birthday to Philippe Lecourieux! Who’s that, you ask? He was a French Division I pitcher, who played in the mid-2000s. Born in New Caledonia in 1989, Lecourieux was the youngest player in the 2007 European Championship. I know next to nothing about the European Championship, baseball in France, or French geography; and I have no idea what Lecourieux is up to these days. So, that’s all I can tell you.

Why bring him up, then? That time between the end of the Caribbean Series and the beginning of Spring Training can be awfully cold, dark, and lonely. It can make you start searching for baseball – anywhere you can find it. So, as I often do, I was looking at the daily baseball history summary on Baseball Reference. Looking at today’s list of birthdays, Lecourieux’s name jumped out at me. I love unique names. Then I saw he played in France. And that inspired me to learn more about French baseball.

I’m still doing my research on baseball in France, so stay tuned for more posts. Until then, the least I can do is celebrate Lecourieux’s 32nd birthday!

If anyone knows what Philippe Lecourieux is doing now, please let me know!

~ baseballrebecca