Happy Birthday, Jackie!

img_1626Today marks the 100th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson was born. To mark the occasion, MLB announced on Monday that it will celebrate Robinson throughout the 2019 season. In fact, not only MLB, but the entire nation will honor Robinson, demonstrating the lasting impact on and importance to society of Robinson’s legacy.

This morning, representatives from MLB and the Jackie Robinson Foundation will join Rachel and Sharon Robinson (Jackie’s wife and daughter) in visits to three New York City schools: Jackie Robinson School, P.S. 15, in Queens; Jackie Robinson School, P.S. 375, in Brooklyn; and P.S. 42 in Manhattan. Later in the morning, the Brooklyn Borough president will award the “Key to Brooklyn” to Jackie posthumously. At noon, Sharon Robinson will participate in Facebook Live Event with Scholastic, Inc., regarding the benefits of the “Breaking Barriers: In Sport, In Life” program. In the evening, Baseball Commission Rob Manfred will join Rachel and Sharon Jackson and the president of the Jackie Robinson Foundation at the opening of the “In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson” exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.

At 7:30 p.m. tonight in California, the South Pasadena Public Library is hosting a free screening of “The Jackie Robinson Story,” the 1950 film starring Jackie Robinson as himself. Also tonight, the Los Angeles Dodgers are hosting 300 children at Dodger Stadium for a variety of activities, including singing of Happy Birthday at the Jackie Robinson statute. At 6 p.m. in Tallahassee, FL, Jackie Robinson will be honored with an event titled, “From Victim to Victor: Jackie Robinson at 100, The Cultural Impact of Jackie Robinson’s Groundbreaking Career.” The event will be held at the Planetarium at the Challenger Learning Center. Panelists will discuss the impact of Robinson on American history and will feature Robinson’s cousin, Dr. Linda Walden.

Image result for Jackie Robinson FoundationOther events will be held throughout the year by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and others:

  • February 1-15UCLA’s he Powell Library will have an exhibit on Robinson’s time on campus, titled, “Jackie Robinson and UCLA, 1939–1941”
  • February 5UCLA will host a panel discussion on athletes, social justice and activism, and the legacy of Jackie Robinson and then the Jackie Robinson 100th Birthday Celebration Concert will take place in UCLA’s Royce Hall. Featured performers will include Bernie Williams, Arturo Sandoval, and Dave Koz.
  • February 6 – UCLA Athletics will honor Robinson and his family during the men’s basketball game at 6 p.m. The first 10,000 attendees will receive a Jackie Robinson poster.
  • February 7 A Play Ball event will be held at the Kansas City Royals MLB Urban Youth Academy. Similar Play Ball events will be held in Montreal in March and Pasadena in September.
  • February 10 and February 17the play, “Jackie & Me” will be shown at the Main Street Theater in Houston, TX
  • February 23 – The Yogi Berra Museum will have an event titled, “Yogi & Jackie: A Friendship for the Ages” from 3 to 5 p.m.
  • February 25 – The Negro Leagues Museum will host a lecture by Dr. Arnold Rampersad on “Jacke Robinson, American”
  • March 20 – the Museum of the City of New York will hold an event titled, “Athletes to Activists: A Conversation with Howard Bryant of ESPN and Olympian/Activist John Carlos”
  • April 11Jackie Robinson Museum Program Preview in New York
  • April 14Jackie Robinson Museum Program Preview in Los Angeles
  • April 15Jackie Robinson Day across Major League Baseball; on-field tributes will be held at MLB ballparks throughout the country
  • May 14 the Museum of the City of New York will host a panel discussion on “Jackie Robinson: The Personal and the Political”
  • July 4 -August 11 – Jackie Robinson Museum Traveling Exhibit National Tour; the tour includes stops include stops in Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Miami
  • December 2019 – Opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum at 75 Varick Street in New York

Enjoy the celebration and honor Jackie’s legacy!

~ baseballrebecca





The Series Moves from Venezuela to Panama

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/04/CaribbeanSeries.PNGA LOT has been happening in Venezuela lately – and I do mean a LOT. People are protesting, inflation has spiked, U.S. diplomats were asked to leave, and, oh yes, the leader of the Venezuela’s National Assembly declared himself interim president. Nations around the world are taking sides. The Pope, though carefully not supporting either group in Venezuela, has stated he fears there will be more violence. And all that’s just in the last week.

Amidst all this turmoil, politics and social issues have collided with baseball in Venezuela once again. For the second time in as many years, the Caribbean Series – or Serie del Caribe – has been moved from Venezuela to another location. The 2018 series was supposed to be in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, but was moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, because of concerns about political conditions in the country. The 2019 series, originally scheduled to take place February 2-8 in Barquisimeto, instead will be held February 4-10 in Panama City, Panama.

On Tuesday last week, the president of the Puerto Rican Baseball League (Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente) assured reporters that the Caribbean Series would go on as planned, despite the political problems in Venezuela. However, on Thursday, the members of the Confederación de Béisbol Profesional del Caribe – with the exception of Venezuela – decided that they should not hold the Caribbean Series there and gave themselves 24 hours to find another location or decide to cancel it altogether. Twenty four hours turned into 48 and there was still no decision. Meanwhile, MLB weighed in on the situation and strongly urged their personnel not to travel to Venezuela.

On Sunday, the Commissioner’s Office of the Confederación issued a statement outlining the reasons for moving the series: (1) Venezuela’s announcement that there had been a “usurpation of power” and political coup; (2) Venezuela’s severing of diplomatic ties with the United States, making it impossible for U.S. citizens on the participating teams to obtain visas; and (3) MLB’s recommendations to its players and personnel that they should not travel to or remain in Venezuela. The Confederación noted that it recognized the enormous effort made by the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League in planning for the Caribbean Series and stated that the decision was made only after “profound” analysis of the economic impact and consequences of moving the series to another nation.

Over the weekend, there were several reports of potential locations for the series. Pedro Infante, the Minister of Youth and Sport in Venezuela, continued to assert that Venezuela could ensure the safety of the event. On Monday, he denounced the Confederación’s decision to relocate the series, stating the decision was made under pressure from MLB, which, he argued, reflected the United States’ involvement in the situation in Venezuela.

This is not the first time that conditions in Venezuela have had an impact on baseball and baseball players. A year and a half ago, I wrote about how the situation in Venezuela impacted MLB stars from that country and the dangers they faced when returning home. I will continue to monitor the situation in Venezuela and its sociological impacts on baseball – and I’ll post more on the Serie del Caribe next week.

~ baseballrebecca




Best of the Week: 1/20/2019 – 1/26/2019

This past week the Hall of Fame inductees were announced for 2019. Among them was Mariano Rivera who was voted-in unanimously in his first year on the ballot. If that wasn’t the Best of the Week, then surely it was this congratulatory tweet from Metallica:


Congrats  to Mariano from The Baseball Sociologist, too!

~ baseballrebecca




Baseball Exhibits in 2019

1547480147808It seems like there is always an interesting baseball exhibit at some non-baseball museum or library. Unfortunately, I often miss them. This year, however, I vow to at least get to the ones in Washington, DC. Here are the ones I’ve found so far:

Also on display this year are a few baseball-related exhibits. Through March 10 you can see the exhibit “A Whole Different Ball Game: Playing Through 60 Years of Sports Video Games,” at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, NY.  Currently, the Hershey Story Museum in Hershey, PA, has an exhibit on Hershey operations in Cuba, which includes photos and artifacts from the Hershey Sport Club baseball team and the baseball diamond built for company employees in Cuba.

In addition, two baseball-related museums are set to open this year: the Jackie Robinson Museum is scheduled to open in December in New York, and the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum also expects to open in Milwaukee, WI, this year.

And you may as well mark your calendars now for “Latinos and Baseball: In the Barrios and the Big Leagues,” which will open at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, in 2020.

~ baseballrebecca



Dariel Alvarez


Dariel Alvarez with the Norfolk Tides at the Triple-A All-Star Game in July 2015. (Photo by Minda Haas and UCinternational via Wikipedia.)

A few days ago, I blogged about Dariel Alvarez and Henry Urrutia, former Cuban baseball players and former Baltimore Orioles, who are playing for Los Charros de Jalisco in the Mexican Pacific League playoffs. After highlighting Henry’s career, I promised to share Dariel’s story.

Dariel Alvarez was born on November 7, 1988, in Camagüey, Cuba. He played for the Ganaderos de Camagüey in the Cuban League from 2006 to 2012. There he had a batting average of .297 with 37 home runs and 180 RBIs. He also pitched in three seasons in Cuba – 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2009-10. In 22 games over those three seasons, he had an ERA of 3.62 and a win-loss record of 1 and 4.

Alvarez defected to Mexico in 2012, and played for Los Tigres de Tuxpan in La Liga Invernal Veracruzano (the Veracruz (Mexico) Winter League). According to The Baltimore Sun, Alvarez hit .317 in 192 plate appearances with Tuxpan (other sources had similar, but not quite the same stats). In July 2013, he signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles and received an $800,000 signing bonus. Unfortunately, his career with the Orioles was full of twists and turns.

Initially, Alvarez was assigned to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League (GCL) Orioles in August 2013, but was quickly promoted to the high-A Frederick Keys. He then spent a couple weeks with the Keys before being promoted to the double A Bowie Baysox on August 26, 2013. He spent that fall in the Arizona Fall League with the Surprise Saguaros, who are affiliated with the Orioles and a few other teams.

Alvarez spent the first half of the 2014 season in Bowie and represented the Baysox in the All-Stars Futures game in July. He was then promoted to the triple A Norfolk Tides, where he stayed through the 2015 season. He was called up to the Orioles on August 28, 2015. He found himself in Norfolk again for the beginning of the 2016 season, though was recalled to the Orioles on July 4 (returning to Norfolk on July 7) and again on July 22 (returning on July 26).

In March 2017, the Orioles announced that they’d decided to convert Alvarez to a pitcher; after all, he’d had pitching experience in Cuba. However, after experiencing elbow soreness, an MRI showed that he would need Tommy John surgery. In early April that year, the Orioles released Alvarez from his contract, but then signed him to a minor league contract five days later. The surgery was performed on April 18, 2017. The following April, Alvarez was assigned to the low-A Delmarva Shorebirds and immediately placed on the disabled list. He began a rehab assignment with the GCL Orioles on June 25, 2018. According to Baseball America, the Orioles assigned him to the Mexican Pacific League in late September.

Alvarez and the Orioles soon parted ways, however, when Alvarez elected free agency on November 2, 2018. Alvarez remained with the Charros de Jalisco through the end of the season (and is currently with the team for the championship series between Jalisco and Los Yaquis de Obregón began last night). Just last week, Los Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican Baseball League announced that they had signed Alvarez for the 2019 season.

I guess I’ll be a Toros fan this year!

~ baseballrebecca








Martin Luther King, Jr., on Jackie Robinson and Others


Jackie Robinson and his son at the March on Washington in 1963 (photo courtesy of the National Archives)

For Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, I thought I’d post one of the many King quotes that used Jackie Robinson as an example. On September 23, 1959, in Jackson, Mississippi, King spoke to the Southern Christian Ministers Conference of Mississippi about the accomplishments of African Americans and the important contributions people can make to society, even when faced with oppression:

“… we too can make creative contributions, even though the door of freedom is not fully opened. We need not wait until oppression ceases before we seek to make creative contribution to our nation’s life. We must seek to rise above the crippling restrictions of circumstance. Already we have a host of Negroes whose inspiring achievements have proven that human nature cannot be catalogued, and that we need not postpone the moment of our creativity until the day of full emancipation. … There was a star in the athletic sky; then came Joe Louis with his educated fist, Jessie Owens with his fleet and dashing feet, and Jackie Robinson with his calm spirit and powerful bat. There are many others.”

~ baseballrebecca





Stat-urday, 1/19/2019

File:Flag of Mexico.svgIn the video I posted yesterday, the President of the Mexican Pacific League stated that attendance for the league has tripled – presumably in the nine years since he became league president. Specifically, he stated that attendance has increased from 1.4 million to 3 million fans. There are many different ways to count attendance (such as ticket sales or how many people go through the turnstiles), so I do not question his numbers. However, the stats posted by MiLB.com suggest that attendance has doubled – not tripled. Regardless, that’s not a bad increase in 9 years.

Below are the stats for the league for 2009 through 2018, as collected by MiLB. Note that Los Algondoneros de Guasave were moved to Jalisco and became Los Charros de Jalisco for the 2014 season.

Total Attendance:
Team 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Aguilas de Mexicali 393,900 450,238 436,262 392,564 346,236 307,730 241,999 214,238 185,051 177,224
Algondoneros de Guasave 144,677 133,263 174,388 179,982 109,612
Caneros de los Mochis 242,322 198,086 229,068 242,453 227,650 200,131 173,658 187,116 201,765 142,500
Charros de Jalisco 333,035 336,030 294,165 281,903 264,484
Mayos de Navojoa 172,603 203,688 222,478 162,582 173,961 159,535 158,590 93,480 38,960 104,631
Naranjeros de Hermosillo 408,513 405,889 425,514 360,324 373,357 396,068 305,890 233,886 219,180 236,970
Tomateros de Culiacan 503,535 502,356 554,737 579,500 345,024 322,420 295,263 276,007 232,739 218,975
Venados de Mazatlan 346,986 241,214 198,589 245,780 214,137 158,066 260,627 178,143 209,192 245,685
Yaquis de Obregon 271,227 246,827 265,301 259,263 249,650 130,642 162,358 164,398 189,819 203,538
Total: 2,672,121 2,584,328 2,626,114 2,524,369 2,194,499 1,819,269 1,731,648 1,521,656 1,456,688 1,439,135
Average Attendance:
Team 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Aguilas de Mexicali 11,936 13,242 12,831 11,546 10,492 9,051 7,118 6,492 5,443 5,212
Algondoneros de Guasave 4,667 3,920 5,129 5,294 3,425
Caneros de los Mochis 7,343 6,003 6,941 7,577 6,696 5,886 5,262 5,670 5,934 4,191
Charros de Jalisco 9,795 9,883 8,914 8,543 7,779
Mayos de Navojoa 5,077 5,991 6,543 5,245 5,436 5,318 4,956 3,015 1,181 3,270
Naranjeros de Hermosillo 12,015 12,300 12,894 10,598 10,981 11,649 8,997 6,879 6,642 6,970
Tomateros de Culiacan 14,810 14,775 16,316 17,044 10,455 9,770 9,227 8,118 6,845 6,636
Venados de Mazatlan 10,843 7,095 5,841 7,448 6,298 4,649 8,145 5,240 6,153 7,226
Yaquis de Obregon 8,219 7,260 8,039 7,625 7,343 3,842 4,775 4,835 5,583 5,986

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca