Baseball and Voting Rights

I’d never associated women’s suffrage and the right to vote with baseball, but the Baltimore Orioles have changed my mind with their new webpage:

Photo by Element5 Digital on

In addition, last week, the Dodgers announced that they have offered to make Dodger Stadium a polling place for the November election. The Dodgers have partnered with More Than A Vote, an organization created by LeBron James to combat voter suppression, as one of their initiatives to address community needs. Since then, other teams have followed suit, with the Boston Red Sox and some NBA and NHL teams joining efforts with National Vote at Home, a group that focuses on voting rights, to make their stadiums and arenas available as voting centers.

For information on all things voting and how to register to vote, check out these websites:

~ baseballrebecca

Willie Horton and the Summer of 1967

File:Willie Horton 1975.jpg

Willie Horton with the Tigers in 1975. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

In the summer of 1967, a riot enveloped a Detroit neighborhood for 5 days. It was one of the worst race riots in U.S. history, surpassed only by the L.A. riots of 1992. I am not a historian, so any summary I write of it likely would not do it justice. But it grew out of tensions between the Black community and the mostly white police department, which, according to the Encyclopedia of Detroit, “[l]ike many forces across the country… was known for heavy-handed tactics and antagonistic arrest practices, particularly toward black citizens.”

Early in the morning on July 23, 1967, approximately 82 people were arrested at illegal “unlicensed weekend drinking club,” known as a “blind pig.” A crowd of onlookers gathered to witness the arrests, and at least one person threw a bottle at police. After the police left the scene, looters began going through neighborhood businesses. By the afternoon, fires had broken out in the neighborhood, and the rioting and looting expended to other parts of the city. People in public places, such as Tiger Stadium, were told to avoid the area. The players, as well, were urged to leave the ballpark quickly after the game and go straight home.

One of those players was Willie Horton, who’d grown up in Detroit, in the neighborhoods affected. So, while still in his uniform, Horton did what he felt he had to do. He drove straight to the scene of the riots, pulled over, and stood on top of his car imploring the rioters to not lose their message about racial inequality through violence and looting. He urged peaceful protest, much like today’s athletes and activists called for in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

Many years later, Horton told the Detroit News how he felt in those moments: “‘It was scaring me. There were people on all sides of me. It was like a war. But a war isn’t supposed to be in your community.’” Despite his pleas to the rioters, however, the rioting continued. It can be hard to understand why these events occur – and how peaceful protests can turn to violence and looting. Sociologists who study social movements have theories, but theories don’t necessarily solve problems.

Systemic societal problems cannot be resolved by one person or in five days or through violence. While sociologists may not have all the answers, they do have some tools that can help. Sociology teaches us to try to see things from other perspectives. Willie Horton could see more than one perspective. Can we?

~ baseballrebecca




Speaking Out for Justice

A lot of emotions have been experienced and shared by people all over the world over the past few days: anger, rage, fear, anguish, frustration, sadness – profound sadness. Many of us are still at a loss for words, or just don’t know what to do to bring about justice, peace, and social change. Even if you don’t know what to do to help, keep praying, sharing, and teaching, and support those who can help the world change for the better.













~ baseballrebecca




MLB’s Response to the Pandemic, Part 3

Cal Ripken Jr. in 1993.jpg

Cal Ripken, Jr., in 1993. Photo by Rick Dikeman via Wikipedia.

Last week, I reported on the efforts of MLB, MLBPA, and individual teams during this time of crisis. Several players have also pledged donations to various charities. Here’s a team-by-team rundown of what players are doing:

  • Atlanta Braves: Freddie Freeman donated a total of $125,000 to three charities: $50,000 to the Atlanta Food Bank, $50,000 to Giving Kitchen, and $25,000 to the Salvation Army.
  • Baltimore Orioles: Orioles’ reliever Richard Bleier catered lunch for emergency room staff at Wellington Regional Medical Center in Palm Beach County, Florida. Similarly, Chris Davis catered breakfast for the staff of the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital on what would have been Opening Day. Cal Ripken, Jr., Bill Ripken, and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation are participating in Feeding America’s “Strike Out Hunger” campaign.
  • Chicago Cubs: Jason Heyward donated $100,000 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and $100,000 to MASK, an organization that is providing food and supplies to families impacted by the pandemic. In addition, the Anthony Rizzo Foundation has expanded its Hope44 Meals program.
  • Cleveland Indians: Trevor Bauer set-up and contributed $10,000 to a GoFundMe page for stadium workers.
  • Colorado Rockies: Daniel Murphy had donated $100,000 to a general fund for minor leaguers. Murphy donated another $100,000 to the Rockies’ “Stay at Home Opener” fundraiser for local food banks.
  • Houston Astros: Justin Verlander and wife Kate Upton announced that they would donate Verlander’s MLB paychecks to a different charity each week while baseball is on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. George Springer donated $100,000 to Minute Maid Park employees. Other Astros’ efforts include: Carlos Correa donated $500,000 worth of medical supplies to the city of Houston; Jose and Nina Altuve, along with the Astros Foundation, donated 60,000 meals to Kids’ Meals, Inc.; Joe Smith and his wife arranged for hundreds of meals to be sent to hospitals in Houston and greater Cleveland.
  • Milwaukee Brewers: Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun have partnered with local companies to provide meals to healthcare workers, providing 1,000 meals at their first donation event. Yelich, Braun, and several other players, as well as Brewers’ announcer Bob Uecker also contributed to the fund for Brewers’ employees.
  • New York Mets: Steven Matz donated $32,000 to New York City hospitals and first responders.
  • New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole said he would be making “significant” donations to Direct Relief, which is an organization that coordinates with various organizations to assist health workers. CC Sabathia’s PitCCh In Foundation joined with local grocer FreshDirect to hold a food drive to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs.
  • Philadelphia Phillies: Bryce Harper and his family donated $500,000 to organizations in Las Vegas and Philadelphia or relief efforts.
  • St. Louis Cardinals: Adam Wainwright donated $250,000 to Cardinals’ minor leaguers. Dexter Fowler matched donations to a local food bank in Las Vegas, providing over 64,000 meals to people in the community.
  • Texas Rangers: Shin-Soo Choo donated $1,000 to each of the team’s 190 minor leaguers. He also donated $200,000 to Community Chest of Korea to support the city of Daegu, near his hometown, Busan. In addition, Kyle Gibson is helping coordinate the Big League Impact program, which is partnering with Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation to send funds to each big league city to help feed children. Elvis Andrus, Robinson Chirinos, and Lance Lynn also have contributed to this effort. Andrus also Elvis Andrus contributed to Fort Worth’s Assist the Officer drive which supports local businesses and restaurants by serving hot meals to local police officers. Rougned Odor contributed to both Safe Haven and Mission Arlington, which provide shelter and emergency aid people in need. The Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels and manager Chris Woodward are proving provided 1,000 meals for health care workers in Arlington and
  • Toronto Blue Jays: Hyun-Jin Ryu donated $100,000 to the Korea Disaster Relief Association.
  • Washington Nationals: Sean Doolittle and his wife Eireann Dolan donated 25,000 meals to the Capital Area Food Bank. Nationals Philanthropies have given $48,000 to chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen and the Nationals have provided space at Nats Park for the cooking and packaging of meals to be distributed in the community.

There are likely other examples out there, but these are the ones that have been reported in the news over the last few weeks.

~ baseballrebecca








MLB’s Response to the Pandemic, Part 2

Yesterday, I summarized some of the efforts of MLB teams to provide assistance during the coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday afternoon, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Dodgers Foundation, and iHeart Media announced their efforts “to address homelessness, food insecurity, basic needs and support for health care workers on the front lines.” They also will coordinate donations from players, fans, and team partners. Other efforts from individual teams include posting activities online for kids who are stuck at home.

In addition, last week, MLB announced that it would continue to provide “financial support” for minor league players through May 31st or the beginning of the minor league season, whichever comes first. Players also will continue to receive medical benefits and can continue to any remaining funds they have in the College Scholarship Plan or Continuing Education Program. Major leaguers have also stepped-up to help minor leaguers:

  • Shin-Soo Choo of the Texas Rangers donated $190,000 to the Rangers’ minor leaguers – $1,000 to each of the team’s 190 minor leaguers. He also donated $200,000 to Community Chest of Korea to support the city of Daegu, near his hometown, Busan.
  • Louis Cardinals’ pitcher Adam Wainwright donated $250,000 to Cardinals’ minor leaguers.
  • Daniel Murphy of the Colorado Rockies donated $100,000 to a general fund for minor leaguers

In addition, as I reported a week or so ago, MLB and Fanatics apparel company announced that Fanatics will be using fabric normally used to produce Yankees and Phillies’ jerseys to make hospital masks and gowns.

There are several players that have made other contributions during this time as well, tune-in next week for an update on those efforts.

~ baseballrebecca






MLB’s Response to the Pandemic, Part 1

Shortly after Major League Baseball realized the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown Spring Training, MLB and the MLB Players Association announced they were joining forces and donating $1 million to Feeding American and Meals on Wheels to help with food assistance for children and senior citizens during the pandemic. Further, MLB established a $30 million fund – comprised of $1 million from each team – to assist ballpark employees affected by the delayed start of the season.

Other assistance to stadium employees has included:

  • The Toronto Blue Jays and the other Toronto sports teams established a fund to “help the workers who support them every day and night.”
  • The New York Yankees along with the New York City Football Club have created a “distress fund” for Yankee Stadium employees.
  • Ilitch Holdings, which owns the Detroit Tigers and other Detroit-area businesses, set up a $1 million fund for part-time employees that would have worked at games, concerts, and events that were canceled due to the pandemic. The fund covered one-month’s wages for those employees.
  • San Francisco Giants’ owner Larry Baer provided $700,000 to stadium workers.
  • Cleveland Indians’ pitcher Trevor Bauer set-up and contributed $10,000 to a GoFundMe page for stadium workers.
  • The Astros’ George Springer donated $100,000 to Minute Maid Park employees.

In addition, several individual teams and their foundations have pledged donations to various charities:

  • The Milwaukee Brewers’ Community Foundation donated $200,000 to the COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund at the United Way of Milwaukee and Waukesha County and the MKE Responds Fund at the Great Milwaukee Foundation.
  • The Colorado Rockies held a “Stay At Home Opener” fund raiser, during which they collected $380,000 in donations (including $100,000 from Daniel Murphy). The Rockies Foundation pledged $300,000 in matching contributions with all proceeds going to local food banks in Colorado and Wyoming.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays and the Tampa Bay Rowdies donated 1 million meals to the Feeding Tapa Bay food drive and pledged to match up to 1.5 million additional mean donations.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates donated $50,000 to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
  • The Minnesota Twins donated $30,000 to The Sheridan Story, a local nonprofit addressing child food insecurity. They also pledged matching contributions up to $125,000.

In addition to these donations, MLB players have stepped up to help out local organizations. I’m still compiling all of their efforts and will report on them later this week.

~ baseballrebecca





Play Ball Again, Puerto Rico


Marc Anthony at the December 14 Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony in Loaíza. Photo courtesy of Anna Hurt, Rural LISC

What do singer Marc Anthony, reggaeton star Bad Bunny, and Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Báez have in common? A passion for baseball in Puerto Rico – and last week they celebrated the restoration of community baseball fields so kids in Puerto Rico can have a chance to play again.

Two years ago, Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico, destroying community baseball programs in the process. More than 300 ball fields were no longer playable in the aftermath of the storms. In September 2019, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) launched the “Play Ball Again” program to rebuild some of those fields and bring baseball back to more than 17,000 Puerto Rican youth. Partnering with LISC are Marc Anthony’s Maestro Cares Foundation and Bad Bunny’s Good Bunny Foundation. Financial support was also provided by UNICEF and Cubs Charities.

Bad Bunny in 2018 (photo via Wikipedia)

“Baseball … helps young people do better in school and improves family life and health in difficult circumstances.” – Marc Anthony

“In parks similar to these, a lot of great athletes like Roberto Clemente, Yadier Molina, Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez, and Ivan Rodriguez grew up. Our commitment is to rebuild these parks so that we can help new athletes grow. This is the first step for the rebirth of sports within the island.” – Bad Bunny

“This rebuild will make a big difference for the community, and I am proud to continue my efforts to restore the island.” – Javier Báez

The “Play Ball Again” initiative expects to provide more than $1.6 million in renovations to baseball fields in Puerto Rico, with much of the initial funding provided by Anthony, Bad Bunny, and the Cubs. On December 14, LISC celebrated the opening of newly restored ball fields at Parque de la Comunidad in Loaíza, Puerto Rico. Marc Anthony and Javy Báez were there for the celebration, along with LISC CEO Maurice A. Jones, and representatives from Little League Latin America, UNICEF, LISC, the Good Bunny Foundation, the Maestro Foundation, and the local community.

What an awesome example of different groups uniting to bring about change in the community!

~ baseballrebecca



The Latest on MLB-MiLB Negotiations

Pitcher Sean Doolittle is among those who disagree with the proposal to eliminate 42 Minor League Baseball Teams

In October, MLB released the details of its plans to contract Minor League Baseball and by November people began to understand the potential impact of MLB’s proposal for eliminating 42 minor league teams – 25 percent of the current teams. Since then, various MLB players, MiLB owners, and politicians have commented on the issue. Most agree that contraction is not what is needed to increase the fan base and address issues such as aging facilities. Over the weekend, MLB and MiLB each took swipes at each other, with MLB threatening to find other partners. Here’s a brief timeline of what has transpired since mid-November:

CBS Los Angeles ran this piece on the latest just yesterday:


MLB and MiLB have all of next year to fight this out, as the Professional Baseball Agreement between the two is set to expire at the end of 2020.

~ baseballrebecca













The Aberdeen Legacy

67472272_10158652084277067_7514303712534200320_oThis past Saturday, the Aberdeen IronBirds became the Aberdeen Legacy for one night only as the team celebrated the legacy of the Ripken family. According to the team’s website, Legacy night celebrated “the Ripken family, Bill and Cal’s respective on-field legacies and the legacy of the family in Harford County – we can’t celebrate the evening without learning more about what led Cal and Bill to bring Minor League and youth baseball to Aberdeen and Harford County and to continue working to develop the youth baseball game around the world.”

The Aberdeen IronBirds are a short-season A team in the New York-Penn League owned by Cal and Bill Ripken. In fact, the team plays at Ripken Stadium in Cal and Bill’s home town of Aberdeen, Maryland. Ripken Baseball has several baseball fields around the stadium that host youth baseball camps and tournaments.

Cal and Bill were at the game, made a few speeches, and each threw out a baseball before the game. They spoke to little leaguers on the field and interviews with the IronBirds GM appeared on the scoreboard throughout the game. It was a great way to honor the family’s contributions to baseball in Aberdeen and the rest of the state.

~ baseballrebecca


2019 Heritage Nights at the Ballpark, Part 2

17991985_10210450229270161_7373124005593779385_nLast week I posted the first half of the my annual celebrations of our many national, ethnic, and religious heritages. I’ve posted the second half below. So get out there and celebrate your heritage and the heritage of your friends and neighbors!

~ baseballrebecca

African American Heritage Celebrations and Negro Leagues Tributes

Date Team Details
16-Apr Nationals Jackie Robinson and Black Heritage Day
1-Jun Pirates Heritage Night/Negro Leagues Uniforms
7-Jun Brewers Negro Leagues Tribute Game
19-Jun Cardinals African American Heritage Night
19-Jun Dodgers African American Heritage Night
20-Jun A’s African American Heritage Night
23-Jun Royals Salute to the Negro Leagues Day
28-Jun Reds African American Community Night
23-Jul Giants African American Heritage Night
10-Aug Tigers 100th Anniversary Detroit Stars Replica Jersey


Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Celebrations

8-Apr Giants Chinese Heritage Night
21-Apr Marlins Japanese Heritage Celebration
21-May Giants Filipino Heritage Night 1
24-May Giants Japanese Heritage Night
21-Jun Dodgers Filipino Night
23-Jun Mariners Japanese Heritage Day
19-Jul Giants Polynesian Heritage Night
Jul-19 Dodgers Japan Night
26-Jul A’s Pacific Islander Heritage Night
29-Jul Padres Japanese Community Night
1-Aug Dodgers Korea Night
2-Aug Dodgers Hawaiian Night
6-Aug Mariners Korean Heritage Night
10-Aug Padres Filipino Heritage Night
15-Aug Rangers Hawaiian Heritage Night
16-Aug A’s Korean Heritage Night
20-Aug A’s Chinese Heritage Night
23-Aug Mariners Filipino Heritage Night
7-Sep Padres Pacific Islander Heritage Night


Native American Heritage Celebrations

Date Team Details
14-May Giants Native American Heritage Night
1-Jun D’backs Native American Recognition Day
30-Jul A’s Native American Heritage Night
12-Sep Mariners Salute to Native American Night


Heritage Celebrations for Other Folks

Date Team Details
29-May Phillies Greek Heritage Night
31-May A’s Greek Heritage Night
11-Jun Giants Portuguese Heritage Night
18-Jun Padres Scottish Heritage Night
24-Jun Red Sox Catholic Night
26-Jul Padres Catholic Night
27-Jul A’s Portuguese Heritage Night
6-Aug Tigers Arab American Night
10-Aug Tigers Armenian Tigers Fan Night
15-Aug A’s Indian Heritage Night
27-Aug Padres Portuguese Heritage Night
14-Sep Nationals Taste of the World International Food Festival
27-Sep Giants Greek Heritage Night