70 Years After Jackie

Jackie_Robinson,_Brooklyn_Dodgers,_1954“The right of every American to first-class citizenship is the most important issue of our time.” ~ Jackie Robinson

It’s been 70 years since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Many players followed, changing the face of the game, sports, and society, forever. Significant progress was accomplished in the United States in the decades that followed Jackie’s MLB debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. But there is still work to do.

Many people have examined the social significance of Jackie Robinson integrating baseball. We have also come to know about Robinson’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Nonetheless, there remains unfinished business that must be addressed.

So, yes, today is Jackie Robinson Day throughout MLB and MiLB ballparks. While we celebrate Jackie Robinson’s enormous contributions to society, let’s also think of ways to honor his memory by continuing his work.

~ baseballrebecca

Gordon and Stanton on Robinson

Yesterday, I posted a link to Adam Jones talking about Jackie Robinson and blacks in baseball in 2015. Here’s Marlins’ players Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton said last year:

Adam Jones on Jackie Robinson

Adam Jones in 2011. Photo by Keith Allison (via Wikipedia).

Every year, MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson Day – April 15 – by donning #42 uniforms, hosting special events, and talking about the importance of Jackie Robinson to baseball and society. One of my favorite players, Adam Jones, always tells it like it is, and Jackie Robinson Day a few years ago was no different. Click here to check out Adam Jones’ 2015 comments here.


This year is the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. As we count down to Jackie Robinson Day, let’s think about what this means to the players, the game, and us – the fans.

Countdown to Jackie Robinson Day

469526Are you ready to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day? This year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the day that Jackie Robinson broke the color line in baseball. On April 15, 1947, Robinson made his major league debut, thus opening the door to MLB for African Americans and players of other races.

This year, you can have new Jackie Robinson shoes from Adidas, a Daytona Tortugas‘ Jackie Robinson giveaway t-shirt, or a replica of the new statue of Robinson installed at Dodger Stadium. I’ll have more Robinson-related posts as we countdown the next few days.

I think Saturday’s gonna be a great day!

~ baseballrebecca



Where Was Henry?

The longer I study the Orioles’ minor league teams, the more I wonder about all the roster moves and how it affects the players and fans. On Saturday, I was surprised to see that Henry Urrutia was not on the roster when I went to see the Norfolk Tides at the Charlotte Knights. Then I found this tweet:

You see, I didn’t see that part about the IronBirds, at first. So, immediately I searched the roster of the Bowie Baysox on the MiLB First Pitch app. The Orioles had outrighted Urrutia to Bowie last year, so I thought maybe he’d just ended up back there. But he wasn’t on the Bowie roster. So I checked the Frederick Keys, the Delmarva Shorebirds, and then the Aberdeen Ironbirds’ rosters. No Henry.

Where was Henry? What happened to Henry? What did they do to Henry?

I was beginning to think it was some sort of a conspiracy. After all, the O’s had recently released fellow Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez. After he got hurt. After the O’s tried to convert him to a pitcher. After it was announced he needed Tommy John surgery. Poor guy gets sidelined and the O’s cut him. (But more on him later.)

It was eventually brought to my attention that – despite my inability to find him on the IronBirds’ roster – the original tweet that had started my feverish search for Henry Urrutia had indeed stated he was on the IronBirds’ roster. I checked First Pitch again and realized they only had two outfielders listed, and since they don’t start play until mid-June, maybe updating the app was not a priority.

I was happy to see this tweet on Sunday:

The Tides’ box score did confirm that Henry played in yesterday’s game. He was a pinch hitter. He didn’t get a hit, and the Tides lost, but at least he got in the game.

I’m a little sensitive about my players, you see. The Orioles like to manipulate the rosters of their various minor league teams. A lot. And I’m still a little annoyed that Pedro Alvarez was sent to Norfolk this year to learn the outfield. He was a major leaguer for the Pittsburgh Pirates for more than five years. Last year, playing part-time with the O’s he still managed to hit 22 home runs. Pedro does not belong in AAA.

Which brings me back to Dariel Alvarez. Two days after his release, the Baltimore Sun attempted to humanize the Orioles by saying that Alvarez could come back. The Orioles are interested in signing him to a minor league contract if he clears waivers. It’s the least they could do. I hope they at least pay for his Tommy John surgery. That minor league contract better not be a huge pay cut, though.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that with everything going on in baseball, it’s hard to get the whole story. Baseball sociology requires more than just rosters, box scores, and stats. To know how society impacts the sport, and how baseball impacts society, we need to dig deeper. We need to know more of the story.

~ baseballrebecca






Flaherty’s Fans

Ryan Flaherty
Ryan Flaherty in 2015. Photo by Keith Alison, via Wikipedia.

On Sunday, I was at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, FL, for a Spring Training game between the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles. As the starting lineup was announced, the woman next to me asked, with a hint of concern in her voice, “isn’t Ryan Flaherty on the team any more? Did the Orioles get rid of him?” I informed her that he was on the DL, expected to return next week. In fact, I told her, he’d just walked by a little bit ago, so he was definitely there. 

As the game progressed I started wondering why she’d asked. I mean, Flaherty is one of my favorite players, but he’s probably not an every day household name like Cal Ripken – especially for a Detroit Tigers fan.

Ryan Flaherty, from Portland, ME, was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 2008 draft. After four years in the Cubs’ minor league system he was picked up by the Orioles in the Rule 5 draft. The Orioles’ utility infielder made his MLB debut on April 7, 2012, and has been with the team ever since.

After the 7th inning or so, several players left the field as they so often do during a Spring Training game. I noticed Ryan was among them and pointed him out to his fan. Then she explained: they were from Maine. And no one from Maine ever makes it to the big leagues.

Awesome! Keep making Maine – and Maryland – proud, Ryan!

~ baseballrebecca

Mr. and Mrs. Harper

Bryce Harper and Kayla Varner tied the knot last Saturday in San Diego…

For Time & All Eternity #mrandmrsharper

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Recognize any familiar faces in the wedding party?

Talk about a great weekend!! Such an amazing time celebrating #TheSequel!! Congrats to @bharper3407 and @kayyvarner!!

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