With Black History Month coming to its midway point, I’d like to comment on a few things that have occurred over this month.
First, let’s start with the one that the media had two weeks to gush over. That’s right, folks. Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith, the two coaches in this year’s Super Bowl were African-American. Now, it is about time, and I am by no means discounting the great work both of them have done, but the media coverage this was given in the buildup to the Super Bowl was a bit ridiculous.
In this time where the gap between races is shrinking in the world of sports (slowly, but surely) I feel that the media took a few steps backwards. Maybe I’m taking a weird approach, but only when these accomplishments are taken in stride and are not the top story on every network in North America will we really have overcome the racial gap.
Major League Baseball is doing something very interesting this month. They are counting down the top five teams in Black baseball history. Yesterday, they announced no. 3 and it is shining the spotlight on teams that you would never know about.
Like for instance the 1943 Homestead Grays. Based out of Washington, they were always in the shadow of the Washington Senators (who in 1943 finished in second place, their highest finish since winning the American League in 1933). The Grays of that season will always be linked with the 1927 Yankees – that is how good their offence was. Buck Leonard and Josh Gibson, two of the best Negro League hitters of all time, led the Grays. In fact, there is a tale that Gibson hit a homerun in Philadelphia that went so far nobody saw it land. The next day, while playing in Pittsburgh, a ball fell out of the sky out of nowhere. Fun story.
In addition to Leonard and Gibson, they also had Cool Papa Bell (why don’t we have names like this anymore? Someone should get on the phone and get something done about this) who was one of the fastest players in Negro League history, Jud Wilson who was a great contact hitter and Ray Brown who was a pitcher. All six of those players are in the Hall of Fame.
In 1943, the Grays won their ninth straight division title, and won their first Negro League World Series.
What’s even more impressive is that this team was no. 5 on the list. There are some great stories to be told about the Negro Leagues that many people in this generation are not aware of. There are tons of great players who never got a chance to play in the Major Leagues, namely Leonard, Gibson and Satchel Paige (who pitched in the Major Leagues only when he was over 40 years old). There will always be that ‘What If?’ asking what would happen if they had been born 10-15 years later.
Men unite! It’s Valentine’s Day!
Yes, I remembered, and yes I bought my own gift, which means that I am more prepared than the President (according to the First Lady). But, I already knew that.
Anyway, I enjoy watching the NFL Network around this time of year. Every commercial break, there are two commercials that just make me laugh. They are targeting men who let Valentine’s Day slip their minds.
Here are some of the highlights. “Give her the only gift that will absolutely have her taking off her clothes!” in a pajamas commercial, and the kicker? It comes with a do not disturb sign and “you don’t need seven weeks to plan this gift. We guarantee overnight delivery.” Why do they think men are so stupid/superficial/shallow. alright, don’t answer that.
The other commercial is for teddy bears. Basically, it shows a woman getting one at work followed by her female co-workers saying “Oh! Where can I find a man like that!” Which was followed by men looking over their cubicle and fumbling for their phone.
I hope everyone has a good and safe reading week, and I’ll be back in this spot in two weeks.