Siberian Baseball

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jackie Robinson Day is getting out of control

The rumblings started last year when Houston fielded an all-white team in matching 42's and Torii Hunter spoke up about how that defeated the purpose of the day.

This year, I got to see Nick Swisher and the entire Oakland A's lineup sporting 42's, in addition to Jermaine Dye on the South Side and Derrek Lee, Daryle Ward and Ken Griffey Jr. wear the special jerseys on the North Side.

Given the choice, less is more.

In addition to being confusing as hell in the middle of an infield pop-up (Frankie was pretty upset for the scorekeepers who had to try and sort out a mess on a flubbed catch) you really lose any sort of impact by flooding the field with "special" jerseys.

There are a few options here:

1.) Make the players earn the right to wear Robinson's number. Go old school and have an essay contest if it comes to that. I'd love to see "Why I should be able to wear No. 42, by Junior Griffey" in all it's double-spaced glory.

2.) Vote on it. We all know that MLB loves, loves, loves to open things up to online voting from the final spot on the All-Star Team to the Batboy of the Year. What better way to get fans back into baseball every spring than to have a few days to allow them to vote for the player they think is most deserving of the honor?

3.) Limit the usage of the the number to the starting first baseman for each team. That's it. One 42 at first base for each team in each ballpark and leave it understated.

The only minor exception I can see here is for the Dodgers themselves, if for no other reason than to allow Vin Scully to tell this story. Aside from that, it just makes the commissioner's office appear too lazy to figure out who should be allowed the honor of wearing the number.

(Image from:



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