Astronauts getting high in space. An NBA referee betting on games he officiated. Who knew? It’s said that sports are a metaphor for life.
I can truthfully say with an open heart: There is nothing that I know about Cal Ripken Jr. that I don’t like. Which is not to say that there isn’t anything about him I don’t like. Only to say, there is nothing that I do know about Junior that I don’t like.
I don’t dislike his team’s name. In fact, there is an oft-recorded Jazz song called “Baltimore Oriole,” and I am very fond of that really “hep” song. I learned about the Tangipahoa River listening to that song, a river where many true believers were baptized, a river that even figures into America’s Slave Narratives.
I liked his father and namesake, who doubtless worked with my John Muir Junior High schoolmate Paul Blair from Los Angeles. Paul’s name is not in Cooperstown, but he is a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame.
I liked that when he officially became baseball’s “Iron Man,” shattering the decades-old consecutive games record, the first person Junior saluted was Eddie Murray, a Black player, his role model when he joined the team. His critics say that he was honored just for coming to work every day…every day for 19 years! He is my ideal of an epic American sports hero, definitely not Black, but not White either. A lucky guy with some great baseball genes, who lived every day for the game and its Glory. It’s still 90 feet from home plate to first base.
Congratulations to Junior and to Billy Ripken, and to the entire Ripken family from right here in Aberdeen, Md. on Cal’s elevation to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Baseball’s soon-to-be, all-time home-run king will likely never make the Hall of Fame. I over-stand why that’s a fact. Barry Bonds is just too aloof and uncomfortable. And did I say too Black. He’s uncomfortably Black, not in a “dangerous” Stokely Carmichael kind-of-way, but in an uneasy, Miles Davis kind-of-way. Like heavyweight boxing Champ Jack Johnson, Mr. Bonds is “unforgivably Black.”
They say he got big, he “bulked up” on “juice,” illegal steroids. No matter. What we must still take into account the enormous hand-eye-coordination required to hit the ball that well more often than any other player who ever wore the cleats. Sammy Sosa had it one year. He and Mark McGwire both had it another year. It’s that all-seeing-eye in which the ball, not the player looks big and slow, so he can just smack that apple right on the sweet spot of his bat. This can all be plotted scientifically: number of at bats, number of pitches, etc. compounded by the number of homers hit, still makes Barry Bonds the all-time home run king.
But the mumble is: Bonds cheated. It doesn’t help him any that he behaves Unforgivably Black. As in Black Jack Johnson. Blue Black Barry Bonds.
But I wonder, did Michael Vick call any of the dogs he bred for fighting, “bitches?”
No matter. He’s innocent until found guilty in a court of law.
Have we gotten a peek and seen that Michael Vick is a cruel man? Pulling wings off insects is cruel. Cruel is as cruel does. The crimes Mr. Vick is accused of are cruel, immoral and illegal. He is presumed innocent of the crimes until he’s found guilty in a court of law. But there are others who think like Michael Vick, who think cruel is cool. Who think macho is cruel. Who think dogfighting is cool. Rough sport. The Iditarod Sled Race is a tough dog sport.
They must all know, that dogfighting and the thinking which condones it is immoral and really unacceptable in any civilized society. With that said, I still wonder: does Michael Vick (and those who think like Mike) call any of his dogs bitches?
Inquiring minds want to know.