Wednesday, October 28, 2015
For the next six days, much of Los Angeles was set ablaze and looted in a paroxysm of protest against racism and police brutality. Liquor stores and pawnshops were ransacked, 200 buildings were burned to the ground, and snipers on rooftops took aim at the firefighters who came to help. One young Dodgers fan, then-10-year-old Ozzie Smith, later recounted the harrowing experience to The New York Times.
“We had to stay in the house for a week, maybe two weeks,” Smith said. “My dad would go down to the store for food and come right home. You could hear gunshots all the time.”
Ten miles away at Dodger Stadium, as Maury Wills and company faced the Pirates, management offered rain checks to ticket holders who didn’t feel safe enough to attend. Players, too, were worried.
“I had to drive through that area to get to the ballpark,” Johnson told the Los Angeles Daily News. “People were shooting. There were snipers on the freeway. I wore my uniform because that was my identification. I thought if people saw that I was a Dodger, I wouldn’t get killed.”
“I really don’t think Juan should have been playing at all,” said Willie Mays. “He was pretty strung out, full of fear and anger, and holding it inside.”
Marichal was typically genial and devoted to his Bible studies. But the Juan Marichal who woke up on Aug. 22 to face the Dodgers was not the same man who carried a picture of St. Martin, the peacemaker, in his pocket.
“Juan wanted to fight,” teammate Matty Alou said. “He had the devil inside him that day.”
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
MAKE BASEBALL GREAT AGAIN
A USA TODAY Sports study of 67 bench-clearing incidents in Major League Baseball over the past five seasons found the main antagonists hailed from different ethnic backgrounds in 87% of the cases.
Just more than half of them - 34 - pitted white Americans against foreign-born Latinos. Another four featured white Americans and U.S.-born Latinos….
“Why can a pitcher show you his emotions and you can’t show yours to him? Those are baseball rules from a different time,’’ Gomez told USA TODAY Sports in Spanish. “It gets to the point where, when you’re by yourself, you think, ‘What did I do? I didn’t do anything inappropriate.’ It’s a bit frustrating, because all I’ve ever done is play the game with passion, with desire, with love, giving it my all, and a lot of people take it the wrong way.’’
Count San Diego Padres pitcher Bud Norris among them. In a conversation about what’s proper on-field behavior and what’s not, Norris mentioned Gomez as a particularly egregious violator of the rules. While praising Gomez’s ability, Norris said some of his actions are disrespectful.
When the told the large majority of the benches-clearing incidents involved players of different backgrounds, Norris nodded knowingly.
“I think it’s a culture shock,’’ Norris said. “This is America’s game. This is America’s pastime, and over the last 10-15 years we’ve seen a very big world influence in this game, which we as a union and as players appreciate. We’re opening this game to everyone that can play. However, if you’re going to come into our country and make our American dollars, you need to respect a game that has been here for over a hundred years, and I think sometimes that can be misconstrued. There are some players that have antics, that have done things over the years that we don’t necessarily agree with.
“I understand you want to say it’s a cultural thing or an upbringing thing. But by the time you get to the big leagues, you better have a pretty good understanding of what this league is and how long it’s been around.’’
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