Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Baseball Without Justice

The 4 train stopped dead around Bleecker Street yesterday afternoon.

“The train ahead of us has suffered a one-two punch,” the conductor explained. “There is a suspicious package and a person with a weapon who is threatening other passengers. We will continue once the NYPD clears this up.”

The woman standing beside me offered some perspective. “At least we’re not on that train.”

Yeah, the wait wasn’t bad at all. We made 161st Street-Yankee Stadium in plenty of time. The angry, weapon-wielding person and the suspicious package didn’t make it. Every once in awhile the NYPD does this neighborhood a favor.

Even they know that anger and hate have no place in baseball. Too many people these days don’t understand that. Perhaps it’s because they simply don’t understand the game. Maybe they didn’t play enough when they were kids or maybe they were forced to play too much.

The joy and hope and decency of baseball was either never instilled or it was ripped out by the roots. It’s sad no matter what the case.

Perspective on that comes from Jimmie Crutchfield who played 16 seasons in the Negro Leagues for teams like the Birmingham Black Barons, the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Chicago American Giants.

Crutchfield once told John Schulian in the Chicago Sun-Times: “We had ball games to worry about. We didn’t have time to hate people.”

The story was titled: Baseball Without Justice.

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