Here’s a sentence you may never see again in the Jock Blog:
Way to go, Dodgers.
That’s right. I wrote it. And it took every ounce of repressing my scarred 1970s childhood — I may even wake up from a sweaty nightmare tonight shouting “Garvey! Cey! Nooooooo!” — to do so.
But you know what? I’m happy to write it, because the Dodgers done good.
And the thing is, they have a history of it, too.
When Mookie Betts, the team’s lone African-American player, told his teammates that he was not going to play Wednesday night against the Giants, in an effort to raise awareness of systemic racism and police brutality towards African-Americans, the team’s response had a decidedly historic hue.
Clayton Kershaw, who is pretty much impossible to not respect, came out of the clubhouse and stood next to Betts and manager Dave Roberts, another African-American. Kershaw then said the most simple, but powerful, words of brotherhood and teamwork you could ever want to hear:
“As a white player on this team, how can we show support?” Kershaw said. “What’s something tangible that we can do to help our black brothers on this team?”
As Roberts nodded, Kershaw spoke: “Once Mookie said he wasn’t going to play, that really started our conversation as a team as to what we can do to support that, and we felt the best thing we could do to support that was not playing, with him.”
I found this profound in its simplicity. What can we do to help? How can we support you?
And then they took action. Reports indicate it was the Dodgers’ decision to stand with Betts that ultimately convinced the Giants to go along and postpone the game.
Here’s the history: 72 years earlier, a similar thing happened.
If you saw the movie “42”, you remember. Jackie Robinson faced taunts from a racist Cincinnati crowd, and his white teammate, Pee Wee Reese, trotted over on the diamond and put his arm around him.
There is some dispute as to whether it happened in 1947 or 1948, and whether it happened in Cincinnati or Boston, but the protagonists all remember the gesture. They even made a statue of it, with Reese’s arm around Robinson. Pee Wee Reese back then was, in essence, saying the same thing Kershaw said in 2020.
What can I do to help? How can I support you?
Seven decades later, black Americans still fight for racial equality. And seven decades later, another white Dodger teammate offered support to a black Dodger teammate.
I don’t care your politics: Trump, Biden, Putin, Palin . . . I don’t care. This isn’t political. This is human.
And both times, I found Dodger blue to be a pretty human color.
I tip my cap to Kershaw for simple eloquence, and to Betts for taking a stand to use a platform to start a discussion.
This officially ends the only Jock Blog in which I will say: Way to go, Dodgers.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming of tribal love for my home laundry:
“BEAT L.A.! . . . BEAT L.A.! . . . BEAT L.A.! . . . “