[Editor's Note: No, those aren't mugshots, they are actual real-life colored baseball players. And no, CJames isn't a blogger, but he's an active member of AverageNation™. As my college roommate and one of my bestest friends, he's one of the few commenters here who actually knows me in real life. So when he shot me his recent experience and observations from an Atlanta Braves game, as well as some general ruminations on the state of America's Pastime, who was I to turn a brotha down? Ironically, I just took AverageToddler to a Nats game yesterday, so I can relate to some of what he's sayin' here, even though I still hate baseball. As usual, show our guest some love you-know-where.]
Although most Black folks couldn't care less, Baseball is truly America's pastime. Long before our athletic heroes played football or basketball we were enamored by baseball players. Arguably, the best players in baseball came out of the Negro Leagues. For my non-baseball readers you have to understand that all of the best Negro athletes played baseball. It’s hard to imagine how good the Negro League baseball teams must have been. With the likes of Josh Gibson (The real home run king), Cool Papa Bell (fastest man on two feet), and Satchel Paige (Greatest pitcher of all time) the Negro leagues must have been a spectacle to see especially at Greenlee Field which was one only a few completely black-owned stadiums.
Fast-forwarding to the present day it somewhat saddens me that more of our people don’t enjoy our national pastime as often as they should. My son is only two years old and I have had the opportunity to take him to 9 major league games in his short lifetime. One thing is abundantly clear from going to watch my hometown Atlanta Braves at Turner field, we don’t know how to dress for baseball!
As much fashion savvy as the average black person has it doesn’t always translate in the baseball stadium. Now granted, there weren’t a lot of black patrons to begin with but the ones I saw were dressed atrociously. Besides my son and I there weren’t any other black people wearing shorts. That’s right shorts. I saw two or three Corporate Negroes there (sorry AB). They were dressed like they had just come from work. I would normally let this slide but the Corporate White Dudes that they were with were all dressed in shorts. And Atlanta Braves caps. Go Figure!
[Editor's Note: WorkPlace 101 - How To Handle AfterHours HangOut Invitations, coming soon.]
Then I saw two sisters who were dressed up. Heels, full make up, hair. Give me a break ladies. It’s a freakin’ baseball game! But I was happy to see them because this was the first time I had ever seen two black women at a baseball game by themselves. Think of how rare that is. White women do it all the time. I have observed several groups of white women at the baseball game, looking like they had a ball. This is just something to keep in mind ladies when it seems that black man strays away to women of other races. This is a topic for another blog but clearly pieces to the puzzle. I digress.
[Additional Editor's Note: CJames' comments are CJames' and CJames' alone. But for the record, he's married to a beautiful and intelligent black woman. So don't bomb him out too badly.]
The next three negroes are what took me over the top and are the inspiration for this piece. Negro #1 is wearing Sean John sweat pants, an extra long white T-Shirt, some multi-colored, straight-billed baseball cap, and high top sneakers. Looking every bit the part of the average nigga. I think to myself ,”Negro, This is Atlanta. It’s 93 freakin’ degrees! What in the hell are you thinking?”
By the way, as an aside to this AverageNation™, white folks don’t wear high tops. High-tops, fried chicken, and watermelon appear to go hand in hand. Anyway, the next negro has on a Philadelphia 76er’s jersey. Now the braves ARE playing the Philadelphia Phillies but damn, if he could spring for a 76’ers jersey couldn’t he get a Phillies jersey also. I almost let him pass also but the negro had on some hot assed, oversized jeans…..and some high top sneakers. UGHHHH! The last dude just took the cake. He has on an L.A. Rams (Not St. Louis) jersey on. Complete with the obligatory, matching, straight-billed cap, oversized jeans, and high top sneakers.
High top sneakers = Timberlands.
No Black people have on any Atlanta Braves paraphernalia other than me and my son. Oh and Legions of Negroes working at the ball park. Good Gracious! You would think they didn’t allow white people to work at the park. Maybe that’s why white folks love it so much, from the time you drive up to the park until you leave you are being served by black folks.
Which leads me to my last observation and the reason why as the AverageNation we have a mission to elevate our younger brothers and sisters. Because to some white folks...you’re still just a nigger.
So my son and I are sitting there a few seats above the dugout and a group of twentysomething white chicks are behind us. He’s playing with their foam tomahawks and they play peek a boo, blah, blah, blah. My son has a sippy cup and one of the ladies says, “What are drinking, some Grape Kool-Aid?” At that point I was on the verge of a Nigga Moment. I gathered my thoughts and replied, “Now, out of all of the possible beverages that are available in this stadium, Why would you think he would have Grape Kool-Aid?” In a very public relations, defensive voice she said, “I didn’t mean anything by it”.
Then one of the other friends chimed in with, “I like Grape Kool-Aid” which loosely translated means, “I Love Obama. Some of my best friends are black.” Nothing else was said but I noticed the other white folks around us took the usual "That's an outrage!" look, but did nothing.
Anyways, here's the question.
Question: What are some of the reasons that baseball has died in the black community? Should I have slapped that chick silly?