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Friday, April 23, 2010

Time Changes Everything ... well almost!

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hello all

Cyclorama

Listed at 6 foot, Daddy was a scrappy, albeit short starting center for his high school basketball team ... really 5 feet, 11 and 1/2 inches ... back when the center jump after every goal was the rule ... had a good two handed set shot, I'm told ... until suffering a lifetime debilitating hernia while saving his brother from drowning and, as a result, was classified 4F during the early part of the war.

I remember the war well as we spent our nights listening to the shortwave for reports from Europe, Jack Benny Castincluding speeches by Sir Winston and Der Führer ... and at home ... war news of course, plus Jack, Fred, Allen's Alley, Fibber & Molly, Gildersleeve, and Amos & Andy.

On weekends, we frequented Stone Mountain, Grant Park, the Farmer's Market, Atlanta's airport and train stations, and almost always the original "Old Hickory House" on the Old Bankhead Highway ... giant pork sandwich, pickle, coke and chips for 20 cents. Sometimes we took in a Crackers' game or attended a singing, especially if either The Vaughans or The McBrayer Quartet were included ... or if Big Jim Waits was on the bill.

Vacations were usually at Grandma's in Bell Buckle, between Wartrace and Fostersville ... Monteagle roadBellbuckle about 50 miles south of Nashville ... an all day adventure, including a 2 hour switchback ride over Monteagle, and the last 25 miles over dirt roads. Actually, we "swung in on a vine" was how Daddy put it ... horses, cows, pigs, geese, polecats, smokehouse, outhouse, wood stove, well water, oil lamps ... Grandma had taught Mama well ... not only could she cook and sew, she could milk too!

With most of his agents in the service, many of our weekends were spent interviewing potential salesmen with Daddy ... though they didn't know it, as they were the ones making the appointments, usually with Mama ... and the practice continued into the early fifties.

Methinks we met every insurance, vacuum cleaner, encyclopedia, and kitchen utensil salesman in Atlanta during that time ... and this little boy has always remembered that they all had well rehearsed spiels ... well, most.

Daddy said "You can't tell much of anything about a man from his memorized spiel and how well it's delivered" ... so it was my job to interrupt and distract ... after a while I sometimes got the green light, but usually only on cue. The hand may be quicker than the eye, but even master magicians can sometimes use an extra ...

I remember once plugging a vacuum into an outlet that didn't work properly while the salesman was preoccupied messing up mama's rug with his demonstration "dirt" ... poor fellow, we thought he was going to cry.

One book salesman ... complete with a delightful British accent, derby, and Book Salesmanumbrella, ... new to this country; very sincere ... had memorized his entire spiel, as well as answers to anticipated questions ... but, if you interrupted him, he didn't know what to do ... so he just started over, word for word ... time after time ... and the same was true for his answers to questions ... only worse ... seemed he knew all the questions and all the answers too, but sometimes had trouble matching them up correctly. Daddy and Me

It was a long afternoon ... but, he was nice and we finally got him talking rather than reciting ... smart, told wonderful stories when he was was relaxed ... Daddy saw something in him and had him return ... thinking he was going to sell some books, he was offered a job instead, selling himself and insurance.

The one I remember best was a young life insurance salesman, who was obviously new on the job and nervous ... he immediately went into his spiel, asking no questions ... and uninterrupted, he pulled out his application as he completed his pitch ... attempting to close with "I think a $5,000 policy would be just right for you; don't you agree?" ... and waited for Daddy's response.

He seemed anxious as Daddy took his time, seriously considering things ... and visibly showed his disappointment when Daddy slowly responded "No" ... followed after a few seconds with "I really think I need $25,000" ... eliciting an audible squeal as excitement replaced disappointment.

I'll swear his hand shook as he started filling out the application ... we had no idea where Daddy was headed or how he was going to get out of the hole he was digging ... not until the agent asked "occupation?" ... to which Daddy proudly responded "Test Pilot" ... I was young but I knew where Daddy was going, nowhere ... he was there!

He knew that test pilots were considered the highest of occupational risks by the young man's company and that he had been instructed not to approach them ... the young man was taken aback and flustered beyond belief. I'm sure that he had never anticipated such a situation, ... and things had gone so nicely too.

He stuttered and stammered for the longest as Daddy urged the application being quickly completed and signed; more than once asking the amount of the initial premium ... and when the coverage would go into effect.

Daddy
Now, it would be a mistake of the highest order to conclude that my father was a cruel man ... he was the exact opposite ... and though a stern taskmaster, he was always fair ... gave respect to everyone who deserved it and some who didn't ... received it in return.
Daddy
He went from country boy, fresh out of high school ... to office boy ... to debit agent ... to District Manager in '45 ... ultimately becoming his company's top senior marketing officer with over 5,000 agents and employees under his control ... all with the same company in a career that spanned 46+ years.Daddy

He went by many names ... those who didn't know him sometimes called him Robert or Bob ... I called him Daddy; Mama called him Honey; family called him Vaughan; friends called him "Mac" or "Mister Mac" ... he usually introduced himself as "R.V. McBrayer" ... but most called him Mr. McBrayer, or McBriar ... though our grocer called us McBrides for 15 years.

To him, darn was a bad word ... firm, gentle, fair, integrity, honor and respect; those were the words most often used to describe my father ... he was indeed a gentleman.
Daddy SuitDaddy was made to wear a suit ... that is to say, that was his natural condition. If he wasn't in a suit, chances were he was in the tub or in the bed. He went hunting, fishing ... worked in the garden, painted the house ... to ball games ... washed and waxed the car, all in a suit ... played catch and came to the dinner table that way too, sans the tie but on occasion. He really had little choice ... his wardrobe consisted of suits, dress shirts, ties, dress shoes ... and more suits.

When it came to situations such as I've described, methinks you'd be hard pressed to find aplomb and deftness equal to his ... it was fun for me, that's for sure ... that he wasn't bested by any of those fellows made his little boy proud ... but he respected each and every one, that too is for sure. "Everyone has to learn" ... that's what Daddy would say.

It was a different time, again that's for sure; but they were all made aware of what had transpired ... either during or after the fact. Most were asked to dinner, and many became friends ... that they were better for the experience was their evaluation, not mine ... now what would a little boy know about that?

Truth is, we all were, especially me.

My initial thought had been to chew the "you can't and shouldn't try to judge a man from his agenda based, well rehearsed spiel recital" rag ... but, I wound up sharing some family stuff ... and maybe something more.
Please TOGGLE Barber's POLL to OPEN and CLOSE the Poll
Here's another ... "Cajun" Dorian was a wonderful man who worked with and for Daddy for many, many years ... he had a spiel that wouldn't quit ... not memorized like those others, Cajun was just being "Cajun" ... mesmerizing his audience with his stories ... and as they came increasingly under his spell, the whoppers got bigger and bigger.

Guess I heard and loved them all, at least those appropriate for young ears ... didn't really matter what he said ... it was the "Cajun" sounds and how he said Iwo Jima Flagthings; his own enjoyment and his wife, Miss Lucy saying, "now Clarence" ...

I first met the Dorians when I was four or five ... Mama had tried just about everything to make me stop sucking my thumb ... we went visiting and Daddy had him show me his thumb ... well, it was only half a thumb, a nub, resulting from an accident long ago but I was privileged to hear a very long and scary story ... of how he had sucked his thumb almost clean off as a boy! Scary, but not scary enough to make me stop.

Now Mr. Dorian was not one to miss a chance to tell a tale or make a sale ... and Cajun's Fordwhen he heard that a woman with five children had moved into a farm house a few miles up the road from where he lived, he immediately drove out to greet them ... it was the neighborly thing to do and he hoped to sell them some insurance too. One thing led to another and he found himself telling the lady some grand story ... and she was eating it up, when one of her sons came up, demanding attention with "Mama, Mama" ... but she sent him away with "Don't Interrupt, Mr. Dorian's our guest" ... "Please Mama" ... "No!"

The scene was repeated several times over a span of a few minutes ... and finally, Mr. Dorian interrupted and asked "What is it son?" ... "Mister, your car's on fire" ...

Good thing Cajun was "Cajun" and not one of those folks reciting a memorized spiel who avoided interruptions with a passion. Well, that's how Daddy told the story, and Mr. Dorian agreed ... but, Miss Lucy told it different ... according to her, that experience is what caused "Clarence" to stop memorizing, reciting and selling and start just being "Cajun".

A-BombDer Fuhrer had it his way for quite some time, but then came "D-Day"Audie Murphy and finally, the war that had dominated our lives for so long came to an end when Harry gave 'em Hell and the order to drop number two ... times were good, as was the economy ... Saturday morning double features, complete with a serial, cartoon, and newsreel were still a dime ... in '46, "The Man" hit .365 and "Rapid Robert" struck out 348 ... no interleague play or designated hitters but St. Louis beat Boston in the Series.

Things change ... it's written in the Book. What we are; our values, our perspectives ... are greatly influenced by our beginnings. Well, those were some of mine ... and with all the changes that have taken place, Daddy's "You can't tell much of anything about a man by his memorized spiel and how well it's delivered" ... is still true!

He had a delightfully wry sense of humor ... writing prescriptions on napkins for complaining waitresses and such ... in the late 1930s, he began sporting a toothbrush moustache ala Chaplin, ... or was it Der Fürher? Only his barber knew for sure but in 1941, one of "Ma Bell's" finest reported him as a suspicious character and he spent an afternoon explaining himself to the authorities ... clean shaven for life.

He promised to give me a pocketknife when "you grow up" ... never got one ... but he gave me his wristwatch, one his father had given him. He never watched me bowl but I gave him a trophy I won in 1960 and it was on display in his office until he retired ... and in his bedroom after that. Daddy never struck 348 in one season either, but he was still quite a feller!

The young insurance salesman? Unlike Daddy, he worked for more than one company during his career ... the one with which he started three weeks before he met us, and the one lasting until his retirement.
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Comments and Discussion

Friday, April 16, 2010

Old Political Humour ...

These stories or anecdotes are from a variety of sources. Some of the political stories came from the news, some from history, and some from abroad, but as far as I know they are all true! ...


George Bernard Shaw once sent Winston Churchill some tickets for the first night of one of his plays. Churchill then sent Shaw a telegram to the effect, “Cannot come first night. Will come second night if you have one.” Shaw promptly replied, “Here are two tickets for the second night. Bring a friend if you have one.”  

At his presidential inauguration, Abraham Lincoln arrived at the rostrum holding, in addition to a copy of his speech, his trademark black stovepipe hat and cane. When, after laying down the cane, he was dismayed to find no room for his hat, Senator Stephen Douglas (Lincoln’s chief electoral opponent) dutifully came forward and took it from him. “If I can’t be president,” Douglas remarked as Lincoln sat down, “I can at least hold his hat.

In 1846, Lincoln ran for Congress as a Whig against an evangelical Methodist named Peter Cartwright. One day during the campaign, Lincoln attended a religious meeting at which Cartwright, after a stirring welcome, invited everyone who wished to go to heaven to rise. Several congregants complied. “Now,” Cartwright continued, “those who do not wish to go to hell will stand!” With these words, everyone else rose up, with a single notable exception. “May I inquire of you, Mr. Lincoln,” Cartwright asked, “where you are going?” Lincoln rose. “I came here as a respectful listener,” he calmly replied. “I did not know I was to be singled out by Brother Cartwright. I believe in treating religious matters with due solemnity. I admit that the questions propounded by Brother Cartwright are of great importance. I did not feel called upon to answer as the rest did. Brother Cartwright asks me directly where I am going. I desire to reply with equal directness: I am going to Congress!”

Senator Barry Goldwater, a talented amateur photographer, once took a picture of President John F. Kennedy and sent it to him requesting that he send it back with an autograph. Kennedy complied, returning it with this inscription: “For Barry Goldwater, whom I urge to follow the career for which he has shown so much talent - photography. From his friend, John Kennedy.”

While campaigning for the 1960 presidential election, John F. Kennedy was amused one day to receive a curious telegram from his father Joseph (a prominent banker and industrialist): “Don’t buy a single vote more than necessary,” it read. “I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide!”

Harry Truman was once asked by a young student how he might get started in politics. “You’ve already started,” Truman replied. “You’re spending somebody else’s money, aren’t you?”

Shortly after attending a White House dinner with President Nixon in December 1972, Cleveland mayor Ralph J. Perk was asked why he had not been accompanied by his wife Lucille. She had made other plans, he explained; it was her bowling night.

The latter portion of Jimmy Carter’s presidency was plagued by recession. The American economy did not pick up again until Ronald Reagan had assumed the helm (in the early 1980s). “Depression is when you are out of work,” Reagan declared after taking office. “Recession is when your neighbor is out of work…” And a recovery? “A recovery is when Jimmy Carter is out of work!”

One day while campaigning against Dwight Eisenhower during the 1952 presidential election, Adlai Stevenson was approached by a female admirer. “Governor,” she enthused, “every thinking person will be voting for you.”  “Madam, that is not enough,” Stevenson replied, “I need a majority!”

In 1965, William F. Buckley ran for the office of mayor of New York City. Given the odds of his clinching a victory, Buckley’s campaign was ridiculed by many political pundits, chief among them William F. Buckley. One day a reporter asked the candidate to name the first thing he would do in the event of a victory. Buckley’s reply? “Demand a recount!”
 
One day Clare Boothe Luce, a Republican, was asked by a journalist for her comments regarding a certain Republican senator’s switch to the Democratic Party. “Whenever a Republican leaves one side of the aisle and goes to the other,” she wryly replied, “it raises the intelligence quotient of both parties.”

While delivering a campaign speech one day Theodore Roosevelt was interrupted by a heckler: “I’m a Democrat!” the man shouted. “May I ask the gentleman,” Roosevelt replied, quieting the crowd, “why he is a Democrat?” “My grandfather was a Democrat,” the man replied, “my father was a Democrat and I am a Democrat.” “My friend,” Roosevelt interjected, moving in for the kill, “suppose your grandfather had been a jackass and your father was a jackass. What would you then be?” Alas, Roosevelt was thwarted by the quick-witted heckler, who promptly replied: “A Republican!”

Despite concern over Ronald Reagan’s age (69) when he ran for the presidency in 1980, he won by a wide margin, becoming the oldest president ever elected. During a televised debate with Walter Mondale in the next election four years later, Reagan was asked whether he was too old to serve another term. “I’m not going to inject the issue of age into this campaign,” he astutely replied. “I am not going to exploit, for political gain, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

Shortly after JFK’s inaugural address, his Republican opponent Richard Nixon generously told Ted Sorenson (Kennedy’s aide) that there were certain things in the address which he himself would like to have said. “Do you mean the part about ‘Ask not what your country can do for you’…?” Sorenson asked. “No,” Nixon replied, “the part beginning ‘I do solemnly swear’…”



--sja

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Colored Past ...


It is well-documented in the history of baseball's storied past that it's once longstanding color barrier was soundly shattered on April 18, 1946, the day Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson, born in Cairo, Georgia to a sharecropping family on January 31, 1919, was signed to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization by owner Branch Rickey, becoming the first African-American of the 20th century to join Major League baseball. Robinson made his first appearance with the Montreal Royals in the International League, and after just a single season with Montreal, the gifted athlete made his big league debut as a Brooklyn Dodger on April 15, 1947, when he played first base against the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field. Jackie Robinson helped catapult the Dodgers to the National League Pennant, and earned National League Rookie Of The Year honors.

During those early years, Jackie Robinson endured hardhearted mistreatment from fellow ball players and baseball fans alike, all with quiet dignity, but his entrance into America's favorite pastime had served to spin rusted tumblers in the doorlocks of prejudice thereby enabling access by other players of color such as Don Newcombe, Roy Campanella, Joe Black and Larry Doby, the first black star of the Cleveland Indians. By 1952, more than 150 black players comprised of the "cream of the crop" from Negro League rosters had been enticed to join organized baseball's integrated majors and minors. However, few people have given much thought as to how Robinson came to the attention of major league scouts, where he had played before joining the Brooklyn Dodgers, or what the nature of baseball might have been in the black community before integration in the major league. I would like to take a brief journey back in the history of American sports and society to the fascinating era of the Negro Leagues, and explore the events that brought about the great Jackie Robinson's debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers ... and white America.

The original National Association of Base Ball Players, which formed in 1867, had banned all black athletes, but by the late 1870's, many African-American players were on active rosters of white, minor league teams. In the North, between the end of the Civil War and 1890, a good number of African-Americans played alongside their white counterparts on major and minor league teams, but following brief stays with white teams, most of these players felt the hurtful sting of regional prejudices, along with an unofficial color ban. However, there were some notable exceptions who built long and successful careers in white professional baseball. In 1884, John W, "Bud" Fowler, an African-American with more than a decade of experience as an itinerant, professional player, was signed by the Stillwater, Minnesota club in the Northwestern league. Fowler preferred to play as a second-baseman, but played virtually every position on the field for Stillwater, further heightening the reputation that had brought him to the attention of white team owners. Bud Fowler's baseball career continued through the close of the 19th Century, much of which was spent on the rosters of minor league clubs in organized baseball.

In 1883, Moses "Fleetwood" Walker, a former Oberlin College star, began his professional baseball career with the Toledo club, also in the Northwestern league. Almost from the beginning of his career, Walker was a better than average hitter, and considered by many to be among baseball's finest catchers. In 1884, the Toledo club joined the American Association, and Walker became the first black player to play with a major league franchise. By 1886, many black players were playing with teams in the "outlaw" leagues and independent barnstorming clubs along with Fowler and Walker, including George Stovey and Ulysses Franklin "Friendly Frank" Grant. The best black players found a measure of tolerance, if not acceptance, in white baseball in the North and Midwest until the end of the 1880's. But that situation made an abrupt change in 1890.

In 1890, as the season began in the International League, the most prestigious of the minor league circuits, there were no black players. With no formal announcement having been made, a "gentlemens' agreement" was made which barred black players from participation for the next fifty-five years. For a time, African-Americans were able to find work in lesser leagues, but within only a few short years no team in organized baseball would accept black players ... the color barrier was firmly in place by the turn of the century. As Walker, Fowler and Grant, along with many others struggled to find a spot (and keep it) in organized baseball, other black players were pursuing careers with the more than 200 all-black independent teams that performed throughout the country from the early 1880's forward. Through the close of the century, powerful Eastern teams such as the Cuban Giants, Cuban X Giants and Harrisburg Giants played both independently and in loosely organized leagues. Professional black baseball had began to blossom throughout America's heartland, and even in the South by the early 1900's.

The emergence of potent black teams during the early years of the 20th Century, such as the Chicago Giants, Indianapolis ABC's, St. Louis Giants and Kansas City Monarchs, rose to prominence and presented a legitimate challenge to the claim of diamond supremacy made by Eastern clubs such as the Lincoln Giants in New York, Brooklyn Royal Giants, Cuban Stars and Homestead (Pa.) Grays. Black baseball was also thriving in Birmingham's industrial leagues in the South, and teams like the Nashville Standard Giants and Birmingham Black Barons were establishing solid regional reputations. Black baseball had become, perhaps, the number one entertainment attraction for urban black populations throughout the nation by the end of World War I. It was then that one of black baseball's most influential personalities, Andrew "Rube" Foster, owner of the Chicago American Giants, determined that the time had arrived for a truly organized and stable Negro league.

In 1920, under Foster's leadership, the Negro National League was born in Kansas City, fielding eight teams comprised of the Chicago American Giants, Chicago Giants, Cuban Stars, Dayton Marcos, Detroit Stars, Indianapolis ABC's, Kansas City Monarchs and St. Louis Giants ... "We are the ship; all else the sea" was how Rube Foster described his new league ... that same year, Thomas T.Wilson, owner of the Nashville Elite Giants, organized the Negro Southern League, with teams in Nashville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Montgomery and New Orleans. Just three years later in 1923, the Eastern Colored League was formed, featuring the Hilldale Club, Stars (East), Brooklyn Royal Giants, Bacharach Giants, Lincoln Giants and Baltimore Black Sox ... the Negro National League continued on successfully throughout most of the 1920's, until ultimately succumbing to the financial hardships of the Great Depression and sadly dissolving at the close of the 1931 season.

In 1933, Pittsburgh bar owner Gus Greenlee organized the second Negro National League, quickly taking up where Foster's league left off, and became the dominant force in black baseball from 1933 through 1949. From 1920 through the 1940's, the Negro Southern League was in continuous operation and held the position of black baseball's only operating major circuit for the 1931 season. The Negro American League was formed in 1937, bringing into it's fold the best clubs in the South and Midwest, and stood as the opposing circuit to Greenlee's Negro National League until the latter disbanded after the 1949 season ... the three major Negro League circuits had steadily built what was to become one of the largest and most successful black-owned enterprises in America, despite having weathered the storms of the difficult economic challenges thrust upon the entire nation by the Great Depression ... the existence and success of these leagues stood as a testament to the determination and resolve of black America to forge ahead in the face of racial segregation and social disadvantage.

Gus Greenlee had firmly intended to field the most powerful baseball team in America when he organized the Negro National League in 1933 ... and he may well have achieved his goal. In 1935, his Pittsburgh Crawfords lineup showcased the talents of no less than five future Hall-Of-Famers, including the likes of Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Judy Johnson and the great Oscar Charleston. During the mid-1930's, the Pittsburgh Crawfords were black baseball's premier team, but by the end of the decade that title was wrested away by Cumberland Posey's Homestead Grays, winning 9 consecutive Negro National League titles from the late 1930's through the mid-1940's. The Grays had bolstered their lineup with Hall-Of-Fame talent such as that of power-hitting first sacker Buck Leonard, along with featuring former Crawfords stars Bell and Gibson.

During the 1930's and 1940's, the East-West All-Star game, which was played annually at Chicago's Comiskey Park, contributed greatly to the ever-growing national popularity of Negro League baseball. Conceived originally in 1933 by Gus Greenlee as a promotional tool, the game rapidly became black baseball's most popular attraction and biggest money maker. From the first game forward, the East-West Classic regularly packed Comiskey Park while showcasing the Negro League's finest talent ... the demands for social justice had swelled throughout America as World War II came to a close, and many felt that it could not be long until baseball's color barrier would come crashing down. African-Americans had not only proven themselves on the battlefield and seized an indisputable moral claim to an equal share in American life, the stars of black baseball had also proven their skills in venues like the East-West Classic and countless exhibition games against major league stars ... the time for integration had arrived.

Virtually all of the Negro Leagues' best talent had either left the league for opportunities with integrated teams or had grown too old to attract the attention of major league scouts during the four years immediately following Jackie Robinson's debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Black team owners witnessed a financially devastating decline in attendance at Negro League games as a result of this sudden and dramatic departure of talented ballplayers. The handwriting was on the wall for the Negro Leagues as the attention of black fans had forever turned to the integrated major leagues ... after the 1949 season, the Negro National League disbanded, never to return ... after a long and successful run, black baseball's senior circuit was no longer a commercially viable enterprise. Though the Negro American League continued on throughout the 1950's, it had lost virtually all of it's fan appeal, along with the bulk of it's talent. The league closed it's doors for good in 1962, after a decade of operating as a shadow of it's former self ... the era of Negro League baseball had ground to a halt ... "the ship" had sank ... however, it's rich and colorful history had a profound impact, not only on our national pastime, but on America's social and moral character.

Not only was Jack Roosevelt Robinson, son of a sharecropping family from Cairo, Georgia the first African-American to play on a Major League baseball team in the 20th Century ... Robinson was also the first recipient of the Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 ... the first African-American to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 ... the first Major League baseball player to be honored on a U.S. postage stamp in 1997 ... the first baseball player to have his uniform number (42) retired in perpetuity across all teams by the Major League in 1997 ... the first UCLA student to earn a varsity letter in all four sports: baseball, basketball, football and track in 1948 ... the first African-American baseball player to receive the Congressional Gold Medal in 2003 ... and the first African-American to serve as Vice-President of a major American corporation, Chock Full O' Nuts 1957-1964 ... Jackie was also a recipient of the NAACP Spigam Medal in 1956 ... received an Honorary degree from Howard University in 1957 ... recipient of the Presidential Medal of Honor in 1985 ... and the Rookie of the Year Award was renamed the Jackie Robinson Award in 1987.

Despite a myriad of impressive collegiate and professional, athletic accomplishments over the course of Jackie Robinson's extraordinary and outstanding career, his integrity, courage and character off the field were indispensable attributes, not only in the life of the man, but more importantly in the melioration of the fragmented moral fabric of American society ... he not only possessed the courage to stare racism and hatred directly in the eye--he bravely defied it! ... while serving in the U.S. Army, Robinson was court-martialed for refusing to sit in the back of a segregated military bus ... he was later acquitted and honorably discharged from the Army ... Jackie Robinson endured unspeakable mistreatment, abuse and threats while playing the game he loved ... but endure he did ... the many black players who came before him were genuine pioneers, true Americans (America must never forget them) ... they were steppingstones that led the way from the intolerance and discrimination of the Jim Crow era to the threshold of racial equality and integration in organized, professional baseball ... amid those stones rests a mighty cornerstone ... Jack Roosevelt (Jackie) Robinson (1919-1972).

Please remember Jackie Robinson Day April 15th. ... Enter the General Discussion Area

"There's not an American in this country free until every one of us is free." --Jackie Robinson



--sja

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chipper's take on 2010

Back in Atlanta, finally! ... Four seasons without going to the playoffs ... somehow it seems longer ... Bobby Cox has frequently said that the manager gets too much credit for winning or losing, only when you lose they call it blame. I'm not sure I agree, but regardless, they should be given most of the credit for the team's "over" and "under" achieving ... there's always a lot of disagreement on whether or not the the team is underachieving ... only their barbers know and they're not talking, not for free! You'd think they would, as a professional courtesy ... 2010 should be a bit easier for Bobby ... maybe a lot easier ... the team should already be motivated as they want to make his final season a special one. A manager's dream ... he should refuse his millions in salary and just enjoy the ride!
Like everyone else, Chipper is excited to see what Jason Heyward can bring during his first Major League season, and encouraged by the team's depth. Chipper's been a good player for a long time, and it's always a delight to read his funny comments, regardless of whether you're one of Larry's faithful fans or no ... so it's not surprising that MLB.com is featuring a recent interview discussing his expectations and thoughts heading into the season. It's a pretty good interview .. Chipper's usually are ... not his best but, it's Spring Training, even for Chipper and Mark Bowman too!

His expectations entering this upcoming season? "I'm hoping we are able to make a natural cheiving progression after last year and make that next step into contention in the National League East and hopefully throw our name in the mix, as far as the playoffs" ... "We're getting back to the way we were, which is winning with pitching. I look for us to continue to make positive steps toward the top of the National League East" ... dang, didn't he say the same thing last year?

The team's capabilities in 2010? "we're very capable of winning 90 games. If we play extremely well, we can win more" ... well, let's hope for extremely well.

The starting rotation? "While I don't want to put any pressure on guys by putting a number on their success this summer, I'd say that if they go to the post every fifth day, stay healthy and keep us in the ballgame, I like our chances' ... if they stay healthy and don't go to the post as scheduled, Bobby has a problem ... same goes for their going to the post when not healthy! Chipper has a point, if they keep us in every game, I like our chances too!

On the Braves signing Troy Glaus to satisfy Chipper's request to have a power-hitting right-handed hitter behind him? "The thing that excites me most about this club is that, 1-8, we can swing it. We don't have any givens or no bona fide outs in our lineup like we did at the beginning of last year" ... I hope that's true but I didn't realize Chipper had such an influence on Frank Wren! Oh, what is a bona fide out?

On Jason Heyward? "Obviously, not having played a Major League game, there's still some things that he has to prove to myself and the rest of the team, but he's certainly proven to be as advertised, and as capable as anybody I've ever seen. I'd be very shocked if he doesn't make an impact during this season" ... I'm confused .. "he's certainly proven to be as advertised, and as capable as anybody I've ever seen" doesn't seem consistent with "there's still some things that he has to prove to the rest of the team" ... how was he advertised?

On the claim of improved camaraderie around the clubhouse? "We're close. It's a great group of guys. We're close-knit and we all hang out ... when you look 1-25, this is about as solid of a team as we've put together in quite some time" ... sounds like "Me and Frank" again, methinks!

On Bobby Cox's retirement? "It certainly adds to the motivation. We don't think about it much right now, but I think come stretch-run time, in August or September, I think it will start moving up in our minds. I think if we were to get tired during the course of the summer, certainly with this being Bobby's last season, I think it could probably add some motivation to some guys to go out and lay it on the line for him" ... yep, probably add some motivation to some guys.

Well, enough with having fun at Chipper's expense ... like I said, he's been a good player for a long time ... all as a Brave ... you could see it in his eyes during the introductions at the last All Star Game played at old Yankee Stadium. Those were the eyes of a little boy who truly loves the game!

Well, they're back in Atlanta ... they'll count, starting next week! I've been a Braves' fan for over 60 years ... indeed there are many questions yet to be answered, but this edition`could be a very good one. One thing's for sure, it'll be exciting! Like the Presidency, I support any who wear the Atlanta Braves uniform ... though sometimes it's been a bit difficult! We frequently have fun at Bobby's expense too, but the`job done by the Skipper has been has been remarkable and a World Series victory would be a fitting close to managerial career! The question is, what's your take on 2010 ... this post, Larry Jones, your team, and/or the Atlanta Braves?

You're invited to visit the General Discussion Area where you may read or offer comments on this and other posts ... or just speak your mind and/or start a new discussion on a topic of your choice!

Access is easy ... One click and you're in Enter The General Discussion Area. You can always enter the General Discussion Area at any time from the Shop's home page -- it's located immediately above the posts -- again, one click on its "Come Right In" button.

We hope to see you there frequently, with lots to say!

--BOB