By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor – in – Chief
PHILADELPHIA (www.basnnewsroom.com) For years, I have been a fan of Brother Aaron MacGruder and “The Boondocks” comic strip and television show. Huey, Riley and Grandpa Freeman used to keep me crackin’ up with their antics.
Out of all of the characters connected with the show, it was young Riley who dropped the most effective kernel of truth in their observation of life:
“Game recognize game, Grandpa!”
Yes it does, little Brother; and “game” is what’s goin’ on rat heah…
So Major League Baseball now recognizes that the Negro Leagues – and their statistics – are now worthy of being added to their pantheon of bullshit.
The real reason this nonsense has come about..is money.
According to a recent piece in Forbes Magazine, MLB stood to lose as much as four billion dollars due to COVID – 19 fuckin’ with their season. Moreover, the Players’ Union has a problem because Commissioner Rob Manfred did not consider their input; their union is the strongest of the four major sports in terms of control of their overall on/off the field futures.
I did say money was at the heart of this problem, though. So let’s break this shit down by the degrading of MLB and its level of popularity and development within American culture throughout the decades:
In the 1930s, if it was all White, it was all right. Baseball decided, “we don’t want any Niggers playing baseball on our Fields of Screams” – enter the so-called “Gentleman’s agreement” – no Black folks allowed (this was also extended in a separate deal to cover professional football as well)
The Negro Leagues, however, decided that “we got our own thang” and were open for business; and their East – West All – Star Game would pack the house from 1933 to the end of the decade – and beyond!
As the late 1940s were sounding the potential changes with baseball as Jackie Robinson (respect to this Brother because he significantly shorted his line span for this to happen) the sport dominated in terms of popularity. All the Bernard Malamud horseshit flourished because Hollywood would use pimp out nostalgia in the form of baseball being synonymous with America. Fuck Mom and her Apple Pie, too – we run this bitch…
Hollywood also made its point to forward baseball’s propaganda. The movies The Stratton Story and It Happens Every Spring (both made in 1949) did well at the box office as baseball reeked of being constant with the American Dream…
Oh, by the way – pro football quietly integrates as the All-American Football Conference (AAFC) cracks the seal open on that effort.
The 1950s witnessed the ravaging of the Negro Leagues. As the teams in the American and National Leagues would struggle some at the gate, the brain drain of The Skin Game was taking effect. As the best of the best moved on to MLB, integration was taking a 42 ounce to the Soul of The Game. In 1952, Malamud would write The Natural, a sports novel which would be bastardized into a humungous house load of hokey Hollywood horseshit years later (btw – Roy Hobbs strikes the fuck out in the book!)
The Jackie Robinson Story did come out in 1950, with several remakes and updates since, the last being “42” in 2013. Surprisingly, baseball tapped into society in 1957 with Fear Strikes Out, a movie which sought to peek into the psyche of outfielder Jimmy Piersall. The 1955 World Series and the ascent of the Brooklyn Dodgers to the World Series championship made just about every Black baseball fan connect with the team.
The 1960s were as kid – friendly as any decade ever as baseball went out of its way to market the game to kids. Giveaway days for real baseball bats and caps guaranteed the park would be full; but ultimately MLB decided the marketing to kids wasn’t generating enough revenue to satisfy their greedy notions!
From the packs of baseball cards (with the naaaasty azz gum that could break a tooth) trading cards, flipping cards, attaching them to the spokes on your bike for the fake motor sound (which is what you do when you get 15 fucking Ron Fairlys), much of this was generated by a simple premise; mano e mano at the plate:
Home Run Derby (first shown in 1960) took MLB’s best sluggers and had them go at it in a nine inning simulation of over the wall ball! The winner won $2000, the consolation prize a thousand to the other competitor. Only four sluggers in the ongoing event had winning records. Dick Stuart (2-1) Willie Mays (3-2) Mickey Mantle (4-1) and Hammerin’ Hank Aaron at 6-1!
The New York Metropolitans, who were beaten like runaway slaves when they debuted in 1962, became World Champions in 1969, defeating the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in five games!
Truly, baseball felt as if they could do no wrong…and then that same year, the Negro Leagues insisted their statistics from their early days be added to the collective records to reflect the Hall of Fame entries of James “Cool Papa” Bell, Oscar Charleston, Satchel Paige and others.
However, MLB’s all – White, uptight Special Records Committee, in an ultimate display of Bullshit, scoffed at such a notion; and this is where – they fucked up.
Meanwhile, Super Bowls III and IV show how the talent from HBCUs lifted the American Football League to a level superior to the old guard NFL, forcing a merger between the leagues…
All through the 1970s, MLB carried on like its shit didn’t stink. While Black athletes were accenting the game with amazing contributions like the 1971 All – Star Game (Dock Ellis vs. Vida Blue), the sustained excellence of the Oakland A’s, the emergence of marquee stars like Reggie Jackson, Hank Aaron passing fellow Black player Babe Ruth as home run king (hey, don’t ask me – ask Ty Cobb) baseball would crest with the 1976 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds with their “Big Red Machine.”
Those two assholes who ran on the field should’ve been arrested; and then Commissioner Bowie Kuhn was a rat fuck who needed to be canceled – and purged from his position!
The other most significant noise of the 1970s came from the bat of New York Yankees’ first baseman Chris Chambliss, who signaled the rebirth of the team my colleague Anthony McClean calls “those Muthafuckas from The Bronx” – and The Evil Empire (on my Moms’ birthday, yet!)
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the dynasty they created through the decade should’ve made MLB consider the famous Satchel Paige quote, “Don’t look back – something may be gaining on you.”
The gap between MLB and pro football was closed significantly through the 1980s. The faster action of football (and the National Basketball Association with the Boston Celtics – Los Angeles Lakers Bird/Magic connection) gave rise to sports fans craving more immediate action as opposed to the station – to – station comparative crawl of MLB; pro football would surpass and begin to pull away as fast as you could say, “GET UP, DOUG!”
After Doug Williams makes like Dolemite on John Elway and the Denver Broncos; azz, it’s clearly a New Day As The Sports Turn…
Throughout the 1990s, pro football is fully ensconced as the number one spectator sport; post – season ratings for MLB (minus the Evil Empire) pale in comparison without the New York market in terms of a significant draw. The National Basketball Association’s progress going forward is slow but steady. The influx of European players is attacked, but a couple do improve their game to match their hype; most however, could not pass muster.
The Turn Of the Century can be stated in two words: LeBron James. The “Chosen One” – chose to make everyone a shitload o’ money – and he did! James entry into the NBA overshadowed the quiet excellence of Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs throughout the decade; but thanks to James, basketball’s popularity went global, especially in Asia. Stephon Marbury becomes a Chinese basketball legend, while the NFL keeps grinding. From Green Bay in the 1960s, Pittsburgh in the 1970s, San Francisco in the 1980s, Dallas in the 1990s, the Super Bowl blows up into one of the world’s greatest sporting events.
The ‘Teens’ have basketball lapping MLB as the Miami Heat’s back – to – back championships (2012 -13) have LeBron James declaring to the world and mainstream sports media (paraphrasing) “there’s three of you muthafuckas I will never speak to.” Think about the length of James’ career and who has interviewed him and you can make an educated guess as to which three they are…
The New England Patriots sally forth with their rein of terror – and the Sith Lord Belichick becoming the Hulk Hogan of the NFL’s version of ‘spot’s ennatainment.’ The NFL is becoming what former player Bernie Parrish alleges in his 1971 novel, “They Call It A Game” – scripted scenarios where the outcome has been pre-determined…
Now pro hockey has joined the fray, with the 2010 Winter Olympics producing one of the greatest events ever in the Gold Medal Game (Canada v. USA in Men’s Hockey) the sport’s post -season efforts have presented fans with awesome action for at least a half – dozen years as the work to push the game’s popularity below the Canadian border; jumping by leaps and bounds into the present decade as COVID-19 threw the sports world into chaos.
The National Hockey League’s ability to adjust gave them what seemed like a captive audience at first; but the quality of their post – season product brought new and enthusiastic fans to the mix.
The NBA went to the bubble and managed to bring James and the Los Angeles Lakers a fourth title for the NBA’s resident King…
The NFL made good on its $10 billion dollar promise – and will present Super Bowl Fitty – Five at the home field of former Sorcerers’ Apprentice Tom Brady next week. Even with a half – full stadium, the cash (especially betting cash) will flow…
Leaving MLB as fifth in a four horse race!
So after losing approximately four billion in revenue last year, they now want to correct their “oversight” and include The Brothas…
(paraphrasing) “We white folks have decided we need you Niggers – so we’re gonna let you be ‘Big Leaguers’ so we can make money off your Black asses!”
How very fucking White of you.
“always outnumbered…never outgunned.”
Copyright (c) 2021 Michael – Louis Chanticleer Ingram all rights reserved.