Call it the indignity of indignities, call it a cruel twist of fate from the baseball gods, or chalk it up as a minor inconvenience: The Dodgers celebrate tonight's Jackie Robinson Day in the home of the Giants, of all places.
I realize that schedule making is a thankless job, and that the Australia trip threw a Giant-wrench into the whole thing (whose brilliant idea was that?!), but Jackie Robinson Day in Frisco instead of Los Angeles? Yikes.
There's no crying in baseball, obviously, so we'll just have to make do. And since L.A. is 8-2 on Jackie Robinson Day – having won both games versus their most hated rivals in 2006 and 2009 – and since the Giants' former ace, Tim Lincecum (9.09 earned run average, .349 batting average against) is pitching, if you can call it that, maybe turning lemons into Blueberries won't be all that mighty a hill to climb. Of course, Josh Beckett (ERA of 9.00 in his lone start) is throwing for the Dodgers, so maybe it will.
The point of the exercise, however, is Jackie Robinson. And while a Dodgers win over the Giants, at AT&T Park especially, would put a nice Blue ribbon on the sport-wide celebration, let's reflect on Jackie today, shall we?
Interesting stories are all over the place this afternoon. And since I'm a proud Angeleno, an equally proud UCLA fan, and a current resident of South Pasadena, I'll start with Lyle Spencer's article about Robinson's local roots at MLB.com.
After you read that, Chuck Culpepper has a fascinating piece about son David Robinson's life in Tanzania at Sports on Earth, Mark Langill throws cold water on the myth about Robinson retiring in 1957 rather than accept a trade to the Giants at Dodger Insider, and Jon Weisman shares an excerpt from his book, 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, also at Dodger Insider.
Here is a thoughtful commentary from University of Baltimore School of Law professor F. Michael Higginbotham in The Baltimore Sun. (Full disclosure: I grew up and played a little ball with the author. Well, he played; I marveled. “Higgy” was a great three-sport star in CIF competition during the 1970s.)
The Smoking Gun has a piece on a Robinson's pre-Rosa-Parks bus boycott, John Shea presents a Monte Irvin what-if at SFGate.com, and Time Life has a beautiful collection of photos for the occasion. I posted this one a year ago at this time.
From the for-what-it's-worth-department, Robinson hit .308/.414/.414 vs. the New York Giants during his 10-year major league career, with 18 homers and 98 RBIs in 211 games. At the Giants' home Polo Grounds park? .302/.406/.415, with nine home runs and fittingly, 42 RBIs.
Matchups for the Dodgers-Giants series are as follows: Beckett vs. Lincecum tonight at 7:15 p.m., Paul Maholm vs. Ryan Vogelsong Wednesday at 7:15 p.m., and Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Madison Bumgarner Thursday at 12:45 p.m.
Remember, glove conquers all.