Not everyone should wear #42 today.
I am not here to diminish Jackie Robinson. Quite the opposite.
What baseball has done is turn the 42 into just another stunt. 42 has been watered down into the realm of stars and stripes caps and camo jerseys and that’s terrible.
There is a really good solution which I read it on the internet a few years back – so credit to whoever came up with this.
Pick ONE player (or in a variant idea a handful of players) and have that player be the one who has the honor of wearing Jackie’s number.
At some point today the Mets will send out the press notes and the beat reporters will read them You will then see a barrage of tweets about how the players are going to wear 42. Surprise. 42 is now as important as everyone tweeting the lineup.
On the broadcast 42 will get talked about. Nice enough.
But imagine if MLB turned wearing 42 into an honor. What if there were discussions about who should wear the number.
Play this out…
Say the Mets chose Curtis Granderson. You get a press release about which Met (and Phille and Astro and Mariner…) will wear the number. Curtis gets the honor but also the responsibility of wearing the number. Curtis would be the Met chosen to spoke to the media about the importance of Jackie. Why you Curtis? What does this mean to you? Why is Jackie important?
In that scenario you get a focused tribute.
(Plus being cynical there’s a better chance of selling Granderson 42 jerseys than generics, but OK maybe that leads to my son asking me why someone at the Mets game has a Granderson 42 jersey.)
As time heads forward maybe a player with white skin would ask to be the one with the honor. That would start a discussion of some kind, and maybe we could see how far we’ve come (or not). If David Wright asked to be the one who wears 42 how would you react? Is that good? Does it harken back to Jackie and Pee Wee Reese? Would it bother some that a white player not a black player wore the number? I really could argue this one both ways – and that’s quite a discussion to be had.
Instead we’ll take what was originally a grand gesture and check he box. It’s not bad that they do it, it just could be better. Discuss!