We discussed this briefly on our Furious Five radio show last night, but if you were too busy to listen and/or can't stand getting a severe case of the douche chills from listening to my girlish voice, Bud Selig is taking this whole Jackie Robinson tribute a little bit too far this year:
By request of Commissioner Bud Selig, as Major League Baseball celebrates the 62nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking its color barrier on Wednesday, all big league players and uniformed personnel have been asked to wear the late Hall of Famer's famous No. 42 on the field when the 30 teams celebrate the occasion.
The past two years, as the momentum to wear Robinson's number steamrolled through Major League clubhouses, Selig asked, but the act of wearing it was voluntary. Not so this year.
NOT SO THIS YEAR, says MLB.com staff writer Barry Bloom. NOT SO. Bud Selig has decided that his employees were not showing enough fervor for baseball hero Jackie Robinson and has issued a stern order that all players, coaches, and peanut vendors must wear the number 42. This is both a tribute to the most important athlete of the 20th century and an effort to confuse any fan who attempts to score the game, especially in Tampa where you won't be able to tell that, yes, it's Nick Swisher warming up in the bullpen.
I think this is overkill. Honoring Jackie should be a privilege and a voluntary act. It could even be restricted to one or two players per team which would make it an honor in and of itself. You'd head out to the ballpark in April every year and say, "Hey, remember last year when Curtis Granderson wore number 42 to honor Jackie? I wonder who it's gonna be this year." With every player wearing the number, it seems more like overkill.
Retiring the number across baseball was a great and bold move that showed the game's commitment to forward-thinking ideas while admitting its past missteps. When Ken Griffey Jr. petitioned Selig to allow players to wear #42 once a year, it was a conscientious action by one of the sport's most accomplished players. But making this honor wash over the entirety of baseball only serves to cheapen the respect and reverence that we all have for Jackie. It just seems forced.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr user Cavalier92)