We Are The Ship
"Makes you mad to hear players today squawk about jet lag, and
all of this. Try sleeping in a car with your knees to your chest,
crammed with eight other guys, only to play a game the next day.
Players today just don't know how bad it could be. We look back and
wonder, 'How did we do all of that?' It's simple. We loved the game
so much, we just looked past everything else. We were ballplayers.
There was nothing we would have rather spent our time doing."
Not surprisingly, when America's favorite sport became really
popular in the 1860s most professional baseball players were white.
The few black players who did get on teams were treated very badly.
And after 1887, following a secret agreement on the part of white
owners, even those few were let go. In order to stay in the game,
blacks had to form leagues of their own. In Kadir Nelson's We Are The
Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball you can read the fascinating
story of a lesser known chapter in sports history. The voice is that
of an unnamed every pitcher. The narrative is built around nine
Playing in these leagues was not for the faint of heart. On the
field whatever it took to win was the rule of the game. (This was
before they came out with all the safety equipment we take for granted
today). White fans were abusive. Off the field a lot of time was
spent on buses because segregation existed in both South and North.
Restaurants and hotels that would serve blacks were few and far between.
But play they did. We Are The Ship brings those colorful years
and the players who made them memorable to life. Nelson's oil
paintings, based on vintage photographs are amazingly detailed and
animated. They look three dimensional.
On a personal note, when Rogers Farm had a field day I went with my
real food challenge gang. There were all kinds of exhibits and all
kinds of yummy food. I got to puppysit Pat's puppy Rosie. Rosie was
happy to walk with us. (My posse was happy to help). And she cuddled
with me when we sat to listen to fiddle music.
A great big shout out goes out to the people who put on such a
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