Monday, March 30, 2009

Why hasn't anyone said this?

Anyone who knows me for very long, particularly between the months of March and November, will find out that I am a pretty big New York Mets fan. If you search the archives of the Gentryman's Tale, you'll find in depth off-season and pre-season posts from previous seasons that I just simply do not have the time to invest in these days... but of course that certainly does not mean I'm not paying attention.

You may have heard that the Mets are opening their new stadium this year: Citifield. Affectionately known by me as "taxpayer field" - but that's another post... the thing I want to point out seems to me to be so obvious that I am somewhat astounded that no one has picked up on it. It has to do with Jackie Robinson.

Now, if you have even a moderate interest in baseball you know that Jackie Robinson was the first black Major League Baseball player. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers before they got shuttled off to LA LA land. Now, while I have questioned the Wilpon's (owners of the NYMets) decision to make this new stadium have so many nods to those brooklyn days, no one can really blame them for wanting to honor Jackie Robinson for his contribution to the great game of baseball and to the civil rights movement. They did so by creating the Jackie Robinson Rotunda pictured below.

It's not a great picture - but I'm not trying to show off how pretty it is...
What I want to point out is the quote that Mr. Robinson has left behind, and that the Wilpon's have decided to emblazen around the rotunda:

"A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives."

It isn't? Are you sure?

I mean... I think I understand the idea. You want your life to impact other people. Jackie Robinson's life impacted many people for the better. But would Jackie Robinson's life been less 'important' if he decided he didn't want to deal with all the harassment and abuse he took coming to the majors? Comparitively speaking it would have certainly been less impactful... but less important?

This to me seems to go against the whole idea of civil rights, doesn't it? The whole idea of human rights? Not to mention the impact on so-called reproductive rights...

I suppose it's fine if you only judge the life through the lense of history in order to determine its impact, and then quantify its importance... I mean we do that all the time - just read history books. But it seems to me that if this is what Mr. Robsinson meant, it is not how it will be read today.

I am probably being nit-picky about this; beating up a straw man perhaps... but it seems like an odd thing to put in the front door of a baseball stadium.

It's been a long day... I may just be sleepy.

1 comment:

Scott Pearce said...

I just can't believe someone carved a declarative statement in stone. Seems a little too absolute and too permanent for our day.